The clock is ticking/Reformers say #1 block to reform is apathy   

info for location of tomorrow's hearing, 3 Judge Panel, as far as I know, no one is planning to go. What a shame when the freedom of so many depends on the judges.  No one can testify there but anyone who lives in San Francisco should make an effort just to sit in the courtroom


Time running out for sex offenders Law forces move from school zones

By Scott Smith Record Staff Writer September 23, 2007 6:00 AM STOCKTON - Convicted sex offender George Young has lived in the same Stockton home most of his life. Now he must move, because parole agents told him his house is too close to Hazelton Elementary School, the very school he attended as a boy.

The 37-year-old's life is being upset because California voters last year overwhelmingly passed Proposition 83, commonly called Jessica's Law, which tightened the rules the state's registered sex offenders must follow once they are released from prison.

More than 2,740 paroled sex offenders statewide are living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks where children play, as does Young. Jessica's Law prohibits this, so Young and two other local men must move to comply with the new rules.

Young was convicted in 2003 of sexual penetration with a foreign object. He said the crime was committed against his former girlfriend, who is the mother of his 5-year-old son. He also has an 18-year-old son. Young was released from prison in January 2006.

All over the state, parole agents carrying hand-held Global Positioning System monitors recently knocked on the doors of sex offenders on parole and measured the footage in a straight line "as the crow flies" to the nearest school or park.

"I'm not a crow," Young said. "Plus, my case has nothing to do with children."

Young feels the law unfairly lumps him in with child molesters. Nevertheless, he was told to move or face a parole violation - and a trip back to prison. Young said Friday he has 16 days until his 45-day grace period runs out.

About 260 San Joaquin County sex offenders have been paroled since the Nov. 7 election and fall under the new law, said Susan Ann Kane, who supervises parole agents in San Joaquin, Amador and Calaveras counties. A federal judge ruled that the law cannot apply to parolees released before then.

Kane said her office recognized that court challenges to the law would be resolved, and sex offenders released from prison on parole after it passed would likely have to uproot.

"As guys were coming out, we said, 'Hey, the law's going to be in effect, and we don't want to have to move you,' " Kane said. "We were prepared for it."

Young said the family home he has lived in for 30 years is a 2,486-foot walk down the street and around the corner from Hazelton Elementary. Yet parole agents calculated it as being directly 1,520 feet away, he said.

"I feel like being there 30 years and having to move is a real drag," Young said.

Young plans to move onto a boat in a Stockton marina.

Joe Ramirez, a 45-year-old convicted sex offender, lived until recently one block from Constitution Park, at Fremont and Union streets in downtown Stockton. He now lives in a Charter Way motel and said he would move home again.

Ramirez, who declined to talk in detail about his crimes, admits he made a mistake. The Megan's Law online registry says he was convicted of rape, sodomy and oral copulation on a person under the age of 14. Ramirez said that happened when he was 16.

Ramirez is now on parole for a 2003 burglary conviction, but because he is a sex offender for life, he had to move out of the same neighborhood where his ill father lives, he said. Ramirez said his parole period ends in November 2008, when he will return to his old home.

He feels like he is being unfairly punished for an old crime, Ramirez said.

"I was 16 then," he said. "I'm 45 now. Give me a break."

Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Jessica's Law doesn't distinguish convicted child molesters from those like Young found guilty of crimes against adults.

Sex offenders didn't flood into the rural Central Valley areas, as opponents of Jessica's Law said, because prisoners released on parole are returned to the county where they were convicted, Sessa said.

Sessa said he recognized that it would be difficult for parolees to find a place to live when large swaths of a community are off limits, but he said his job as a state corrections official is to enforce the law passed by voters and not judge it.

Contact reporter Scott Smith at (209) 546-8296 or

Post at the bottom of the above article.

Please vote and post comments at the bottom of these articles where it says "Add Comments or Trackback"  - We're going to focus on fewer topics and wait for everyone to post going forward as the purpose of the UNION newsletter is to alert people where posts, comments, letters to editors are needed and where they need to attend events specific to our current campaigns.  It makes no sense to post more than people will do.  We are all about taking ACTION, not about just reading email. So I'll wait for everyone to get this vital posting on medical neglect done.


The sentencing laws, parole and medical neglect, abuse of the mentally ill, are all one topic, totally related to one another.


Rev Cayenne

What can we do to get three strikes changed.  You're right we're not going to have the money hardly no one shows up for a meeting in our group (not the UNION in San Jose)


Dear Jorge:

There are about 500 people in the entire state really working on prison reform.  Each and every one of them needs to stop right now and recruit ten new people to the movement who have never been active or involved in writing to editors, donating money or showing up to important hearings before, the same old people do all the work.


Because they refuse to get out and focus on recruiting.  If everyone now really working just stopped all their work and focused only on building the UNION, we'd have 5000 workers who could be trained on how the system works and what to do to change the laws.

I notice that people get attached to one or two people and do hang with them instead of reaching out to new people in the prison line ups and writing to new prisoners.

I am going to wait for some recruiting to take place before I agree to fight any more battles and I recommend all the other group leaders do the same except for those who have thousands of dues-paying members such as the labor unions.

One thing is certain.  If everybody is a chief and nobody is a worker, then we are all stuck until we fix this one thing.

Just say to yourself, I, Jorge will recruit ten new workers to be committed to write, show up, send in $5 a month, recruit others and get out the vote in 2008.  If each person does this the three strikes law can be changed.  If not, then we are lost because we're too ignorant to get out and do the basic organizing work.  Those 500 people out there already working need to just stop everything and focus on recruiting now.  Or suffer

Rev. Cayenne


Rev Cayenne

I do believe the prisoner families are in a victim mentality, and expect someone else to save them.  Lately, I'm calling it a 'welfare' mode.  In the Bible, when the widow gave her last mite, and she gave it out of her 'need,' no one can tell me that the poor can't give. 

Everyone can sacrifice something.  And some of them are not as poor as we think.  If they drink a coke today, they can make a better choice.  I don't expect the poor to raise the millions needed, but I expect them to do something for themselves, to show the funders that these people are serious and are not just standing around waiting for someone else to do everything.  And by the way, some of these 'poor' have bigger phone bills than I do.

Prisoner Advocate

Dear Prisoner Advocate

For 30 years the biggest block to reform is the families themselves, 3 million of them are a huge voting block but they won't register one another to vote.  If I had the smoking and alcohol budgets to work with of people in the UNION, we'd be in a whole different place.  Not to mention other substances and activities.

The value of a prisoner advocate is $0 yet people will sell their homes to pay attorneys that cannot win for them until they change the laws.  Everyone can afford at least $5 a month and if not, then we lose due to our own apathy and inaction.

This welfare mentality and wanting a rescue with no work and no money spent IS the biggest block to prison reform but it is something that each person reading this list can do something about, one person at a time.

The leaders need to stop fighting battles without enough money and volunteers to be able to win in the first place and make it very clear that a certain amount of simple work and a few dollars are required by everyone who benefits from the effort.  That's what the prison guards do, they send their union $50 plus dollars a month, 28,000 of them and buy their own politicians into office, pay attorneys big fees and hire advocates to work against us in the communities.  We outnumber the prison guards one hundred times over but if people won't vote and won't register other poor people to vote then we are all stuck until enough people get this basic civics.

Same problem has been going on for 30 years, the caring starts with each one of us.  If we don't care enough to organize then we can be slaves to the guards who do want to do it. Pretty simple choice.  Reading email is not an act of reform until a person has written to an editor, posted a comment at the news sites and recruited a brand new person to the movement.  Talking to people who are already trained is a huge waste of time unless you're making plans to go out recruiting together at a local prison.  People who have no loved one in prison are rarely going to care enough to build your voting machine for you.  You are the rescuer you've been praying for, your own actions, combined with those who have a like mind is the way out of the well. It is the only way out of the well.

Rev. Cayenne

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834

Message #1908 of 1917 < Prev | Next >




This article below does NOT need new posts, it appeared on Sunday and there are plenty of posts beneath it.  Notice that law enforcement never needs to be asked to write to editors, post at the news sites, and they all send $50 a month to their Union.  They do it gladly because groups run the state.  If you have no large, funded group, you have no voice and no ability to change the law via initative campaigns or legislators that you put into office.

Select few may get parole lite Program would apply to low-risk offenders; prison system critic calls fixes 'cosmetic.'

By Andy Furillo - Bee Capitol Bureau September 15, 2007


Corrections officials said Friday that they are planning to unveil a pilot project to discharge low-risk offenders from parole supervision if they stay clean on their release for six months.

A leading legal critic of the prison system called the proposed changes "cosmetic."

There are no guarantees that the policy, made public Friday, would result in an appreciable decrease in California's prison population. Nor is there assurance that a significant number of parolees would be allowed to benefit from the six-month discharge rather than the customary three-year "tail" that follows offenders when they get out of prison.

"We have no idea," California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jim Tilton said, when asked about the plan's impact on the prison population. "And that's not the goal."

Instead, Tilton said, the idea is for the agency to have a tool to assess low-risk offenders and give parole agents the flexibility to cut them loose from supervision if they meet certain criteria.

Tilton said the policy will be rolled out first in Orange County. If it succeeds there, it will be used statewide, he said.

Early parole discharge is already on the books and will not require new legislation, although Tilton said corrections officials will submit the idea to the Board of Parole Hearings for approval.

The earlier discharge will be available to some 86,000 parolees classified as needing "minimum supervision" or "controlled service," according to the policy that the corrections agency released Friday.

Registered sex offenders, parolees with convictions for serious or violent offenses, anybody who violated the terms of their release, anybody who picks up a new active case, anybody with a gang affiliation or anybody with "any other identified exclusionary factor as determined by CDCR" will not be considered for early discharge, according to the policy.

Parole officers must consider whether prospective offenders have a stable residence, a job or "dependable means of ongoing support," a history of completing educational or vocational programs and "a demonstrated compliance with victim restitution orders."

Parolees who meet those criteria will be recommended for early discharge, the policy says, "unless parole officers at the unit, supervisor, and district administrator levels concur that the parolee represents a continued threat to public safety that warrants continued supervision."

Donald Specter, directing attorney for the Prison Law Office in San Rafael, said he doesn't expect the early discharge policy to have much impact on the system.

"It sounds more cosmetic than anything else," said Specter, whose agency is pressing the federal court case that's put the corrections agency on the verge of an early release order as a result of unconstitutional practices.

"When you put this together with the failure of the Legislature to approve a sentencing commission," he said, "you get a state which is just not serious about making any meaningful changes."

About the writer: The Bee's Andy Furillo can be reached at (916) 321-1141 or


Op-Ed: Sunday Current

Although popular, California's residency restrictions and registries do little to protect children. By Jamie Fellner September 18, 2007 Politicians and the public love sex offender laws. Everyone wants to protect children and reduce threats to public safety. Trouble is, the laws may do more harm than good.

The right to live free of sexual violence is fundamental. But two years of intensive research into sex offender laws in the United States has convinced us at Human Rights Watch that politicians in California (and elsewhere in the country) failed to do their homework when enacting such popular laws. Many bills are passed in response to truly horrific crimes -- like the murders of Polly Klaas, Megan Kanka and Jessica Lunsford -- but sadly, they are often based on misconceptions that make them less effective in preventing violence.

The laws we studied cover three main categories -- residency restrictions, community notification and registration. Although promoted as ways to protect children, they are not limited to people who have abused children and are likely to do so again. Instead, they typically apply to anyone who has committed any kind of sex-related offense and can include teenagers having consensual sex, streakers and others committing nonviolent crimes. Those convicted as juveniles -- some as young as 10 -- are also subject to these laws.

But is public safety really served by such legislation? There's a lot of evidence to suggest that these laws don't protect children and may even increase the risk by exacerbating the factors that lead people to re-offend.

Let's look at why residency restrictions, for example, aren't effective. Under California's Proposition 83 -- also known as Jessica's Law -- sex offenders released from prison after the law took effect are barred from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park. Given the density of schools and parks in many areas, the residency restriction effectively banishes them for life from living in many cities and towns, often far from their homes, families, jobs and treatment. That makes it nearly impossible for offenders to re-integrate into society successfully and hinders their supervision by police.

Earlier this month, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation notified 2,741 sex offenders that they have less than 45 days to comply with this restriction. One man, unable to find anyone who would rent to him, is reportedly living in a tent in the Ventura River bottom. Turning former offenders into outcasts puts a tremendous burden on law enforcement and diverts resources that could be better used.

If California had done its research, it could have learned from the experiences of other states that residency restrictions don't enhance public safety. For example, in Iowa, after two years' experience with a residency law similar to California's, law enforcement officials decry the restriction for forcing registrants underground and driving them away from supervision.

Furthermore, the restrictions are relatively meaningless. For example, a recent study by the Minnesota Department of Corrections found that residential proximity has little effect on the choice of victim -- repeat offenders usually knew their victims through social and familial relationships. And prior to Proposition 83, existing parole and probation laws already permitted police to place restrictions and conditions on former offenders when appropriate.

Online registries, which are very popular with the public, may not be sound measures either. They are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and contain personal details of offenders. The registries identify the law under which an offender is convicted, but the legalese doesn't give the average person a clue as to the actual offense, or whether an offender remains dangerous. And it's one thing to ensure that parents know if someone who poses a threat moves in and quite another to let anyone browse the registries, regardless of any need to know. Registries are not necessary because police have the authority to notify neighbors.

Supporters of registries are not able to point to evidence that the registries have reduced sexual violence. But there is ample evidence, as documented in our recent report, that unfettered access to registries can and does lead to extensive harassment and sometimes violence against former offenders.

Sex offender laws are often based on and perpetuate two popular myths about child abusers: that "stranger danger" is the greatest risk our children face and that once a sex offender, always a sex offender. In fact, the evidence shows that family members, friends or acquaintances are responsible for more than 90% of sexual abuse cases involving children.

As for repeat offenses, most convicted sex offenders do not have a lengthy history of repeating the crime. The U.S. Department of Justice reported a recidivism rate of 3% to 5% three years after release. A longer study found that three out of four did not re-offend within 15 years. These laws offer no protection against first-time offenders, who are responsible for 87% of reported sex crimes against children.

Children deserve laws that work. And former offenders need laws that allow them to rebuild their lives because when they succeed in safely rejoining their communities, we are all safer. Politicians in Sacramento need to work across the party divide to reform these laws, and a first step would be to repeal the residency restrictions in Proposition 83. And the public needs to understand that focusing so much attention on convicted offenders distracts us from developing effective and fair responses to the complex reality of sexual violence.

Jamie Fellner is director of the U.S. program at Human Rights Watch.

on the above article, write


Prop 83 Tightens Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders BY Julie Strack and Brian Whitley Daily Cal Staff Writers Monday, September 17, 2007



More than 350 recently paroled sex offenders in the Bay Area must relocate within 45 days to a residence more than 2,000 feet away from a school or park. State officials on Friday finished notifying about 2,700 parolees statewide—though none in Berkeley—that they must move or face a possible return to jail, said Bill Sessa, a spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Sex offenders convicted after the passage of Proposition 83 in November and before legal challenges to the law were settled now officially face a ban from living within about a quarter-mile of a school or park and may be tracked with GPS systems.

Known as "Jessica's Law" for Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was raped and murdered in 2005, Prop. 83 expanded many restrictions previously reserved for child molesters to all sex offenders convicted after its passage.

State officials visited the homes of about 5,000 paroled sex offenders statewide to verify that their residence falls outside the 2,000 foot limit as measured by handheld GPS devices.

Officials also modified the parole conditions of sex offenders convicted after the law's passage who live outside the 2,000 foot zone to ensure that they may never move within it, Sessa said.

Berkeley contains no recent parolees in violation of the law, Sessa said.

It is also unlikely that sex offender parolees, who must stay in the county where they were convicted, will move to Berkeley.

The city, like most in the Bay Area, contains few locations that do not fall within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children regularly play, said Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

"Given the current broad definition (of restricted areas), there are only tiny little pockets of Berkeley­­­ that wouldn't fall under the restrictions," Kusmiss said. "There are few, if any, places where a sex offender could live."

About 50 sex offenders live in the city, Kusmiss said.

Parolees having a hard time find unrestricted residential locations may seek assistance from social service agencies, but ultimately are responsible for finding acceptable housing.

Julie Strack is the assistant city editor. Brian Whitley is the city editor. Contact them at


Influx of sex offenders anticipated George Watson, Staff Writer

County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt said he believes the Sheriff's Department has done a stellar job tracking sex offenders, but he worries authorities could be overburdened with Jessica's Law having recently taken effect. The supervisor for the High Desert said that could mean even more sexual offenders choosing to live in rural areas, such as his district.

Mitzelfelt plans to meet with sheriff's officials next week to learn what they might need to deal with a potential influx of sex offender parolees.

He intends to report back to his colleagues on the board to discuss his findings.

Mitzelfelt made it clear that the Sheriff's Department has had a good handle on the situation.

The county has 2,016 sex offenders, Mitzelfelt said, and only about 5 percent are out of compliance with their parole requirements.

That compares with other counties, which average about 25 percent out of compliance, he said.

"Our sheriff should be commended for developing such a program with no additional resources, just by making it a priority," Mitzelfelt said Tuesday. "Now, we may be faced with the situation where tracking these offenders will be more difficult."

Sheriff's Department officials were not available for comment Wednesday. David Wert, the county's spokesman, said Wednesday that the supervisors as a whole have made the enforcement of Jessica's Law a priority, but he had not heard of any concerns stemming from the initiative taking effect.

State authorities recently notified 2,741 sexual offenders on parole that they were in violation of Jessica's Law, the initiative passed by voters last year that requires sexual offenders to stay at least 2,000 feet away from schools.

Any offenders out of compliance had 45 days, as of Sept. 7, to relocate.

Authorities are concerned that many of those notified will go into hiding or become homeless, making it difficult to track them, Mitzelfelt said.

The issue of parolees in general has been a controversial one in the city of San Bernardino, where leaders have pinned some of the city's criminal woes to its high number of new residents who are parolees.

Last month, the City Council enacted a temporary moratorium on new parolee housing.

Some parolees, including sex offenders, have likely moved to the High Desert because it's easier to comply with their parole requirements, Mitzelfelt said.

"This is especially troublesome for the district I represent in the High Desert, where open spaces and large distances between restricted areas could draw more than our already disproportionate share of sex offenders," Mitzelfelt told his colleagues on the board.

Jessica's Law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was raped and killed in February 2005.

The law, which was first enacted in Florida before several other states followed suit, calls for lengthy prison sentences and lifetime electronic monitoring of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with children under 12.

Please post at the bottom of this page Open Forum Our crashing racial diversity Ralph C. Carmona

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why do corporate and public leaders talk around addressing the nation's increasing racial segregation through nebulous catch words like "diversity"?

One obvious reason: Civil-rights efforts to integrate our society have been facing an anti-diversity "colorblind" politics since the 1970s. This triggered in California, more than a decade ago, voter-approved initiatives hostile to illegal immigrants, affirmative action and bilingual education. Although two-thirds of the state's voters are white, the majority of the state's population is of minority and multiracial composition. By mid-century, this demographic transformation will permeate the nation. At some point, California's growing multiracial dilemma, where unequal economic circumstances, turnstile justice and school segregation, among citizen and non-citizen alike, will take on a national relevance.

For insights on this brewing crisis, a state "DiversityFirst" leadership conference dialogue is scheduled this week in San Francisco. One panel will focus on the topic raised in the 2004 Academy Award Best Picture, "Crash," to examine the race-diversity connection. A provocative metaphor on a multiracial California, "Crash" is a fictional depiction of Los Angeles in racial conflict. It pulls America away from the dated 1960s civil-rights thinking and puts us in a different place from the thoughtful classics, such as "To Kill a Mockingbird," which revealed a black-white, legally-imposed apartheid American South.

"Crash" forces us to think about what racial reality is - we're segregated. It forces us to talk about it, and about what does it mean to us, to our neighbor. It forces us to go beyond the corporate workplace diversity exercises. Yet, underlying the movie's interdependent hodgepodge of emotional differences, conflicting fears and prejudices, there is a unifying theme that opens windows of hope through acts of common humanity.

The politics of "Crash" work in private and public ways. Thinking of a woman's place in American private life over 50 years ago, I teased my Mayflower descendant-turned-New Yorker wife one day that "back then, honey, I would have been bringing home the bacon and you would be home cooking and shining my shoes." Without skipping a beat and with my Mexican background in mind, she shot back: "Sweetie, 50 years ago, you would have been my gardener."

Similarly in "Crash," after an agitated intimate moment when a black police officer mistakes his Latina girlfriend for a Mexican, she gives him a "geography lesson" by saying "my father's from Puerto Rico and my mother's from El Salvador and neither one of those is Mexico." He retorts: "Well, I guess the big mystery is who gathered all those remarkable different cultures together and taught them how to park their cars on their lawns." "Crash" makes it easy to see these segregated people.

At its public level, the movie's law-enforcement and street-crime setting gives realism to its depiction of diverse urban life. The reality depicted rears its ugly head in shootings, car accidents and carjackings. At the same time, one angry prosecutor's argument underscores the disproportionate number of racial minorities imprisoned, educated in disgraceful schools and sentenced by a biased judicial system.

The private and public dramas, consumed with racial emotion and collisions in "Crash," challenge us to rise above the usual racial politically-correct "diversity" discourse. We need that SCREEN because we really hate candid discussions about race in our classrooms or public meetings. We need more than group-think "inclusion" corporate exercises that hide personal disagreements about life's inequities and inadequate civil rights practices.

Watching "Crash" begs the need to talk - candidly - with others about California multiracial segregation. Democracy, as Aristotle reminds us, requires individuals to publicly relate to each other and begins, as John Dewey once said, with a conversation.

On this broader scale, where most Americans are affected, "Crash" gives us cause for hope. Locked in isolated battles, we suddenly find ourselves on common ground with sweeping public issues that define what our nation stands for.

Ralph C. Carmona is a former member of the UC Board of Regents and a panelist at the Sept. 19-21 California Diversity and Leadership Conference in San Francisco.

Rev Cayenne

Please remind everyone that I will be clearning up the newsletter list and taking off everyone who is not honoring the UNION commitment letter to write to editors or post at news sites, show up when called to protest three or four times a year, recruit others to write and show up and learn how to become an activist for change via the daily newsletter, and most importantly, register the poor to vote for and against candidates so we have representation in Sacramento.

These are basics that every American should be doing anyway and the only reason why we have all these problems is that our side doesn't organize and doesn't elect the right people to office.  If people get a note from me that they are being removed from the newsletter list because they don't recruit new people to the UNION or show up when called in an emergency, and I have made an error, please correct me.

I will be working on this over the next two weeks. The UNION can't operate without active volunteers and people contributing a five dollars a month toward our campaigns. Organizing is not sending email to people, it's about galvanizing into a voting group with teeth, something that was missing before the UNION came along.

When we do this correctly, we will see reform and not one minute before this happens can we elect or recall the right people to office or do initiative campaigns.  Those people who never write, show up or send people to rallies, send their $5 a month and bring more people to achieve the 6500 worker goal really do not belong on our list knowing our business.




Your tax dollars at work

September 17, 2007


Funding Supports Efforts to Combat Gang Violence and Increase Prevention Efforts

WASHINGTON – LAWFUEL - The Law Newswire - The Department of Justice announced more than $3.5 million in anti-gang funding to California. Funding will be used to combat gang violence and increase gang prevention efforts under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Initiative.

The Attorney General has identified gang activity as an increasing deadly threat to the safety and security of our nation's citizens and has made gang prevention and anti-gang enforcement a top priority.

The funds, administered by the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance within the Justice Department, will be utilized to reduce gang activity in California through efforts led by the United States Attorneys for the Northern District of California, the Central District of California, the Southern District of California and the Eastern District of California. These efforts include coordinated federal, state, and local enforcement aimed at reducing violent gang-related incidents, and evidence-based gang prevention and intervention focused on increasing positive outcomes for youth at high risk for gang involvement.

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America. The effectiveness of PSN is based on the ability of local, state, and federal agencies to cooperate in a unified offensive led by the U.S. Attorney in each of the 94 federal judicial districts across the United States. Through collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement, each U.S. Attorney will implement the five core elements of Project Safe Neighborhoods—partnerships, strategic planning, training, outreach and accountability—in a manner that is contoured to fit the specific gun crime problems in that district. The goal is to create safer neighborhoods by reducing gun violence and sustaining that reduction. The Attorney General's Anti-Gang initiative builds on the effective partnerships and strategies developed through PSN to support anti-gang enforcement and prevention efforts and to provide training and technical assistance.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office. More information can be found at
Police, prosecutors oppose release of arrest reports in San Jose
By John Woolfolk
Mercury News
Article Launched: 09/16/2007 01:50:18 AM PDT

Have your say!
When should police reports be released to the public?

Related Stories
Sep 16:
San Jose proposal would require release of more police information
San Jose police are trying to head off a proposal that would require them to release arrest reports and other records that are routinely made public in other big cities, arguing that to do so would hinder crime fighting.

Civil rights groups and other advocates of the Mercury News-backed proposal say such openness would foster public trust of law enforcement in San Jose, where police have been accused of brutality, racial bias and secrecy.

"The police department is operating under a cloak of secrecy in many ways," said Mark Schlosberg, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which has fought police for statistics on the use of Taser stun guns and other information. "The public should have a right to know how they go about the public's business."

Schlosberg notes that cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and New York already follow such rules.

But Police Chief Rob Davis and JoAnne McCracken, the district attorney's chief trial deputy in charge of homicide and other felony prosecutions, say the proposal would jeopardize San Jose's standing as one of America's safest big cities.

"An ordinance which gives broad public access to police reports will have serious consequences for our community," McCracken wrote in a position paper submitted to the city's Sunshine Reform Task Force. A task force committee, chaired by a top Mercury News editor, drafted the proposal, which the full task force will consider at a public



hearing Thursday.
"Fewer crimes will be solved," McCracken wrote. "More crime victims and witnesses will risk retaliation. More victims will decide not to report crimes to the police. Privacy will be violated."

If adopted by the 15-member sunshine task force, the proposal would then move to the San Jose City Council as part of a "sunshine ordinance." The task force has been charged with helping craft the ordinance to push the city's public access policies beyond minimum state requirements.

The council last month adopted other new sunshine policies, including broader disclosure of closed sessions and officials' calendars. But the proposal regarding police records is likely to be among the most controversial.

Broad discretion

The California Public Records Act doesn't require police to release actual arrest reports, even though they must disclose details such as the time and place of arrest, the identity of the suspect, the alleged charges and other circumstances.

But the act gives police broad discretion to withhold information they believe may endanger victims or witnesses or hamper the completion of an investigation.

Task force members who drafted the records proposal say state law gives police too much power to operate secretly. They note, for example, that when asked to release the circumstances of an arrest, as the law requires, San Jose police merely cite the penal code sections allegedly violated.

"It is clear that the current state of the law allows the police department a level of discretion that does not work in favor of public understanding," the task force committee wrote.

Task force members also say Virginia, Texas, Ohio and Florida are among the states that routinely release arrest reports.

The proposal comes at a time of tension between police and some of San Jose's ethnic communities over perceptions that officers target African-Americans and Latinos and use more force than necessary on them. Those perceptions have persisted despite the department's efforts over the years to be more open about its activities.

San Jose police in 1999 became the state's first major law enforcement agency to report the races of drivers stopped for traffic violations. That effort showed officers stop black and Latino drivers at higher rates than others, which police said was because they get more calls to respond in black and Latino neighborhoods.

Suspicions of bias

But the department's ongoing efforts to provide statistics, and a civil grand jury report last year that found no evidence of systemic racial profiling, haven't quieted suspicions of bias and secrecy.

Over the past year, a citizen watchdog group accused San Jose police of failing to release crime records as required under state law. And the city's independent police auditor has sought expanded powers to review police handling of complaints and in-custody deaths.

"I think it engenders public confidence to release whatever reports can be released," Independent Police Auditor Barbara Attard said.

For Chief Davis, who led the department's effort to provide traffic-stop data and other records not required by law, being accused of secrecy is a bitter frustration.

"In the law enforcement community, we're seen as a leader in this area," he said.

Davis said sunshine rules in other states that go beyond what San Jose requires are irrelevant because laws covering criminal evidence may be different there. And prosecutor McCracken said San Francisco has higher crime and lower conviction rates than San Jose and Santa Clara County, suggesting that more openness may hurt law enforcement.

But San Francisco officials scoffed at the assertion that their open-records policies foster crime. "To make a correlation between the two is absurd," said Alexis Thompson, spokeswoman for the city attorney.

Added the ACLU's Schlosberg: "I don't think what's being talked about in San Jose is radical by any sense."

Chief's concerns

But Davis said the safeguards built into the new proposal don't go far enough. Attempting to remove sensitive information from the reports, as the committee suggests, would burden staff and could lead to errors, he said. And victims, witnesses and informants could hesitate to come forward knowing a police report would be released.

Davis urged a more thorough analysis of potential consequences by police, prosecutors and the city attorney before such a proposal goes to the city council.

"The California Public Records Act has been in place for 39 years," Davis said. "What's broken with it?"


September 24, 2007. 6 comments. Topic: Prison Reform

Historic Federal Three Judge Panel to Hear Arguments Today on California Prison Overcrowding
May Consider Population Cap and Even Release of Prisoners as Remedy

Health Care Receiver Sillen to Issue Quarterly Report to Court

 By Frank D. Russo

On July 23, 2007, two U.S. District court Judges held an unusual joint court hearing in separate but intertwined cases. They issued an order that a three-judge court be convened to consider placing limits on California's prison population because years of prior orders had not been complied with and the prison system was so overcrowded that prisoners were dying and not getting the medical care required by the U.S. Constitution.

Governor Schwarzenegger attempted to appeal the orders, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal.

Today at 1:30 p.m., the three judge panel will hold its first hearing in San Francisco. The judges include the two judges who issued the order convening the panel, Thelton Henderson and Lawrence Karlton (the judges who oversee the Plata and Coleman cases respectively), along with Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The panel has been convened under federal law, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PRLA), which is quite restrictive. Under the PRLA, a three-judge court may only make a prisoner release order if they find "by clear and convincing evidence" that overcrowding is the primary cause of this violation of Federal rights and no other relief will remedy the situation.

If the court issues an order capping the California prison population or ordering the release of some prisoners, it will be the first time that has been done involving a state correctional agency--and the largest one in the United States. The record developed in the underlying cases that are now consolidated before the panel is so strong that this may very well occur. This is because of the abject and almost total failure of California's political system--highlighted by the failure in the last month of the legislature to pass a sentencing reform bill--and despite a too little, too late, but very expensive prison expansion bill, AB 900, passed earlier in the session.

Last week, we published in full the letter of Robert Sillen, (appointed as the receiver of the California prison medical care system by Judge Henderson) on the numbers of preventable deaths due to lack of appropriate medical care. That letter was sent to the Governor, legislators, and others. We indicated at the time that this may presage the evidence before the three judge panel.

Today, presumably before the three judge panel meets, Sillen will release his latest quarterly report on the prison medical system. But there is a record here already that is inescapable. There will be arguments made that the state has taken bold steps to remedy the problems and a plea for more time for these to work. The judges are reluctant to take action, but have been weary of and skeptical of these arguments made before--many times.

Whatever the panel decides, and whenever it acts, there will be further appeals. But appealing these orders will not make the problems go away. These judges have specifically noted the passage of AB 900, the $15 billion (with interest included) or so prison construction program. They have both found that this legislation either will not, or likely will not, alleviate the problems here.

In the underlying case that has been before Judge Henderson (Plata) orders were stipulated to (agreed upon) by the parties--which included the state of California--in 2002 and 2004. The judge found that those orders have not been complied with. He based his ruling on the evidence presented, including reports of Robert Sillen, the receiver.

The other case (Coleman) before Judge Karlton, concerns the medical treatment received by state prisoners with "serious mental disorders," and has been going on since 1995. In that case, a Special Master, John Hagar, has been appointed by the Judge to investigate and report back to him on how the needs of these mentally ill prisoners have been met. After almost 12 years and 77 orders, the Special Master and the Judge have found the prisons to not be in compliance with the United States Constitution.

If our elected leaders want to have some say in this sorry affair, time is running out.

Stephanie Gooding September 24, 2007 at 12:52 PM

The judges cannot do the people's part of organizing a voting group that is large enough and funded enough to force reforms in the law through the initiative process. Whatever reforms they are able to make will be superficial at best.

Judge Henderson said it best. "Prison reform is hard because unlike the war in Iraq, nobody is up in arms about prisoners."

There are at least three million potential voters attached to a state prisoner. If they all voted there would be about 70% fewer prisoners.

If you want to become active for change, join the UNION so we can find the number to DO what they judges can't do for us and what the legislators won't do for us, which is to change the laws and put our own people into office.

All of the murder and torture that is taking place in the prisons is being done with our full consent as long as we don't organize so initiative campaigns can be done.

Here are some links to see the people who are in the UNION whose loved ones have died preventable deaths.

and here's some more whose cases are still in court

Any sentence to prison is a potential death sentence.

I had a telephone call from a medical worker who tells me that the Governor has released a bulletin to all the law enforcement agencies to wear gloves when handling prisoners due to the MRSA deadly flesh-eating disease outbreak.  I was also told that there is a major cover up from the media about just how many prisoners already have it.  The secret bulletin allegedly tells law enforcement that 39% of the prisoners have contracted it.  There is no cure.  Often it is fatal.

