A man sentenced to a 68-year prison sentence for a 2006 home-invasion robbery has become the first person in California granted parole under a new law authorizing the release of medically incapacitated inmates to save the state millions of dollars.
Craig Lemke, 48, poses no threat to public safety due to his medical condition, a two-member panel of the state Board of Parole Hearings found today during a hearing at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga. The Lake County convict’s medical condition was not disclosed for privacy reasons.
He was the second inmate to be considered for medical parole under a law authored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, that went into effect this year. The law states that inmates who are “permanently medically incapacitated with a medical condition” that makes them “unable to perform activities of basic daily living” may be released if they do not pose a threat to public safety.
A spokeswoman for the court-appointed medical receiver in charge of California’s prison health care praised the board’s decision, saying it will save the state up to $750,000 a year in guarding costs, and an untold amount on Lemke’s medical care.
“We’re pleased the board found he met the criteria,” Nancy Kincaid said. “We are continuing to look for more individuals that could meet the criteria… There are a total of 40 (inmates) on the list, and we are always working to identify more.”