Jerry Brown Considers Prison Alliance Between Private Company, Union

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has no intention of releasing state prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, despite a federal court order requiring the state to reduce its prison population by the end of the year, sources told HuffPost. Instead, Brown and legislative leaders are discussing a proposal to create an unconventional partnership between the state's powerful prison guard union and the nation's largest private prison corporation -- an alliance that may permanently expand California's … [Read more...]

California Cites ‘Massive Prisoner Release’ in Supreme Court Appeal

California lawyers late Friday filed the state's full appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high court to set aside orders to reduce prison crowding by the end of December. Despite the state's contention that it intends to meet the prison population cap by leasing added prison space, the appeal raises the public safety threat of "a massive prisoner release." The appeal cites the great progress the state has made in improving medical and mental health care of inmates. It says the … [Read more...]

California’s Prison Mess

Under a 4-year-old order to reduce the state's prison population, Gov. Jerry Brown is preparing, finally, to file a plan with the court outlining how he and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation intend to comply. They have been dragging their feet long enough — and in fact are continuing to do so. They lost their request last week to block the order and are now pressing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to get out from under a Dec. 31 deadline. The longer they wait, the … [Read more...]

US Supreme Court Rejects Brown’s Bid to Halt Prisoner Releases

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s argument that a lower court's prisoner reduction order threatens public safety. The state had sought a stay of a lower court's ruling, which the Supreme Court denied. Unless the High Court agrees a formal appeal from the state,  California will have to reduce its prison population by roughly 9,000 inmates by year's end. The justices gave no reason for the denial. Justice Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented, … [Read more...]

California Facing More Prison Woes

Just six months after declaring “the prison crisis is over in California,” Gov. Jerry Brown is facing dire predictions about the future of the state’s prison system, one of the largest in the nation. A widespread inmate hunger strike in protest of California’s policy of solitary confinement was approaching its second week on Sunday. The federal courts have demanded the release of nearly 10,000 inmates and the transfer of 2,600 others who are at risk of contracting a deadly disease in the … [Read more...]

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws

On July 15th, 1995, in the quiet Southern California city of Whittier, a 33-year-old black man named Curtis Wilkerson got up from a booth at McDonald's, walked into a nearby mall and, within the space of two hours, turned himself into the unluckiest man on Earth. "I was supposed to be waiting there while my girlfriend was at the beauty salon," he says. So he waited. And waited. After a while, he paged her. "She was like, 'I need another hour,'" he says. "So I was like, 'Baby, I'm going to the … [Read more...]

Juvenile Sentencing & Community Values

The recent Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama, which concerns the imposition of life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders, offers an important opportunity for people of faith to revisit our civic responsibilities with respect to children and youth. The decision strikes down state laws requiring life-without-parole sentences, ruling that these laws violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment." Such laws, currently on the books in just over … [Read more...]

CDCR Releases Plan to Cut Billions in Prison Spending and Meet Federal Court Mandates

SACRAMENTO - In the wake of a declining prison population resulting from Realignment, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today released a plan to cut billions in spending, comply with multiple federal court orders for inmate medical, mental health and dental care, and significantly improve the operation of California's prison system. The plan is titled "The Future of California Corrections: A Blueprint to Save Billions of Dollars, End Federal Oversight, and … [Read more...]

Three strikes reform could save $100 million a year

Voters will have the chance to dramatically remake California’s criminal justice system this fall. A ballot initiative to repeal the death penalty in California has already qualified for the November ballot:  Instead of death, the convicted would face life terms without the possibility of parole. And last week, supporters of an initiative to reform the Three Strikes law submitted more than 830,000 signatures to the state  (they need just 504,760) to qualify for the November ballot. This … [Read more...]