Where are your posts out there on demanding anti-bacterial cleaners be given to the prisoners immediately.

Anyone with a copy of this bulletin issued by the Governor, please fax it to me and to the media outlets near you.  Without us the journalists cannot know who has MRSA but one thing is for certain, this disease spreads like wildfire.

Wake up and get into action.  This can be passed onto visitors and the medical workers and guards, etc. will take it back into the community. What are you doing about speaking out on epidemics already raging out of control in the prisons?

Rev. Cayenne


I will be gone most of the afternoon and evening, make sure you watch for media coverage so you can get out and do some heavy posting on inmate release especially in view of this medical crisis. Writing is caring...and caring starts with you.

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834



Please post at the bottom of this article and talk about your individual cases.

I hope that you are out recruiting because the hope lies in our being able to do initiative campaigns and get people out to mobilize.  If you won't help to educate others and bring them into the UNION,  we are stuck with the current legislators, too many Republicans in office and the whole dang mess caused by the poor not voting and holding these busters accountable for what is nothing less than murder by medical neglect. 

No one was there I understand except for your enemies and a few reporters, Prison Law Office. This idea that someone else is going to be there is we need to combat and do something about one person at a time. How about doing your recruiting around San Francisco and Sacramento areas by corresponding with a prisoner or two in a Northern California institution?

The prisoners can hardly believe that people do not show up for them at these important hearings and our rallies.  We can't be having the same core people in the UNION carry the entire movement, new people are needed.  This means our core people need to duplicate themselves ten times over. Then we will have much more of a fighting army and can make better noise and offer those helping us more support.  This is basic organizing and we need to focus on it if we want to save lives, change laws and better conditions.  There is no other way to do it.

Rev. Cayenne


September 25, 2007. 0 comments. Topic:

Federal Judges to California on Prisons: "How Do We Address Your Needs While People are Dying?"

Panel convenes, plans speedy trial, and admonishes intervenors that "This is a judicial and not a political process" in lengthy hearing

By Frank D. Russo

A panel of three federal judges, convened under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PRLA) to consider ordering the release of prisoners in the overcrowded California penal system because of years of deaths and serious health problems, held its first hearing in what was called by one of the attorneys a "shakeout hearing" to plan for a trial in two class action cases. Before them were 20 attorneys representing the State of California, prisoners, law enforcement, District Attorneys, counties, the legislature's Republicans, and the state's prison guards and an audience of about 75. Three hours later, at the end, Judge Thelton Henderson, thanked the attorneys and said "This has been helpful and exhausting."

The judges appeared to be serious, determined to expedite the process and set an early trial date despite pleas for more time from some of the new intervenor defendants. There were both explicitly stated acknowledgements by the defendants of what two of the judges on the panel have already found in the underlying cases--that there were serious problems with the delivery of medical care in violation of the US Constitution--and also an aura of expectation that the judges will order a cap on the prison population or releases of some prisoners. While there were the statements of those defending the State of California that the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the cases representing the prisoners had the burden of proving that overcrowding was the primary cause of this denial of basic constitutional rights, much of the hearing focused on the size of the reduction of the prison population and the appropriate remedy under the PRLA.

Of note is the presence of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA)--the state's prison guards--on the side of the prisoners who want reductions in the prison population to the level that adequate medical care can be delivered. This represents a sea change in the CCPOA that has been developing for some time, as both individual prisoners and some groups concerned about inmate rights have often vilified the guards. But yesterday in open court, Ron Yank, the attorney for the CCPOA sitting at the table with Don Spector of the Prison Law Project, took the lead in suggesting a procedure to speed up preparation for the trial and in ringing tones stated that his client was opposed to even "one day of delay for settlement talks." He also said the mess "isn't going to be done without prison reform--sentencing reform."

On the surface, most of the hearing dealt with mundane questions of the amount of time needed for the depositions of witnesses and the marshalling of the evidence, expected pre trial motions, and the anticipated length and calendaring of the trial. For instance, there was a discussion throughout the hearing of whether the trial should be bifurcated into two parts--with the preliminary questions of whether overcrowding is the primary cause of this violation of Federal rights and whether no other relief will remedy the situation-- separated from the actual remedies to be ordered (numbers of prisoners released, etc.) if there is a finding of those facts.

The judges took all of this under submission. But you could tell where they are headed. They appear suspicious of arguments that AB 900, the massive prison construction bill with other provisions passed and signed into law a couple of months ago, will take care of the problem. They snapped at the idea that the date for the trial should be pushed back further into 2008.

When the attorney for the District Attorneys stated her opinion that at least 90 days was needed to designate expert witnesses and for her to complete discovery (depositions of witnesses and the production of evidentiary documents), Judge Henderson said matter of frankly "Don't count on it." Judge Karlton, who has presided over a case since the early 1990's involving the failure to provide mental health care which has led to the suicides of some prisoners, said "There's an emergency. There's a tremendous emergency. Part of is: How do we address your needs while people are dying?" Henderson then said that the reason he responded as he did was "the undisputed evidence in the case."

While the District Attorneys suggested 180 days until trial, Don Spector, lead attorney for the prisoners in the Plata case suggested a trial in late January. He said "We'll work as hard as we need to get this done." He noted that with all the attorneys present there was no reason when two or three depositions could not be taking place simultaneously on a daily basis. Requests for information have already been made by Spector's office on the defendants, and when counsel for one of the defendants raised the issue of premature requests for "discovery" of information, Judge Karlton asked why this was considered premature and the response was that the hearing was supposed to deal with discovery as one of the matters.

Near the beginning of the hearing, Judge Henderson stated that this was a judicial and not a political process. He said while different governmental agencies have he right to intervene in the case, "their comments must remain focused on legal arguments… We can't stress this enough." The California Department of Corrections attorneys were designated as lead counsel for the defense and Don Spector of the Prison Law Project for the plaintiffs. There was a question raised by Judge Karlton about whether the Assembly and Senate Republicans, being only a subset of the legislature itself, had "standing, "the legal right to be a party in the case. But it appeared after a colloquy Karlton had with Spector that they will be allowed to participate.

Spector questioned the knowledge of many of the intervenors on the defense side as to the relevant issues involving the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Defense counsel repeatedly made the point that they could not prepare quickly for a trial without knowing the relief sought which they characterized as the numbers of prisoners to be released. Attorney Michael Bien, the lead attorney in the Coleman case involving psychiatric care, disputed this, saying they were seeking an order that the state of California develop a plan to reduce the prison population to a level that constitutional care can be delivered. Bien and Spector said that there have been numerous reports commissioned by the state, including one headed by former Republican Governor George Deukmejian that can provide this information. Spector said that if the state would agree to such reports "we wouldn't be here today."

Bien had looked at the most recent statistics right before the hearing and said that "we're at 200%" of capacity. He said that there are prisons over 250% and there is one 500% above what they are supposed to hold. He told the court that there could be a preliminary order that could "start the process" and see how it works.

At one point in the hearing, an exasperated Karlton said "We have a process that will never end."

Judge Henderson noted that there were 170,000 prisoners in a system designed for 110,000. He said that there must be some number in between that "fits the scale."

It is unclear exactly whether and how the special masters and receiver in the two underlying cases will be allowed to testify as it was suggested that with their intimate knowledge of the prisons and the impact of overcrowding on care, they could provide a great deal of assistance in arriving at the proper numbers--which may not be system wide, but may need to deal with individual prisons and correctional facilities. Karlton's initial assessment, which he described as coming from his "gut" rather than being a fully reasoned legal opinion, was that his special master is answerable only to him and might not testify. Judge Henderson appeared to be more open to the idea of Robert Sillen, who he appointed as receiver of the prison medical system, answering questions.

There was note that there doesn't have to be a massive and indiscriminate release of prisoners, and both Spector and Bien pointed to reductions of the numbers of parole violators coming back into the prisons, enhancement of good time credits, and the release of some non violent offenders a few weeks early, as possible parts of a solution.

It was stated that the plan--the solution--was to be found in AB 900, the prison bill--and that it should be given a chance to roll out--by a number of defense counsel./

It is expected by the judges that there will be about 15 days of trial at the pace of 4 days a week with a possible intervening recess during the trial. Any appeal, if there is one, goes to the directly to the U.S. Supreme Court from the three judge panel.

Judge Karlton expressed a hope, which he has stated on previous occasions, that the legislature and governor solve the problem and settle the case. He said--the minute we start this case, it can't be settled. He indicated it would not be delayed "as we regard this as a crisis."

After the hearing in the hallway outside the courtroom, Spector told me that the real issue is not about the numbers of those needed to be released, but "providing adequate care." He said there had been "plenty of recommendations by experts for over a decade. The problem is that the state has not picked one." He also said that "We've told everyone from the Governor to the legislature to law enforcement that we don't want to win a case; we want to solve the problem."

Bien noted that the Governor himself was "the one who declared the overcrowding emergency" a year ago. He said "We don't see AB 900 as a solution. We will prove that in court."

Neither Spector or Bien are hopeful that the imminent trial will lead to a political solution.

Sue Killian September 25, 2007 at 11:01 AM
Thank you Mr. Russo, for continuing to report on this critical issue. Hopefully this will be resolved by the court sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the State still has the opportunity to begin making substantial changes in the manner in which they deal with the problems of correction and rehabilitation. It seems to be an accepted fact by all but the Governor, the DA's and the Republican legislators, that AB 900 will be shot down as an illegal tax. Not one of them seems to have any other "plan".

Dr. B. Cayenne Bird September 25, 2007 at 11:09 AM
After dedicating more than a decade of my life to make certain that everyone in power knows that people are dying preventable deaths in prisons, I am trusting Judges Henderson and Karlton to do as much as they possibly can to alleviate this situation.

Shame on everyone who pretends to care about helping the prisoners who can't be bothered to do one small thing to take care of individual complaints. If there was even one person who would listen to those who are suffering and dying and actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEIR COMPLAINTS, many of these deaths could be prevented.

The Governor, the Inspector General, CDC Director Tilton, the "Ombudsmen", the legislative staffers, Robert Sillen and his staff, everyone who is pretending to be listening and acting to stop these deaths simply are not. The callousness is absolutely sickening to witness right here in my home state

If the Governor really cared about the sick and dying, the permanently incapacitated, he would not have turned down the compassionate release bill last year or denied the media access to see these abuses for themselves. Another compassionate release bill AB 1539 is on his desk now but does he have the courage and moral fiber to sign it?

The Governor has no choice but to pretend to agree with the Judges since they outrank him, and make no mistake, he could have done much more in this crisis than he did instead of refusing to sign every single reform bill sent to him by the legislature.

My stomach turns at his disgusting hypocrisy each and every time he opens his mouth and I don't trust him for five minutes since he executed mentally ill and elderly men. Combine the Governor's bad decisions with the callousness he has exhibited toward many of our UNION families and he is no better than the most mentally ill killer on death row.

I don't know what the Judges don't put everyone in prison who has violated the 70 orders they've made to stop this state murder by medical neglect. They should all get a dose of what abuse feels like, maybe then we'd see it get cleaned up.

The legislators are breaking the law of the land too, not to mention supporting with budgets and encouraging more murder by medical neglect to take place by pushing AB 900, knowing that the present system is understaffed.

Too many of the three million people connected to a prisoner are looking for a free rescue instead of registering the poor to vote and organizing their own voting group so they can force changes in the laws. These family members are trusting that people in elected office are doing the right thing and living in denial that any sentence to prison is a potential death sentence.

I hope that everyone is keeping good records for the news people who are probing some of these deaths. Those who continue to turn their backs on mothers pleading for medical help in order to save their sons and daughters should also be held accountable.

The costs of litigating more lawsuits will far outweigh doing things right in the first place, although getting any justice in our corrupt courts is next to impossible. A lawsuit at least brings some form of accountability to those responsible which the state refuses to do. Why is there no accountability for deliberate careless double-celling such as that done at CSP Lancaster which resulted in the death of Eddie Arraiga?

Three million people IN CALIFORNIA attached to a state prisoner does not include the l.5 million on parole, those in jails, federal prisons or juvenile halls. Many may be too uneducated to bring people to vote, but they aren't beyond learning that the power of law enforcement labor unions and self-serving politicians have destroyed their lives forever.

Ultimately, the only serious reform is going to come at the ballot box by preventing any Republican from getting elected to office, and by putting up people to run for office who are healers, not punishers operating on a philosophy from the dark ages that has never worked.

It is a violation of the California Constitution, the US Constitution and every moral law to cage people up when medical care cannot be provided. If they can't be cared for, it's common sense that they shouldn't be caged in the first place.

Where are the patient advocates?

Where are the cleaning supplies for the prisoner to use to protect themselves from deadly epidemics raging out of control?

Where are the healthy diets with fresh food that are basic to good health?

How many people will get MRSA before it becomes more important than this industry of modernized slavery? I personally am teaching our large communications network to register the poor to vote and mobilize to to force reforms via initiative campaigns and filing more lawsuits. I am teaching those who are trusting that people in office and who work in Corrections are of good moral conscience and doing the right thing to go around them and report all deaths, disease outbreaks and riots directly to the media.

I want to thank and recognize Frank Russo for covering the hearing yesterday. We recently had a rally at the Capitol over this very topic hoping that the sentencing commission would be set up to alleviate some of this overcrowding. Almost everyone present has someone who is dying of neglect now or who died preventable deaths in prison.

These are real people. Not factory widgets, not hardened criminals, but people's family members. Several had a minor sentence but couldn't get medical help for simple conditions such as a toothache.

Here are some of the pictures of people who have suffered immeasurably at the hands of their government. I know them all personally and have done my very best to help them find lawyers and stand up to these superficial bullies in charge and will continue to do so as long as their people who want to do something about this crisis

We aren't going away, we are at this time multiplying our ranks so that we can force changes at the ballot box and stop the Republicans from voting against our bills by making certain they are never elected in the first place.

The games are over when enough people step in, and those with blood-stained hands should keep this in mind that there will be a day of reckoning.

There is no evidence that punishing the sick, the mentally ill by locking them in a cage does one thing to deter crime. There is much that has been proven out to support prevention of mental illness and substance abuse, education and restorative justice as real solutions to crime.

Judges Henderson and Karlton are absolute heroes and I thank them for what they're doing. I am praying they take this prison capas far as possible, knowing that the deeper reforms will only be possible by doing initiatives and at the ballot box.

A locked cellblock at a prison in the US. A judge has sided with thousands of inmates suing authorities over prison conditions in California's crowded jails, it was reported Monday.

Related News Judge: LA Jail Floor Sleeping 'Cruel' The Associated Press - 12 hours ago Judge finds inmate rights violated Los Angeles Times - 16 hours ago Sleeping on floor violates rights of County inmates Daily Breeze - 5 hours ago Full coverage » Judge rules for inmates suing over prison conditions
5 hours ago
LOS ANGELES (AFP) — A judge has sided with thousands of inmates suing authorities over prison conditions in California's crowded jails, it was reported Monday.
In a key ruling, US District Court judge Dean Pregerson said jail officials were guilty of "cruel and unusual punishment" by making inmates sleep on concrete floors because no beds were available, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"Quite simply, that a custom of leaving inmates nowhere to sleep but the floor constitutes cruel and unusual punishment is nothing short of self-evident," Pregerson ruled in a class-action lawsuit.
An attorney for the inmates, Stephen Yagman, said the ruling meant the violations of the prisoner's rights would be presented as a proven fact to a jury should the case go to trial.
Inmates would have to prove only that they deserved to be compensated for having slept on the floor, Yagman said.

"This is quite an extraordinary ruling," Yagman said. "I've never seen anything like it."
Attorneys for Los Angeles County did not comment on the ruling.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore meanwhile said the practice of having inmates sleep on the floor "is over, and has been for a while now."
California has some of the most over-crowded prisons in the United States, with an estimated 170,000 inmates housed in facilities designed for 100,000 people.


I have been working with PBS who asked me to explain the fall out of Prop 83 and we should see something from that work published soon.  I am making certain they know of the women and children who are also displaced and greatly affected by this ridiculous law and requirement to move.

I can state the problems to the media for you, but only you can build the voting group necessary to turn it all around

Rev. Cayenne


Thank God a firestorm broke out and Chemerinsky was rehired as he is one of our heroes.

Jon Wiener
The Chief Justice and Chemerinsky: Something is Wrong
Posted September 24, 2007 | 06:13 PM (EST)
Something is wrong with the story of the role played by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George in the firing of Erwin Chemerinsky as founding dean of the UCI law school. Did the Chief Justice pressure Chancellor Michael Drake into withdrawing the offer that had already been accepted? New facts have emerged today about how the Chief Justice was enlisted in the effort to fire Chemerinsky by a group of Orange County attorneys, after Chemerinsky had already signed a contract.

Chemerinsky, a law professor at Duke and prominent liberal, was rehired five days after his offer was withdrawn by UCI Chancellor Michael Drake -- the result of a firestorm of protest over academic freedom. The Chancellor has said no one had pressured him, but the LA Times reported last week that the Chief Justice had written a letter expressing his objections to an op-ed Chemerinsky had published in the Times on the death penalty appeal process in California. Chemerinsky then wrote in another LA Times op-ed, "If the justices sent a letter to UC Irvine with the goal of influencing the dean process, that is inappropriate."

Monday the LA Times reported a new version of the story: Chief Justice Ronald George was asked by "a UCI selection committee" to comment on Chemerinsky's qualifications to be law school dean. Several legal ethicists, including Stephen Gillers at NYU and Deborah Rhode, director of the Center on Ethics at the Stanford Law School, were quoted saying the Chief Justice's action was not unethical, because he was responding to an official request for his evaluation. If the Chief Justice had not been officially asked, his intervention might have been improper and perhaps even unethical.

There is a problem with what the Times called "George's version of what happened": the request for the Chief Justice's evaluation of the candidate was sent on Sept. 6. But the offer to Chemerinsky had already been made, on Sept. 4 -- the same day the Times published the Chemerinsky op-ed to which George objected. No search committee would be soliciting evaluations after an offer had been made; that's something that would have been done months before. Indeed a member of the search committee told me she knew nothing of any request to the Chief Justice. So something is terribly wrong with this story.

Here's the new part: the Chief Justice told Maura Dolan, who wrote the LA Times story, that he got a letter signed by four people identifying themselves as "UCI Donald Bren School of Law Volunteer Leadership" -- not the search committee, but rather a group of local attorneys the finalists for the position had met with when they visited the campus. Dolan told me that their letter said, "We are currently interviewing candidates," asked for his opinion, and concluded "Please feel free to contact any one of us." George responded by sending one of the signers, Tom Malcolm, a prominent Republican, a copy of the letter his office had sent to the LA Times objecting to Chemerinsky's op-ed. Malcolm gave that letter to Drake.

(The Times published that letter on Sept. 21, titled "Death row inmates provided counsel," signed by Frederick K. Ohlrich, clerk of the state Supreme Court.) Others signing the "Volunteer Leadership" letter included attorneys Tom Dunn and Mark Robinson.
The Chief Justice told Dolan that the letter from the "Volunteer Leadership" group was dated Sept. 6. At that point it was untrue that the campus was "currently interviewing candidates" -- the interviews had been conducted months earlier. Perhaps by Sept. 6, they had heard of his anger over the Chemerinsky op-ed, and hoped he could change the Chancellor's mind. So the issue now becomes why this group of Orange County attorneys misled the Chief Justice; what prompted their letter; and what the Chancellor knew about their efforts.

The attorneys' role raises anew the issue of politics in the Chemerinsky case. Chemerinsky has argued for judicial review for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and represented Valerie Plame, the CIA agent outed by the Bush White House. He's also spoken in favor of reform of the Los Angeles Police Department and against the state's "three strikes" law. It was widely assumed that the pressure on the Chancellor to fire him came from the right, but the chancellor has steadfastly denied that.

One other question: Did the Chief Justice tell UCI he opposed appointing Chemerinsky dean -- or did he simply express his objections to the op-ed? One California law school dean told me, "if the CJ [Chief Justice] were called by someone at UCI, the CJ would not have limited his response to the op-ed piece or other disagreements. I expect that he would have said that the university was making a bad appointment." But according to George, he did not write a letter evaluating Chemerinsky; he merely forwarded the letter to the editor disagreeing with Chemerinsky's op-ed. If that's true, it makes it all the more mysterious why the Chancellor went on to fire his new dean.


slide show of crime victims attacking parole

They never have to be asked to show up for rallies, their signs say "CDCR cares more about inmates than crime victims."  These are the people who voted and bought, partly with prison guard's donations, the legislators who sit in power over you.

They portray all the prisoners as violent, which is not the truth.  Their ability to organize is why the brick walls are so high, they are manipulated by law enforcement labor unions into believing that prisons are a deterrent to crime, which also is not the truth
Rev. Cayenne

Families gather outside Soledad's two prisons
Herald Salinas Bureau
Article Last Updated: 09/26/2007 01:28:21 AM PDT

Click photo to enlargeLee Bertha Pickett-Allen, right, carries a photo of her slain son,... (ORVILLE MYERS/The Herald)«12»It's a familiar ritual for many families of murder victims: every few years, they trek to a prison somewhere in the state to testify at a hearing, reliving crime details as they try to convince parole commissioners that their loved one's killer should not go free.
Saying the state doesn't do enough to support victims of violent crime, about 50 families of murder victims gathered Tuesday to protest outside the two state prisons in Soledad.

They came to support a family attending a parole hearing at the Correctional Training Facility: Marcella Leach and Henry Nicholas, mother and brother of murder victim Marsy Nicholas, a UC-Santa Barbara student who was killed by her ex-boyfriend Kerry Conley in November 1983.

"If we don't work and fight, there are going to be more Marsys," said Leach, a founder of the national group Justice for Homicide Victims who is now vice chair of Crime Victims United of California, which sponsored Tuesday's rally.

As passing trucks and cars entering prison grounds honked their horns in support, Leach spoke in a shaky voice.

Conley, she said, lured her daughter to him with a suicide threat.

"She went down to save him and he met her with a shotgun," Leach said.

Conley received 17 years to life for a second-degree murder conviction and has had four parole hearings, family members said.

"When we first started, the (sentencing) laws were pathetic," Leach said. "We changed the laws, but now the laws are being sort of reverted."

Crime Victims United chair Harriet Salarno spoke out strongly about what her group says is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's weak support for victims.
"It's shameful that victims and their families are re-victimized by his parole policies," Salarno said.

As a lobbying voice in Sacramento, the group has been criticized by prison reform activists for its deep ties to the California Correctional and Peace Officers Association, the powerful union that represents prison guards and parole officers and with whom Schwarzenegger has frequently locked horns.

Carrying signs saying the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation treats inmates better than victims, many of those in attendance were families of murder victims who came from across California.

"My uncle was shot in front of his five children," said Suzanna Aguilera-Marrero of Tulare County. She has volunteered for Crime Victims United for 14 years, offering bilingual assistance to victims and serving on the group's board.

Mike Reynolds, whom Salarno called "The Godfather of Three Strikes" for authoring the tough-on-crime sentencing law approved by voters in 1994, said progress has been made in getting tougher laws on the books. But after the rally, Reynolds minced no words in saying the state has a long a long way to go in making sentences fit the crime.

"If it was an animal, and I think many of them are, we would dispose of him," he said. "This state doesn't need electric chairs, it needs electric bleachers."

The rally was held in conjunction with the first National Day of Remembrance for Victims, which was observed by events around the country Tuesday.

The crowd broke up shortly after Marsy Nicholas' mother and brother entered the prison to attend Conley's 1:30 p.m. parole hearing.

A few hours later, the Board of Parole Hearings denied his parole for another four years, said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange, who attended the hearing.

Spitzer said he is a friend of the victim's family and chairs the Assembly's Committee on Prison Construction and Operations.

He said that while the board found that Conley was a "model prisoner" with no disciplinary problems since he was locked up, board commissioners cited the "heinousness" of the crime as reason for denial, along with concerns about allegations that Conley committed "substantial violence against women" in the past.

Specifically, Spitzer said, the parole board decided to investigate allegations described in a Los Angeles County probation report. The investigation will not affect Tuesday's decision, Spitzer said.

Julia Reynolds can be reached at 648-1187 or

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UPDATE: Protesting families win fight at Soledad prison
The Salinas Californian

Nearly 25 years after the murder of University of California, Santa Barbara, senior Marsalee Nicholas, her family and crime victims' advocates won their fight today to keep her ex-boyfriend and killer behind bars at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad.

About 50 people, including Nicholas' mother, Marcella Leach, and representatives of Sacramento-based Crime Victims United of California, gathered to protest Kerry Michael Conley's parole. They also criticized the state Department Of Corrections And Rehabilitation for its treatment of victims' families during parole hearings outside the prison.

After the state's board of prison terms concluded the about three hour hearing, the organization's representatives announced that Conley was issued a four year denial of parole.

"It is great and the best news we could have after all these hours of waiting and waiting for a decision," said Harriet Salarno, chair of the Crime Victims United of California. "In four more years, we'll be back."

This is Leach's fourth parole hearing since Conley was imprisoned for Nicholas' murder on Nov. 30, 1983.

The author of California's ``Three Strikes'' law, Mike Reynolds, a representative of Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, and parents whose children have been murdered also attended the meeting.

Read more in tomorrow's Salinas Californian.
You can comment at the bottom of the page and I hope that you do!   The families of prisoners are innocent crime victims but the organized voting machine will never recognize you in that manner as they are too fixated on hating and revenge, retribution-style "justice" which has never worked and never will work to prevent mental illness or substance abuse

Rev. Cayenne

Who are these people really attacking us here?  What are their real names and what is their motivation if not to stop our organizing so the jail cells will remain tightly locked, the guards continuing with high salaries and injustice the rule rather than the exception in the corrupt courts?


Thomas Sullivan: Writing new rules to protect innocent
By Thomas Sullivan -
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Story appeared in EDITORIALS section, Page B7

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Timothy Atkins of Los Angeles was released just last February after 20 years in prison, wrongfully convicted of murder based on the false testimony of a "snitch" witness. Eighteen-year-old Harold Hall of Los Angeles went on to serve 19 years in prison after he falsely confessed to a double homicide following a 17-hour interrogation. Peter Rose of Tustin served 10 years for a rape after a crime victim mistakenly identified him. These three men -- just a small sampling of California's wrongly convicted -- served more than a half-century of hard time for crimes they did not commit.

A trio of bills, informed by recommendations of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, now sits on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk awaiting his signature. Although they offer obvious protections to the innocent, what may be less readily apparent are benefits they provide to law enforcement, the prosecution and the public at large.

Senate Bill 609 by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, curtails reliance on the notoriously undependable testimony of jailhouse informants, requiring corroboration of such testimony before its introduction in court. The law already requires corroboration for accomplice testimony. This bill simply extends existing law to jailhouse informant testimony, which studies show is even more likely to be false. Moreover, this bill in no way affects the testimony of witnesses actually present during crimes, so it will not hinder prosecutions of crimes committed in prisons or jails.

In 2003 in my home state of Illinois, the state Assembly approved similar legislation and prosecutors have proffered less testimony from jailhouse informants. In function, the new law has strengthened their cases. They now rely less on witnesses who, in the eyes of fact-finders, place their own self-interest before the execution of justice.

Senate Bill 511 by Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, mandates the recording of custodial interrogations in California's violent felony cases. My associates and I have spoken with seasoned law-enforcement officers in more than 500 jurisdictions -- including several in California -- who record custodial interrogations. Not one officer has told us that he would return to unrecorded interviews.

A recording of an interrogation creates a permanent record that can serve as a strong investigative tool and as a potent piece of courtroom evidence. Furthermore, recording frees the interviewing investigator from meticulous note-taking, allowing him to focus solely upon the interview and identify otherwise overlooked clues. The practice also protects officers from unfounded claims of misconduct or coercion.

Senate Bill 756 by Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, creates a task force that would establish voluntary eyewitness identification guidelines based on sound science and proven best practices. The task force would comprise well-rounded representation, including members of law enforcement.

Mistaken eyewitness identification is the single largest contributor to wrongful convictions. In the nation's 205 exonerations proven through DNA testing, more than 75 percent were based, at least in part, on the introduction of eyewitness evidence later proven faulty. Eight of California's nine DNA-proven exonerations involved mistaken eyewitness identifications, and fallible methods yielded tragically inaccurate results.

Still, nothing the task force proposed would be binding on the state. The attorney general would report back to the Legislature a year after guidelines were promulgated. And only after that report, with the hindsight of a year's experience, would the Legislature make an informed decision whether to make the guidelines mandatory.

I have sat on both sides of the table -- prosecuting crimes as a U.S. attorney and representing the accused as a defense lawyer. This broad experience has shown me that if we can bolster the reliability of evidence in the courtroom, we can strengthen our system of justice for everyone's benefit. California now has a vehicle for that brand of change with three significant bills. If enacted, the trio would enhance the overall accuracy of evidence -- and ensure that California heeds the lessons of Timothy Atkins, Harold Hall and Peter Rose.

About the writer:
Thomas P. Sullivan, a former U.S. attorney, is co-chair of the Illinois Governor's Commission on the Death Penalty and appeared as an expert witness before the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice.


Prison care
Dangers lurk behind bars: Health care?
Article Launched: 09/23/2007 07:06:04 AM PDT

Most convicted felons don't wind up on death row, but a troubling report this past week reminds us that a lesser sentence is no guarantee against death before a convict's scheduled release date.

Dozens of inmates apparently died last year from preventable deaths, according to a receiver's report to a federal judge about prison conditions.

The state's prison health care system is so poor, the judge was told, that six inmates died from asthma, one of the most preventable maladies in this day and age.

"No one should die of asthma in California in 2006, and yet, in its prisons, that is the number one cause of preventable death," receiver Robert Sillen wrote.

But Sillen's report also determined that there were enough lapses in the prison health system that nearly 50 of the 2006 deaths were "possibly preventable," including those from heart attacks, AIDS, bowel perforations, drug overdoses and cancer.

Some of the examples, outlined in Friday's Times-Herald, were more than troubling; they were outrageous. In one case, a patient complained of severe abdominal pain for three days and was never diagnosed until it was too late; he died of acute pancreatitis. In another, an inmate who was vomiting and complaining of severe
abdominal pain went for five weeks before being referred to a specialist even though his records showed a history of hernias. The inmate died of an incarcerated hernia.
Sillen's findings were new, but not unique. And they remain deeply troubling since they were an outgrowth of a five-year-old settlement of a class action lawsuit against the state. That settlement calls for major reforms - and not just on paper.

Sillen, a former Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System executive director, forecasts that it could take up to another decade to bring prison health standards up to levels that the judge, or any judge, could deem constitutionally sound.

Such a delay is unsatisfactory, in our view. Once a person, regardless of his offense, is sentenced to prison there should be an implied - if not solid - expectation that during his time behind bars he'll receive basic health care and be treated for life-threatening ailments.

While there will be a delay in bringing things up to where they should be, Sillen should be commended for taking steps to address the concerns. Among those steps is overhauling pharmacy procedures, improving the San Quentin State Prison emergency room and adding 10,000 medical and health beds statewide.
Post on the above article at the bottom of the page.

I will wait to see enough posts on these important articles before sending another newsletter. What are you doing to build your voting lobby?

A PhD told me yesterday that he believes that the families of prisoners are too uneducated to organize their own voting group and that I should stop wasting my time on teaching people these simple concepts necessary for them to get justice.

He told me that families of prisoners enjoy the oppression or else they'd be out recruiting at the prisons and registering people to vote so they could put an end to all this.

Is this true about you?  Forget everyone else.  Is this opinion that we are all too stupid to organize the truth?  We can't forward without more workers to win the really serious reforms.  So I will wait for you to sign up ten to the newsletter so they can sign up ten, learn the issues and stand up to the oppression.

Or we can all sit and suffer forever, it's your choice.  We are getting the government we deserve, you outnumber everyone but it doesn't matter if you're not taking the right actions at the right time, now is the time for organizing and standing up for yourself. The advocates are all tired of fighting without your support, we can do something about all this nonsense, all the lies being told to the public. Lift your pen, open your mouth.


Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834


Thanks for the support on the California Progress Report thread where Matt Gray sent some of his henchmen in to lie about our work and bash us.  Never be silent when that sort of thing is going on, it's an effort to divide-and-conquer us so we can never achieve our 6500 worker goal  I can assure that no one ever threw anything at anyone's car during the Lancaster rally or at any time, we had cameras going and heavy police presence, something like that would have caused a reaction. It's just another stupid and destructive lie, very obvious to the 200 people who were there that day.

Some of the nastiest posts come from people who have no loved one in prison in California or prison guards posing as family members.  Don't let that stop you, keep on going if you are truly serious about better conditions and changing laws, there is no other way to do it except through initiative campaigns and bringing people to vote for our candidates.

Rev. Cayenne

The Governor has reportedly issued a bulletin to all of law enforcement stating that 39% of the prisoners have staph.  I'd like to have a copy of this bulletin if this report is true because I understand it is being kept secret from the media. Does anyone have a loved one working in police or fire who could check the bulletin board at work?  I need this hard copy evidence/verification for the media folks
Rev. Cayenne

Drug-Resistant Staph Infection Afflicting Firefighters Should Be Considered A Work-Related Injury September 26, 2007

California - The Fresno City Council agreed Tuesday that a drug-resistant staph infection afflicting some city firefighters should be considered a work-related injury for firefighters and police officers. Some firefighters are upset they're forced to pay health insurance co-payments and use their sick time to recover from the infections they believe they contracted at work. If treated as work-related illness, the city's workers' compensation insurance would cover those bills and pay the firefighters for lost work time.

