WHY DOESN’T CALIFORNIA SAVE $$$ THROUGH “MEDICAL PAROLE?”
Two weeks ago I had lunch with a woman who is the Catholic pastor of a large California prison. I should mention that she is no neophyte in the corrections world. She’s worked at LA County’s jails, at an out-of-state prison, and at an in-state institution or two before she got to where she is now.
We were meeting about another matter entirely but, in the course of the conversation, talk turned to some of the guys she sees inside whom she really thinks ought to be let out—simply because they are so incapacitated, that keeping them locked up on our tab doesn’t, she said, make any sense.
The pastor wasn’t talking about any kind of compassionate parole. She was just talking cost/benefit.
This week in an excellent article in the Sacramento Bee, the federal monitor in charge of California’s prison health care system, J. Clark Kelso, has said much the same thing.
“I am keenly aware, as are the courts,” Kelso said, “that a dollar that we can save in the prison health care program is a dollar that can be spent on other important priorities for the state, such as education, money for children, the elderly, other health care programs.”
An aide in Kelso’s office said that, conservatively, the prison system could save $213 million over five years by paroling just 32 inmates identified as severely incapacitated.
Twenty-one of those 32 inmates are in nursing facilities or hospitals outside prisons, which requires spending for expensive guard time — including overtime — as well as huge health care costs.
These 21 inmates’ average annual health care and guard costs total more than $1.97 million apiece — a total of $41.4 million a year for 21 individuals, said Kelso aide Luis PatiÃ±o.
With all this and more in mind, on March 17, Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco introduced a bill to create medical parole.
Leno said 1,300 inmates’ health care costs exceed $100,000 a year, and that up to 700 prisoners could qualify for a possible medical parole under his bill.
With full implementation of his bill, Leno said, the state could save at least a couple of hundred million dollars a year, more than the receiver’s initial $213 million estimate spread over five years.
There’s a lot more in the way of facts and figures on this issue, so read the rest.
DAD OF FALLEN MARINE HAS TO PAY VILE & CREEPY PICKETERS’ COURT COSTS???
Yeah, this is actually kind of usual, from a legal perspective, but given the situation, from a moral and emotional perspective it’s—what’re the words I’m looking for?—Oh, yeah. Intolerable and psychotic.
Here are the details from the Topeka Capital-Journal:
Only a few months before both sides square off in the U.S. Supreme Court, the father of a slain Marine has been ordered to pay legal costs for a Topeka-based church after the $5 million judgment he won from the congregation in 2007 was overturned on appeal.
Albert Snyder, the father of a Marine who was killed in March 2006 in Iraq, learned late last week that he had been ordered to pay legal costs for Westboro Baptist Church in connection with a lawsuit he brought against the congregation after some of its members picketed his son’s funeral in March 2006 in Westminster, Md.
Late Friday, Snyder learned he would be liable to pay the legal costs of the appeal by the Westboro church and the Phelpses in the amount of $16,500, said his attorney, Sean E. Summers, of York, Pa., in a phone interview late Monday night.
“We’ve been talking all day and all night,” Summers said of himself and Snyder. “He is disappointed. It’s kind of like rubbing his nose in it.”
I don’t know how this gets solved. As the C-J mentions, the case is on its way to the Surpremes—and the court is, I think, going to be reluctant to shut up the protesters, no matter how repellent they are. Sometimes freedom cuts against the righteous.
So what to do? I don’t know. But the idea of the family of the dead Marine having to pay up to these hate-filled Westboro people….it’s pretty hard to take.
BOSTON GLOBE GETS PEEK IN FBI’S “SPECIAL FILE” ROOM
Here’s a snippet of the Globe’s report. It explains itself.
It is where the government has hidden the most secret information: plans to relocate Congress if Washington were attacked, dossiers on double agents, case files about high-profile mob figures and their politician friends, and a disturbing number of reports about the possible smuggling of atomic bombs into the United States.
It is also where the bureau stowed documents considered more embarrassing than classified, including its history of illegal spying on domestic political organizations and surveillance of nascent gay rights groups.
It is the FBI’s “special file room,” where for decades sensitive material has been stored separately from the bureau’s central filing system to restrict access severely and, in more sinis ter instances, some experts assert, prevent the Congress and the public from getting their hands on it.
Established in 1948 under the reign of notoriously secretive FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, it remains in use today at FBI headquarters in Washington to safeguard what the bureau considers its most highly sensitive information.
Read the rest here.
2 IMMIGRANTS FALL DISASTROUSLY THROUGH THE ICE DETENTION CRACKS
The LA Times & the Center for Investigative reporting have a disheartening tale by Andrew Becker about two mentally disabled men who had finished serving time on low level assault charges—but who were stayed in jails and prisons for years following the finish of their mandated sentences. One was kept for an extra four years, the other an extra five.
As for their crimes, one threw a rock during a gang fight, the other got in a scuffle over tomatoes picked without permission.
The problem is that both men were scheduled to be deported after their sentences were served-–but it was clear that neither could live on his own in Mexico.
Neither man was undocumented. Both had immigration papers. That wasn’t the issue. Yet, under current immigration law, their crimes mandated they be tossed back to their country of origin—which was Mexico.
So, unsure what else to do, the government merely held on to them—alleges a new lawsuit.
Here’s the story.