Californians- Call to action from CURB

8 Jan

For Immediate Release – January 8th


Governor Asks Court to End Prison Population Reduction Requirement

Makes Another Attempt to Justify Unconstitutional Prison Overcrowding

 

Contact:  Emily Harris

Californians United for a Responsible Budget

510-435-1176

 

Sacramento CA—Yesterday the State of California filed another response to the Federal Court order to reduce dangerous overcrowding in California’s prison, urging the court to end the 137.5% population cap. In the Motion to Vacate or Modify Population Reduction Order, the state claimed that “overcrowding and health care conditions cited by this Court to support its population reduction order are now a distant memory.” California’s prisons currently hold 133,000 in space that was intended for 80,000.

This is one in a series of attempts by the Brown Administration to evade the Court’s order to reduce the prison population. In September, the Court rejected Brown’s attempt to raise the population cap to 145%.

“If people’s lives weren’t at stake, claiming that caging one and a half times the people our prisons were built to hold isn’t overcrowding would be laughable.  But this isn’t laughable, it’s morally outrageous,” says Diana Zuñiga, Field Organizer for Californians United for a Responsible Budget.  “There are clear, safe ways to bring people back to our communities that would increase public safety and free more funding for social services and the education system the Governor claims to value so much. It’s time for this administration to stop dragging it’s feet and make the kind of change Californians have been demanding for years.”

 

Advocates have proposed a series of parole and sentencing reform measures to reduce incarceration rates and corrections costs while improving public safety, many of which have been proven to work in other states.  Examples include releasing prop 36 eligible strikers, releasing terminally ill and permanently medically incapacitated prisoners, implementing an older prisoner release program, expanding good time credits, and reforming drug sentencing laws.

 

According to weekly population reports from CDCR, California State prisons continue to remain crowded well-past intended design capacity.  Based on the CDCR January report the recently-converted Valley State Prison for Men is at 292% capacity, and as a result of the conversion, the Central Valley Women’s Facility at 184%. The total CDCR system is at 146.1%.

“Instead of releasing people and closing VSPW, they are squeezing over 1,000 women and transgender people into the two remaining women’s prisons. The conversion has only aggravated overcrowding, created dangerous conditions, and caused health care to deteriorate. What’s more, they have added yet another men’s prison to their inhumane system,” says Hafsah Al-Amin from California Coalition for Women Prisoners.

 

Hundreds of former prisoners, family members, and advocates will rally at Valley State Prison on Saturday, January 26th.

 


Emily Harris
Statewide Coordinator
1322 Webster St. #210
Oakland, CA 94612
510-435-1176
Californians United for a Responsible Budget
emily@curbprisonspending.org
http://twitter.com/CURB_Prisons

Gov. Jerry Brown railed this morning against federal oversight of California’s troubled prison system, calling it “intrusive” and “nit-picky” and vowing to fight in court to get the state out from under federal control.

A defiant Brown also lifted a state of emergency declared in 2006 by his predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, due to prison overcrowding.

“The prison emergency is over in California,” Brown said.

Brown’s highly public and combative appeal followed a court filing late Monday in which his administration asked a federal court to withdraw its requirement that California make further reductions in prison inmate populations, and also to end federal oversight of mental health care in state prisons. The court had requested documents explaining how the state would further reduce its prison population.

Brown said releasing prisoners would endanger the public and that options provided by the state were made “under protest.”

Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year, the Brown administration has reduced California’s prison population by shifting responsibility for many newly convicted, low-level offenders from prisons to county control. Brown’s office said the inmate population in the state’s 33 prisons has been reduced by more than 43,000 since 2006, to just less than 150 percent of capacity. The state is under court order to reduce crowding to 137.5 percent of capacity.

Brown said inmates now receive better health care than outside prison and that overcrowding is no longer an issue. Brown said the California prison system is now “one of the finest prison systems in the United States” and that “the job is now complete.”

“We’ve got it,” he said. “Enough already.”

Following his morning appearance at the Capitol, Brown planned to travel to Los Angeles to address reporters this afternoon in the state’s largest media market.