But City Manager Andy Souza is concerned the city could get stuck footing the entire bill for infections that have nothing to do with firefighters' and police officers' jobs.

The council voted 6-1 to direct city staff to write a policy making all cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureaus a work-related illness for firefighters and police officers. The council must approve the policy in a separate vote.

Council Member Brian Calhoun was the dissenting vote Tuesday. He said the city should study the infection more before changing its policy.

Currently, police and firefighters must prove they got the infection while at work. The city has rejected some workers' compensation claims from firefighters, saying they couldn't show they became infected on the job. The new policy will eliminate this burden of proof for firefighters and police officers.

The city considers hepatitis B and tuberculosis work-related injuries for firefighters and police officers.

Staph infections have become an increasing problem for firefighters, police officers, prison inmates and others in the state. The bacteria can spread in settings where people live in close quarters, such as prisons and firehouses, or practice poor hygiene.

The California State Firefighters' Association is pushing legislation that would make the staph infection a workplace injury.

Council Member Jerry Duncan said the city needs its own policy and can't wait for state legislation.

"Our public safety people are looking for our help," said Duncan, who proposed the policy.

Firefighters and police officers are particularly susceptible because they frequently come into contact with the homeless and sick people who need help, Duncan said.

Thirteen Fresno firefighters have filed workers' compensation claims over the infections since 2005, said Jerry Smith, vice president of Fresno Fire Fighters Local 753.

Four firefighters tested positive for the bacteria, according to Terry Bond, Fresno's city personnel services director. Infections in the others had cleared up by the time they were tested, or were found to be the result of something else, Bond has said.

The city paid $11,747 in medical bills while some of the workers' compensation claims were being investigated. But in the end, all workers' compensation claims were denied because the firefighters couldn't prove they were infected on the job, Smith said.

Duncan, however, said it's fair to assume the firefighters were infected at work.

Jacky Parks, president of the Fresno Police Officers Association, said he doesn't know whether any officers have filed workers' compensation claims over the infection.

The infected firefighters are from Station 1 at Olive and Jackson avenues, Station 7 on South Cherry Avenue near Jensen Avenue, and Station 11 on North Fresno Street near Barstow Avenue.

Several firefighters went straight to their doctors to have staph infections treated instead of going to the city's workers' compensation doctors.

Michael Kalina, a 30-year-old firefighter at Station 1, said he was infected with staph in January. He went to his doctor to be diagnosed and treated.

Kalina had to take seven 24-hour shifts off to recover and spent all his sick time. His 2-year-old son, Kennan, also became infected. Kalina said he was infected at his firehouse and passed the bacteria to his son.

If firefighters know treatment of their staph infections will be covered by workers' compensation, they will immediately report any symptoms, Duncan said. This will allow for quicker treatment and reduce the chance that the infection spreads to other firefighter or community members, Duncan added.

The Fire Department is enforcing a cleaning policy -- urging staff to wash their hands, clean equipment and use disinfectant wipes -- in an effort to prevent infections.

More Information From CDC - Click Here



http://www.latimes. com/news/ la-me-guards25se p25,0,2055793, full.story? coll=la-tot- topstories

Calif: Power Struggle over Prisons

From the Los Angeles Times

A power struggle over prisons

The state wants to take back control it has ceded to guards union.

By Michael Rothfeld

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 25, 2007

SACRAMENTO â€" When a sunflower grew 5 feet tall along a fence on the grounds of state prison in Lancaster, correctional officers took note of the plant life thriving amid the desolation. They filed a grievance against the state, complaining that the flower violated their contract.

The stalk, which the union contended obscured a yard gunner's view, was one of a dozen problems the guards protested at Lancaster within two days in early August; others included broken lights, cracked windows, missing bricks and potholes.

Such floods of grievances are among many hardball tactics, says the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, that the guards use to intimidate wardens and exert undue influence on a state prison system riven by crisis.

Now the governor is trying to take back some of that power, which was ceded to the politically formidable union in a contract awarded by former Gov. Gray Davis in 2001 and renegotiated three years ago by the current administration.

After a 16-month stalemate in an increasingly bitter contract dispute, state officials last week took the provocative step of declaring that they would unilaterally impose their "last, best and final offer," attempting to recoup what in most cases amounts to basic powers to run prisons as they see fit.

Over the union's threats to retaliate, the state would reclaim the right to question officers about such nuts-and-bolts items as sick leave and to decide how many guards -- and which ones -- should staff certain posts. Prison authorities also could make changes in operations that the union has blocked, such as determining when inmates visit medical clinics. And the state would vastly restrict the guards' use of grievances.

In response, the union, which holds $4.5 million in political action committees, has filed a complaint with California's Public Employment Relations Board saying the state is acting improperly.

"They are imposing a lot of things that are illegal, that they can't impose without a change in the law," said Ryan Sherman, a spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn.

The conflict signifies the degree to which California prisons threaten to blot Schwarzenegger' s legacy in the waning years of his governorship.

On his watch, federal courts have appointed a receiver to oversee prison healthcare and are weighing whether to intervene again with an inmate cap -- or even a possible prisoner release -- to relieve pressure on the teeming lockups. Hundreds of inmates die each year, and in many cases there have been allegations of abuse or neglect.

The union is a major roadblock for Schwarzenegger and his aides as they attempt to surmount the crisis, corrections officials say.

"I need some of my management rights back," James Tilton, secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said in an interview. "I've said, 'I'm responsible for running the department.' My goals are to make sure we make decisions as necessary, and that's what we intend to do."

David Gilb, director of the state's Department of Personnel Administration, which negotiates labor contracts, said corrections officers have so much power that the public believes they "run the prisons, and we can't blow our nose without getting the union's permission."

In addition to regaining some basic control, the state would give guards an annual 5% raise over three years, subject to approval by state lawmakers, who nearly approved an unconditional 10% salary hike for guards in the final hour of the most recent legislative session. The contract covers the union's more than 30,000 members, including guards, parole agents and other corrections department employees.

Some lawmakers disagree with Schwarzenegger' s new approach. Unlike the governor, who does not take the union's contributions and can't run for reelection because of term limits, many legislators have taken union money and other support and may need it in the future. Overall, the union has spent more than $10 million on political candidates and causes since 2000, campaign filings show.

Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), former chairwoman of the upper house's prisons committee, said Schwarzenegger was using the group as a scapegoat for his administration' s failure to fix the corrections system.

"It becomes sort of the perennial excuse," said Romero, who has taken about $10,000 in contributions from the guards' union since 2001.

The union, meanwhile, is considering suing the state on grounds of violation of state and federal labor laws, Sherman said, and might stop waiving state requirements that they be given meal time and breaks so that the state would have to compensate them. Union members might also stop overlooking the time they spend putting on and taking off their uniforms and insist on being paid for it.

"You might want to consider tracking all of your time at work each and every day," union president Mike Jimenez advised his members in an online message earlier this month. He promised to fight back as "this administration seeks to do everything in its power to strip us of every hard-fought worker protection, pay and benefit we have secured over the years."

The state's new stance, several officials said, partly reflects the administration' s desire to persuade a panel led by U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson not to cap the state's overcrowded system.

Henderson, who last year appointed the receiver for inmate medical care, threatened to take over the entire system in a 2004 letter to state officials. Henderson criticized the Schwarzenegger and Davis administrations for allowing the guards to dictate contract terms and seizing too much sway over prison operations.

The agreement "clearly has resulted in an unfair and unworkable tilt toward union influence," the judge wrote.

In the union's last contract, the state bargained away the ability to question guards about sick leave. Since then, sick leave has boomed, in part because guards are working forced overtime to compensate for thousands of vacant positions.

Now state officials want to regain the right to investigate and curb sick-leave abuse. They also want to eliminate the counting of sick leave toward overtime.

Davis' administration agreed to make any local agreement in a prison part of the master contract, essentially giving the union the power to veto some corrections officials' plans.In April of last year, for instance, corrections officials notified the union that it intended to take inmates to a surgical center at an area hospital five days a week instead of one. But four years earlier, the prisons and the union had arranged to use the clinic only on Tuesdays, and union officials stopped the state from changing the schedule.

Now, the state says it will still consult the union, but it won't be deterred from taking action.

The union has 550 open arbitration cases based on grievances. The state says it will restrict grievances to items related to the contract and streamline the process. State officials also want the union to agree not to use complaints to "harass, intimidate or interfere" with management. They would freeze the entire process if the union filed what prison officials consider frivolous grievances, such as the one about the sunflower, which the state subsequently removed.

In other changes, prison officials would be able to choose which guards are posted to units that move prisoners and investigate gangs and crimes by inmates.

Now, correctional officers generally choose their own postings based on seniority.

Steve Fama, a staff attorney with the Prison Law Office, a Bay Area group that advocates for inmates and brought the lawsuit that led to the receiver appointment, said he would prefer the state also choose which guards staff mental health units, where inmates are more vulnerable.

"In contrast to the past, the state in the negotiations is acting more like the management of the prisons is an important goal," Fama said. "On the other hand . . . they're pretty mild steps. There's nothing in there that is truly radical."

But Bruce Cain, a political science professor at UC Berkeley, said that for a politician to take on the union would have been unthinkable a few years ago, when Davis was the guards' principal political patron and the union was among his principal financial supporters.

"For the governor to be saying, 'Hey, here's my offer, this is it,' and to be fighting very visibly with the prison guards, is a big turnaround," Cain said. "Part of it, I think, is that the prison guards really did overreach. . . . And people realize that the prison system is not in good shape and there are some fundamental structural problems."




Medical care gains at prisons By Robin Miller/City Editor Article Launched: 09/27/2007 06:24:27 AM PDT

Saying there is still much work to be done, court-appointed receiver Robert Sillen said Wednesday he is making some progress in overhauling the state's prison medical care system. Sillen laid out a detailed account of the current system-wide initiatives as well as several pilot projects at individual prisons undertaken to bring prison medical care up to constitutional standards in a report to U.S. District Court Judge Thelton E. Henderson.

Included in his report are details about efforts to change operations at Vacaville's two prisons.

The receivership is the result of a 2001 class action that found the medical care in California's adult prisons violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment. Henderson last year appointed Sillen as receiver to oversee operations and direct improvement in the quality of medical care, stripping that function from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In his latest report, Sillen said his approach has a dual focus on health-care providers and medical system issues, both of which contribute to needless patient deaths. In an analysis of California inmate deaths in 2006, released last week, Sillen said 66 of the deaths
(15 percent) either were preventable (18 of them) or possibly preventable (48 of them). "This is all about unnecessary human suffering," Sillen said. "It's not just about data. It's an emergency."

While sounding a positive note on some of the efforts made to date, Sillen warned there is still much work to be completed.

"We have made significant progress in many areas, and yet, the surface has hardly been scratched," he said. "There are deep-rooted reasons why the system is as broken as it is. We have identified these over the last year and have begun working to untangle them. The bottom line is that there are no clinical or business systems in place that support good care. That's why it was taken over from the state."

Sillen said his team has taken several steps to address the crisis. Top among them is the recruitment of qualified, permanent doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical and support staff. CDCR human resources staff who now report to the receiver have hired nearly 500 people since June, reducing the overall vacancy rate for CDCR medical and staff who support medical positions from 31 percent to 21 percent. The new hires include registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nursing assistants, health record technicians and supervisors, pharmacy technicians, pharmacists, health program advisors and specialists, lab assistants, clinic lab and radiology technologists, public health nurses, nurse instructors and supervising nurses.

These professionals cannot perform well, however, if they do not have accurate patient information, an appropriate place to work or a system where tests and consults are performed in a timely manner, Sillen said, noting that his team is working to address deficiencies.

"We can't expect clinicians to make good decisions if they don't have lab results, medical records, a pharmacy that delivers their prescriptions and a culture that says these inmate patients are human beings," Sillen said. "We have a Plan of Action that addresses these challenges in turn. The creation of a constitutional medical care system is within reach, but it will take time to get there."

Among his priorities for the next three years, Sillen said, is to build up to 5,000 medical and 5,000 mental health beds statewide; to construct necessary clinical and support space in existing prisons; to pilot a nursing orientation and preceptor program for new hires; to launch an asthma initiative to provide clinical protocols, case management and training to improve the care given to inmates with asthma; and, to establish a statewide wireless network that would connect all prisons to each other.

Sillen also outlined changes already made or planned for all 33 prisons, including both Calfornia Medical Facility and California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville.

CMF, he said will be the next prison to implement a Health Care Access Unit program, like one currently being implemented at San Quentin. The program assigns correctional officers to medical escort and transport duties, improving access to care.

In addition, Sillen said his team will continue the pharmacy system turnaround in the state prison system with the help of Maxor National Pharmacy Service Corp. Pilot programs are already in place at two prisons and Maxor is providing operational help at both CMF and CSP, Solano, Sillen said.

Robin Miller can be reached at

write up to 200 words and email to comments on the above article




A 46-year-old Santa Rosa man who died at the Sonoma County Jail was identified Tuesday as Gregory William Townsley.


Preliminary results of Townsley's autopsy Tuesday were not yet available, coroner's Sgt. Mitch Mana said.

Emergency responders tried to resuscitate Townsley after a correctional officer found him unresponsive in his cell during a 6:30 a.m. check Monday.

While being booked into jail Sunday on a warrant stemming from a drug-related charge, Townsley informed jail medical staff that he may suffer withdrawal symptoms from drug and alcohol use, the Sheriff's Department said.

The information was recorded on Townsley's booking sheet, and he received medication and monitoring in response to those medical concerns, according to the department.

Townsley, who listed his address as transient, had been in and out of custody at the Sonoma County Jail approximately 15 times during the past four years, the department said.

Most of his arrests were related to drugs and alcohol.

In addition to sheriff's detectives, the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case, in keeping with a county protocol for in-custody deaths.

Does anyone know of any efforts to help prisoners in Montana?

Hello,  My son is 25 years old and has had diabetes for 23 years, since he was two years old.   He is facing going to Montana State Prison,  which is known for medical neglect of the diabetic and chronically ill.  He has severe ADHD, and some acquired brain injury from a severe insulin seizure,  and drove his van for a store robber, and he is charged as accomplice.  How do I help him, and keep them from destroying him with medical neglect?   Do you know of any helpful programs, advocates that are effective?



Please post directly beneath this article   This is the sponsor of AB 1539 to release sick and dying inmates, ok to identify yourself as a UNION member and PLEASE do tell your story.  The bill is on the Governor's desk, stay on topic of compassionate release

September 27, 2007. 5 comments. Topic: Prison Reform

The Absurdity of Incarcerating the Incapacitated: California Prisons are Wasting Taxpayers' Money and Endangering the Public By Paul Krekorian Member California State Assembly

California's prisons are in crisis. The system is so grossly overcrowded that a federal judge is on the verge of taking control of it away from the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. If the overcrowding is not immediately remedied, the prisons may be forced to release felons early – possibly including murderers, gang leaders and others with a history of violence.

So why are we wasting bed space and guards on inmates who are in a coma?

The cost of imprisoning terminally ill and medically incapacitated prisoners is an unnecessary, exorbitant expense for California taxpayers, often exceeding $120,000 a year for a single inmate. Not only must the state pay for expensive end-of-life medical care, but also the cost of round-the-clock guards for a person who is incapable of posing any threat to society. Using correctional officers to guard such inmates also takes them away from more important security responsibilities, creating unnecessary risks to prison personnel, inmates and the public.

Especially at a time when the state must cut basic services to people in need because of budget limitations, it is absurd that we are wasting taxpayers' money to care for and incarcerate inmates who are comatose, or surviving only because of a ventilator, or too weak and frail in their final days of life to feed themselves. That's why I introduced AB 1539, which has passed the Legislature and is now on the Governor's desk awaiting signature. This bill streamlines the existing medical release process for terminally ill inmates, relieving the state of exorbitant medical and security costs, and extends the scope of the existing medical release program to include inmates who are permanently medically incapacitated and pose no risk to public safety.

The current "compassionate release" law, which was enacted ten years ago, allows dying inmates or their family to apply for re-sentencing consideration. If both the warden and the sentencing judge agree that there is no risk to public safety, the sentencing judge may release the inmate so that he or she may die in a hospice or other setting rather than in prison. This program is not available to those who are serving life sentences.

This sensible, cost-saving, humanitarian program, however, is rife with bureaucratic problems, including a lack of information and notification to eligible inmates, delays, and the absence of directives to prison medical staff. As a result, the number of medical releases in recent years has reduced by half – an unwelcome change over a period in which the inmate population has increased by about twenty percent. Many of those who have applied have been granted release too close to death for the state to see any fiscal benefit, and too late for their families to spend any meaningful time with them. In some cases, the request has been approved after the inmate has died. AB 1539 will put procedures in place to ensure that the program operates as it was intended and provides benefit both to taxpayers and to the inmates' families.

In addition to making the existing medical release process more effective, AB 1539 will extend it to the most expensive of all inmates -- those who are "permanently medically incapacitated," but are not likely to die within six months. AB 1539 narrowly defines "permanently medically incapacitated" to include those inmates who are permanently unable to perform activities of daily living and require 24-hour total care due to an irreversible medical condition. Such conditions include coma, persistent vegetative state, brain death, ventilator-dependency, and loss of control of muscular/neurological function – conditions that prevent any possible risk to the public, and also prevent any further punitive value from continued incarceration.

AB 1539 is a common sense measure that will save a tremendous amount of money that is now wasted on overtime costs and medical expenses for a relatively few inmates. The effective and carefully-considered release of even a few terminally ill and permanently medically incapacitated inmates, who cannot pose any threat to the public, could potentially save millions of tax dollars that can more appropriately be spent on other policies and programs that will make a real difference in keeping Californians safe. At the same time, this measure allows families the chance to heal, and allows inmates to receive appropriate end-of-life medical and hospice care.

In response to the prison overcrowding crisis, Governor Schwarzenegger recently observed that "release of the old, feeble, and sick who pose no threat to the public" could be an approach to overcrowding that he would support. AB 1539 is just such an approach. It is a bill that simultaneously promotes fiscal responsibility and public safety, and the Governor should sign it into law.

Paul Krekorian was elected to the California State Assembly in 2006 to serve the communities of Burbank, Glendale, Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Silver Lake, Valley Glen, Van Nuys and Toluca Lake. Mr. Krekorian serves on two of the Assembly's most powerful committees, Appropriations and Rules. He also serves on the Utilities & Commerce, Judiciary, and Human Services committees, the Select Committee on Hate Crimes, and as Chair of the Select Committee on Preservation of California's Entertainment Industry.

You can post directly beneath this article.  Remember that Denham tried to get a law passed a few years ago to deny all inmate transplants.  It's their philosophy, and it happens daily, but to try and make it an official law was outrageous.  Why don't we register people to vote to stop this type of Republican from ever getting elected to office in the first place?

Rev. Cayenne


Wrong Way to End Prison Crisis

Tracy Press / Wednesday, 26 September 2007 A commentary by 12th District State Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced Prison reform and health care for prisoners have been a focus in the Legislature for the past two years. This year, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 900 in an attempt to address some of the prison reform needs. I agree that we need to expand our existing facilities or build new facilities to create additional bed space, but there are many components of this bill and other prison reform ideas that I can not support.

One terrible idea that has resurfaced this year is to create a "California Sentencing Commission." We fought hard and we were able to kill two soft-on-crime bills: Assembly Bill 160 and Senate Bill 110, both of which would have established sentencing commissions.

The proponents of sentencing commissions claim that some criminal sentence periods could be extended, however what they forget to mention is that many of these sentences could and will be reduced. I simply can not support a measure that puts the lives of innocent, law-abiding Californians at the hands of these criminals. If these criminals were given a sentence period, that person should have to serve the entire time for their crime.

As these bills came up in the Legislature this year, the authors of these bills struggled to find groups who would support AB 160 or SB 110. In fact many of these groups opposed these bills that would have established the commission. If that doesn't tell you how wrong this idea is, then look to the victims and their families. It is highly likely and predictable that violent criminals who get out of prison early because their sentence was reduced will strike again. They are likely to go on to assault, rape or murder another individual. The thought of these convicted felons walking our streets before their time is served is a nightmare.

Make no mistake. Our prisons are overcrowded. Prisons are filled to capacity because individuals are breaking the law and we have not built enough new prisons as our population has grown, not because we have good laws like the "Three Strikes Law" on the books to protect law-abiding citizens. Don't punish a good system that keeps these and other violent criminals off our streets. Punish the criminals who commit these crimes and do harm to others.

Not to sound like a broken record, but I will continue to advocate that the state must rid itself of the San Quentin State Prison. It is a crumbling money pit, but the land is worth billions if the property were to be sold. These dollars could be used to help expand existing prisons or build new state of the art prisons elsewhere that would keep these criminals behind bars. We should not be putting any more dollars in maintaining our oldest state prison.

A sentencing commission is not the way to approach California's prison crisis. First and foremost, we must put the safety of law-abiding citizens first. If someone does the crime, they need to do the time. California must find the room and expand its bed space in order to resolve this crisis.

Jeff Denham, R-Merced, represents areas of Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Monterey and San Benito counties in the state Senate. Trackback(0) TrackBack URI for this entry Comments (4)

You can post at the bottom of the above ludicrous article


These are still prisons, but let's allow a few to be built and watch what they do to them.  It's all about empire building.

Stockton to open state's first inmate re-entry facility

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

(09-26) 15:51 PDT Stockton, Calif. (AP) --

The first of at least 32 inmate rehabilitation centers planned for California will open in San Joaquin County under a law Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Wednesday.

The state plans to build enough of the small prisons to eventually house 16,000 inmates who are within 12 months of completing their sentences at traditional state prisons.

The law signed Wednesday permits the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to convert the former Northern California Women's Facility in Stockton into a re-entry center by the end of 2008.

Up to 500 inmates from San Joaquin, Calaveras and Amador counties will receive drug abuse treatment, training, education, and help getting jobs and housing as they are released back into their communities.

Thirteen of California's 58 counties have signed cooperation agreements and more than 20 have expressed interest in having similar facilities in their communities, corrections officials said.

Residents near Stockton had feared the shuttered women's prison would be converted to a men's prison, said state Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, who wrote the bill. But San Joaquin Sheriff Steve Moore is now among those supporting the plan, which Moore said will also help the county with its jail crowding problem.

The re-entry facilities are part of a $7.8 billion prison and jail building program approved by lawmakers this year and funded through state bonds.

Robert Sillen, the federally appointed receiver in charge of inmate health care in California, planned to spend some of that money to build new prison medical facilities. But Sillen raised new questions Wednesday about whether the money will be available for that purpose.

In a report to U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson in San Francisco, Sillen said 40 percent of the money has already been set aside for prison dental and mental health facilities instead of medical centers.

State law may also prohibit him from using the money if Sillen uses his federal authority to bypass normal state contracting procedures to quickly build the facilities, state Attorney General Jerry Brown said. He said he is working with Schwarzenegger administration officials to try to find a way around the legal problem.

"He wants to override a lot of state laws," Brown said. "I call it a bump in the road, but one that can be worked out."


On the Net:

Read SB943 at

Read the receiver's report at


Did you print off the rally photos and speeches and send them into your adopted inmate with UNION sign up forms?


3rd prison guard charged with assault By Rod Leveque, Staff Writer

CHINO - A federal grand jury has indicted a third prison guard on charges he helped assault inmates at the California Institution for Men state prison and then conspired with colleagues to cover it up. Correctional Officer Hector Flores is scheduled to stand trial next month on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

He has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer had little to say about the charges this week.

"I'm still evaluating the evidence," attorney Joel Levine said. "I can't even predict at this moment what direction we're going or how it's going to work out."

Flores, of Whittier, is the third officer from the men's prison to be charged in the case. He joins fellow officer Robert McGowan of Apple Valley and Sgt. Thomas Ramos of Montclair, who were both indicted in February.

McGowan is charged with conspiracy and two counts of assault under color of authority. Ramos is charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The allegations against all three men date back to an incident at the prison May 9, 2002, in which handcuffed and shackled inmates were allegedly hurled to the ground, kicked and assaulted.

Authorities say the incident was retaliation for one earlier in the day in which inmates assaulted a prison staffer. In response, a sergeant and team of officers loaded the inmates into a van and transported them from one wing of the prison to another, prosecutors allege in court documents.

When they arrived, McGowan, Flores and other officers threw the inmates from the van onto the pavement, prosecutors allege. They then kicked the inmates, pushed the inmates and slammed them into stairway railing and walls, prosecutors say.

Authorities say after the assaults, Ramos, McGowan and Flores cooked up a story to tell in the event anybody investigated the incident.

Prosecutors also claim Ramos and Flores drafted memoranda about the incident in which they denied any knowledge of the assaults.

According to the indictment against all three men, Flores testified during a grand jury investigation in September 2004. Prosecutors allege he falsely claimed during his testimony that he saw another guard push a shackled inmate to the ground face-first when, in fact, he was the officer who did it.

A CIM spokesman said Tuesday that Ramos and McGowan still work at the prison, but have been reassigned to jobs in which they do not perform the duties of sworn officers.

Mark Hargrove, CIM spokesman, said Flores has since transferred to another facility.

The trial is set for Oct. 23 in federal court in Los Angeles.

Staff writer Rod Leveque can be reached by e-mail at, or by phone at (909) 483-9325.

On the above article, write to

Bob was published in Red Bluff in my absence!  Great to see some people keep on working on their own.  Writing to editors, recruiting new subscribers, showing up when called three or four times a year, getting out the vote - this is the way to empowering ourselves to be able to do initiative campaigns, one person at a time.  Hooray for Bob, this encourages me to see that some people really do get what needs to be done about public education and forming the voting group necessary to turn this mess around.  You can post at the bottom of Bob's article


Doug LaMalfa is wallowing in his rice paddies too much! He quotes a
50-percent reduction in crime out of thin air.

California crime rate fell less than other states who have not opted for draconian sentencing practices.

He then uses the scare tactic to have citizens believe serious felons are to be released, again based on nothing but his imagination.

He fails to recognize the "tough on crime" but "soft on rehabilitation" crowd who are in the pocket of the CCPOA have now got a tiger by the tail.

Even the Feds have seen the evil system they have created.

Thank you for your attention.


Bob McArdle, Red Bluff


Rehabilitation time Governor should sign off on prison plan Article Launched: 09/19/2007 06:05:07 AM PDT

We are heartened to see - finally - more than lip service being paid to the concept of inmate rehabilitation.

With strong bipartisan support, the Legislature has given its stamp of approval to Senate Bill 263, which would require the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to actually focus on rehabilitation.

Now we urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the bill, authored by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, and make it official.

It's long overdue.

For years we have decried the lack of rehabilitation programs as one of the key reasons the prison system has disintegrated into such a deplorable state.

In California's tough-on-crime environment, the inmate population has grown wildly beyond capacity. Overpopulated prisons are not safe environments, not for the inmates, and not for the correctional officers and civilians who work there. With two prisons in Vacaville and thousands of employees working in them, we have long expressed our concern with that situation.

In addition, the prison budget careened out of control, medical care suffered, inmates died from abuse and neglect, and lawsuits have became common.

It got so bad, a federal judge appointed a receiver to take over the medical system. Now a three-judge panel may intercede to deal with overpopulation concerns.

Unless, of course, the state can get a grip on its problems.

Key, we believe, to that success will be a strong rehabilitation program.

SB 263 would require the prison system to develop a consistent curriculum which would include education and work training, as well as violence reduction and anger management programs.

"The important aspect of this legislation is that it mandates that all inmates, when they first enter the system, be thoroughly assessed to make sure their first sentence is their last sentence," Sen. Romero explained.

California's rate of recidivism is one of the highest in the nation, with about 70 percent of parolees committing new crimes that return them to prison, according to local officials.

With more than 1,600 active parolees in Solano County - and another 1,000 new parolees entering the system each year - we are pleased to see that rehabilitation appears to be a key part of the governor's plan.

Earlier this month, local law enforcers, business leaders and government officials participated in a regional workshop to explore potential solutions.

The governor's solution included plans to build "Secure Community Re-Entry Facilities," sites that would house inmates during their final six months to year in prison.

"The idea is to provide a continuity of care before they parole," corrections spokesman Seth Unge said. "They would get intensive services from vocational training to education before their release."

State officials hope to build enough of these facilities to house 16,000 inmates in California, which would take some pressure off of the prison population, while at the same time put the emphasis onto rehabilitation.

We agree with Solano Sheriff Gary Stanton and District Attorney David Paulson, who see value in the idea and think such a facility should be created in Solano County.

"My position is that these people are coming back to Solano County whether we do anything or not," said Sheriff Stanton. "We can continue to give them $200 bucks and a bus ticket with no hope of success, or we can have a re-entry program where they are exposed to programs that will help them succeed."

The soon-to-be expanded Claybank Jail merits consideration as a re-entry program site.

The bottom line, said Mr. Paulson, is that Solano needs to be prepared to deal with parolees. "We need to try to put an end to the recidivism," he said.

We agree.

Plans for secure community re-entry facilities should be pursued, and SB 263 should garner the governor's support.

Both actions would be steps in the right direction toward addressing the prison system's many woes.

Writing to politicians in California is a total waste of time.  They get 8000 emails and letters a day or more,  Signing online petititions is a waste of time as well as an electronic signature means nothing, only the real signatures of registered voters or petitions registered with the Secretary of State count for anything.  If you want to get the Gov to sign the various bills on his desk, write to editors.  The politicians track their names in the news through clipping services and you have a better chance of a letter to an editor being read than by writing directly.  On the above article write 200 words or less

Thousands of people are cast adrift by Prop 83 and they have no place to go. We won't be organized enough to do an initiative campaign in time to help Chris.  Are you recruiting new workers? Try the Meghan's law database, maybe some of the people losing their home and freedom might be interested in getting together to change the law the same way it was foisted upon we, the people. As long as we don't organize the only other option is to agonize.  What do you think I should tell Chris?

Rev. Cayenne

I need legal help !!!!!!!! I and my family are being effected by prop 83 I have been looking for legal help but its like prop 83 is taboo for any legal firm I want to file a civil suit or a class action suit this law is a complete violation of civil rights and more if you could help me find legal help I would greatly appreciate it I have a parole violation hearing coming up next month ............and probably will be locked up cause I cant find a residence and I refuse to put my family in a situation of uncertainty I live in san Diego 2000 ft buffer zone covers most of san Diego no where to go.


Sandy was writing to editors in my absence and mailing to her adopted inmate.  This is excellent.

Subject: Sent to Daily Californian To:

In response to your article in The Daily Californian about sex offenders please note: Prop 83 is bad law and would might not have passed  in Nov if voters had  had a clear understanding of the impact it would have on paroled sex offenders and their families trying to rebuild their lives. It was created by Republican State officials who want to appear tough on crime.  They sold the public a bill of goods without informing them of the cost either fiscally or in human terms. How can Registered Sex Offenders rebuild their lives, get counseling, education and a job to so that they can support themselves and their families?  Who is going to take care of these displaced families when they are forced to move and have no jobs and homes?  We are!  Another initiative needs to be brought to the public to repeal this horrid law and replace it with a good, fair law that is workable.

For the most part your article was very accurate with this exception:

Somebody I know was release from prison in May to Alameda County and has not received ANY help from his parole officer to find acceptable housing.  What he was told was that if he couldn't find acceptable housing he could become homeless and check in every few days.  Is this what the citizens want?  It's not what I want, I want parolees who are complying with their conditions of parole to have a fair shot at being able to rebuild their lives and be productive citizens.



I am sending Tim, my adopted inmate,  the UNION  flyer and all the forms with instructions to pass them to a family member or friend to join and fight for him.  I am also sending a copy for him to pass on to another inmate


Jill saw an article in the Tribune about a teacher whose conviction was reversed and wrote to the reporter (remember to also write to their bosses, the editors) and wrote a letter to Diane Feinstein (which I could not open because it is in the Works format)  Good job Jill for working independently all the time on writing to editors.

To: Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 7:08 AM Subject: convictions reversed for teacher

The new witch hunt for the twenty first century. Thank you for writing this story, and bringing it to public light. False accusations are happening way too much. Too many lives and families are being destroyed. Without concrete proof, I don't understand how this case got as far as it did. Our judicial system is a joke. Everyone's at risk, especially teachers. Our son is a teacher. We have encouraged him to seek another field of work. This teacher got 15 years, and yet, another teacher that the San Diego Union wrote about just a week earlier, got just 16 months and no registration for having a two year relationship with a student. This does not make sense. Jill Morgan, Poway


What are your plans to do some recruiting of new workers who have never been active in prison reform before out at the prisons this week end?  Too many people are telling me that they've never heard of the UNION.  How can that be when you are passing flyers during every line up?  We can't do serious reforms without more volunteers and our war chest is empty right now. Each person needs to duplicate themselves ten times over.  If you want reform, this step cannot be skipped at this juncture. Let me know what you are doing to help us meet the goal of 6500 workers


Rev. Cayenne


On the night of  October 2, PBS will reveal the fall-out from Jessica's Law Prop 83.  While you've all been out recruiting, I've been working with television and print journalists on our issues highlighting a few of the UNION member's cases as I can, but be ready to do some serious posting on October 3 since we made such a large to what's coming.  I can't tell you everything, it wouldn't be professional of me to do that and "scoop" PBS


On October 7 the Discovery Channel will have a  special on prisons which should be well worth watching.   See article below "Koppel - Breaking Point"

I am referring UNION cases to a noted, national print journalist regarding  the mentally ill who have become much worse in California's  prisons due to psychological torture instead of being able to return to their communities as better citizens.  Remind me if this topic applies to you, this journalist wants to interview UNION families about their nightmare experiences as parents of the mentally ill who have acted out in some way and broken under the stress.  Sorry, this is for active UNION members only for this special chance to be heard on your own case.

I put Theresa Vaughn on a plane back to Michigan.  She has two other sons who are gravely impacted and the battle is as fierce as Nora Weber's.  The difference is that often they win their lawsuits in Michigan, whereas in California we have zero justice in the courts.

She was quite aghast as I showed her videos of our appearances before the Senate and Assembly at the attitudes shown by the legislators.  In Michigan the lawmakers don't cut off the speakers after two minutes and  try to cover up negative comments the way they do in California, and the legislators do a lot more questioning of people who come to testify.

The fact that the murder of her son Timothy Souders was caught on tape and retrieved by the Federal Monitor is the main reason why 60 Minutes was able to help expose this nationwide practice of abusing the mentally ill.  The video tape made all the difference in the world, it's all there and it's all online if you need a reminder of what it is we are working to end.

Theresa met and talked with many of  the UNION families and while she is still in tremendous grief, has already made a huge contribution by working with several top national journalists who are now also aware of several of our cases. 



Theresa Vaughn is one of the most courageous people I have ever met in my life,.  This is too much pain for a young person the age of my daughter which she and her entire family will bear for the rest of their lives.


The first video that I ever took with my Powershot S2is  camera was of Theresa and Alexis at the beach.  It turned out pretty good and I'm trying to figure out how to post it online somewhere if anyone knows how to put it on YouTube or something where everyone can see it.  She was inspired by the rally and I am very sure that we haven't heard the last of Theresa Vaughn.  She is suffering in many ways and my heart and undying respect goes out to her. 


Is there a video technician on the list, would sure like to get this up

Folks, there are few comments up here.  The legislators do not like to do bills for us because as a movement we are basically dysfunctional and do not bring huge crowds to their hearings or show up en masse on our own issues to rally often enough, we do not help candidates for office to get elected or put pressure on bad candidates.  The message here is that AB 1539 may be less than perfect but it is counter-productive to bash Krekorian in this area where Repiglets and the Governor will see what you said.


Support your advocates or you will have no advocates, the legislators who will help us, even a little bit need to be publicly commended.   Krekorian is going up against monsters on our behalf when we can't be bothered to give serious support on anything.  It's a baby step but let's show some appreciation because there are reasons why legislators don't want to represent us or our issues. Maturity is knowing when someone is on our side.

Please post directly beneath this article  


 This is the sponsor of AB 1539 to release sick and dying inmates, ok to identify yourself as a UNION member and PLEASE do tell your story.  The bill is on the Governor's desk, stay on topic of compassionate release


September 27, 2007. 5 comments. Topic: Prison Reform

The Absurdity of Incarcerating the Incapacitated: California Prisons are Wasting Taxpayers' Money and Endangering the Public By Paul Krekorian Member California State Assembly California's prisons are in crisis



Keep going until the voters are educated.  It always has benefits to write to editors and the Reporter is very good about publishing articles emailed to them that are less than 200 words.  You don't have an ad budget, so you have to work for your cause the hard way - letters to editors regarding what is the news right now, what is on the table right now.  Be in sync. Be active, lives depend on your writing and recruiting.


Medical care gains at prisons


Having a bad day?  Full of anger and frustration?  How about bringing a few Repug voters to a higher place of enlightenment of the fact that prisons create more crime than they prevent by going in and posting (anonymously if you're afraid at this link).


Sac Bee Complaining About Rampant Crime, Supports Releasing 35,000 Prisoners

now that you're warmed up, how about fighting back on sentencing by posting beneath Repiglet Jeff Denham's article in the Tracy Press in the heart of Repiglet land?  He's blasting sentencing reform and telling the public a whole pack of lies and bragging on killing our sentencing bills AB 160 and SB 110


Sentencing Commission is Wrong Way to End Prison Crisis



Stockton to open state's first inmate re-entry facility

What did we learn from these posts?  That the guards will say or do anything to stop us from organizing larger.  We also learned that people do not realize how large our UNION really is nor do the girlfriends and wives take the medical neglect battles that seriously.  We see a low education level among the responders, some dirty politics by Matt Gray and his henchmen, but what we really see is the need for more education on how the system works.

There are many excellent posts here and some are downright ridiculous but these two by UNION members were a couple of my favorites.  It all settled down when Frank Russo stepped in to moderate those who are destructive to our work.  After I posted the Declaration of Independence to remind everyone of their duty as American citizens even if they have no one in prison, a great silence came upon the board.  How to re-direct all this energy  of the inactive and uneducated into something constructive instead of destructive is always the challenge.

Rev. Cayenne


Sandy September 27, 2007 at 06:14 PM This final paragraph is the most important part of the Declaration of Independence and why there is a UNION of devastated families fighting against the government's murder of people who didn't have a death sentence in prisons that cannot give them medical services.


We in the UNION mutually pledge to one another our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor to make sure that the Constitution is upheld in California, and when we have enough joined in this commitment when we can put an end to these monsters allowing this injustice in our tax-payer financed institutions.


"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

When one of is killed, we are all affected and should all be joining the UNION to do something about this, obviously the politicians put in by law enforcement are going to do nothing important without we, the people, coming together in mass.
Alexis posted this which is an excellent analogy of what we are allowing to go on.

The bananas are freedom from oppression and neglect, the ladder is the initiative process, more lawsuits, and putting our own people into office.  Isn't this just a perfect example of why prison reform hasn't succeeded in 30 years?



The Story of the 8 Monkeys (this is reportedly based on an actual experiment conducted in the UK):



Put eight monkeys in a room. In the middle of the room is a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the ceiling.



Each time a monkey tries to climb the ladder, all the monkeys are sprayed with ice water, which makes them miserable. Soon enough, whenever a monkey attempts to climb the ladder, all of the other monkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up.

Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder.



One of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in the room. Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the other monkeys are doing the obvious. But undaunted, he immediately begins to climb the ladder.



All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him silly. He has no idea why. However, he no longer attempts to climb the ladder.



A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the crap out of him.



This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he's not on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he's attacking the new monkey.



One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced. Eight new monkeys are now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water.


None of them attempt to climb the ladder. All of them will enthusiastically beat up any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.


Sometimes, this feels like life. People just accept the status quo as truth because others are seemingly doing the same, without knowing why they do that. They are not quite sure whether what they have been doing all along can be improved or changed. They may even say it's the policy or a matter of public opinion. At times, it feels it's just the standard practices that have been passed down from one generation to the next. Nothing else. Then if someone ask questions that are too far out of the comfort zone, they are ridiculed and scorned. All they did was ask a simple question that the others did not wish to think about. Just like the new monkey, who has no any idea why.

Don't respond to the cold water.  If I had given up because cold water was dumped on me during our ten year struggle, we would not even be discussing prison reform in the legislature today, there would be no recognition of the crisis, and very few news articles.  If you get sprayed with cold water, keep on writing and recruiting to the UNION anyway - or suffer.  That's the choice.  Organize or suffer, nothing unclear about that, correct?

I want you to see how the Longshoreman's labor union reacts when the cops assault one of their own.  Do you see anything wishy-washy about this?  Do you think that the Longshoremen won't show up to this call to action realizing that they could be next?  Take a look at hard core organizing which most of you have probably never seen.  This is noise.  Do you think they bend over and take abuses silently?  Heck no!
Rev. Cayenne

All Out to Defend the 2 Local 10 Brothers
Assaulted by Cops in the Port of Sacramento!

Maritime Worker Monitor
20 Sep 2007
download PDF

Sacramento cops assault dockers returning to work

a rank and file newsletter for maritime workers





What does the California prison system have in common with Harvard University? It costs precisely as much to house, feed and guard one prisoner for one year in a California state prison as tuition, meals and housing cost for a student enrolled for one academic year at Harvard. As far as California taxpayers are concerned, it gets even worse. Their prison system is so overcrowded that it's reached a breaking point. Either the state finds a long-term solution, or the federal courts have warned that they'll begin ordering the release of inmates, just to ease the crush.

In this two-hour broadcast, Ted Koppel examines how California got to this point and presents an inside view of the crisis through in-depth interviews with inmates, guards and prison officials at California State Prison Solano in Vacaville. Koppel on Discovery: Breaking Point premieres on Discovery Channel on Sunday, October 7 at 9 PM (ET/PT).

Designed to accommodate no more than 100,000 inmates, California's prisons now hold 173,000, each at an annual cost of $43,000. How did things get so out of control? Mandatory sentencing is a big part of the answer. When California voters threw their support behind a get-tough-on-crime bill that came to be known as "three strikes and you're out," the state prison system filled up and is now overflowing.

While shooting this latest installment of KOPPEL ON DISCOVERY, Koppel spent a number of days among the general population at Solano. His reporting focuses on the inhabitants of H dorm, where inmates are stacked in triple-deck bunk beds on an old indoor basketball court. Correctional officers are so badly outnumbered that prison officials keep inmates segregated by race and gang affiliation in a desperate effort to avoid friction and maintain control. Even so,

Solano still sees three to four race riots a year. Using smuggled cell phones, gang bosses continue running criminal operations on the street from behind prison walls. At the same time, they're running drug and prostitution rings inside Solano.

Koppel will introduce viewers to many of Solano's inmates, including Travis Tippets, Joseph Mason and Brian O'Neal. Having completed a 6-year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon, Tippets is being released from Solano and sits for a brief "exit interview" with Koppel. The last time he was paroled, it took Tippets less than a day to get arrested and sent back. Knowing that a third strike could land him back in prison for life, Tippets finds out how hard it is to get a job with no skills and a criminal record. Joseph Mason is a third-striker. He's been arrested and convicted three times for non-violent burglaries, and he won't be eligible for parole until 2019; the ultimate irony is that he voted for the Three Strikes Law. Brian O'Neal is also a non-violent repeat offender. He has been to prison 11 times, and nine of those sentences were for violating parole. Koppel's cameras track O'Neal's 11th release from prison as his pregnant girlfriend picks him up and the two drive out of Solano. Within weeks, O'Neal is arrested again for violating his parole.

The executive producer of KOPPEL ON DISCOVERY: BREAKING POINT is Tom Bettag. He and Discovery Channel Managing Editor Ted Koppel are joined by a team of some of the best researchers and producers in the industry. Together they are producing a slate of long-form programming exclusively for Discovery Channel that touches on some of the most important events, people and places changing lives today. From field reporting to script writing, every aspect of the series is shaped by Koppel's 44 years of experience and unparalleled journalistic integrity. Previous KOPPEL ON DISCOVERY broadcasts include THE PRICE OF SECURITY, IRAN: THE MOST DANGEROUS NATION (nominated for an Emmy), OUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN'S WAR and LIVING WITH CANCER.

On September 24, Ted Koppel will receive the lifetime achievement award at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards in New York. Koppel and his team also received Emmy nominations for Iran: The Most Dangerous Nation and Petra: A Quest for Hope.

Celebrities may merely buy freedom

Prosecutors used to far outspending foes, experts note

BY LINDA DEUTSCH, Associated Press LA Daily News

J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Robert Blake and now Phil Spector.

How come prosecutors in Southern California can't seem to convict celebrities of serious crimes? Some legal experts say it's not that jurors in Hollywood's backyard are star-struck. Instead, they say, the verdicts - or in Spector's case, the deadlocked jury - have more to do with weaknesses in the prosecution's evidence and the vast ability of the rich and famous to hire the finest legal and forensic talent. "I don't think it's universally true, but it may be as difficult to put a multimillionaire in prison as it is to put a camel through the eye of a needle," Loyola University law professor Stan Goldman said a day after a mistrial was declared in Spector's murder case. Fellow Loyola law professor Laurie Levenson said of the Spector case: "People who don't know very much about the case will call it a celebrity verdict. It's not. It was about questions the jury didn't get answered.


 And it was also about resources."

Spector, the legendary music producer accused of fatally shooting B-movie actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion, hired at various points such big-name lawyers as former John Gotti attorney Bruce Cutler and Simpson lawyer Robert Shapiro. And he was able to equip his defense with a who's who of forensic scientists - Michael Baden, Werner Spitz, Vincent DeMaio and Henry Lee - who helped make the case that Clarkson stuck the gun in her mouth and killed herself.


The jury reported it was hopelessly deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction. Simpson, similarly, had his Dream Team of lawyers, including the wily Johnnie Cochran Jr. and F. Lee Bailey. Jackson had well-regarded attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., who won an acquittal for the pop star in his child-molestation trial and also represented Blake at the "Baretta" star's preliminary hearing on charges of murdering his wife. Blake was ultimately acquitted.

Levenson said Spector's fame was so far in the past that it had no relevance. Spector's dazzling career as the recording-studio wizard who developed the "Wall of Sound" and worked with such performers as the Beatles, the Righteous Brothers and the Ronettes was barely mentioned at his trial. In fact, one member of the jury, Ricardo Enriquez, said in a TV interview: "I didn't know who this man was, and it didn't play any part."


 Instead, Levenson said Spector's wealth enabled him to mount an impressive defense with the facts that were there. "It was a difficult case," she said. "There are no direct witnesses; we'll never know exactly what happened. It's never going to be like watching the crime happen on TV."



Jean Rosenbluth, a University of Southern California law professor and a former prosecutor in the Los Angeles-based U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California, said the jury's 10 guilty votes run counter to the perception that Southern Californians won't convict a celebrity. "In Michael Jackson, in Robert Blake, in O.J., there were real problems with the prosecution's case.


 So I don't think you can just say, `Gee, celebrities get off.' I think that those were difficult cases to win," she said. The nature of murder or sex-abuse cases, which typically have few witnesses, lend themselves to reasonable doubt, she said. Mesereau took issue with the notion that celebrities with enough money can buy themselves justice.

"The prosecution is used to bowling over a poor defendant," he said. "When they occasionally run into a wealthy defendant who makes it a horse race, they start to say the defendant has bought justice. What they bought is fairness." In the Spector case, he said, the prosecution had vast government resources.



"They had the Sheriff's Department, the crime lab, the Coroner's Office. Their forensic experts were paid for by the taxpayers," Mesereau said. "Nothing Spector did could equal what the District Attorney's Office had." In the end, he said, it came down to the evidence.

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834


The television special about the fall out of Jessica's Law that I contributed time to will air this Tuesday, Oct 2 on the Los Angeles PBS Station Channel 28, for some areas it is Channel 8, at 7 pm, a l/2 hour special on the Emmy Award Winning Show "Life and Times".  It also will air on the Orange County PBS station I understand, check for it at 7 pm wherever you are located in California, it could be there.
please go comment on the Life and Times blog about it, there should be a published comment there that I made sometime tomorrow.  Once that appears, you can start posting.
http://www.kcet. org/lifeandtimes /
I do not appear in the show, I simply contributed enlightenment and research about the destruction to our society and the ignorance around Prop 83.  I have no idea what the show is like in it's final version and I urge everyone to record it and pass the video everywhere possible.  Record one for me as well!
Ask people to tune in to the show as well
I hope that I have some time to update our web site before Tuesday on this topic as PBS will link to our pages.  Nancy sent me some links to add, we really need more volunteers to help with the huge task of keeping our website updated.  Too few people are doing all the work, paying for everything, we all need to be focused on recruiting if we want to see serious reform.
The PBS exposure will help us but there will also be tons of hate mail to me and to the station, which I have already warned them about.  And who will answer that volume of mail pray tell?
Rev. Cayenne
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I can remember trying to tell Steve Greenhut what was going in Sacramento in 1999, but he couldn't grasp it.  Today he sees the situation very clearly.  Take a look at this video and don't forget to male a post beneath this article about what you saw and Greenhut's article.
Is it worth recruting ten new workers to the UNION to do your share of the organizing in order to keep this type  of politician out of office where they vote against prison reform 100% of the time?  Is it worth it to you to do this simple recruiting so that we can elect or recall our own people to be in power over us?
Rev. Cayenne
http://www.ocregist index.php? bcpid=1127694947&bclid=1137697551&bctid=1214062920
Sunday, September 30, 2007

Disagree with Spitzer and you love criminals

Assemblyman Spitzer's speech is the epitome of what's wrong in Sacramento.

Sr. editorial writer and columnist
The Orange County Register


Not many people know anything about 19 t h -century judge Gideon J. Tucker, but he did leave for posterity these words: "No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session."

As someone who occasionally follows the California Legislature, which, no doubt, is far more bizarre than the 1866 New York Legislature that Tucker was writing about, I can attest to the truth of that saying. There are few areas of life that elected officials, Democrat or Republican, view as off-limits from their meddlesome regulations, which means no Californian really is safe when lights are on at the Capitol.

Putting chapter and verse to the California state Assembly's and Senate's dysfunctional nature would require a treatise. But I have found a speech by an Orange County legislator that captures much that's wrong in Sacramento in one short diatribe. The legislator is Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange, who has become the GOP spokesman on "public safety," so Spitzer's behavior is not just indicative of one out-of-control legislator, but reflects the views of the Assembly GOP leadership.

Spitzer's speech earlier this month on the floor of the Assembly was a stem-winder. There's demagoguery, a fierce attack on a straw man and the setting up of false choices. It includes invective and taunting. It is pompous, deceptive and totally for show, given that no one is persuaded to change their mind by such banter. Spitzer's talk reflects an unthinking trust in government power and a stunning lack of concern about common government abuses, excesses and mistakes. Spitzer acts mainly as the spokesman for an interest group (the law-enforcement unions) rather than as a defender of the Constitution or the people.

According to Spitzer, those who voted for a modest measure (Senate Bill 756) that would direct the state attorney general to propose standard regulations for police lin-ups of crime suspects couldn't possibly believe that the current, imprecise standards might lead to people being misidentified. Nope, those who support the bill are attacking law enforcement personnel directly: "[O]ne of the reasons that there are vacancies in every sworn position … is because anyone making a career decision about law enforcement only has to look at one of the most unfriendly institutions which continues to question the loyalty and commitment of sworn personnel in this state, and that is this particular two-year session of the California Legislature. "

Unfriendly? This is a Legislature that refused to even require that police agencies allow public access to records of abusive behavior by officers. Spitzer won't explain that the vacancies are largely caused by the massive increase in taxpayer-funded retirement benefits that he and others have pushed through, given that they have enticed officers to retire in their early 50s with 90 percent or more of their final pay, thus leaving many job openings.


I'll quote more from the speech, but first some background.


On Sept. 4, the Assembly considered SB756, part of a package of sensible reforms proposed by a Senate commission created in 2003 "to study and review the administration of criminal justice in California to determine the extent to which that process has failed in the past, resulting in wrongful executions or the wrongful conviction of innocent persons." The impetus was some high-profile cases of wrongful convictions. Harold Hall spent 19 years in prison for double murder, after being coerced into a confession following 17 hours of interrogation. Herman Atkins spent 12 years in prison for a rape he did not commit after being mistakenly identified by the victim after police used "suggestive" ID techniques. Thomas Lee Goldstein served 24 years in prison for murder based on untrustworthy informants. Such cases are being uncovered more often as DNA evidence enters the picture.


Legislators introduced three bills stemming from the commission's work. The first, SB511, would mandate that police agencies record the entire interrogation of a suspect in a violent felony, something many agencies already do as a matter of prudence. The second is SB756, described earlier. The final bill, SB609, "would curb false testimony by jailhouse informants by requiring corroborating evidence for all such testimony," according to the commission's executive director, Gerald Uelmen. "Jailhouse informants have strong reasons to lie because they are offered lenience in return for information, " he said.

All three bills passed both houses and are now on the governor's desk. They were backed mostly by Democrats, but had some support from Republicans, including some conservatives who understand the nature of government power.


On the floor, Spitzer tried to link SB756 to some nefarious pro-criminal agenda: "A bill that is now on call … is a bill that says we must record every interrogation because we've lost faith in law enforcement. … [T]he bill puts a burden on law enforcement …. SB756 says … where you line people up on the sidewalk, and you have the victim drive by in a police car to see if that's the person who stole the purse or mugged the person or raped the victim, that is all in question because we now assume in California that the police are going to fabricate evidence, they are going to plant information into the witness's head, and they are going to completely do everything in their power to abuse their sworn duty."


Surely, police make some mistakes. Some misbehave. Police agencies and district attorneys have an institutional desire to score convictions. Sometimes they can pig-headedly pursue bad cases, as the nation has seen in the Duke University case, where the district attorney pursued rape charges against students who obviously did not commit the crime. Prosecutors have political ambitions (Spitzer, by the way, wants to be Orange County's D.A.) that can affect their judgment.


Spitzer finally declared that legislators should vote no on SB756 and other bills "unless you put yourself in one of two camps, and let's be clear what they are. The one camp says we just don't trust law enforcement. It's a horrible career. We have no faith in those of you going through the academies or those in the field. We don't trust you. We don't put our faith in you, and we don't think you should make it a career in the state of California. Our correctional officers don't have a contract, so if you vote for this bill it's not just this bill. It's every single bill which continues to be an assault on law enforcement. I ask you to choose, because we're going to look at the record. Either be in the camp that says you have faith in the police, and when you dial 911 you want them there and want them to stop the crime and you want them to solve the crime or you're in the camp … that wants early release of prisoners."


Get it? If you don't agree with Spitzer – who was relegated to the Assembly's smallest office after the Democratic leadership tired of him labeling his opponents as "pro-criminal" – then you hate cops and want rapists and murderers out on the streets.

Actually, I see the camps differently. There's the one camp that is horrified by Spitzer's on-the-floor bullying and believe it erodes the dignity of the Legislature, and the other that figures there's nothing much to erode and that legislators probably are doing the least harm when they are sniggering at speeches by second-rate demagogues.

------------ ------

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834

www.1union1. com/Join_ the_UNION. html



Dear Rev. Cayenne

RE: Early Paroles for California's older women prisoners, incarcerated for non-violent and non-drug related crimes.

It would appear that a male-dominated  judiciary zealously renders sentences for women offenders inequitably vis-a-vis the sentencing of their male counter parts fro similar offenses.

And as you know, over crowding at Valley State Prison for Women at Chowchilla could be greatly relieved by early release of  VSPW's "Grannies in the prison yard" and, generally speaking, these mature women could easily re-enter society without posing any threat to their communities and actually  contribute in positive ways to their families and communities.

Yet, these women have no voice.  Not even the noted self-proclaimed champion of women issues (Gloria Allred) remains silent.

I hope you will continue to be a voice for these voice-less women, lest they continue to serve unproductive lives in obscurity.

My God Bless You,

Russ M Quaker  Prisoner Outreach Deming, NM

Sent to me from the mother of Justin Wing (see story below)   There are thousands of state prisoners in this same desperate condition but they have no place to go for help.  Only their families can fight for the California prisoners. Without them, they have nothing.

Rev Cayenne

IF YOU KNOW OF A FEDERAL INMATE SUFFERING MEDICAL NEGLECT: Federal CURE (FedCURE) has BOP executive staff designated as liaisons to handle inmate medical issues. You can contact them at:  or go to:  for more information

Montana State Prison Kills Justin Wing by Neglect (continued) by JUSTICE NETWORK

He had Hep C and a small stomach hernia was allowed to grow the size of a football. His condition deteriorated throughout the years and resulted in his premature death. An outside doctor who had seen Justin after the hernia was allowed to grow to its massive size, told Justin it should have been taken care of a long time ago (by the prison's medical facility) while still small. Yet, it seems that the prison was willing to let Justin's life just fade away.

When his situation became life-threatening and the prison was still denying him proper medical treatment, he had to request outside support in May 2004. Hundreds of people from numerous states and countries wrote or called the prison officials, the Montana legislators, senators and the media, to request that Justin Wing be immediately given proper medical care and hospitalized. For weeks the prison officials' responses insisted that he was "just fine" and receiving excellent care, thus presumably hoping that everyone would go away.

When Justin was finally hospitalized, thanks to the pressure on the prison administration, it was too late for him. Even when Justin had an infected substance oozing from his wound then from his navel area, the prison still claimed he was just fine. The officials were telling everyone that he was receiving excellent medical care. How could the prison and Montana Department of Corrections let this happen? Our society must take this tragedy and work towards the goal of never having another Native American die from the wrongful Death Sentences handed down by prison authorities.

Justin had done much to help his People and the Native American community at MSP. There is a good chance that he was denied treatment because he was Chairman of the Prayer Warriors, and because of all he had tried to do for the Prayer Warriors and their religious rights.

Justin Wing did not kill anyone, yet his life was taken by people who repeatedly refused to offer him adequate medical assistance. We must not allow Justin's sacrifices be in vain, we must continue his struggle in his spirit, and in the spirit of his Ancestors.

June 14th, 2004, Justin Wing's own words: "I am having problems with the administration by getting no medical help. I have a hernia and it is the size of a football. It has continually grown for three (3) years. I don't know why it wasn't taken out when it was first discovered. When they discovered it, it was the size of a small golf ball. I know soon it's going to break open and when it breaks open, it's going to end my life. Now it's draining out of a tear next to my belly button. I always pray to the Creator and I believe strongly in the Native Religious Traditions. "I also know that when people come in here, they lie to them and I hope that doesn't happen because they cover their tracks, then tell people everything's ok.In the last one and one-half (1 1/2) years, I've seen people dying around me in this prison because of lack of medical treatment. "One just recently died because he was diabetic and he needed his insulin. They wouldn't give him his shot and he died in his cell the same day. The RPN (nurses) are very cruel because they're all related. This whole prison here is all related. I want to thank you all for being concerned about my medical health''.

Please help me, Wing " It is not surprising that there could be such a gross and inhumane lack of medical care when you consider the other critical medical issues that prevail at Montana State Prison: it is a facility where the suicide rate is one of the highest in the nation; there have been documented cases of severe mistreatment, abuse and neglect of mentally-ill prisoners. Each time a case of medical neglect is reported, the administration tries to deny that there is a problem. DOC and prison officials have promised they would take measures concerning the many suicides, but there are still 3 or 4 suicide attempts every month that go unreported. We wonder how many medical negligent cases go unreported? We want to know why Justin was denied proper medical treatment for so long. Who will be held accountable for the horrific pain and agony he had to endure for months, under the cold indifference of the administration, in a facility with a history of medical neglect, a frightening rate of suicides, and unreported suicide attempts? Who will be held accountable for the horrific medical neglect that led to the untimely death of Justin Wing? "The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 ensures that the rights of persons in institutions are protected against unconstitutional conditions. Those confined in government institutions include persons with disabilities, the elderly in government-run nursing homes, and prisoners." *******ACLU : "Prison officials are obligated under the Eighth Amendment to provide prisoners with adequate medical care." "Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain' proscribed by the Eighth Amendment." In order to prevail on a constitutional claim of inadequate medical care, prisoners must show that prison officials were *deliberately indifferent* to their serious medical needs, i.e., that officials knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff's health. A medical need is considered "serious" if it "causes pain, discomfort, or threat to good health


Sandy Banks: A touch of hope for the straight and narrow September 18, 2007

The residents of the South Los Angeles halfway house didn't know much about the governor's new plan to ease prison overcrowding by shortening the time many ex-convicts spend on parole.

Some, like Byron Conway, wouldn't be eligible anyway. At 34, he's spent much of his life behind bars. A potential third-striker, if he so much as throws a punch at somebody, he could go back to prison for life.

But he's convinced that officials are on to something with their plan to motivate ex-convicts to stay clean by offering to free them from parole if they can steer clear of trouble for six months.

If a guy's going to fall off, he'll do it right away, said Conway, a former gang-banger from Victorville just off a four-year prison term for carrying a deadly weapon and violating parole.

"You get out with no home, no job, nowhere to go. . . . You've got to get your money somehow. . . ."

California prison studies bear him out. We have one of the highest recidivism rates in the country -- more than two-thirds of inmates return to prison, most during their first six months out.

We're also one of only two states to require every inmate leaving prison to check in with parole officers for up to three years. That means that any parole violation during that time, however minor -- missing an appointment with a parole agent, failing a drug test or getting in a fight -- can land a parolee back in jail. That's one reason our prisons are so crowded.

It's also why parole agents are overloaded, supervising drug addicts and check kiters when they should be spending their time keeping rapists and killers in line.

The proposed change -- expected to be approved by the parole board today -- would allow some inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes to earn their way off parole in six months if they manage to find a job, keep a stable living situation and stick with their prescribed counseling or treatment program.

"We've got to do something different," said Joan Petersilia, a UC Irvine criminology professor who advises the governor on parole matters. "By rewarding participation in work, education and treatment programs, maybe we can motivate parolees to complete rehabilitation."

But that's not as easy as it sounds.

You try finding a place to live, getting a bus pass and buying an outfit to wear on a job interview with the $200 in gate money that inmates get when they're sent back to the streets.

Josie Barthel is the kind of ex-inmate for whom the new rules are designed. The mother of three spent 16 months in prison for theft. When she was paroled to El Monte three years ago, she spent six months in a drug treatment center, then found a job, bought a car and rented an apartment.

But life is still a struggle. She was recently fired from her grocery store job -- after moving up from bagger to a management position -- for not telling her bosses she had a prison record.

"I feel like crying just talking about it," she said Monday as she took a break from looking through want ads. "I was afraid to tell them because they wouldn't hire me. This taught me a hard lesson."

Her salvation was Hilary Reed, a Pepperdine University law professor assigned to mentor her through a voluntary program that pairs parolees with lawyers.

"Josie has amazing drive, but it was difficult even for her," said Reed, who let Barthel move into her Pasadena home when her housing plans fell apart.

"It's easy to get discouraged on parole," Reed said. "You can have all the best intentions, but what you really need is resources -- transportation, housing, a job. Instead, you're out there with no backstop."

Petersilia concedes that there are huge gaps in the state's plan, but more funding is now being directed to community groups to create programs to assist people like Barthel and Conway, who'll spend the next few months living at the halfway house run by Human Potential Consultants.

Conway thinks he'll be able to stay out of trouble this time because counselors are teaching him to manage his anger, make good choices and are helping him find a job.

"I was angry at the world when I had to come here," he said of the halfway house, a warehouse-like building that has room for 125 residents, but funding for only 40 right now. "Now this feels like home, for me it's a safe environment."

Petersilia acknowledges that "we've left people on their own to do too much. We've got to link them with churches, job training programs . . . bring in their families to help."

The parole plan is one small step to unhook them from the anchor of incarceration, but it will affect only a fraction of parolees looking for a second chance.

About 40% of California's 125,000 parolees -- those with no gang ties, long records or violent crimes -- might be eligible for the program, which will be tried out first with small groups in Orange and San Bernardino counties.

"We have no idea how many will stick it out," Petersilia said. "It's not easy, what we're asking. To meet these requirements, they're gonna have to walk on water."

That might be a comfort to the tough-on-crime crowd. The plan has so far avoided the public opposition that's doomed other plans to loosen parole rules. But it's also a sign of how far we have to come if we really want to give ex-convicts a chance to go straight.

Suffer the Little Children Dellums puts prison reformer in charge of public safety; Latte-lappers lose laptops; Emeryvillers stripped; and albumen attacks vex neighbors. By Anneli Rufus Published: September 19, 2007

This month, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums had to replace his outgoing public safety director, Victor Ochoa, who is considering a City Council run. So the old socialist appointed UC Berkeley alum Lenore Anderson, a public-interest lawyer and activist who won a Soros Justice Fellowship for giving "advocacy training to parents whose sons and daughters face incarceration," which, in turn, "is expected to reduce the likelihood of incarceration ... among Bay Area youth." Ah. Feel safe yet?

Subject(s): Piedmont, Emeryville, Berkeley, Oakland, Lincoln Navigator, Beacon Gas, Public Safety Director, Café Strada, Lenore Anderson, Ron Dellums, eggings Anderson seems to prioritize quelling punishment over quelling crime, as if the former might spawn the latter. She formerly headed the prison-reform nonprofit Books not Bars, which according to its mission statement "fights to redirect California's resources away from youth incarceration and towards youth opportunities. We engage in grassroots campaigns using media advocacy, policy advocacy, grassroots organizing, and alliance building. Currently, we are working to close California's abusive, expensive youth prisons and replace them with rehabilitation centers and community-based programs" — coming soon to your street.

BNB is one of three projects run by Oakland's Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Another is Bay Area Police Watch, devoted to "supporting victims and survivors." What, of crime? No, silly: of police abuse. Photos on its home page depict protesters whose placards read "Stop Killer Cops." Who better to occupy a post devoted to liaising among City Hall, neighborhood watch groups, and the OPD? By the way, OPD lost another nine officers this month. Oaklander Anderson claims to have been a teen troublemaker, but told one reporter that "being white and middle class" kept her out of jail. Unsurprisingly, Infoshop, Indybay, and anarchist groups link to Anderson's BNB memos, as does, which also links helpfully to,, and (Indybay files an Anderson piece under "California: Police State.") Granted, prison conditions are draconian, but we wouldn't want a crime victims' advocate coordinating community-policing efforts in a violence-besieged city, would we? Will Anderson's grassrootsiness stanch the blood-flood? Time will tell! Until then, sleep soundly (awakened only occasionally by gunfire) knowing that someone out there is looking out for young criminals. Java jacking: At Caffe Strada, across Bancroft Way from the Cal campus, the night of September 9 was a quiet one. A man entered the patio and sat at a table where several people were working on laptops. Displaying a gun tucked in his waistband, he instructed them softly to put their laptops in his duffel bag. They complied. He did this at another table, then walked off down College Avenue with six laptops. He remains at large. Backed up your dissertation lately? This was the latest in a series of armed robberies on and around UCB, including two six-on-one attacks by teen and even preteen assailants.