“We can run our own prisons, and by God let those judges give us our prisons back,” Brown said. “We’ll run them right.”

Brown said he will fight in court “as long as it takes.” Asked why he thinks the administration could prevail in court this year, following setbacks previously, Brown said the state now has “documentary evidence to make our case.”

Brown also suggested the court may look favorably on his appointment last month of a former Pennsylvania prison chief to head California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Jeffrey Beard was a member of a 2007 panel assessing the effectiveness of California’s prison and parole systems.

“I’ve taken their own expert, and I’ve made him head of corrections,” Brown said. “What more do you want?”

Brown said further federal oversight will only waste money California can not afford to spend.

“We can’t pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration,” he said.

 

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6 Responses to “Californians- Call to action from CURB”

  1. David Lordan January 9, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    It is simply a matter of dollars and political power (held by the most powerful Prison Gang aka CCOA). Reduce the population means reducing the dollars vendors get, reduced care package fees going into former politician family business,reduced weapons,uniforms and other gear guards require…..not to mention the unemployment cost for staff that are unemployable in the normal work force!
    Sadly, the base truth is that California has only one growth industry that has withstood all economic chaos…..our prison and parole system. The prisoners are commodes just like corn and beans! Without prisons,California is without any profitable business (aside from holding public office) .

  2. prisonmovement January 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    Also:
    INMATE HEALTH CARE INQUIRY LINE
    Telephone: (916) 324-1403

    The California Correctional Health Care Services maintains an Inmate Health Care Inquiry Line to enable members of the public, employees, and families of inmates to report concerns regarding the medical care provided to inmates by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In most instances, concerns should be reported to the warden or chief medical officer before using the Inmate Health Care Inquiry Line.

    Callers may leave a voice mail message containing the details of their concerns, and be assured that the California Correctional Health Care Services will review all reported medical care issues. Providing a written statement of concerns is most helpful, as this will assist the California Health Care Services in quickly identifying the issues, conducting any necessary research, and providing a prompt response.

    Those individuals who submit issues of concern will receive a written response within the guidelines of the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (California Civil Code § 56 et seq.), which requires written authorization by the patient to release medical information. Patients must sign an Authorization For Release of Health Care Records to permit release of medical information to any individual, including family members. This form is available in the medical offices at all institutions.

    To contact the California Correctional Health Care Services by mail, write to:

    California Correctional Health Care Services
    Controlled Correspondence Unit
    P.O. Box 4038
    Sacramento, CA 95812-4038

    Or send a fax to (916) 327-3406 to the attention of the Controlled Correspondence Unit.

  3. mejustice January 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Reblogged this on Montana Corruption and commented:
    Well, I’m just going to state the obvious, This governor must be receiving monetary gain from the prison industry. These advocates have given reform advice that would comply with the U.S.Supreme court ruling. Instead this Governor says that he is going to fight them and the people of his state for as long as it takes. Sad! Truly sad!

  4. prisonmovement January 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    CMF is supposed to be the medical facility for California. Call the ombudsman for that facility and demand treatment:
    Sonya Valle
    Ombudsman
    Kern Valley State Prison
    North Kern State Prison
    Avenal State Prison
    Wasco State Prison
    Pleasant Valley State Prison
    California State Prison, Solano
    California Medical Facility
    Sonya.Valle@cdcr.ca.gov
    (916) 327-8446
    Also: Sara Malone
    Chief Ombudsman
    Sara.Malone@cdcr.ca.gov
    (916) 327-8467

  5. Barbara Wanless January 8, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Sorry about the error in my comment it should read Oct. 2012,

  6. Barbara Wanless January 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    This article gives me hope, my son is currently at CMF, Vacaville, CA. He is a stage 3 colon cancer patient, and has received very little or no care while there. He was transferred from SUsanville State Prison, in Oct. 2011. I’d like to know where the (Gold Standard of care ) is? Susanville, is not a Medical Center, but he said the care at Susanville was paradise compared to CMF. He is 60 years old, and these very ill inmates that could not harm anyone, should be release to their families to love and care for them. He said that he believes that they send the ill senior inmates to CMF to die, I surely hope that is not the case. Thanks for the article and your work.

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