Ain't no yolk: A series of eggings has residents of Oakland's Maxwell Park area asking: random albumen effrontery or hate crimes? Several of the targets have been same-sex couples' homes and cars. In one case this month — the victim calls it an "awful dairy delivery" — six-plus eggs were smashed inside a convertible, partially cooked into the upholstery by the Indian-summer sun.

Intimidation station: Seated in his '82 Mercedes, Tony Simon was chatting with someone at Oakland's 24-hour Beacon Gas station at 731 West MacArthur Boulevard around 1 a.m. on September 4. A robber approached; Simon started to drive off, but the robber shot him dead. Neighbors are deluging Beacon's owners with letters. "I was awakened the other night by the sound of gunshots," one wrote. "I don't pump gasoline at your station because I am afraid to be assaulted." Another, noting the "intimidating young men who are always on your premises," called Beacon a vortex of "drug trafficking, prostitution, gang activity, loitering, and yelling of obscenities at all hours of the day and night."

"Do you have any idea," another asked, "how much money you are losing because so many residents do not go to your station? I ... typically fill my 22-gallon truck two times a week, but you have never seen me at your gas station. That calculates to $130 per week, $6,900 per year, and a huge loss of $35,000 that your business could have had from me." He adds: "One night about a year ago, I was sitting at the West [Street]/West MacArthur stoplight waiting for it to change to green when a gang of individuals who were loitering on your property started chasing another person. When I began crossing the intersection, the chasee proceeded to jump onto the hood of my car and clung on for a block. Again, they came from your property!" He urges the owners to install top-grade security cameras and close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Barring that, "I will support any efforts to close your business down for good." Dress for distress: A man was minding his own business at San Pablo and Adeline in Emeryville recently when an assailant hit him on the head from behind with a detached table leg, then stole his pants. Days later, a driver stopped for a red light at Powell and Beaudry in a Lincoln Navigator — aka "the premier luxury SUV." Jumping into the idling vehicle, a gunman carjacked it after swiping $700 cash and the driver's shoes, and ejecting the unshod driver.

Stroller derby: Someone phoned the Piedmont police on September 2 to report "two men pushing empty strollers" on Wildwood Avenue. The pair was spotted first near a tot lot, "then at Dress Best for Less," the police log reads. Crafty criminals, wannabe dads, or just two dudes playing house? That same day, another caller on Wildwood "reported a man carrying a bag walking in area. Man gone upon officer's arrival," the log reads. Beware of sneaky males with ... bags or perambulators.


Opinion: Jessica's Law Should Help, Not Hurt, San Bernardino County

Submitted by Brad_Mitzelfelt on September 18, 2007 - 9:48am. Commentary | Home and Leisure | Local News

Brad Mitzelfelt

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on September 7 announced that it had finished notifying 2,741 sex offender parolees that they are in violation of housing restrictions enacted by the Jessica's Law ballot measure, which was overwhelmingly approved by California voters in November. The sex offenders were told that they have less than 45 days to comply with the housing restrictions, meaning they will have to relocate to a residence further away from schools and parks. Jessica's Law requires sex offenders paroled after November 8, 2006, to live at least 2,000 feet from a school or park where children regularly congregate.

Many people now fear this requirement could lead some sex offenders to go into hiding or become homeless, making keeping track of offenders more difficult. Another fear is that sex offenders would be forced to move into rural areas where it would be easier to find housing located further away from restricted areas.

This is especially troublesome for the district I represent in the High Desert, where open spaces and large distances between restricted areas could draw more than our already disproportionate share of sex offenders. This problem will be exacerbated by the fact that the Department of Corrections releases approximately 400-700 sex offenders from prison to parole each month in California.


San Bernardino County has a history of being proactive in dealing with sex offenders. In anticipation of Jessica's Law being passed by the voters last year, San Bernardino County formed two task forces to develop policies to prepare to implement the provisions of Jessica's Law and also to encourage municipalities to identify 'predator-free' zones.

San Bernardino County also adopted its own ordinance to help control sex offender residency an loitering in the county. That ordinance, which I helped develop, and was adopted unanimously by my current colleagues and my predecessor, former Supervisor Bill Postmus, is actually more stringent than Jessica's Law in some ways. It prohibits registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of a daycare center or within one-half mile of a school. In addition, the ordinance created 300-foot "predator-free zones" around schools and parks where children are present in San Bernardino County's unincorporated area.

But now we are faced with a situation where tracking these offenders may become more difficult. Now that the state has finally decided to begin enforcing provisions of Jessica's Law, I believe there is a need for San Bernardino County to create a Sex Offender Tracking unit or taskforce within the Sheriff's Department in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies. This would likely require additional staff and funding, but I believe it is essential to enable us to deal with this potential new threat to our neighborhoods.

The Sheriff's Department has done an outstanding job of keeping track of the 2,016 sex offender registrants currently under its jurisdiction. Of those registrants, only about five percent are out of compliance with registration. Our Sheriff, Gary Penrod, maintains a 95-percent success rate in keeping sex-offender registrants in compliance, while other jurisdictions around our state hover at around 75 percent. That success has brought agencies from throughout the state to San Bernardino County to learn how to better track of sex offenders.

Our Sheriff should be commended for developing such a program, especially because he did it with no additional resources. If given additional resources, the Sheriff could more fully implement the provisions of both Jessica's Law and our county ordinance. This would be a proactive measure to keep San Bernardino County on the forefront of sex offender enforcement efforts.

The creation or augmentation of a Sex Offender Tracking unit or taskforce in response to the implementation of Jessica's Law would ensure that San Bernardino County not only maintains its watchful eye on offenders, but would also help cultivate a reputation as a county for sex offenders to avoid.

See what others are saying and join the discussion at our Forum

Brad Mitzelfelt Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt represents San Bernardino County's First District.


For some, shorter parole Low-risk offenders can end time early By Shelli DeRobertis, Staff Writer

Low-risk parolees who follow the rules will be eligible to end their time on parole in as little as six months, after a state panel approved new regulations this week. Several Inland Valley communities - including Chino, Chino Hills, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Montclair, Mt. Baldy Village and San Antonio Heights - are in the first parole district to try out the new regulations, according to the the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The program will roll out as soon as November in the south Orange County parole district.

"Studies and experts have repeatedly shown that ineffective parole policies in California contribute to our state having some of the highest recidivism rates in the country, which significantly contributes to the crisis-level overcrowding in our prisons," said James Tilton, the department's secretary, in a press release.

California's recidivism rate is nearly 70 percent.

The move comes as many law enforcement officials, including San Bernardino County's district attorney, are fighting a proposed cap on state prison populations, which would release nearly 36,000 California felons to parole.

The new parole regulations will help align California with 33 other states' parole practices - allowing agents to focus on high-risk parolees, according to the department. "We have a shortage of parole agents," said Seth Unger, press secretary for the corrections department. "Parole agents who are monitoring very low-risk offenders are not using resources (to focus on high-risk parolees)."

The four-step process approved Monday considers eligibility, risk assessment, parole document review and being violation-free for six months.

Some of the things parolees must prove before being discharged from supervision include:

A stable residence.

Employment or means of ongoing financial support.

Compliance with victim restitution.

"No serious offenders, sex offenders or violent offenders will get through step one," Unger said.

Gang affiliation is also identified as an exclusionary criteria.

At the California Institution for Men in Chino, 1,500 inmates in the minimum support facility would fit the new criteria, said the prison's spokesman, Lt. Mark Hargrove. That facility houses 2,300 inmates.

"I certainly think this is a huge incentive for those currently incarcerated and anticipating parole," Hargrove said. "This sets a standard for inmates."

Hargrove said many inmates believe getting discharged from parole is unobtainable.

"It can only take one thing to re-offend or violate parole," he said.

Unger said there are technical violations - such as failing a drug test or missing a meeting with a parole officer - that land parolees back behind bars and wouldn't lead to incarceration for anyone not on parole.

Unger added the current system has no benefits to the parolee who does the right things, because they cannot earn their way off parole.

"This allows them to earn their way off of parole supervision. (It's) providing incentives," he said.

The previous parole standard was three years with reviews performed at the one- and two-year marks.

The one-year evaluation typically was the soonest a parolee would be considered for discharge, although the Board of Parole Hearings can discharge a parolee at any given time, Unger said.

Staff writer Shelli DeRobertis can be reached by e-mail at, or by phone at (909) 483-8555.

Here's what Sandy wrote

Subject: Influx of Sex Offenders To: To the Editor

Your County Supervisor, Brad Mitzelfelt is using a great scare tactic telling the public to expect an influx of sex offenders to your area.  It  is my understanding that most parolees are paroled to their county of origin.

If upon release there are no acceptable places to live within the confines of the horribly written Prop 83 the California public has no one to blame but themselves.  They voted it into law. It was created by Republican State officials who want to appear tough on crime.  They sold the voters a bill of goods without informing them of the cost either fiscally or in human terms. How can Registered Sex Offenders rebuild their llives, get counseling, education and a job to so that they can support themselves and their families  with no viable place to live?

The recidivism rate for sex offenders is very low about 5 %.  Most of those who are released on parolee only want a chance to get on with their lives and become contributing members of society.

It is time we bring a well written, fair iniative to the public for a positive vote so that sex offenders can get on with their lives and the general pubic can stop looking for the "Monster Under the Bed".

Sandy Port

Rev. Cayenne

While you were gone, I printed off important articles from the newsletter and mailed them into two prisoners who are educated enough to understand organizing and recruiting and sent them pictures of the rally page  Birgitte wrote to me from the Netherlands and was thrilled about our rally and that her researched on MRSA was used in one of the speeches.  I also read all of the speeches from the rally


I would like to know what YOU did in my absence to recruit new workers to the UNION?  We need to work on our ability to mobilize crowds and get out the vote or we will never be able to change the  laws.  Initiative campaigns are the only way we are going to be able to change the harsher laws and that requires that you do recruiting so we have enough workers.

Tell me what you are doing to recruit new UNION members?

Do you need a sharp prisoner to help you with your recruiting responsibilities?  I have one that you can adopt who will communicate with at least 150 other prisoners and teach them the initiative process so they can teach their family members that the power to change laws rests strictly with them, because people without a loved one in prison really couldn't care less for the most part.  There are 3 million people attached to a state prisoner.  Do you think we can locate 6500 who care enough about their loved one to organize large enough to be able to change laws and better conditions?

If not, we are all stuck in the horrible status quo.   These are the tools that I need to be able to do initiative campaigns.  Only you can give me a share of the tools I need and nobody else can give me YOUR share, adopt this concept and we'll have it.  We can grow forward much more rapidly if only YOU will focus on recruiting one new worker and plug them into the newsletter.  They can learn the issues and begin recruiting themselves with about an eighth grade education.

The prisoners do not have computers and do not get the news unless YOU send it to them.


United For No Injustice, Oppression, Or Neglect

 Commitment Letter

Yes, I support the reform of the Criminal justice system through voting, letter-writing and demonstrating. I understand that in order to overcome the forces of repression and injustice, we must build a voting block larger than the one now destroying our lives.

 To do this, I am adding my name to the statewide communication network known as United for No injustice, Oppression or Neglect.

 When called upon, I will contribute in one or more of the following ways:

1. I am able and willing to write letters to appropriate officials and editors on topics suggested by and respond to one Letter Call to Action per week. I understand that writing letters to legislators is almost a total waste of time and will focus in on writing to editors, remembering to report all deaths and riots to the UNION.
Yes__________ No_______

 2. I am able and willing to be present at Demonstrations or important hearings called by the U.N.I.O.N. If I cannot be present, I will find someone to attend in my place. I realize large demonstrations are necessary before reform will happen. I will recruit other members and build the UNION so we can win with the power of numbers in action writing and demonstrating
Yes__________ No_______

 3. I am a registered voter and I will vote for the candidates who support reform of the criminal justice system.

 I will find a way to receive a fax or an email so that I can be on stand-by alert and ready to respond to group movement.

Fax #__________________________Email_______________________

P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834-0371

Rev B. Cayenne Bird, Director - Email:
Subscribe to our Online member newsletter at: 

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834

Our lawsuit K'napp vs. Hickman is centered on abuses at Mule Creek. It has a federal court date of April 4, 2008. We will need large crowds at this hearing and others coming to court. Are you out recruiting new workers and subscribers to the UNION this week end?

Please communicate directly with the media folks with what you find out about the riot and copy me since I am leaving in the morning and won't be back until Tuesday. You know that the master media email list is here where you should report all riots, deaths and disease outbreaks.

Due to my responsibilities at the college, I am unable to personally attend this hearing. It will be the first major one that I've had to miss. I would like to encourage everyone who can go to be there and take good notes. I can't cover all the bases with the amount of funds and volunteers I need to help get the work done in short supply.

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird

01:30 PM (r)C01-1351 PLATA, et al. v. SCHWARZENEGGER, et al.

S90-0520 LKK RALPH COLEMAN, et al. v. SCHWARZENEGGER, et al.

Don Specter (p) Paul Mello (d)

Hearing before Three-Judge Court

Federal courthouse is located at

450 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102

Judge Henderson's courtroom is on the 19th floor, ask security if you forget

The Amtrak arrives just three blocks away, walking distance, I have taken this method many times and it is the best way to get there.


I urge everyone with a crisis in progress to mail letters and documents to both Judges Henderson and Karlton so they can see the brick walls and lack of responsiveness to your cases. If you copy off a set for me, I will share your struggle with several reporters who are probing our issues (UNION members only please) Their addresses are below.

Honorable JudgeThelton E. Henderson
United States District Court
450 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102


Senior District Court Honorable Judge Lawrence K. Karlton (LKK)
501 I Street, Suite. 4-200
Sacramento, CA 95814


Keep on posting out there. Matthew Gray is coming onto the news sites and claiming that all of you are just me. He is possibly using the screen name of Morris1. This is a very destructive individual who is clearly working for our enemies to stop you from speaking out. I hope you don't fold to that sort of intimidation as it worsens the oppression. Gray did everything in his power to prevent people from attending the rally on Sept 7 and now he's on the news boards claiming that you aren't real individuals with real problems, it's outrageous that he does this to you while pretending to be on your side. Keep on fighting, don't let this paid lobbyist for the porn industry grind you down. We'll see him in court on April 4, 2008

See the last newsletter for posts that are needed. Use something you already wrote but do it.

this is the type of posts at the Sacramento Bee - the prison guards are certainly out there posting on this issue

Doggy at 9:35 AM PST Friday, September 21, 2007 wrote:

Thes dirtbags are in prison. I think they need to pay for their own healthcare if they want it.

3 out of 4 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834


Please take what you wrote here at the bottom of this article

and post it in these other locations. Public education is well worth the seconds it takes to select, copy, paste something you wrote to as many places as possible.

also remember to write to,,,


What this spells is more war declared on we, the people.

Senate approves gang bill

Joe Nelson and Lisa Friedman, Staff Writers Article Launched: 09/22/2007 12:15:28 AM PDT

A comprehensive anti-gang bill that includes elements of Mynisha's Law and would provide more than $1 billion over five years to combat gangs and protect witnesses, was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate on Friday. The gang legislation sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would benefit cities such as San Bernardino that have a high density of gang members and gang-related crimes.

"Clearly, the bill matches the types of efforts we have been pioneering at the local level (in San Bernardino)," said Jim Morris, San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris' son and chief of staff.

Legislation also establishes new federal crimes to cover gang recruitment and illegal acts by gangs and increases penalties for gang-related crimes.

"For more than a decade, I have worked to address the problem of gang violence that cripples so many neighborhoods in our nation," Feinstein .

"With Senate passage of this balanced and comprehensive bill, we move one step closer to providing a federal hand of assistance to those on the front lines."

The legislation includes elements of Mynisha's Law, which was written by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., after she traveled to San Bernardino and met with city leaders and Sun editors at The Sun's offices. Boxer worked with Feinstein to get her measure included in the final bill. The gang bill would authorize funding to prosecute gang members at the federal, state and local levels, including dollars to hire more prosecutors.

That was fantastic news to San Bernardino District Attorney Michael A. Ramos. He said he couldn't recall a time when a federal bill provided funding for local prosecutors and was especially pleased with the funding made available for gang-suppression purposes.

"We need to make sure we hold the really violent gang members accountable before we can even get to the prevention and intervention aspect," Ramos said.

The measure includes approval of $411million over five years for programs to keep young people out of gangs, with almost half of that going to areas that have a high intensity of gang activity.

It authorizes $270 million over three years for witness-protection needs and creates a new federal crime of interference with witnesses in state court proceedings.

That's another plus for Ramos, who in the last year has focused more heavily on witness protection.

Last year, 18-year-old Melquiades Rojas was abducted from San Bernardino, shot multiple times and his body was dumped in a gully in Beaumont after he testified against two fellow gang members at their murder trial. Ramos said he has been working diligently with San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who also had a witness killed in a case, to figure out ways of better protecting witnesses.

"That was a big priority of mine in 2006," Ramos. "That's another exciting part of this bill that's been passed."

Feinstein and Hatch said their bill reflects statistics that at least one-fourth of all homicides in major cities are now gang related and that active gang members have grown from some 250,000 in 1991 to 800,000 today.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, is carrying similar legislation in the U.S. House, but its fate there remains uncertain.

If the House approves a significantly different version, the House and Senate will have to hammer out differences before getting a bill to the president's desk.

Still, the bill's overwhelming approval in the Senate was an enormous victory for supporters.

For years it had been under siege, most recently from liberal groups that said the language swept innocent teens up with hardened gang members and failed to adequately fund prevention and intervention programs.

Officials in San Bernardino, including Ramos, Pat Morris, Police Chief Michael Billdt and county supervisors, all support tougher legislation that will enable authorities at the local, state and federal levels to work together to thwart gang violence and establish prevention programs for at-risk youths.

Pat Morris couldn't immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

Jim Morris said the city's recent partnerships with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to take guns off the streets and put away drug dealers, including high-ranking members of the Mexican Mafia, fall in line with what the two senators have proposed.

The opening of the Operation Phoenix Center on Waterman Avenue in June 2006 is an example of the mayor's efforts to steer at-risk youths away from gangs and drugs and into productive lifestyles with after-school programs and activities - doing something to give back to the community instead of taking from it.

"That is the only successful way to reduce gang activity, to cut off the blood supply of gangs," Jim Morris said.

Such programs, he said, have led to a drastic drop in crime in the targeted neighborhoods. Now, the mayor wants to expand the program into five other high-density crime areas of the city.

For those whose lives have been shattered by gang violence, the news was welcomed.

"I'm glad they passed the bill," said Moreno Valley resident Lillian Quiroz, whose 11-year-old grandson, Anthony Michael Ramirez, was fatally wounded in a hail of bullets while playing basketball with his brother and friends on a blacktop at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. He later died in the hospital.

The suspected gunman was an alleged gang member, but none of the victims had gang ties, police said.

"Anybody can just get guns nowadays. They kill innocent people. I'm glad they're doing this. Hopefully, the killings will stop," Quiroz said.

Anthony's birthday was on Sept. 13. He would have been 13 years old, his grandmother said.

said said The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Black-Latino crime wave in L.A. unlikely, study finds

UCI report analyzed crime statistics to conclude that intergroup crime is far more prevalent.
By Jill Leovy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 22, 2007
Despite a few highly publicized cases, Los Angeles is not "on the brink" of a major interracial crime wave, three University of California, Irvine scholars have concluded after examining assault, robbery and homicide data in the city's southern police precincts.

The researchers said that, although some crimes involving blacks and Latinos have been "sensationalized," the overall crime statistics suggest that offenders preying on people of their own group is a much bigger problem and should remain the focus of police attention.

"It sort of goes against the more spectacular stories that have been dramatized in the media," one of the researchers, UC Irvine assistant professor John R. Hipp, said of the findings.

"It's far more common to see [violence] going on within groups. We don't see any real trend here."

The study by Hipp and fellow UC Irvine criminologists George E. Tita and Lindsay N. Boggess compared aggravated assault, robbery and homicide cases between 2000 and 2006 in the four precincts of the Los Angeles Police Department's South Bureau against 2000 U.S. Census data.

It found that black offenders were nearly eight times more likely to kill another black person than to kill a Latino, and Latino offenders were nearly twice as likely to kill another Latino.

The robbery and assault picture was similar, the study found: Black offenders were six times more likely to assault those of their own race than to attack Latinos. Black offenders were about equally likely to rob from each group.

Latino offenders were almost twice as likely to assault fellow Latinos -- and almost three times more likely to rob them -- than to assault or rob blacks.

The report was presented to LAPD officials and a draft is being prepared for publication.

For their calculations, the researchers assessed the opportunity for blacks and Latinos to commit crimes against each other based on population size and the degree to which the two groups are intermixed.

They then looked at whether the actual crimes exceeded or fell short of predictions based on these calculations.

They did find what Hipp called "a blip" in one area: African American offenders showed an increased tendency to kill Latinos in 2005, while Latino offenders showed an increased tendency to kill blacks in 2006.

But the total numbers of killings involved were relatively small.

And because there were no similar trends in assaults or robberies, researchers were not sure what, if anything, the blips mean.

Overall, black-Latino violence is dwarfed by black-on- black and Latino-on-Latino crime, the researchers said.

The Homicide Report, an online project of the Los Angeles Times chronicling every killing in Los Angeles County, reported a similar finding about black-Latino murder rates.

The Times project examined 236 homicide cases from 2006 in the four most violent LAPD precincts -- including three South Bureau precincts and LAPD's Newton Division just to the north. Just 22 of those homicides crossed racial lines.

The majority -- 90% -- involved suspects and victims of the same race.

Same-group murder was the norm even in highly mixed areas. LAPD's Southeast Division in Watts, for example, is roughly 56% Latino and 40% black, according to census numbers. But of the 70 homicides there in 2006, only one was confirmed as black-on-Latino, and there were no Latino-on-black killings.

The study also echoed what many people in South Bureau law enforcement have said for some time: Racially motivated violence occurs occasionally, but tends to be overplayed by the media. Earlier this year a few high-profile cases, including the suspected racially motivated killing of 14-year-old Cheryl Green in LAPD's Harbor Division, fueled media speculation of rising racial conflict.

Although there are a few long-standing black-brown gang rivalries in Los Angeles, many detectives and police officers who deal daily with homicide were skeptical of a rising trend. "We don't see it happening," said Det. John Radtke, South Bureau homicide investigator.

Even when killings do occur across ethnic or racial lines, race typically does not play a strong role, said Det. Kelle Baitx, Newton homicide supervisor.

"It's on gang lines," he said. "It's on territory. It's not a race thing."

The UC Irvine study is provocative in what it didn't find: Researchers have speculated that the reason same-race violence so dominates is simply that different groups tend not to live close together.

Los Angeles, with its high degree of racial and ethnic mixing, offers "an interesting laboratory," to test this idea, Hipp said. This study hints that the thesis doesn't hold up: Violent crime seems to have to do with more complex factors than simple opportunity.

What is a gang? write to on the above article, do not exceed 100 words

Lisa P. is coming today for three hours to help me begin to sort through 15 bags of mail from prisoners. I am thrilled to have even this little bit of help with a mountain of mail. All of these are from prisoners whose loved ones are non-UNION members. Everybody is desperate, looking for a free lawyer, advocacy but that is impossible for anyone to deliver unless the group has built itself up to be able to provide real services. There is no group in California that even answers the prisoner mail except for me, when I have postage stamps and someone to help me with it. Most of our problems are due to our own inaction as a movement, as people, always wanting miracles and free rescues, killing our core people while others sit and watch us do it all, even those who benefit from our work, knocking us.

this is is how it has always been at this level of society but this is not how it is in other groups outside of prison reform. the elderly, teachers, caregivers, farmworkers have all empowered themselves to have a voice and to be able to elect or recall politicians. We are suffering terrible consequences due to simple ignorance and apathy that each one of us can do something about one person at a time. Everybody needs to get busy with this

Rev. Cayenne


Police: Shotgun that killed Oakland editor not used in earlier shooting From Staff Reports Article Last Updated: 09/21/2007 05:47:03 PM PDT

OAKLAND _ Police said today that a shotgun used to kill Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey last month by a member of Your Black Muslim Bakery was not used in a 2005 assassination attempt on a former high-ranking member of the bakery organization. Police said they regretted the release of the incorrect information and said it resulted from a ``misunderstanding'' between homicide investigators and the department's crime lab.

But police are still standing by their assertion that members of the bakery were responsible for the June 2005 attack on John Bey, who was wounded with a shotgun and other weapons outside his Montclair home as he was leaving for work. He survived the attack.

Police also said the gun used to kill Bailey on Aug. 2 was used last December to shoot out the windows of a car belonging to the ex-boyfriend of the girlfriend of Yusuf Bey IV, the now jailed leader of the bakery empire.


Attorney-client privilege puts lawyers in bind


September 22, 2007

The 14 California lawyers who face sanctions after a federal judge detailed their "exceptional misconduct" on behalf of Qualcomm have run into a sticky problem in their efforts to explain what happened.

AdvertisementLawyers representing "the Qualcomm 14" argued in papers filed this week that they cannot provide the fullest possible explanation because Qualcomm continues to assert its attorney-client privilege. As a result, lawyers for the Qualcomm 14 have asked a federal judge to issue a rare exemption that would let the lawyers who once represented Qualcomm violate the privilege so they can speak in their own defense.

San Diego federal Judge Rudi Brewster ordered the 14 lawyers to face a sanctions hearing, scheduled for Oct. 12, after presiding over a patent lawsuit that Qualcomm filed against Broadcom, a rival chip maker in Irvine.

Lawyers for Broadcom argued during the January trial that Qualcomm, its employees and lawyers were withholding evidence in the case. The jury found in Broadcom's favor.

In August, Brewster cited Qualcomm's lawyers for exceptional misconduct, ruling they had concealed more than 200,000 pages of relevant e-mails and other documents. He also ruled that Qualcomm must pay Broadcom's attorneys' fees in the case, now estimated at nearly $8.6 million.

Brewster referred the matter to U.S. Magistrate Barbara Major, asking her to consider imposing sanctions on the 14 Qualcomm lawyers in the case.

Nine of the lawyers cited were from the Cupertino law firm of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, including partners James R. Batchelder and Craig H. Casebeer. The five others were from the Heller Ehrman law firm, including San Diego partners David E. Kleinfeld and Barry J. Tucker.

In papers filed this week, lawyers for the Heller Ehrman attorneys asked Major to waive their attorney-client privilege, which raises potentially grave implications for Qualcomm. Lawyers for Day Casebeer later asked to be included in that request.

In a statement filed with the court, lawyer Joel Zeldin, who is representing certain Day Casebeer attorneys, said, "I have participated in approximately eleven communications with (Qualcomm counsel William Boggs) to reach a mutual accommodation" to lift the attorney-client privilege. "Despite these efforts, we were unable to reach any such accommodation."

The attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that shields communications between a client and his or her attorney. One exception, though, involves communications between an attorney and client that are used in furtherance of a crime or fraud.

With their request for an exemption pending, lawyers for the Qualcomm 14 yesterday submitted papers to explain their conduct without referring to their privileged communications with Qualcomm. Those papers were filed under seal.

"We're addressing the court's concerns and questions through the filing of these declarations," said Robert Hubbell, a Los Angeles lawyer and Heller Ehrman's managing partner.

In a statement issued by Day Casebeer, partner Paul Grewal said: "Day Casebeer very much wants the truth to come out, wherever it leads. Our firm is committed to the highest professional standards of candor, competency and truthfulness. Until the court decides whether the attorneys may reveal privileged information they possess in response to the (court's order), they must continue to respect their former client's confidences." Bruce Bigelow: (619) 293-1314;

Reader comments


Shackled and cuffed: Prisoners need pastoral attention, Vatican says

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Prison doors may be locked shut, but people must not close their eyes to the inmates behind bars.

Vatican officials conveyed that message at an international gathering of prison chaplains in Rome, where Pope Benedict XVI called the pastoral care of prisoners a "vital mission" that deserved the support and guidance of bishops and the involvement of local Catholics. He told the chaplains he hoped greater awareness about their ministry would inspire others "to join you in performing corporal works of mercy."

Last March, the pope demonstrated his solidarity with prisoners with a visit to a juvenile detention center in Rome. He reminded the young people of God's love for them and said he was bringing "a little light" to an otherwise dark and lonely place.

At the mid-September congress, the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, insisted that society could not "close its eyes, cannot be indifferent" to the living conditions, human rights abuses, and often-dim prospects of some of the 9 million men and women imprisoned around the world.

Cardinal Martino said it was not for the church to decide if someone is guilty or innocent. However, the church has a duty to "denounce all those situations that harm human dignity," he said.

The death penalty, he said, only "impoverishes the society that legitimizes and carries it out" and "foments revenge" instead of real justice.

Pope Benedict, in a speech to the congress, recognized that a community has an obligation to keep its citizens safe, but he reminded governments that offenders must have a chance at rehabilitation. He, too, insisted inmates must never -- under any circumstances -- be demeaned or tortured.

Congress participants agreed that torture, humiliating practices and "institutional cruelty" were on the rise.

In their final declaration, the prison ministry workers from 62 different nations declared that capital punishment must be abolished worldwide and harsh penalties, especially torture, must end. They also lamented how "most prisons are overcrowded, the prisoners are abused and their needs are not satisfied."

Debbie McDermott of the California Catholic Conference's detention ministry told the congress that her state's prison system "is in crisis." She said that "172,284 inmates are warehoused in 33 prisons designed for less than 100,000."

Almost 30,000 prisoners have been sentenced to life without parole, another 657 are on death row, and 4,200 people are locked away in solitary confinement, she said.

McDermott said California spends more than $35,000 per inmate which, given the recidivism rate is 95-98 percent, does not sound like money well spent.

But despite the desperate conditions for many prisoners, she said, innovative chaplains are finding ways that respect a penitentiary's rules while bringing the Gospel and the sacraments to more prisoners -- even to inmates in solitary confinement who are not allowed any human contact.

For example, in one solitary lockup unit, she said, guards bring the prisoners out of their cells "shackled and handcuffed and place them in individual cages so that the chaplain can provide pastoral care."

Father Ted Hughes, regional chaplain for prisons in Canada's prairie region, gave examples of positive ways the church has been able to bring pastoral care to offenders and victims alike.

In his written report, he said freed sex offenders, who are at a high risk of recommitting an abuse, are much less likely to re-offend when they become part of a "circle of support." Volunteers offer the offender friendship and, along with professionals, help him or her overcome daily challenges and achieve personal goals, he said.

The church also played a role in the recent development of an office within Canada's federal correctional system that addresses the needs of victims of crimes, he said.

Father Robert Schultze, director of prison ministry for the Diocese of Trenton, N.J., said restorative justice is perhaps the most important aspect of pastoral care work.

"Everything has to be done in the spirit of justice that restores victims and offenders, restores society that has been hurt" by crime or extreme violence, he told Catholic News Service after attending the Rome congress.

Shutting the door on a prisoner "is not the end of it. It's just the beginning of the conversation, shared prayer" that always will need to continue, he said.

Victims "need to be heard, attended to and taken seriously, and the fact that they have difficulty in forgiving, if at all, needs to be accepted," he said.

Victims need to know that they will not be "condemned as cold and unfeeling" if they cannot find it in their hearts to forgive someone for their loss, he said.


Rev. Cayenne

Yes, yes that is exactly what I'm saying and I don't feel this guard should be turned loose in the prison system. I need to know how to find out how many inmates have died on his watch. The Barney Fifes in the tiny town the guard grew up in didn't even investigate! The uncle died in a most horrible manner in the tiny town of Westmorland and had lost the use of his right hand.., due to a stroke 2 yrs. prior. Couldn't even grip or make a fist! He was hung or strangled with coaxial cable! It was wrapped 3 times around his neck and tied IN BACK with a terrific force. If you know anything about hanging death, there are 3 ways to do it. Jumping, kicking something out of from underneath or hoisting which doesn't work as you regain consciousness. This man was found ON HIS KNEES!! The ligature point was a plant hanger in the ceiling. And guess what. This old house was NEVER wired for cable. It had to have been brought there by the murderer.

Re Sillen's article

Inmates keep dying from poor medical care, Sillen's report

This matches the estimate presented to Judge Henderson and un-refuted in court that 1 prisoner dies every 6 days from medical neglect.
365/6 = 61 deaths or 426 x .15 = 64

But what is a natural death in prison? If you contract hepatitis or TB in prison and die from it is that a natural death? If you die from poor resistance to the flu or other diseases is that natural?

I don't think so.


To: "Cayenne Pepper" <>
I understand from Mark when they were transporting him by ambulance to Mercy Hospital a couple of the guards were talking and this is what Mark heard them say.

Kern Valley State Prison which is on Cecil Blvd. in Delano is under a Federal Investigation by the FBI for the deaths of some prisoners. Two weeks ago Federal Agents went to the prison and was interviewing some inmates.

No word of what it is all about but I do know there have been some unusual deaths of inmates at that prison.

No word from anyone about Mark. I will see Mark on Sunday. I got a letter from the Dr. Ayson, CMO at North Kern State Prison where Mark is housed and he said Mark had Chronic Hepatitis C but in his opinion Mark did not qualify for treatment at this time.
I go to Court on September 4th. to see if the Judge will allow me to continue being Mark's Court Appointed Guardian. The A.G's office wants me out as the guardian.

Careless double-celling is a form of medical neglect. In Perez' case, I suspect it was deliberate.

This is my letter to editor about Perez/Arraiga case

Dear Editor

I would like to know why is it that when a prison guard or guards are responsible for the deaths of inmates not one little thing happens to them?? Why are they not charged with murder?? If it was a citizen involved in something like this we would be whisked away to a cell faster than lightning. The CDCr is condoning the murder of inmates, why??

You know these inmates everyone seems to think are not worth anything have loved one's that care for them and we are tired of our men, women, and children ending up dead at the hands of guards. When CDCr gives them a pat on the back and just moves them to another prison they are saying it's all right to out right KILL inmates. It strikes me a funny how every time an inmate dies, is assaulted, tortured mentally and physically, denied health care, and all the other abuses they must endure at the hands of guards it's always the inmates fault.

Please give me a break when and how can an inmate that is handcuffed, shackled, and ganged up on by more then one guard going to fight back. That's right they can not, but it's always the inmates fault. Just like the drug problem is the visitors fault, yeah right it's the guards and the workers. I want to know when is the CDCr is going to start punishing there own for the killings of the loved ones of so many. These people must be held accountable for their actions just as citizens are.

These guards are not above the law and it's time to show them they cannot go around killing people with the CDCr approval. When a guard, with malice, causes the intentional conditions to bring about the harm of another human that is against the law. This needs to be addressed seriously, and the Courts need to stop blaming everyone else but the guards, they are the ones setting up the situation. What is going on here!!!! Murderers walking around free…..

Sincerely, Linda

I believe that Lt. Charles Hughes was actually fired from his job over this death, but certainly there were no criminal charges against him. The last I heard he was appealing the decision to fire him and I don't know the outcome of that case. He could still be loose in the system. Anyone know whether or not they hired him back? The Runners tried to cover this whole thing up. This is why we write to editors, so that nobody gets away with murderous actions

Rev. Cayenne


September 21, 2007 - 6:00PM
Mitzelfelt proposes sex offender tracking team
Influx of offenders expected in San Bernardino County

By RYAN ORR, staff writer
SAN BERNARDINO — Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt announced Friday that he will propose the creation of a sex-offender tracking team to help monitor sex offenders moving into San Bernardino County.

Mitzelfelt's plan, co-sponsored by Sheriff Gary Penrod, would ask the board to approve $238,000 to add two new positions to the sheriff's crimes-against-children unit.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation recently announced that it had finished notifying 2,741 sex-offender parolees that they are violating housing restrictions enacted by Jessica's Law.

Under the law, sex offenders cannot live within 2,000 feet of schools or parks.

"I'm concerned about possibility that offenders will likely be looking to rural areas to relocate," Mitzelfelt said. "So it's really incumbent upon us as a county, having so many rural areas, to take whatever steps are necessary to protect ourselves."

The positions include one detective who would specifically track sex offenders and a sheriff's special program coordinator.

The law severely restricts where sex offenders can go, said Marsh, and condenses the available locations where they can live.

"Areas that are not as densely populated will see more sex offenders moving to the area to comply with the law," Marsh added.

Mitzelfelt said the move to add the positions is borne out of caution.

"We'll just have to keep an eye on where they locate to," Mitzelfelt said. "It takes manpower and technology to do that."

You can post on this story in a highly Repug area at the bottom of the page.
We can't have a chance at doing the J.A.I.L. Initiative in California until there are 6500 trained workers who are going to be able to make the 150 day deadline for signature gathering. The future depends on your recruiting? Are you doing it or just waiting for someone else to do it? Do you want judges and prosecutors to be held accountable for their actions? Do you want to change the laws and better conditions for prisoners? Isn't recruiting new UNION subscribers a small price to pay to achieve these goals? Nobody can organize initiative campaigns without enough workers and funds ready to go in advance. Just do your share.

Or sit and suffer and dream about reform instead of actually doing it. Myself, I am more of an action person but nobody can do your share of the writing and recruiting for you. It's all about numbers. You are going to need to get out of your comfort zone and reach out to others who have someone in prison. Those who have no one in prison really aren't going to seriously put up time and money to change the laws. Complaining alone is not an act of reform.

There is a right time for everything and the time right now is to recruit more workers. When we decide our campaigns as we always do in January, I am going to be very firm about which, if any battles we take on for 2008. If we don't have the funds and volunteers to do these campaigns, we cannot win. So we need to take one or two and hammer them or step up our troop count. Tell me what you're doing to bring in more writers and protesters, more people to register the poor to vote, more people to subscribe to the UNION newsletter so we can prepare to do an initiative.

What are you personally doing to bring in ONE new worker so they can bring in ONE worker and we wake one morning to find we have 6500 workers trained and ready to go so we can do serious reform? What are you doing to win reform?

Rev. Cayenne

State Supreme Court Justice Relieved Over "Defeat" of J.A.I.L.

It is clear that the system fears the passage of J.A.I.L. more than anything else. Five State Supreme Court Justices have expressed concern over the potential of the passage of J.A.I.L. in this country, with a sixth warning the other justices that they should be careful what they are saying about J.A.I.L. because one day they may be placed in a position of having to rule on J.A.I.L. and having to recuse themselves.

The fact is, that all of the judiciary in this country face a serious conflict when it comes to the passage of JAIL4Judges. J.A.I.L. propagates a method by which power is restored

directly to the People, and that is what concerns them. J.A.I.L., through the direct initiative process, does not seek nor ask for any government approval, because it both originates from the People, and returns to the People. It provides for a government of the People, by the People, and for the People. Isn't that what this country is supposed to be about?

When J.A.I.L. was first filed with the Secretary of State of California back in 1995, this author was questioned by the State Attorney General as to which branch of government the Special Grand Jury created by its provisions was accountable: the Legislative, the Executive, or the Judicial. He responded, None. The Special Grand Jury is the People, and not a part of any of the three branches of government. People do not give account to their government, but contrariwise, the government must give account to the People in the forum of the Grand Jury. The very thought of this concept brings sweat to the brows of "Public Servants."

Witness the words of State Supreme Court Justice Judith Meierhenry below just this week when she said she felt less threatened this year after South Dakota voters defeated the Judicial Accountability Amendment this past year. You can almost see her pulling out her handkerchief to wipe the sweat from her brow. She fails to state though that this affair required the entire participation of all the "government" of South Dakota in illegally using the People's (taxpayers') money to oppose the People's constitutional amendment, which participation included every legislator of both houses -- Republican and Democrat, the governor, the judiciary, the State Attorney General, county commissions, and city councils, aided by the financial support of the corporate oil companies, the banks, and insurance companies. They admit that it cost them a fortune to defeat J.A.I.L. with a hope it will never return again.

Even though their actions were in defiance of their own criminal statutes (South Dakota Codified Law 12-13-16 "Publication of False or Erroneous Information on Constitutional Amendment or Submitted Question as Misdemeanor") that provide for arrest and imprisonment of offenders (see, it was worth the risk because they have the chief law enforcement officer of the state (the State Attorney General) in on the plot with them.

It is ironic that they now use Constitution Day as the time to express their distaste for the J.A.I.L. Amendment that specifically provides for a means of assuring a constitutional government in South Dakota. The fact is, these hypoctites render lip service to the Constitution, but their hearts and minds are far from the truth! J.A.I.L. campaigned on the theme, "It's All About Truth!" A visit to the above URL will bring the stirring music "His Truth is Marching On" (Battle Hymn of the Republic).

- Ron Branson -

* * *

Constitution Day forum
weighs judicial independence
By Melanie Brandert
Published: September 18, 2007

A panel on judicial issues differed in its views on whether judicial independence is being threatened.

State Supreme Court Justice Judith Meierhenry said she felt less threatened this year after South Dakota voters defeated the judicial accountability amendment last year. Other states' issues dealt with retaining and electing judges.

"They really attempted in most cases ... to take away the independence of the judiciary," she said of ballot issues.

While John Van Patten, University of South Dakota Law School professor, said people will disagree on applications of an independent judiciary, fellow professor Chris Hutton said she was concerned about political groups using money to influence elections and inaccurate portrayal of a judicial decision.

"It's easy to mischaracterize what has happened in a case by capturing one small aspect of it or trying to give the wrong impression of it," she said.

The panel addressed several issues at a Constitution Day forum Monday at Augustana College's Gilbert Science Center Auditorium. The college and League of Women Voters held the event.

It was the 200th anniversary of the Constitution's signing.

Regarding whether Legislatures should scrutinize judges, Van Patten said the judicial system has built-in safeguards to deal with rogue decisions, noting appellate courts exist. Meierhenry said the system can stand to be reviewed.

On whether politics threatens the courts, Van Patten, also a constitutional scholar, said the intensity level with judicial nominations is greater. He said the 1916 nomination of Louis Brandeis, a Jew, drew controversy.

Christopher Madsen, local lawyer and former state lawmaker, said the system is working as it should.

"It is the Senate's job to push hard and ask tough questions," he said.

Rosa Diers, senior from Nisland, said enough judicial accountability exists. Voters have the power to elect judges.


September 20, 2007. 1 comments. Topic: Criminal Justice

You Could Be Wrongfully Imprisoned Like I Was--Unless Governor Schwarzenegger Signs SB 511 and SB 609
By Harold Hall

Last month, I celebrated an untraditional anniversary. August 17, 2007 marked my third year of freedom from wrongful imprisonment. I spent nearly twenty years in prison for a crime I did not commit.

I think people want the assurance that something like this couldn't happen to them. I wouldn't wish the unique nightmare of wrongful conviction on my worst enemy, but I cannot provide this guarantee to anyone. That is because many of the methods and procedures that were used to secure my conviction are still allowable under California law.

In 1985, I was convicted of a double homicide. There wasn't a smidgeon of forensic or biological evidence that could connect me to the two slayings. Still, police zeroed in on me. They brought me to an interrogation room, where I was handcuffed to a chair, denied food, water, and the use of a restroom. They told me they had evidence of my guilt, including fingerprints, blood and semen. The more I denied my involvement in these murders, the harder they pushed. Seventeen long hours later, I was mentally drained and told them the story they clearly wanted to hear.

By the end of this ordeal, I had technically "confessed" to the crime. It didn't matter that the "confession" I provided contained many inaccuracies. It didn't matter that the information that I provided to the police -- thinking at the time that it would end the traumatic interrogation process – didn't line up with many of the details of the crime.

They had their man, although I hardly felt like one. I was only eighteen years old!

I was carted off to jail. I was scared for my life. Every day was a living hell. I was told when to use the phone, when to shower, when to recreate. I was under constant watch. Often I was pulled from my freezing cold cell in handcuffs, wearing only boxer shorts so that they could conduct cell searches. I was forced to watch, defenseless, as Corrections Officers went through my belongings, pouring out the contents of bottles, ripping up family photos, destroying objects that sustained me during those endless years. During lockdowns, which could last months, we were forced to take "bird baths" in the cell sink because we were not allowed out of our cells.

But I knew I was innocent and that I would be vindicated at trial. I knew that my lawyer would be able to explain why I provided a false confession.

Then I learned that the prosecution was planning to use the testimony of Cornelius Lee, a jailhouse informant, at trial. Lee and I had passed two handwritten notes while in jail. Lee took those notes, erased the questions and re-wrote them so that I appeared to incriminate myself. Once I learned the prosecution planned to use the testimony of a liar, a man who was hoping to get better treatment at my expense, I was crushed and demoralized.

Despite all of this, I never gave up hope, even when I was convicted and they sought the death penalty. At the penalty phase, I told the jury I was innocent; they sentenced me to life without parole.

I am free today, but prime years of my life were stolen from me.

There are two bills on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk right now. Senate Bill 511 would require the electronic recording of police interrogation in cases involving homicides and other violent felonies. Senate Bill 609 would require that testimony given by jailhouse informants be corroborated. If these laws were in place when I was facing those horrific charges, I would have been spared nearly two decades of suffering. And without these laws, this could happen to other innocent people.

California is primed to do the right thing. It can ensure that juries are exposed to the most reliable and accurate evidence available. That is why I urge the Governor to sign these bills. That way when people ask, how could this happen? I can reassure my fellow innocent Californians that we are doing everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Please visit the ACLU of Northern California's action alert and help end wrongful convictions. Also, please visit

Harold Hall lives in Los Angeles and works for the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He was wrongfully convicted in June of 1985 for the murder and rape of Nola Duncan and the murder of her brother David Rainey.

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird
P.O. Box 340371
Sacramento, Ca. 95834

If you're not writing to editors, registering people to vote, recruiting new UNION workers, what the heck ARE you doing to fight for yourself and others. The legislators are not going to pass reforms you, everything is going to have to be done by the initiative process and that requires a minimum of 6500 workers. You can do it, takes some work...nobody without a prisoner in their own family is going to put in time and money to build the necessary voting block. that is totally up to each one of us to achieve, with the inmate's help.

Tell me what recruiting efforts you have made since the rally.



Our lawsuit K'napp vs. Hickman is centered on abuses at Mule Creek.  It has a federal court date of April 4, 2008.  We will need large crowds at this hearing and others coming to court.  Are you out recruiting new workers and subscribers  to the UNION this week end?

Please communicate directly with the media folks with what you find out about the riot and copy me since I am leaving in the morning and won't be back until Tuesday.  You know that the master media email list is here where you should report all riots, deaths and disease outbreaks.



There are plenty of places needing your posts in the last two newsletters.



Mule Creek inmates riot

Friday, September 14, 2007

By Josh McCoy

As of yesterday, correctional officers were still filling out reports and questioning inmates after a riot Monday night that sent one person to the hospital and 26 others into confinement at Mule Creek State Prison.

Called the biggest disturbance in 18 years, 150 inmates participated in the fight that occurred for unknown reasons in the minimum support facility of the prison, outside the electric fence. Chris Weathersbee, public information officer, said he didn't know how many officers it took to quell the incident but that only pepper spray was used and not batons or physical force. No officers were harmed.

At a prison that prides itself on rehabilitation, the altercation was unusual for the area where it occurred, which is surrounded by a 10-foot fence without barbed wire. Three-hundred and sixty inmates reside in the two dormitories located there and participate in rehabilitation programs not available to the 3,440 inmates in the overcrowded, higher-level security areas. Minimum security inmates are those that work in the community on road maintenance, fires, and at a correctional officer's academy in Galt.

The first officer responding to the scene sounded a Code 1 alarm, according to Weathersbee, but the gathering crowd around dormitory No. 2 refused to fall to the ground. A supervisor arrived as the brawl spread into the exercise yard, according to Weathersbee. He radioed in for more help and a Code 2, at which time the fight was controlled. An arriving watch commander raised the alert to a Code 3 to bring in additional staff for a lockdown of the facility and to escort inmates to 6-by-10-foot holding cells.

Two inmates received medical attention at the triage treatment area where a nurse is kept on staff. One man was transported to an undisclosed hospital for a possible separated shoulder.

"At no point did we lose control of the facility," Weathersbee said. "The alarm response procedure was effective in quelling the incident. Mule Creek is safe."

The Investigative Services Unit is investigating the case.

Mule Creek is one of the most overcrowded prisons in California, running at 214 percent capacity, according to statistics from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. But with 1,100 staff and an operating budget of $135 million annually, the prison offers more rehabilitation programs than most, Weathersbee said. Academic classes, vocational instruction and work programs are complimented by support groups run by volunteers from the community.

"Our goal is to stop the revolving door," Weathersbee said. "We're committed to rehabbing these inmates and returning them to the community better off than we received them."

Earlier this year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an assembly bill that was called "a seismic shift" in the corrections system. Adding $7.7 billion for additional beds to reduce overcrowding, the bill, AB 900, is meant to give the space needed for improved rehabilitation and community reentry programs. Weathersbee said Mule Creek expects to receive additional funding from the bill in the near future.

Weathersbee said Monday's riot will have no influence on the rehabilitation programs provided to inmates.

Josh McCoy


California May Ease Parole Rules By DON THOMPSON – 3 hours ago

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California, struggling with a burgeoning prison population, could soon give early freedom from supervision to thousands of nonviolent parolees by ferreting out those least likely to commit new crimes, prison officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

The policy would remove qualified parolees from supervision after six months instead of the usual three years. Ex-convicts who are no longer under supervision can't be sent back to prison for parole violations, which further taxes the burdened system.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is to announce the new policy Monday, a day before the state Board of Prison Terms considers the new regulations at its meeting in Sacramento.

The politically risky policy is to be tested in mid-November, in a single parole district in conservative Orange County. If it works as expected, the policy could be adopted statewide by mid-2008, officials said.

A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger argued that selectively freeing low-risk ex-convicts from parole is better than risking the release of more dangerous inmates. A federal three-judge panel is considering whether to limit the state's prison population, potentially forcing inmates to be released before they have completed their full sentences.

"If we don't make significant reforms, the public safety dangers are grave," said Adam Mendelsohn, Schwarzenegger's spokesman.

Nearly 70 percent of ex-cons in California commit violations during their three-year parole. Last year, about 68,000 parolees were sent back to crowded prisons for violations.

The goal of the new policy is to select ex-cons who are unlikely to re-offend anyway and to encourage them to complete programs that make it even less likely they will commit new crimes, said Corrections Secretary James Tilton.

Weeding out the low-risk offenders would let parole agents concentrate on dangerous ex-convicts, such as sex offenders and gang members, Tilton said.

Criminologists have for years recommended easing California's parole policy. In 2004, a Schwarzenegger-appointed committee led by former Gov. George Deukmejian recommended releasing "very low risk" parolees after three months.

Sex offenders, gang members or those with a history of violent or serious offenses going back to their juvenile record would be ineligible. Those in the two lowest supervision categories — about 87,000 of the state's 127,000 current parolees — would be given a new questionnaire to gauge their criminal and drug-use history, job and housing status, relationships with family and the community, and other factors.

Ex-cons who are released from supervision early will be tracked to see how many commit new crimes. If the program proves successful after a few months, the procedure will gradually be introduced statewide.

"The arguments seem to make sense. Some people aren't being supervised enough. Some people, they're arguing, don't need to be supervised as much," said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, a Republican who represents the trial area.

Ryan Sherman, spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, pointed out some problems he sees with the proposal.

"It will ultimately threaten public safety by allowing thousands of parolees to avoid monitoring by law enforcement officials," Sherman said.

Former parolees also do not have access to state-sponsored drug treatment, housing and other programs to help them stay clean, he said.

On the Net: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation:

State aims to shorten some paroles

The pilot project for nonviolent offenders is expected to be approved next week. It would start in Orange and San Bernardino counties.
By Michael Rothfeld Times Staff Writer
6:18 PM PDT, September 14, 2007
SACRAMENTO -- The Schwarzenegger administration is set to launch a program in Southern California that ultimately could free tens of thousands of ex-convicts from parole years earlier than scheduled.

Officials said the plan, expected to be approved by the state parole board Tuesday, would start in Orange and San Bernardino counties and focus on nonviolent state parolees. It would encourage rehabilitation and enable overburdened parole agents to focus on serious offenders, especially sexual predators, they said.

Corrections Secretary James Tilton said in an interview that the trial program, which is expected to expand statewide, would bring California in line with most other states in screening parolees to determine which most need to monitored after completing their prison terms.

It also would free more parole agents to monitor sex offenders, as required under the voter-approved law that determines where paroled sex offenders may live. The state corrections department requires that each officer monitor no more than 20 offenders to make sure they don't live too close to schools or parks.

"We have [parolees] who we believe have all the characteristics to be successful," Tilton said. "Then it allows us to apply those resources to those folks who really need the increased effort."

Screening could begin within a couple of months, starting with about 1,700 of the 4,100 state parolees now living in one parole district. Excluding violent and sexual offenders, the state will evaluate candidates according to type of crime and evaluate criminal history, behavior on parole and other factors.

Officials said less than half of the 1,700 would likely gain approval for a shortened parole. California currently has 127,000 parolees being monitored by the state.

The district encompasses Anaheim, Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Garden Grove, Montclair, Mount Baldy Village, Ontario, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Villa Park and the unincorporated areas of El Modena and San Antonio Heights.

The state parole board would have to approve anyone chosen for shortened parole.

The Schwarzenegger administration has flirted unsuccessfully with parole changes in the past. An attempt was aborted in 2005 after opposition from victims' groups and correctional officers.




September 12, 2007. 2 comments. Topic:

Sex Offenders Shunted Into Small Republican Rural Towns – By Republican Lawmakers?
 By Bill Cavala
A veteran of over 30 years in Sacramento

Well, they insisted on it. Wanting to look "tougher" on crime than the Democrats, the Republicans insisted on a provision that keeps paroled and other sex offenders from taking up residence within 2000 feet of a school or public park.

That's as the crow flies.

The real world result of this provision is that sex offenders can't find a place to live in most large California cities.

The law requires sex offenders (and other felons) to be paroled back into the Counties where they committed the offense that put them in prison. For decades this has meant that most ex-cons wind up in our large urban areas – leaving small towns relatively free of their company.

No more!

The 2000 or so paroled sex offenders released in San Francisco now have the option of camping out on Ocean Beach or leaving the County. There are NO facilities within the County limits that meet the 2000 foot restriction. Other jurisdictions will have the same problem.

The parolees have the choice of moving on or moving back to prison. The state has no relocation responsibilities.

So here they come, small towns in Northern California. Represented by Republicans in the Legislature. Red Bluff currently houses about 36 paroled sex offenders. Be fun when another 300 join them in wandering the city's (few) streets.

The new law only affects recent paroles and new offenders who commit crimes after last November's election – although Attorney General Jerry Brown believes it should apply to all 90,000 sex offenders in the State.

Democrats are preparing bills to do just that.

We'll see how tough Republicans really are….!

Bill Cavala was Deputy Director of the Assembly Speaker's Office of Member Services where he worked for over 30 years.

He attended undergraduate and graduate school in the 1960's and received a doctorate in political science at UC Berkeley. He taught political science at UC Berkeley during the 1970's while he worked part-time for the State Assembly.

Cavala left teaching at UC Berkeley and went to work for Assembly Speaker Willie Brown in 1981 until his tenure as Speaker ended in 1995, and he has worked for his five successors as Speaker up to and including Speaker Fabian Nunez.

Mr. Cavala manages election campaigns for Democratic candidates.


publius September 12, 2007 at 03:51 PM
Given the recent string of sexual transgressions by Republican members of Congress, it does seem somewhat fitting that these miscreants be housed in heavily Republican areas. Joking aside, it would be nice to find ways to identify and neutralize these guys (and they are primarily male) before they commit sexual assults. It would be better for everyone, including them (I'm assuming neutralize is not physical extermination here). If we had a functioning mental health system, maybe treatment could be instigated before they give in to their urges. Guess that wish makes me a liberal, eh? Better to put them in Republican areas.

Bill Wiese September 12, 2007 at 10:45 PM
Will these rules also apply to Bill Lockyer's former bodyguard-and-running-buddy Myron Richardson (working as DOJ protective service agent) that was arrested/convicted for statutory rape?

Seems he got very very favored treatment. Ask at DOJ and they all clam up.

Bill Wiese
San Jose CA


September 11, 2007 - 5:57PM
Mitzelfelt explores expanded sex offender tracking
Residency restrictions could push offenders to High Desert
SAN BERNARDINO — Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt announced Tuesday that he will explore ways to expand the Sheriff Department's resources to track sex offenders.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Friday announced that it had finished notifying 2,741 sex offender parolees that they are violating housing restrictions enacted by Jessica's Law.

At least 33 of those are living in the Victor Valley.

The initiative was passed in November and requires that paroled sex offenders cannot live within 2,000 feet of schools or parks.

Those out of compliance have less than 45 days to find a new place to live.

"I'd like to explore whether the Sheriff needs additional resources to get a handle on any additional sex offenders moving into the county as a result of the state implementing residency restrictions," said Mitzelfelt of the 1st District.

He has a meeting with the Sheriff's Department early next week to assess their needs in keeping track of any paroled sex offenders that move in to the county.

Mitzelfelt said that one fear is that the residency restriction will force sex offenders to move into more rural areas.

"This is especially troublesome for the district I represent in the High Desert, where open spaces and large distances between restricted areas could draw more than our already disproportionate share of sex offenders," Mitzelfelt said.

The Department of Corrections releases approximately 400 to 700 sex offenders from prison to parole each month in California.

After Mitzelfelt meets with the county sheriff's Department, he will return to the supervisors with a report or possibly a board action to give them the resources they need.


Writing to editors  and recruiting new UNION subscribers, do it again and again and again.




There are two important CDCR rules changes and public hearings coming up.  I do not have time to study these right now as I am tying up loose ends to be gone for a few days, but appreciate any feedback.  The changes in personal property and media access will impact everyone. Are you recruiting more attorneys to the UNION so we can see the train coming before it knocks us off track?

Title: Public Information and Media Access Section(s): 3261.1, 3261.2, 3261.4, 3261.5, 3261.7, and 3267 Notification Date: August 3, 2007 Public Hearing Date: September 25, 2007 Notice of Change to Regulations Notice of Proposed Regulations Initial Statement of Reasons Text of Proposed Regulations
Title: Inmate Personal Property Section(s): 3190 and 3191 Notification Date: August 24, 2007 Temporary Effective Date: August 13, 2007 Public Hearing Date: October 17, 2007 Notice of Change to Regulations Notice of Proposed Regulations Initial Statement of Reasons Text of Proposed Regulations Authorized Personal Property Schedule (APPS)

Robert is published in the Los Angeles Times.  Hooray!,1,3417448.story?page=3&ctrack=4&cset=true

Dear Editor Your article on the impossible 2,000 foot residency restriction created by Jessica's law is right on target. Perhaps if our lawmakers concentrated on making laws that made sense rather than laws to get their names in front of the public, we would be able to come up with logical and well thought out solutions to social problems. It's time for our elected officials in Sacramento to start fulfilling their responsibilities rather than focusing on being re-elected. Robert Chickering
Ventura citizens do not want prisoners and re-entry facilities - only one UNION person posting here so far
Those who want parole cleaned up, where are you?  Judge's order blasting parole board in right hand corner of the page. Post at the bottom of this page Judge slams state parole board, demands changes
Those who want the mentally ill taken out of the regular criminal justice system where are you? Post at the bottom of the page, here's an opening for you to be heard - seize it. September 11, 2007 The Orange Grove: We need special courts for mentally ill
Post beneath Rev. Shumake's article about poverty as the root of crime, more support of our young people with jobs.  There are zero posts beneath an article about Rev. Shumake?  Public education is your job
Banishment By a Thousand Laws: Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders COREY RAYBURN YUNG John Marshall Law School - Chicago
Washington University Law Review, Vol. 85, 2007

Abstract: Across America, states, localities, and private communities are debating and implementing laws to limit the places of residence of convicted sex offenders. Nineteen states and hundreds, if not thousands, of local communities have adopted statutes which severely limit the places where a sex offender may legally live. In this article, I trace these new laws to historical practices of banishment in Western societies. I argue that the establishment of exclusion zones by states and localities is a form of banishment that I have termed “internal exile.” Establishing the connection to banishment punishments helps to explain the unique legal, policy, and ethical problems these laws create for America. Ultimately, residency restrictions could fundamentally alter basic principles of the American criminal justice system. While those supporting these laws have the interests of children at heart, the policies they are promoting will be worse for children and society.

Keywords: Sex Offenders, Sex Crimes, Child Molestation, Rape, Residency Restrictions, Banishment, Exclusion Zones Accepted Paper Series
Suggested Citation Yung, Corey Rayburn, "Banishment By a Thousand Laws: Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders" . Washington University Law Review, Vol. 85, 2007 Available at SSRN: Export in:  BibTeX EndNote RefMan Export What's this?

Contact Information for COREY RAYBURN YUNG (Contact Author) Email address for COREY RAYBURN YUNG John Marshall Law School - Chicago
315 South Plymouth Court Chicago , IL 60605 United States


Bob Driscoll  has worked hard on SB299 for the honor program.  This is his letter to the Governor who gets more than 8,000 letters per day and reads none of them. Politicians do not read their mail, at best an ivy league type of college kid might take a quick glance.  What politicians DO READ are posts in the California Progress Report and what is in the newspapers.  Your letters to editors are the best way to talk to politicians. If you want to copy paste this and put a stamp on it in support of Bob and his work that's fine too but PLEASE, post about AB 1539 and SB 299 Honor Program out at the news sites.  If you don't care about reform enough to write to editors, then who will care? The politicians care about what is in the news and in the public's eye. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger September 12, 2007 State Capitol Sacramento Ca 95814

Governor Schwarzenegger: The SB 299 Honor Program and AB 1539 compassionate release on your desk. Both of these bills do something unheard of in recent times. They recognize that prisoners are not all the stereo typical violent thug as presented by the prison authorities, law enforcement, press, and media. They are as different as non prisoners. Thousands just want to serve their time without worrying about their safety. Others are actually human beings at the end of life, a threat to no-one, who would prefer dying at home with their loved ones not shackled to a prison hospital bed completely alone. The honor program is not the idea of some "do gooder". It has been a pilot program for years and has only survived and indeed succeeded because the prisoners made it successful. It works if given even half a chance. SB 299 is that chance. It is beyond belief that a bill such as AB 1539 has to be written. The prisoner is dying. What does it serve the state to continue incarceration? Do we heed Churchill's observation that you can determine how civilized a country is by looking into their prisons. California has not become "civilized" by hiding what is going on behind its prison walls. These bills come to you with overwhelming support from both the Assembly (59 yea, 14 nay) and the Senate (32 yea  6 nay). Please do what the people urged their representatives to do, and common decency demands: sign both these bills. Signed,

---------------------------------------- State Assemblywoman Garcia fires back at Capitol critics

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September 13, 2007 By JIM MILLER Sacramento Bureau SACRAMENTO - For the second year in a row, Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia was in the thick of end-of-session intrigue this week as lawmakers hurried to finish their work for 2007. The Cathedral City Republican became the author of eleventh-hour legislation to extend the collective bargaining agreement with the state's prison guards and to guarantee them a almost 10 percent raise over two years.

Gov. Schwarzenegger blasted the move Tuesday afternoon. The effort fell apart early Wednesday morning. And on Thursday, an editorial in a major California newspaper called Garcia a "lackey" of the politically influential correctional officers union.

Garcia said she stands by her actions. Prison guards, she said, are the victims of state policies that have left prisons short-staffed.

"A brave coalition of Democrats and Republicans signed on to this bill because of our collective belief that not enough was being done to bring closure to contract negotiations and recruitment efforts," Garcia wrote in a letter Thursday to The Sacramento Bee, which published the critical editorial.

The correctional officers union has spent at least $420,000 on behalf of Garcia since 2002, state records show. Affiliated groups spent another $72,000 on her behalf.

"There was no sweetheart deal or favors to pay back," Garcia wrote. "We tried to put our idea in a bill to hold a public hearing and prompt discussion before the lights dimmed in the Capitol for the rest of the year with no resolution in sight. Slick maneuvers, arm twisting, flat-out lies and perhaps secrets deals killed that effort."

Last year, Garcia was at the center of an end-of-session fight that pitted the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians against organized labor. Garcia carried the bill containing the Coachella Valley tribe's renegotiated gambling compact.

Garcia wasn't the only Inland lawmaker involved in this week's prison-guard contract push. "The governor has not negotiated in good faith, I believe, with the correctional officers," state Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, said Tuesday afternoon. "They have dangerous jobs and they can't strike."

Until Tuesday, AB 1662 dealt with absentee voting for members of the military serving overseas and was stalled in the Senate. Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, allowed his legislation to be transformed into the Garcia bill.

"Bonnie's a friend of mine and I had a dead bill," Cook said Thursday. He said he probably would have supported Garcia's bill if it had made it to the Assembly floor. "I am sympathetic to what correctional officers are trying to accomplish," he said. Reach Jim Miller at 916-445-9973 or
write on the above article

Dan Walters: Guards union gets the shaft By Dan Walters - Bee Columnist Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, September 14, 2007 Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A3 Print | E-Mail | Comments (0)| Digg it |

Many strange things happen on the final night of a state legislative session - bills that mysteriously appear or disappear, verbal and physical confrontations between overtired and/or overstimulated politicians, floor debates that deteriorate into gibberish, to name but a few.

It would be difficult, however, to top the odd melodrama that played itself out in the wee hours of Wednesday morning when the union that represents prison guards tried a power play and, to use a term common inside the prisons, was "punked" by legislative leaders. It all had to do with the monthslong impasse between the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), one of the state's most powerful political interest groups, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over a new contract.

Money is not the major issue in the stalemate. Schwarzenegger has offered a generous salary increase; it is, rather, a conflict over some sweetheart provisions of the contract that his predecessor, Gray Davis, granted the CCPOA under its legendary former leader, Don Novey. CCPOA President Mike Jimenez, with a cadre of prison guards and lobbyists, camped in the Capitol on Tuesday and shopped around legislation - there were several versions - that would bypass contract negotiations and give guards a pay raise.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City, a major recipient of CCPOA campaign funds, became the measure's nominal author. After hours of backroom finagling - largely over whether prison salaries would be tied to those in the California Highway Patrol - senators waived rules, and a bill was amended on the Senate floor. Ostensibly, the measure would give guards two retroactive salary increases of 3.5 percent and 6.1 percent.

The Senate Appropriations Committee convened to give the maneuver a veneer of openness, but it dissolved in confusion when it became apparent that the amendments placed in the bill were not the ones that CCPOA wanted. The phantom amendments gave the guards only one 6.1 percent raise. Within minutes the union and Garcia pulled the bill, and both houses of the Legislature adjourned. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata evidently blocked the union's gambit with a slick, somewhat unseemly switcheroo on bill language. Why? With the union maneuver drawing heavy media attention, he and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez were worried that the bill - which had enough legislative votes to pass both floors - would be seen as a sellout to a powerful interest group and damage passage of a Feb. 5 ballot measure to ease up on legislative term limits. They also probably didn't want to alienate Schwarzenegger as they work on health care and water legislation.

The intrigue doesn't end there, however. It's equally clear that CCPOA didn't really want the pay raise measure to become law because its dispute with Schwarzenegger isn't over money. He had already denounced the bill as a raid on the state treasury, and the union knew he would veto it, but CCPOA wanted to send Schwarzenegger a message that it could muster a two-thirds legislative vote, raising the specter of a veto override. Perhaps it would have goaded him into finalizing a contract more to the union's liking.

Even that, however, may not have been the primary motivation for the dead-of-night maneuver. If he had gotten the bill passed, Jimenez would have demonstrated to the union's somewhat restive rank-and-file members he was fighting for them and still has political juice. Jimenez's real problem is that he's not the smoothly omnipotent Novey. And emerging from the final night of the session with nothing while being shafted by the legislative leader means Jimenez and his union just dropped several notches in the political pecking order. About the writer: Reach Dan Walters at (916) 321-1195 or Back columns:
--------------------------------------- Sex convicts get orders to move Under Prop. 83, newly released offenders have until Oct. 31 to leave areas near where children gather By John Simerman STAFF WRITER Article Launched: 09/13/2007 03:03:49 AM PDT

Map showing areas where sex offenders can live in Bay Area. By Oct. 31, hundreds of recently released Bay Area sex convicts must move or risk returning to prison under a 10-month-old law that carves wide legal moats around schools and child-friendly parks to keep them from living nearby. Where they will land is anyone's guess. State parole agents on Friday finished handing out 45-day notices to 2,741 parolee sex offenders across the state who were found in violation of Proposition 83 by living within 2,000 feet -- about four-tenths of a mile -- of schools or parks where children "regularly gather." About 400 notices were delivered in the Bay Area, including more than 100 in the East Bay, said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In the span from Richmond to Antioch, 45 sex convicts received notices. Agents handed an additional 50 notices to parolees along the Interstate 80/880 corridor from Berkeley to Fremont. Voters imposed the restriction in November in a 70 percent landslide for Prop. 83, known as "Jessica's Law." The measure, considered one of the nation's toughest anti-sex-offender laws, is named after Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was raped and murdered in 2005 by a sex offender staying nearby.

Prop. 83 also stiffened some sex crime sentences, broadened the state's ability to commit "sexual predators" to psychiatric hospitals after their prison terms and required lifetime GPS monitoring of new sex felons.

The convicts who received the 45-day notices all were paroled after passage of Prop. 83 on Nov. 8, but before court challenges over ambiguities in the law were settled, Sessa said. A federal judge ruled this spring that the ban could not apply to about 90,000 sex offenders who were living freely in California before voters passed Prop. 83. "These people's status was a bit unclear as they were coming out of prison," said Sessa.

Beginning in mid-August, state parole agents spread across the state, armed with handheld GPS devices to see whether the front doors of the paroled sex offenders stood within the banned zones. If so, they handed the parolee a notice: Move, or risk going back to prison. The agents also visited 2,390 sex offenders to verify that they lived outside the 2,000-foot zones.

"We physically visited each parolee," Sessa said. "We have not had any resistance. Most of these people knew that they would probably have to move."

The notices create a dilemma not only for the parolees, but also for the state agency that tracks them. Parolees are slated to return to the counties where they committed their offenses. But state Senate maps, analyzed by the Times before passage of Prop. 83, show that the vast majority of the Bay Area falls within 2,000 feet of schools and parks. In San Francisco, where agents served notices to 46 parolees, maps show only a few tiny shoreline pockets where newly released sex convicts could live. In the East Bay, nearly all of the I-80/880 corridor is off limits. In West Contra Costa, sex offenders could occupy a small patch of El Sobrante, a sliver of North Richmond, some of Hercules and little else. More territory opens up in Livermore and East Contra Costa, and still more in the Central Valley.

"We're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place," said Phil Torda, spokesman for the parole region that covers much of coastal Northern California. "The voters of the state of California passed it. We're going to enforce it."

Critics, including some sex crime prosecutors and police officials, worry that the law will gather sex convicts into mostly rural pockets.

A leading human rights group on Wednesday called for the repeal of such laws in a scathing report on sex offender laws in many states. In the report, called "No Easy Answers," Human Rights Watch argues that many states violate the rights of offenders who pose little risk and expose them to harassment and violence. The 2,000-foot restriction in Jessica's Law applies to those convicted of sex offenses against adults and minors alike. Sessa said he thought a parolee who falls under the law would be required to move if a local city or town built a park or tot lot near the offender's home. One Southern California city built a soccer field partly to jettison paroled sex convicts from nearby motels. One San Francisco advocate said the 2,000-foot rule threatens public safety. "We're looking at an immediate need for housing for almost 3,000 recently paroled sex offenders, many of whom are impoverished," said Jake Goldenflame, himself a registered sex offender. "We may be walking into a mass situation where many of them just abscond." Attorney General Jerry Brown continues to argue in state and federal court that the 2,000-foot rule should apply to long-freed sex offenders who want to move into one of the zones. "There's not widespread clarity on how the law will be implemented," said spokesman Gareth Lacy.

Ron Leighton, who was released this year after being convicted of oral copulation with a teenager, got a call a few weeks ago from his parole officer, telling him he needed to move from his Anaheim home, which stands a few short blocks from an elementary school and a park. He said the officer told him the zones blanketed northern Orange County.

"He said there's nowhere you can go. 'Well, do you have a map?' No, they don't have maps," said Leighton, 42. "'Do you have anywhere you can help for me to live?' No, they don't give you any help. It makes it just insanely difficult." Reach John Simerman at 925-943-8072 or

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird UNION P.O. Box 340371 Sacramento, Ca. 95834
Are you passing out UNION information each time you visit a prison?  If not, why not?  6500 TRAINED and ACTIVE workers can change any law, less than that cannot.  You sign up ten to subscribe to the newsletter so they can learn the issues, if not we all suffer because we wouldn't recruit and build our voting group.


The Legislative session is now officially over.  The two sentencing bills AB 160 and SB 110 were apparently shelved  (not passed)

(excerpt) Legislation that was proposed, but ultimately shelved, included bills to create a California sentencing commission;
AB 1539 is on the Governor's desk, keep on writing about this in your letters to editors. He has until October 12 to sign it or veto it.  Use your pen to fight for compassionate release
Only when 6500 come together in one group willing to write to editors, show up for important hearings and rallies, register the poor to vote, send in a little money each month, only everyone is out with UNION flyers in the line-ups, mailing into the prisoners to teach them how to do recruiting from inside, only when everyone puts these activities on a front burner will we ever be able to change the laws.

The sentencing commission bill didn't pass so the only ways left to bring about any reform is by the initiative process when we have enough workers trained to take the right action at the right time or at the ballot box because we all registered 20 people each and taught them to get out the vote.


Our enemies elected the present people to office and we allowed them to do it by not focusing on voter registration, on recruiting new workers to the UNION.  Most of our problems would be solved if acted with a group mentality and registered the poor to vote. Theresa Vaughn is still my houseguest as I shovel out my office.  We are going to San Francisco so that she can do some sightseeing and to have a meeting with a journalist and should be back online by Tuesday.

There are have been been many links in the newsletters the last two days where you can fight back by posting comments.  The emphasis is on recruiting new workers and writing to editors The rally photo page is looking better, I will add some more.  This is not easy for me to do amidst all the commotion and noise. Let me know if it doesn't load for you, the links to the speeches are also posted here.

Keep going until we are strong enough to win or we shall all continue to suffer. Remember that as voters, we outnumber everyone if only we were taking the right actions at the right time.

Rev. Cayenne
The forms that you need for recruiting new workers are all located here in both English and Spanish There is no time like now to get started, ten bring ten bring ten and we'll have it.  If every UNION member recruited ten new subscribers, we'd have it.  Takes some work, you can do it.
I would like to recognize everyone who helped with the rally.  Even though we didn't have a properly set up voter registration table, and nobody remembered to pass out flyers to all our visitors, it was still a big success if everyone who vowed to joined actually does.  A rally is a group effort when it's done right and there should be many facets to it.  We miraculously raised the money we needed to cover everything except that we are short $50 since the press packets cost $86.  Otherwise we made it! Hooray!

I especially want to thank Nora Weber for her contageious fighting spirit, every one who spoke at the rally, Theresa Vaughn for putting her own life on hold and  coming hundreds of miles to fight for your sons and daughters, all of the grieving family members whose loved one have died for speaking through your tears, Mike and Jorge, without whose help we would never have had things properly set up and taken down, Linda Forrest of Mark Leno's staff who assisted me in many ways with arrangements and the permit, the United Farm Workers who helped us to show our numbers to the legislators in the offices above the rally, to everyone who showed up and to those who sent money to pay the bills. Thank you for fighting for yourselves and others and I do hope that you will print off the photos and the speeches and send them into your adopted prisoner and email the links to everyone you know. And for those who made promises to join the UNION, let's pray that happens because until we give feet to our prayers and put teeth in our activities, the oppression will continue.  The judges can only go so far, the rest of the more serious reforms are up to us to organize and force through initiative campaigns.  Just do your share and watch the magic happen. Rev. B. Cayenne Bird

Sex offender laws do more harm than good: report Reuters - 5 hours ago Report hits laws aimed at sex offenders Chicago Tribune - 8 hours ago Rights group urges less strict US sex offender laws AFP - 12 hours ago Report Faults Sex-Offender Laws By DAVID CRARY – 4 hours ago NEW YORK (AP) — Many state laws targeting convicted sex offenders violate the rights of people who pose little risk, a leading human rights group said Wednesday. It called for repeal of laws restricting where these ex-offenders can live and for curbs on access to online registries. Human Rights Watch depicted its report, two years in the making, as the first comprehensive study of sex-offender policies in the United States. It said many of the laws are of questionable value in protecting children from sex crimes, but expose offenders who have served their sentences to harassment and violence. "These are laws that weren't based on reason — they were based on a few horrific cases," said Jamie Fellner, director of the U.S. program at Human Rights Watch


. "But it's very difficult for politicians to demonstrate the courage to urge changes in these laws." The report, titled "No Easy Answers," criticizes the three main categories of laws that have spread nationwide in the past 15 years: those that require registration of convicted sex offenders; create online registries accessible to the public; and impose residency restrictions which ban registered offenders from living near schools, parks and other designated facilities. Concern about such laws, typically named after youthful victims, has grown in recent years. At least four homicides have been attributed to self-styled vigilantes who killed men listed on the registries, and some law enforcement officials contend that residency restrictions cause more problems than they solve by driving offenders away from jobs, relatives and treatment programs. But support for the measures among politicians and the public remains high. "Our first priority is for victims and future victims," said California state Sen. George Runner, an author of get-tough legislation which — among other provisions — bars registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. "If that makes it harder for someone to find somewhere to live, we're willing to live with that consequence," Runner said. Iowa is among more than 20 states with similar measures. But its law banning offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and child care centers is now opposed by the state's prosecutors, who say it is counterproductive.


"The residency law doesn't have any tie to safety," said Polk County Attorney John Sarcone. "They passed it with good intentions, but the reality is the vast majority of assaults against children occur from someone they know." Sarcone, based in Des Moines, said the law has backfired by forcing sex offenders to move out of their homes, sometimes living under bridges or in rest stops where it becomes more difficult for authorities to monitor them. "There are some horrendous crimes perpetrated against kids, and we want to protect them," Sarcone said. "But this 2,000-foot rule is not protection for kids. It protects politicians." Human Rights Watch called for repeal of all broad-based residency restrictions, saying that traditional parole and probation laws can be used to restrict individual high-risk offenders. The new laws often cover offenders who did not victimize children and sometimes deter them from getting treatment or maintaining supportive family contacts, the report said. "Residency restrictions solve nothing," said Sarah Tofte, the report's main author.


"They simply make it nearly impossible for former offenders to put their lives back together." The report challenges some widespread perceptions about sex offenders. For example, it says that while the state laws are focused on protecting children from sexual abuse by strangers, most abuse is committed by family members and trusted authority figures. The report also contends that recidivism rates are lower than claimed by tough-on-crime politicians. Studies on recidivism have produced widely varying figures, but the most recent Justice Department analysis, issued in 2003, said 5.3 percent of sex offenders released from state prisons were re-arrested for another sex crime within three years. Every state requires people convicted of various sex offenses to register with police; there are now more than 600,000 registered offenders nationwide. Human Rights Watch said too many people are listed who pose no threat — such as individuals convicted of consensual sex as teenagers.

Due to community notification laws, the registries are easily accessible online — providing an ex-offender's criminal history, current address and often a photograph. Human Rights Watch said this practice has led to harassment and violence against registered offenders. It urged states to limit access to the registries, while developing narrower, more sophisticated ways of alerting residents in a given neighborhood if a high-risk offender is present.

Minnesota won praise in this regard for tailoring its policies based on individual assessments of an offender's threat level.

The report expressed concern about the Adam Walsh Act, a federal law passed last year aimed at coordinating and expanding sex-offender registration nationwide. Under one part of the act, states lose federal grant money unless they include in their registries juveniles who committed sex offenses when they were as young as 14. Human Rights Watch said no juveniles, and no other offenders considered to pose low future risk, should be registered. A federal judge ruled Wednesday on another part of the Walsh Act that allows the U.S. government to move sex offenders considered "sexually dangerous" to mental hospitals when their prison terms end. U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt in Raleigh, N.C., said the process, known as "civil commitment," is unconstitutional because the government cannot hold people indefinitely out of fear that they will commit a crime in the future.

Associated Press writer Mike Baker in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report. On the Net: Human Rights Watch:

-------------------------------------- County might house state prisoners They'd serve end of terms in re-entry facilities By Tony Biasotti (Contact) Thursday, September 13, 2007

More from County News The $65,000 question is answered: no to mileage Boeing pays $471,000 pollution fine Court rejects petition to waive sex offender law A few hundred convicts could be the last thing a community wants, but Ventura County leaders are talking to state officials about possibly building one of the "re-entry facilities" that are central to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's prison reform plans.

There's no word yet on where in Ventura County the facility would be, or when it would open. It would be a secure facility with about 300 beds and would be paid for by the state, Sheriff Bob Brooks told the county Board of Supervisors this week. The prisoners would be people who lived in Ventura County before their arrests and would be paroled here upon release. They would serve the last one or two years of their sentences at the re-entry facility, where they would get more counseling, rehabilitation and job training than a prison offers. "The state's desire, and our hope, is that the programs help them not to re-offend, help them find homes and jobs and do everything that keeps them out of the criminal cycle," Brooks said. The program would be open only to inmates with "minimal to moderate" histories of violence and prison misbehavior, he said. The supervisors expressed tentative support for the idea and scheduled a vote in two weeks on whether to enter into a nonbinding agreement with the state Department of Corrections to put a re-entry facility in Ventura County.

Brooks, Supervisor Kathy Long and County Executive Officer Johnny Johnston have already been to Sacramento to discuss the outlines of the plan.

Schwarzenegger's proposal is held up in the courts for now, so re-entry facilities remain theoretical.

If they happen, they'll be voluntary. No county would be forced to have one. But the Department of Corrections promises to make it worthwhile for counties to participate, with incentives that include priority funding for local jail projects, Brooks said. Ventura County needs to expand its Todd Road Jail near Santa Paula at a probable cost of about $100 million, and that doesn't cover the jail staffing. The state could provide up to $75 million if Ventura County hosts a re-entry facility, Brooks said.

Apart from that incentive, re-entry facilities are a good idea on their own merits, Supervisor Steve Bennett said, drawing agreement from his board colleagues. When it comes to counting on the state to pay for something, however, the county's position should be "trust, but verify," Bennett said.

Re-entry facilities would hold about 16,000 prisoners statewide, relieving some of the overcrowding in existing prisons.

Without a re-entry program, parolees head back to their hometowns with little more than a bus ticket and the clothes on their backs. Re-entry facilities would at least give them the chance to leave with skills to get a job and stay out of trouble, Brooks said. "One objection that's raised is, We don't want these people coming into our community,' but the reality is, they're coming anyway," he told the board.
on the above article write
--------------------------------- Judge slams state parole board, demands changes RULING COULD GIVE THOUSANDS OF MURDERERS CHANCE AT FREEDOM By Howard Mintz Mercury News Article Launched: 09/13/2007 01:33:24 AM PDT

A Santa Clara County judge has ordered the state's parole system to change the way it does business, setting up a major legal clash over the parole board's routine refusal to release convicted murderers.

In an unprecedented 34-page ruling, Superior Court Judge Linda Condron recently called the current parole process "malfunctioning." The parole board's approach to thousands of cases each year is so flawed, she ruled, that it violates the constitutional rights of California's inmates during parole hearings. Her harshly worded opinion, which stemmed from the cases of five local murderers seeking parole, took the extraordinary step of ordering the state agency to revise its procedures and undergo training within 90 days to fix the system.

State lawyers are fighting Condron's order, filing court papers this week saying they are appealing to the 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose. If upheld, Condron's ruling could entitle thousands of convicted killers to new parole hearings and give them more leeway to argue for release if they have, among other conditions, shown remorse for their crimes and demonstrated they have reformed in prison.

"This system is malfunctioning and must be repaired," Condron, a longtime former prosecutor before joining the bench, wrote in an Aug. 30 order. "The solution must begin with the source of the problem. The Board must make efforts to comply with due process."

Given the broad reach of Condron's decision, lawyers following the case expect the issue to eventually reach the California Supreme Court, which over the past 10 years has dealt with several cases challenging the state's general reluctance to grant parole to murderers.

"I'd say they are going to have to give a level playing field now, which they haven't had," said Jacob Burland, a Del Mar lawyer representing the five inmates. "A lot more will get out because they haven't been treated fairly up to now." Deputy Attorney General Scott Mather, who is handling the case for the state, did not return phone calls seeking comment. Seth Unger, a spokesman for the prison and parole system, said he could not comment because the issue is being litigated. Condron's ruling arose from a lengthy evidentiary hearing she conducted earlier this year in which she reviewed statistical evidence from nearly 2,700 board decisions denying parole to murderers. In general, the judge found that the board used boilerplate language regarding the heinous nature of the original crime as justification to deny parole without providing the specific evidence required by the law. Out of about 3,000 decisions each year, the Board of Parole Hearings grants parole to only about 5 percent of eligible inmates who are serving potential life terms. The board is denying parole with "formulaic decisions" that "do not contain any explanation or thoughtful reasoning," Condron concluded. In particular, Condron found the board is ignoring a state Supreme Court ruling two years ago that established new guidelines for how the parole board reviews so-called "lifer" cases. Her ruling, legal experts say, provides the Supreme Court with an opportunity to revisit that decision, in which the justices were divided 4-3 over whether a convicted Los Altos Hills businessman serving time for killing his wife was entitled to parole. The five cases before Condron involved convicted Santa Clara County murderers who have been in prison anywhere from 19 to 28 years. Under the terms of Condron's order, those inmates - Morris Bragg, Viet Ngo, Donnell Jameison, Arthur Criscione and Donnie Lewis - would be entitled to new parole hearings under revised board procedures for reviewing their bids for release. Contact Howard Mintz at or (408) 286-0236.

Poway (Jill, a teacher)  and Yap Yap (Brigitte) were kicked out of PTO for promoting the UNION. Is this a guard-controlled forum or what.  It is easy to take out the cookie and go right back in to continue the public education amongst those who are suffering from ignorance and apathy.  Don't let the guards stop you from organizing to save yourself.  Of course they don't want a voting group that cares about prisoners to become large enough to do initiative campaigns.  FIGHT BACK, recruit, write to editors, register people to vote


Bill calls for allowing jails to medicate mentally ill inmates

The state Senate voted 36-0 Friday to approve Senate Bill 568, which would allow county jail facilities to provide medications to defendants with mental illnesses so the defendants could stand trial. The legislation was authored by Sen. Pat Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa). Already passed by the Assembly, the bill is now headed to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for consideration. “The reality is, more and more mentally ill are being housed in jails, which by definition are not treatment facilities,” Wiggins said. “This bill serves as an interim measure and the county jails have assured me they have no intention of becoming permanent mental hospitals.” Existing law provides that if a defendant is found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial, the trial or judgment is suspended until the defendant is restored to mental competency, according to a news release from Wiggins. Current laws also require county law enforcement to take the “incompetent to stand trial” defendant to a state hospital or treatment facility in order to restore the defendant to competency. If this defendant has been accused of committing a felony offense, involving great bodily harm or another serious crime, the law allows the defendant to be involuntarily medicated in a mental hospital or facility, according to the news release. Wiggins’ statement indicates that it can take up to six months from the date a defendant is determined to be incompetent until the time they are moved to a treatment facility due to a shortage of suitable beds. Under the language of SB 568, if it becomes law, counties would be allowed — after a required court hearing — to medicate defendants diagnosed as mentally ill and found by a judge or jury, in concurrence with the county board of supervisors, the county mental health director, sheriff and chief of corrections, to be incompetent to stand trial. The bill also requires the evaluating psychiatrist to determine whether a defendant could be effectively medicated and restored to competency in a jail, and requires the Department of Mental Health to report to the Legislature the number of defendants incompetent to stand trial currently in the system and the resources available for treatment. Wiggins’ office indicated that SB 568 is supported by the California Psychiatric Association, California Mental Health Directors Association, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, California State Association of Counties, California Sheriff’s Association and other county sheriffs’ offices throughout the state.

When writing something for The Eureka Reporter, keep in mind the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How that need to be covered in each submission. Remember to include the day, time and location of events. E-mail works best (, but submissions can also be sent to: Submissions c/o The Eureka Reporter
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More posts are needed underneath this article about the mentally ill, public education is everyone's job. The mentally ill should be treated or be in a mental hospital not in a prison somewhere in isolation where family cant always go to visit

jorge - Sep 12, 2007 12:48:01 PM
Take what you wrote at this link and paste it to the other newspapers. The master media email list is here  (it needs updating, any volunteers to do this)  Select, copy, paste what you wrote everywhere since this story appears everywhere and it is your job to educate the voters if we are ever going to be able to win initiative campaigns and put our own people into elected office

Schwarzenegger attempt to prevent cap on prison population blocked

badlaws wrote: It is always so easy to tell who the prison guard union posters are. No wonder Supreme Court Justice Kennedy said they are sick. Really. Google it. Posted 9/12/2007 2:30:27 PM gentle_warrior wrote: For those who forget that the incarcerated humans in this country are indeed just that - HUMAN - I would like you to think on this the next time you talk about "inmates, criminals, convicts, etc...". These humans have families and those who love them despite whatever they did. Look around you and wonder, because this is who we are.... We take care of your children and grandchildren in nursery schools, we give them shots in the doctor's office, we are dental assistants, we are school teachers and Sunday school teachers, we stand behind you in the grocery store, we prepare your medicine in the drug store, we work in banks, we approve your loans, we service your insurance claims, we work for newspapers, TV stations and radio stations, we read your electric meters and water meters, we are your landlords, your neighbors, we take care of your elderly parents in nursing homes, we are nurses, lab technicians, X-ray technicians, we own beauty shops, flower shops, printing shops, we are welders, plumbers, tree trimmers, we work for the IRS, the State Dept., in the courthouse, schools, churches, drug stores and toy stores, we are legal secretaries, lawyers, school board members, we are bus drivers, we prepare meals for your kids in school, we are city council members, bank tellers, we process your checking account, your saving account, we work at your Social Security office, your insurance company, we take care of your IRA, stocks, bonds, we sell your kids bikes, school supplies, clothes, shoes, eyeglasses, we repair your cars, we are real estate agents, car dealers, college professors, psychologists, administrative assistants, safety engineers and ranchers. We work at Ralphs, Albertsons, Trader Joe's, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Macy's, Nordstrom and Saks 5th Avenue. We sell Avon and Tupperware. We are not all "on welfare", no matter what the government would like you to think.

There are two million people in prison in America and twice that many on parole and probation. Add in mothers, fathers, children, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends and about sixteen million people are personally affected by the prison system in the United States. We are tired of letting ourselves feel humiliated or embarrassed because our loved one is in prison. WE did nothing wrong, and they are paying for their crime! We are tired of fearing the loss of our jobs or evictions from our housing should anyone find out we have a loved one in prison. We are tired of being made to feel inferior or unwelcome in churches, clubs, organizations or society in general simply because we refuse to abandon our loved ones. We are ready to unite, to come out of hiding and openly support each other and our loved ones. It's a new day, America and we're here to prove it! We are ready to speak out against the "they deserve what they get" attitude we hear you talk Written by a very intelligent woman.... I hope this makes you think before you open your mouth with all the nasty, negetive, hateful, and hurtful comments...

Posted 9/12/2007 7:40:28 PM tcpip_hog wrote: Gentle warrior: 2% of the population incarcerated or on parole. Another 3% affected by all of this. I will use your figures. That leaves 95% who has to pay for these 2% who chose not to obey society's rules. I will assume that your 3% also has to pay. So I ask you , just what do you expect us to do ? We are supporting these scofflaws. We have millions of law abiding citizens wanting to work. You think we should hire the felon instead? In my family, when someone breaks the laws, they are shunned. Period. They learn this at the age of thirteen.

Posted 9/12/2007 9:47:39 PM
norweb wrote: Good for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court who delivered a blow to Schwarzenegger and the other politicians of California who think they can warehouse human beings and not foot the bill for Constitutional health care. Building more prisons will only add more problems to the already troubled prison system, it will do nothing but make the problems worse. We need to fix what we have before we build more. The mentally ill should be treated in outside facilities and not warehoused in prisons. The paralyzed harmless prisoners should be in Skilled Nursing facilities. Politicians have seen fit to warehouse humans and then claim they are tough on crime. So why not fix the problems instead of making them worse. Prisons were built to house hardened criminals, not every phase of society that cannot function in the general public. Thank God for Federal Judges who have common sense and will stand firm on their ruling of unconstitutional behavior. Posted 9/12/2007 8:55:15 AM Recommend (8)
flopez323 wrote: I'm glad our Appeals court blocked Arnie's attempt at blocking the prison cap panel. Arnie wants us to believe that if we start to release inmates early we will all be in danger. I don't believe we'll be in anymore danger than what we are in now. The CDCr will have control over who they release and they can weed out the ones with the long rap sheets. Posted 9/12/2007 9:42:02 AM Recommend (6)

This one needs more posts, at the bottom of the page beneath the article where it says "Add Comments" norweb at 9:06 AM PST Wednesday, September 12, 2007 wrote: Federal Courts are Correct, Schwarzenegger is wrong

Good for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court who delivered a blow to Schwarzenegger and the other politicians of California who think they can warehouse human beings and not foot the bill for Constitutional health care Building more prisons will only add more problems to the already troubled prison system, it will do nothing but make the problems worse. We need to fix what we have before we build more. The mentally ill should be treated in outside facilities and not warehoused in prisons. The paralyzed harmless prisoners should be in Skilled Nursing facilities. Politicians have seen fit to warehouse humans and then claim they are tough on crime. So why not fix the problems instead of making them worse. Prisons were built to house hardened criminals, not every phase of society that cannot function in the general public. Thank God for Federal Judges who have common sense and will stand firm on their ruling of unconstitutional behavior.

10 out of 12 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No

myplay2 at 9:25 AM PST Wednesday, September 12, 2007 wrote: The Judges were ... PREGERSON, THOMAS and RAWLINSON, Circuit Judges, Ninth District.
0 out of 0 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No
demc at 10:07 AM PST Wednesday, September 12, 2007 wrote: it all about the money its not the mistake the inmate made ????? its all about the money they would loss out of there pocket money money in there pocket and no money for med care for people that like in a cage
1 out of 1 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No
Frymire at 7:48 PM PST Wednesday, September 12, 2007 wrote: Finally A Judge that for once is looking out for the people rather than the corrupt politicians. I have to tell you I did not think it would happen. Now if they will just get on with it and take it one step further and start releasing the men that have been held 10,15,20, years past their sentences. We have men who should have been paroled 15, 20 years ago and because of Pete Wilson & his buddy Gray Davis who rewrote the law are still sitting in prison. Enough is enough. That God for an honest Judge for a change.
2 out of 2 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No


norweb at 9:06 AM PST Wednesday, September 12, 2007 wrote: Federal Courts are Correct, Schwarzenegger is wrong

Good for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court who delivered a blow to Schwarzenegger and the other politicians of California who think they can warehouse human beings and not foot the bill for Constitutional health care Building more prisons will only add more problems to the already troubled prison system, it will do nothing but make the problems worse. We need to fix what we have before we build more. The mentally ill should be treated in outside facilities and not warehoused in prisons. The paralyzed harmless prisoners should be in Skilled Nursing facilities. Politicians have seen fit to warehouse humans and then claim they are tough on crime. So why not fix the problems instead of making them worse. Prisons were built to house hardened criminals, not every phase of society that cannot function in the general public. Thank God for Federal Judges who have common sense and will stand firm on their ruling of unconstitutional behavior.

10 out of 12 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No
myplay2 at 9:25 AM PST Wednesday, September 12, 2007 wrote: The Judges were ... PREGERSON, THOMAS and RAWLINSON, Circuit Judges, Ninth District.
0 out of 0 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No
demc at 10:07 AM PST Wednesday, September 12, 2007 wrote: it all about the money its not the mistake the inmate made ????? its all about the money they would loss out of there pocket money money in there pocket and no money for med care for people that like in a cage
1 out of 1 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No

Frymire at 7:48 PM PST Wednesday, September 12, 2007 wrote: Finally A Judge that for once is looking out for the people rather than the corrupt politicians. I have to tell you I did not think it would happen. Now if they will just get on with it and take it one step further and start releasing the men that have been held 10,15,20, years past their sentences. We have men who should have been paroled 15, 20 years ago and because of Pete Wilson & his buddy Gray Davis who rewrote the law are still sitting in prison. Enough is enough. That God for an honest Judge for a change.
2 out of 2 people found this comment helpful. Was this comment helpful? Yes | No

This is what Rev. Shumake who spoke at our rally last Friday has been doing since he last saw you. Retaliatory shootings all too familiar By Karl Fischer STAFF WRITER Article Launched: 09/12/2007 04:39:24 PM PDT

Click photo to enlarge Local residents around South 37th Street and Wall Avenue in Richmond... (Gregory Urquiaga/Staff )«1»Freddie Jackson heard the shots and saw the police cars zoom down the block but, not one to gawk, he went about his business.

He drove all the way to the freeway Tuesday night before the phone rang and changed his direction, and his life.

"That was my nephew, man. We were sitting in my car right out here. We were just talking," the co-founder of Richmond's Tent City Peace Movement said Wednesday, working hard to hold his composure. "Then Jewell rode off on his bike." Jewell Mayweather Jr., 23, passed the corner of Second Street and Macdonald Avenue on his way to see his girlfriend down the street about 8 p.m.

That moment, a group of gunmen sprayed the area with bullets, and Mayweather never made it where he was headed, one of three young men killed in a pattern of retaliatory street violence that terrorized the city after dusk Tuesday.

Police documented six shootings from Tuesday to Wednesday, several of which seem related, and their catalyst all too familiar to residents and police. One year and a day earlier -- Sept. 10, 2006 -- the same groups acting on similar grudges inflicted similar violence using similar methods.

"There is nothing reassuring about this. This is not something that can be controlled by the Police Department," Police Chief Chris Magnus said at South 37th Street and Wall Avenue, where the same people who killed Mayweather likely gunned down 19-year-old Dwayne Moore 20 minutes later.

"This problem will require a sustained effort from the whole community to resolve."

Last year at this time, three died during a weeklong ping-pong of shootings between street factions in north and central Richmond. This year, police say it started much the same way between the same neighborhood factions.

On Tuesday morning, someone shot a 22-year-old man in the leg near the corner of Filbert Street and Willard Avenue, in the incorporated side of North Richmond. Then at 3 p.m., gunmen strafed a van driven by 21-year-old North Richmond resident Deondrae Holden on Richmond Parkway, killing him as he was headed to meet a friend on the city's south side.

Detectives continue to investigate who committed those shootings and why, but after nightfall Tuesday it became apparent to police that some young men from North Richmond would seek revenge on someone with or without facts.

The attacks come quickly and target places more than people, the gathering spots of rival neighborhoods.

"When we were engaging the youngsters in dialogue, we did not have all that back-and-forth shooting. A lot of that stuff quieted down in the city," said the Rev. Andre Shumake of the Richmond Improvement Association. "We know it works, but it has to be sustained." Shumake referred to last fall's Tent City peace protest, in which residents camped near violence hot spots. A major component of that effort involved bringing together young people involved in the cross-neighborhood disputes to settle disagreements through nonviolent means.

Jackson and many other Tent City organizers have been planning a new protest for weeks with Mayor Gayle McLaughlin's office. It begins Sept. 25, the anniversary of the start of last year's event.

"But we can't lean on the tents. They are a symbol. They can't be our crutch," Jackson said. "We want to do this at the same time every year, to let people know that no matter what happens, we're going to be there."

Police say at least two shooters blasted the intersection where Jackson's nephew fell, in the Iron Triangle neighborhood. One other victim likely will survive his wounds, police said.

As officers converged on the shooting scene on Macdonald, detectives believe the same group or an associated group drove across town and cranked out more than 40 rounds across from Brother's Liquor and Market on Wall Avenue.

Four young men were hit, including Moore, who died a few steps from Ever Ready Missionary Baptist Church, which was holding a service at the time. A second victim from that shooting remained in critical condition Wednesday.

Two were hurt Wednesday morning when gunmen sprayed the corner in front of McGlothen Temple in North Richmond, at the corner of Filbert Street and Gertrude Avenue. A head wound left one victim in critical condition, a man who police say just came to the corner looking for work.

Charlene Harris came to the Wall Avenue crime tape in fear Tuesday night after hearing that her teenage son left his grandmother's home, just blocks away, soon before the shooting started. She soon heard that he made it home, but her relief about his safety came tinged with grief. "This is really scary. All these young black males are vulnerable, but they don't feel as though they are targets because they're not doing anything (wrong)," said Harris, an anti-violence advocate. "But you don't have to be doing anything to be a target." Some of her son's friends -- not statistics, not criminals -- were in the line of fire, bleeding in the street. Police say Moore lived in the neighborhood and was walking home from his girlfriend's home. By all accounts he was a good kid, police said.

Patrick and Jana Jones, who grew up in the south-side neighborhood, accompanied Moore's family to the crime scene Tuesday night. While they awaited the expected bad news, the neighborhood boiled.

"I remember going to this store when I was a kid. I went in there all the time and got groceries, or a pack of cigarettes for my aunt, so long as I had a note," Patrick Jones said. "Back then everyone in the neighborhood watched each other's kids. If you were out doing something, your mother would hear about it before you got home."

People in the crowd shouted at police and called to each other. Some blamed the liquor store, backdrop of many previous shootings over the years. Some just shouted, angry, or wailed. After a brief talk with the detectives, Moore's father laid down in the street and cried. Reach Karl Fischer at 510-262-2728 or
Rev. B. Cayenne Bird UNION P.O. Box 340371 Sacramento, Ca. 95834

More comments are needed here to support this miraculous situation of law enforcement wanting treatment for the mentally ill.  The miracle is here, it's time for everyone who prayed for this change of heart to praise this sheriff for speaking out  Post at the bottom of the article  timing is everything

The Gov has announced that he might call a special session of the legislature which means they will not be leaving Sacramento this week as planned.

I have no word on the bills yet.  Keep calling/faxing the target list (email is a waste of time) until I get news that a vote was taken  SB 110 and AB 160.  Tell them to just vote YES on it, that sanity in sentencing is something YOU as a taxpayer want to happen now. (See yesterdays newsletter for info)

Rev. Cayenne
--------------------------------------- Tuesday, September 11, 2007 The Orange Grove: We need special courts for mentally ill
Here's what Nora posted beneath it Imagine a Sheriff recommending mentally ill Courts. Could it be that he has seen enough of the jail house torture of the mentally ill that it has opened his eyes to the overwhelming taxpayer cost, and the total distruction of a human life .

SB 851 is a bill that should be passed. There is only one problem. When a bill makes too much common sense the State Assembly and Senate members will keep amending the bill until it is watered down so badly that the bill has no real teeth to it's contents.

California would be better off if most of these State elected politicians were sent home on a permanent leave of absence without pay.

Nora Weber
-------------------------------------------------- Schwarzenegger attempt to prevent cap on prison population blocked Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to stop a three-judge panel from considering a cap on the number of inmates in California's overcrowded prisons.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Schwarzenegger's challenge to orders issued by two federal judges July 23 establishing the panel. There are about 172,000 inmates in 33 state prisons that were designed to hold 100,000.

U.S. District Judges Thelton Henderson of San Francisco and Lawrence Karlton of Sacramento have ruled that the state is providing woefully inadequate health care and mental health services to prisoners. Henderson has also appointed an overseer to bring prison health care up to constitutional standards.

If the new panel - Henderson, Karlton and Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the appeals court - finds that overcrowding makes improvements impossible, it could impose a lid that would require the state to release prisoners. Federal law bars a single judge from limiting a state's prison population but allows a three-judge panel to do so.

Schwarzenegger argues that no limit is necessary and that a $7.4 billion prison expansion plan, passed by the Legislature in May, will ease overcrowding. The governor said last week that a court-imposed population cap could force the state to release dangerous criminals.

Inmates' rights advocates contend prison crowding could be reduced substantially if the state stopped returning large numbers of parolees to prison for minor parole violations. Donald Specter of the Prison Law Office, which represents inmates in the case, called the governor's recent statements scare tactics and said the state should negotiate a solution.

The appeals court said Tuesday that the establishment of the three-judge panel was only an interim step in the case, leaving the underlying issues unresolved, and that the court must complete its work before the state can appeal. The panel holds its first session Sept. 24.

Schwarzenegger's legal affairs secretary, Andrea Hoch, said the administration "continues to aggressively work to resolve prison overcrowding" through changes in the parole system, addiction treatment programs and transferring some inmates to other states.

"We are taking every action to convince the three-judge panel that there is no need to endanger public safety with the drastic measure of releasing convicted felons," Hoch said.

E-mail Bob Egelko at This article appeared on page B - 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle
billrh wrote: How about transfering some of them to other countries? Maybe the ones they came from. Posted 9/11/2007 4:02:51 PM Recommend (6)Report Abusegen_j_ripper wrote: ATTN: mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs and parole officers - bus your parolees to San Francisco. Same goes for your criminal illegals and your homeless junkies. Flood SF with your human debris! ...boycott SF, otherwise. Posted 9/11/2007 4:14:14 PM Recommend (6)
popboy69 wrote: Explain to me, Gen_J_Ripper, what San Francisco has to do with this article and your comment? It's about the STATE prisons, not SF. Perhaps if Bush and the Feds weren't so determined to jail non-violent criminals, perhaps our prisons wouldn't be so full? Or are you just repeating the oh-so-tired "let's slam the liberals and San Francisco" on every article on SFGate as part of the Repiglican playbook? Posted 9/11/2007 4:33:12 PM Recommend (6) billrh wrote: gen_j_ripper: Please follow your own advise and boycot SF. You sound worse than anything we now have. Posted 9/11/2007 4:34:32 PM Recommend (5)
ckjb wrote: I was about to suggest that jails at least put their inmates to good use and hire them out as seasonal farmhands, but (1) I'm not sure if that's already done, (2) it's only a temporary thing because that is the very nature of seasonal farm work, (3) you'd have to offer nice incentives to farmers, (4) don't they do this in the south with chaingangs or something? is it legal?, and (5) you think e. coli from spinach contamination is bad, try a hepatitis outbreak from the prisoners. Posted 9/11/2007 4:59:44 PM Recommend (1)
vrbxl wrote: It's just like wanting a puppy, Governor. If you can't take care of it, feed it, pay the vet bills, walk it every day - you can't have it. Same with prison inmates. When you show us that you are mature enough to take care of the puppy, we will consider letting you have one. Meanwhile, no more puppy mills. Posted 9/11/2007 5:10:19 PM Recommend (7)
billrh wrote: wckjb: The only flaw in your plan is that it may lead to a shortage of farmers. Posted 9/11/2007 5:18:30 PM Recommend (1)Report Abuseguys680u1 wrote: I think it is a shame when prisoners can get better medical treatment than law abiding citizens and their libraries are better than most public schools have. Posted 9/11/2007 5:54:45 PM Recommend (3)
mrdeckin wrote: So the capacious legal mind that is Thelton Henderson, the man whose consent decree in the Rider's case in Oakland has single handedly spawned a crime wave there, has his sights set on the state prison system? Well, if you like what he's done to Oakland, I'm sure you'll love his plan for the whole state. I'm sure John Burris is on the case right now--coming soon to a park or street corner near you: California's finest! Posted 9/11/2007 6:00:03 PM Recommend (4)
freeshots wrote: If ya on death row and the proof is there and no matter who you are what you are or what color you are when your sentence to death you should have a yr to prove it was not you. Once ya lose again you die period. I just do not think that those in prison should be allowed to sit on their A@@#@ and watch t.v. read. and plot their next crime, i say put them out and make them do some highway work. The state of California have one of the worst highyway systems in the country. Why not get these criminals out and make them work. Posted 9/11/2007 6:01:37 PM Recommend (2)
View Page: 123 Add Your Comment

gen_j_ripper wrote: These convicts need to go somewhere so they can "slay some fool 'n gets back to my comfy crib" in the state, I say send them all to SF. SF will welcome them, as they do the homeless dirtbags and the criminal illegals...perhaps Chris Daly or Sandoval can create a $100 million "housing and job training" program for them, and fund it by "raising fees on businesses". HaHaHaHaHa!......SEND 'EM ALL TO SF!!! Watch that filthy berg sink under the weight of all its human debris! Posted 9/11/2007 6:01:48 PM billrh wrote:

guys680u1: There is virtualy no medical treatment in prison. Posted 9/11/2007 6:20:12 PM Recommend (1)
david_felder wrote: The primary job of government is the protection of its citizens. Except in California...specifically the Bay Area...where we ignore them in San Francisco, excuse them in Berkeley, and encourage them in Oakland. So let's see what we've got here. Popboy sez' "Let some of 'em out...I mean they've never REALLY hurt anyone." Vrbxl....says if you can't pay for them, they shouldn't be in jail....conveniently forgetting that the Democrats run the houses and are loathe to spend money on prisons....ah, my wonderfully liberals socialists! No crime is too big that it can't be excused, no prisoner is beyond redemption...and we can purchase $80,000 toilets for the great unwashed, but we can't keep the felons where they belong. Again folks, remember: The Democrats control both houses of the Legislature.....the Guard union runs the show......and the people continue to be raped, murdered, robbed and....well...this IS a SF website. Doubtful the libs care..... Posted 9/11/2007 6:23:32 PM Recommend (4)
idocare wrote: start releasing non-violent prisoners and get them to work, with a levy on their income up to the value of the 'damage' caused and/or the cost of 'housing' them in prison. AND start the attrition process of prison guards -- one of the most expensive batch of gevt emplyees, as well as one of the most powerful lobby in Sacramento. Posted 9/11/2007 6:26:51 PM Recommend (2)
david_felder wrote: You can't do that idocare. In Washington State...not as liberal as California but still...when prisoners worked making cabinets, chairs, furniture etc for state employees, the unions sued saying that this created an unfair advantage-one in which they could not compete. Maybe we could "make" the prisoners" do jobs that nobody else wants to do.....maybe. Posted 9/11/2007 6:47:49 PM Recommend (1)
kuboaa1 wrote: An a nation and society we've made a conscious decision to lock people away for years and years instead of investing in resources on the front end to help people get an education and stay away from drugs and crime. So now we have to live with that decision and at least provide proper housing and care in prison.

We can't have our cake and eat it too. Regardless of what people think about priosoners, we are still a civilized nation and the vast majority of these inmates are going to be back out on the street someday, and that means we have to help them prepare to reintegrate into our communities.

There are more people in prison here in the United States than any country in the world. We have attempted to legislate and regulate all behavior and the land of the free and home of the brave has turned into the land of the imprisoned. Get used to it folks, cause it's only getting worse. Until we focus on giving people hope and opportunity the prison industry will keep booming! Posted 9/11/2007 8:00:17 PM Recommend (5)
laurelheights07 wrote: We should have better prisons because if prisons work better, crime goes down. Look at New York. They have a lot of the same problems as us lke gangs and drugs, but their recidivism rate is 30% lower than ours. That's hundreds of millions of dollars, countless crimes, and people's lives we can save. We can do a whole lot better than we're doing. Posted 9/11/2007 8:56:09 PM Recommend (0)
colevalleyrob wrote: Who cares if these criminals live in over-populated prisons? One solution to the problem is don't commit crimes then you won't have to worry about it. We don't live in a democracy when a judges decide the laws based on their own whacked-out view. Posted 9/11/2007 9:32:32 PM Recommend (1)
tcpip_hog wrote: Colevalleyrob: " We don't live in a democracy when a judges decide the laws based on their own whacked-out view." How soon we forget. Are you old enough to remember the Rose court?

Posted 9/11/2007 10:33:39 PM Recommend (0)
ms_kitty wrote: If we got control of our border with Mexico, the future prison population would decrease by 30%. Over 30% of the California prison population is Mexican illegals. As for what to do with 'em now, we can build more prisons or warehouse criminals somewhere else. For you people who want them to be rehabilitated, here's an idea: why don't you invite a parolee to live with you. Show him how much you care. Then, when he rapes and murders everyone in your family, at least you'll have some common sense in your final moments. Posted 9/12/2007 12:37:46 AM Recommend (1)


ptbarnham wrote: Ive been in the can quite a few times overcrowding thats not a problem long as the chefs not pissed of and more the merrier and more I.O.U"s from our usual poker or craps game...Only reason the jails are full..some weenies dont like living with gang members,spicks,friggers,honkys or if there cops..They get there own cell...Just like asians...That's the Problem Ptbarnham...Ill drink to that..The V.O.A Posted 9/12/2007 3:45:40 AM Recommend (0) View Page: 123 Add Your Comment

Take what you posted at the SF Chronicle above on the Prison Cap Panel and paste it here as this one has zero posts.

Ruling upholds panel on prisons Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, September 12, 2007 Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A4

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to block the creation of a three-judge panel to consider imposing a California prison population cap.

The administration is not planning an appeal.

The appellate court dismissed the appeal "for lack of jurisdiction." The Prison Litigation Reform Act allows for appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court only after the three-judge court has made a decision. -- Andy Furillo, Bee Capitol Bureau
These were all posted by UNION members where the politicians can see them at the bottom of this article in the California Progress Report   Write one, paste it everywhere

Gentle_Warrior September 11, 2007 at 07:46 PM Sentencing reform is a must, without any reform we might as well put up a barbed wire fence around the state because there will not be many of us left. Every year we seem to have more and more of our freedoms turned into crimes. It is apparent with all the information coming out about the roll the police and district attorneys office play in wrongful convictions no one is immune from being the next victim in that all consuming conviction rate.

There are to many men, women, and children’s serving ridicules sentences. So many of our children are being charged with crimes for being children; being convicted of horrendous amounts of time in a prison when they should be home growing up. Men and women are given absurd amounts of prison time and when they have done the time the parole board still refuses to allow them to go home no matter what they have done to change their lives around.

Our prisons population is out of control and will just get worse. Building more prisons just means that more and more people will be in prison. The only ones that benefiting from this are the people who have a direct connection with the system. This attitude of lock em up and throw away the keys is destroying our family structure at an alarming rate.

The abuse and torture that is and has been going on for years has got to come to a stop, the diseases that run rampant in our prisons not only effects the inmates it effects the visitors and employees and is brought back into our communities, thus effecting everyone, the medical neglect is deplorable and an mark against our society that we allow human beings to be treated in this way. Our mentally ill need to be in hospitals where they belong receiving the care that they desperately need and not thrown into solitary confinement where they are neglected even more.


We need this sentencing commission in order to try to fix the horrible injustice that the politicians have been heaping on us for years and years. I would hope that this bill will be passed, the need is great.
gramainthebed Jackie richardson September 11, 2007 at 10:27 PM The polititions of Ca have the good citizens thinking that the sentenceing commision is going to be releaseing thousands of murders and sex violaters on their doorstep. If any releasing is done it will only be releasing inmates who are almost ready to go home anyway and a lot are parole violators who are violated for stupid reasons anyway. They will not be putting vilent offenders that are not suitable for parole or rapists and child molesters. People Please Get Real.
Nora Weber September 12, 2007 at 01:00 AM SB 110, AB 160 and AB 1539 are essential to prison reform. Of Schwarzenegger thinks he will sneak in vetoes at the last minute and they won't be noticed he has another thought coming.

The recent U.N.I.O.N rally on Sept. 7th. on the Capitol steps is just the beginning of a major group of people in California who are completly fed up with the unconstitutional treatment of human lifes in the prisons. We will not stand for the continued torture of our loved ones. All the Republicans who think they can't be voted out of office is in for a big surprise in the next election.

Schwarzenegger better get the message that the FEDS are knocking on his door, and they will take over the California prisons and all the State money that is now feeding these politicians. I can't wait to see a cap put on the prison population by the three Judge panel. Keep up the good work Schwarzenegger they are coming after your State funds.
NOTICE THE REASON SCHWARZENEGGER GAVE FOR HIS PLANS TO VETO THE HEALTH CARE BILL - DO YOU SEE THE HYPOCRISY?  He is saying he doesn't want to throw good money after bad but he is willing to do the opposite and build more prisons.  This is a man who kicks his own fanny if you listen closely. Rev. Cayenne Monday, September 10, 2007 "We Must Keep Working" The worst kept secret in California politics is basically all but confirmed, as Governor Schwarzenegger issued a statement this afternoon promising to both veto the Democratic health care proposal and to call the Legislature back for a special session.

"I cannot sign AB 8 because it would only put more pressure on an already broken health care system," said the governor in a written statement released to the media. Schwarzenegger's statement also confirmed that he will call a special session of the Legislature to address health care reform, and many presume a formal announcement will come soon. "We must keep working," he said in his statement. That being said, there's a lot of uncertainty about what happens next.

For example, the governor's press statement today lists numerous problems with the bill carried by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Senate President pro Tem Don Perata... not the least of which is that it doesn't cover everyone who's uninsured. Democrats say AB 8 would cover about two thirds of those in California who don't have insurance.

And while there are a small number of people who also wouldn't have been covered under the governor's January healh reform framework, universal coverage is something he says at almost every public appearance.

Democratic leaders told reporters this morning they're proud of their proposal. "This is a damn good bill," said Senator Perata.

And Speaker Nunez suggested that while Democrats are more willing to talk about funding for health care in a special session, they're not so flexible when it comes to the structure of health care reform. "We are not going to be willing to make a lot of movement," he said, "in the area of the substance of the bill."
--------------------------------------------- Bill to give pay raises to prison guards fails Bee Capitol Bureau Wednesday, September 12, 2007

An effort by the state correctional officers union to short-circuit the collective bargaining process and get the Legislature to give them a pay raise failed early Wednesday in the final press of legislative business.

Amid early-morning confusion over the contents of the bill, both houses adjourned after 3 a.m. without approving a newly crafted measure that sought to give the CCPOA's 31,000 members a 3.5 percent raise retroactive to April 1 and another 6.1 percent increase that goes back to July 1.

CCPOA officials said the bill would have cost $327 million through July 2008. Schwarzenegger had vowed Tuesday to veto the legislation if it made its way through the Assembly and Senate. "There's a lot of ifs, but let me just tell you, I am against the unions going around the process after they have not gotten what they wanted," Schwarzenegger said. "To go around the process directly to the legislators and in the dark of night to go and start brewing up some bill, I think that is the wrong way to go."

CCPOA members have been working without a contract since July 2006. The state has offered a 15 percent salary boost over three years, plus benefits and differentials that would bring the package to around 20 percent.

The union has rejected the offer, saying union members will lose ground to CHP officers over the life of the deal and that givebacks demanded by managers would curtail their ability to grieve job changes, cut back senior officers' power to set their job assignments and drastically reduce their sick leave benefits.
San Diego folks - if you don't post in the Tribune, when election time comes, all the voters there will choose Repug politicians and vote against any initiatives that will benefit us.  Please educate the readers of the Tribune.  Hundreds of thousands of people buy the paper, that's free public education that we as a movement cannot afford to buy when you get published.  If you won't do this public education, please recruit someone to the UNION who will learn the issues and use their pens to get to a better place.  It's a good idea that you are looking for someone to send to Sacramento if you live down south.  Good UNION members are always recruiting.  Send the news letter excerpts into at least one prisoner really works

Prison guards try last-minute maneuver to win 10 percent raise


7:43 p.m. September 11, 2007 SACRAMENTO – The union representing state prison guards used its political clout Tuesday to seek last-minute legislation giving employees a nearly 10 percent raise over two years. The move was an end-run around contract negotiations between the governor's administration and the union, which won lucrative pay and benefit increases under former Gov. Gray Davis.

AdvertisementThe most recent contract has been stalled in negotiations for more than a year. The legislative maneuver drew a sharp denunciation from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In a statement, he referred to the overdue state budget, which was held up by Senate Republicans who criticized Democrats and Schwarzenegger for overspending.

A giveaway of taxpayer money to the prison guards would make no sense after such a protracted budget stalemate that was in large part over state spending issues, the governor said. In addition, the state faces a projected budget deficit of $5 billion next year.

“I did not veto $700 million from the budget to give it all to (the guards union) in a backroom deal,” Schwarzenegger said in the statement. “This bill makes an end run around negotiations and mediation, reverses an arbitration decision that saved the state hundreds of millions of dollars, kills any hope for management reform, and reinstates, in full, the contract signed by Gov. Gray Davis. This is the same contract that Republicans and Democrats derided as the biggest sweetheart deal in California history.”

The move came on what was expected to be the last day of the regular legislative session, although lawmakers will stay later because Schwarzenegger called a special session to address health reform and water policy.

He said progress on those issues had been slowed by the two-month-long budget stalemate, and he needed more time to reach a deal with lawmakers. “We owe it to the people of California to finish the job that we have started,” he said in a Tuesday news conference announcing the special session. “I am convinced that we are close enough on both of those issues that it deserves a little bit more effort, and therefore we should stay here.”

The prison guard bill, which had not been voted on by Tuesday evening, would give the union's 30,000 members raises of 3.5 percent this year and 6.1 percent next year. It also would potentially tie future raises to the higher salaries paid to California Highway Patrol officers.

The administration said the contract provisions contained in the bill could cost taxpayers $882 million over three years. The Senate budget committee figured the cost at $1.1 billion over three years, with a first-year cost of $636 million. Prison guards typically earn more than $70,000 in base salary, but most make far more with overtime.

Thirty-four prison employees earned more than $100,000 in overtime alone last year, and hundreds more earned than $100,000 in combined salary and overtime, said Seth Unger, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Mike Jimenez, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, said the details contained in the bill would amount to a $300 million annual cost to the state.

He also denied the union was seeking to tie its salaries to the highway patrol. The move came after the union walked away from mediation last month and on the same day the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by the Schwarzenegger administration that is related to a far-reaching prison-reform effort.

A recently created three-judge panel is considering whether California prisons have become so crowded, and their conditions so poor, that they violate inmates' civil rights. The panel could decide to cap the inmate population, potentially resulting in the release of prisoners before they complete their full sentences.

Schwarzenegger has appealed the decision creating the three-judge panel and requested a stay so the panel could not meet while the appeal was being heard. It was that request the appellate court turned down on Tuesday.

Last spring, Schwarzenegger and the Legislature approved a $7.8 billion construction and reform plan to deal with the prison system's myriad problems.

Supporters of the bill giving the guards' union the pay increase cited the need to move quickly on those reforms as justification for quickly settling the contract dispute.

“In order for the prison reforms to move forward, you have to have labor – the people who are working in the prisons – on board,” said Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster. Pay raises are needed to help fill thousands of guard vacancies, he said. Runner was one of the lawmakers who held up passage of the state budget this summer, in part because he said the state spends too much money.

The pay-raise bill splintered the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the Assembly and Senate, amid intense lobbying by the union and the administration. Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman, R-Tustin, criticized the bill and said the Legislature should not intervene in labor talks.

The bill is politically perilous for Schwarzenegger. It requires a two-thirds vote to pass in the Democrat-controlled Legislature, but there appeared to be enough Republican support to meet that threshold. If so, the Legislature could override an expected veto. “This becomes a political ploy with severe economic consequences and policy consequences to the successful reform of the prison system,” said Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden.

He has been the Senate's key negotiator on prison reform issues and opposed the 11th-hour bill.

Adding to the intrigue was how the legislation was introduced. It was authored by Republican Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia of Cathedral City, who has been a reliable ally of the governor's.

Associated Press Writer Laura Kurtzman contributed to this report.

Reader comments
Technically, the re-entry building is the same as building more jails and prisons. On the other side of the coin is the fact that prisoners are doomed to fail with only $200 to get a fresh start.  It would be good if they had a place to live and a place to work when they are released, those who are not too severely mentally ill after being tortured in prison.  Poverty is at the root of recidivism. How to help inmates back into society By Robin Miller/City Editor Article Launched: 09/11/2007 06:28:18 AM PDT

Each year, Solano County receives as many as 1,000 new state prison parolees. Many come with little retraining or guidance on how to re-enter society, and as a result, many re-offend. An effort to change that cycle of crime and punishment captured the attention of local law enforcers, business leaders and government officials Monday as they participated in a regional workshop hosted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

On the agenda was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's prison reform plan that calls for construction of "Secure Community Re-entry Facilities," sites that would house inmates during their final six months to one year in prison.

"The idea is to provide a continuity of care before they parole," explained corrections spokesman Seth Unger. "They would get intensive services from vocational training to education before their release."

The construction of enough of these facilities to house 16,000 inmates is a key component of recently signed legislation by Schwarzenegger to reform California's prison and jail systems.

Monday's workshop, held in Santa Rosa, included officials from Solano, Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, and Colusa counties. Breakout sessions covered parolee programming needs, jail construction funding, and standards for reentry facilities

Among those attending were Solano Sheriff Gary Stanton and District Attorney David Paulson. Both say they strongly support the idea of creating a re-entry facility in Solano.

"My position is that these people are coming back to Solano County whether we do anything or not," said Stanton. "We can continue to give them $200 bucks and a bus ticket with no hope of success or we can have a re-entry program where they are exposed to programs that will help them succeed."

By law, inmates are returned to their county of last legal residence. In practice, offenders come back to local communities whether they are rehabilitated or not. California's rate of recidivism is one of the highest in the nation, with about 70 percent of parolees committing new crimes that return them to prison, noted Stanton. According to statistics released by the state, Solano has 1,608 active parolees, 901 arriving in 2006.

Both Stanton and Paulson said there are a number of potential sites in Solano County where such a re-entry facility could be built.

One obvious choice, they said, would be the Claybank jail, since plans already are in the works to build a new 500-bed jail facility next door to it.

"And unlike some counties, Solano has a lot of land available to build on, if we wanted to build a brand-new facility," Paulson said.

The bottom line, he said, is that Solano needs to be prepared to deal with parolees. "We need to try to put an end to the recidivism," he said.

Monday's workshop is one of 10 planned up and down the state through October. They are designed to raise local awareness of the secure community re-entry facility models. Any final plans and agreements on these facilities will be negotiated on a county-by-county basis, officials noted. Robin Miller can be reached at

With the Bench Cozied Up To The Bar, The Lawyers Can't Lose By Adam Liptak New York Times Published August 27, 2007 Dennis G. Jacobs, the chief judge of the federal appeals court in New York, is a candid man, and in a speech last year he admitted that he and his colleagues had ''a serious and secret bias.'' Perhaps unthinkingly but quite consistently, he said, judges can be counted on to rule in favor of anything that protects and empowers lawyers.

Once you start thinking about it, the examples are everywhere. The lawyer-client privilege is more closely guarded than any other. It is easier to sue for medical malpractice than for legal malpractice. People who try to make a living helping people fill out straightforward forms are punished for the unauthorized practice of law. But Judge Jacobs's main point is a deeper one. Judges favor complexity and legalism over efficient solutions, and they have no appreciation for what economists call transaction costs.

They are aided in this by lawyers who bill by the hour and like nothing more than tasks that take a lot of time and cost their clients a lot of money. And there is, of course, the pleasure of power, particularly in cases involving the great issues of the day.

''Judges love these kinds of cases,'' said Judge Jacobs, whose speech was published in The Fordham Law Review in May. ''Public interest cases afford a judge more sway over public policy, enhance the judicial role, make judges more conspicuous and keep the law clerks happy.''

There are costs here, too, he said, including ''the displacement of legislative and executive power'' and ''the subordination of other disciplines and professions.'' Yet, at the conclusion of a big public-policy case, the bar and bench rejoice. ''We smugly congratulate ourselves,'' Judge Jacobs said, ''on expanding what we are pleased to call the rule of law.''

Benjamin H. Barton, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, examined some of the same issues in an article to be published next year in The Alabama Law Review titled ''Do Judges Systematically Favor the Interests of the Legal Profession?'' That question mark notwithstanding, there is little doubt about where Professor Barton comes out.

He noted, for instance, that the legal profession is the only one that is completely self-regulated. ''As a general rule,'' Professor Barton wrote, ''foxes make poor custodians of henhouses.''

Professor Barton explored a long list of examples, including the aftermath of the Supreme Court's 1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona. Miranda, as everyone with a television set knows, protected the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. Over the years, though, courts have approved all sorts of police strategies that have eroded the right to remain silent. At the same time, Professor Barton wrote, the courts ''chose to retain quite robust protections for accused who clearly expressed a desire for a lawyer.''

''The advantages to the legal profession are clear,'' he added. ''Whatever else an accused should know, she should know to request a lawyer first and foremost.'' And the cases keep coming.

This month, a New Jersey appeals court basically immunized lawyers from malicious prosecution suits in civil cases. Even lawyers who know their clients are pushing baseless claims solely to harass the other side are in the clear, the court said, unless the lawyers themselves have an improper motive.

Lester Brickman, who teaches legal ethics at Cardozo Law School, said the decision was just one instance of a broad phenomenon.

''The New Jersey courts have determined to protect the legal profession in a way that no other professions enjoy,'' Professor Brickman said. ''It's regulation by lawyers for lawyers.''

Other professions look for elegant solutions. It is the rare engineer, software designer or plumber who chooses an elaborate fix when a simple one will do. The legal system, by contrast, insists on years of discovery, motion practice, hearings, trials and appeals that culminate in obscure rulings providing no guidance to the next litigant. Last month, Judge Jacobs put his views into practice, dissenting from a decision in a tangled lawsuit about something a college newspaper published in 1997. The judges in the majority said important First Amendment principles were at stake, though they acknowledged that the case involved, at most, trivial sums of money.

Judge Jacobs's dissent started with an unusual and not especially collegial disclaimer. He said he would not engage the arguments in the majority decision because ''I have not read it.''

He was, he said, incredulous that ''after years of litigation over $2, the majority will impose on a busy judge to conduct a trial on this silly thing, and require a panel of jurors to set aside their more important duties of family and business in order to decide it.''

Writing with the kind of verve and sense of proportion entirely absent in most legal work, Judge Jacobs concluded that ''this is not a case that should occupy the mind of a person who has anything consequential to do.''

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company J.A.I.L. (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law)
Dear Rev. Cayenne Hi, I am requesting information on the reforms being done in California.  In Texas we do not have anyone doing as much as your organization and I am having problems my son has mental illness and he is in prison, I have written numerous letters to UTMB, Senator, COngressman, Warden and Ombudsman.  But each office tells me they will forward to appropriate office to handle and the doctor at the mental unit that he is at for treatment tells me that she has written up on his file exactly what he needs and where he should be but they do not listen to her.  What can I do or can you at least guide me in sincere appreciation I send you God's blessings. Gloria Isaac Salazar
Dear Gloria All this work is being done by mothers (mostly) and we've been doing it for nine years.  All I can suggest to you is that you sign up for the UNION newsletter which teaches people how to organize, when, where, why to fight back in California That's what we are is an interactive newsletter and all the people make a commitment to write to editors, show up when called, recruit others to write and show up and when the day comes to bring twenty people they have registered themselves out to vote. It's very simple and everyone was doing it, none of the current problems could exist.

 The world would be a different place if the poor all wrote to editors, protested and got out the vote. The links to subscribe to the newsletter is here.  The $5 a month goes to pay for supplies, postage, copies, other forms of public education and is our only means of raising funds.  I can tell you this, that $5 is not enough money to do very much on so recruiting is critical or you should restrict yourselves to only three campaigns a year until people want to uphold their commitment to bring in others who will help with the work and $5 a month.  These campaigns are much different than just passing email and they do cost money. need the newsletter form and commitment letter to be printed off this page. with the number of people in prison in Texas, those citizens related to a prisoner probably far outnumbers those voters who are holding your loved ones captive.

  Ban together, don't agonize, organize, it isn't easy because too many people are lazy and want a rescue and won't help with the recruiting, but insist that they honor the commitment letter and you'll have it.

I've lost nine years of income putting ours together and we aren't where we need to be able to do initiative campaigns yet.  However our work on medical neglect is a good indication of how the families themselves can force change through the power of numbers and interaction with the media.  The guards have divide-and-conquer agents everywhere who do their best to keep us from organizing.  Don't listen to them and keep on going, it is your only hope to pull together enough voters to be able to reverse the laws. Check to see if Texas has an initiative process, every state is different, each state must set up their own voting group. Best of luck to everyone in Texas and please pray for us in California Rev. Cayenne
It is smart to hire professional photographers and videographers who can have the prints to me within an hour after an event. I am still struggling with put up the photos at the website and have many more to re-size and enhance to put up there. We could use some technical talent instead of me having to do all this myself...are you recruiting new workers?

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird UNION P.O. Box 340371 Sacramento, Ca. 95834

Friday, September 14, 2007 Prison Reform Pow Wow at Capitol Supported bills, Exposed Human Rights Violations Dr. B. Cayenne Bird is an ordained minister and a 37-year veteran op-ed journalist and publisher. She volunteers her time as founder and director of United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect UNION. The UNION is active in prison reform and criminal justice issues. She is a mother and grandmother and focuses on human rights and restorative justice. She is also the host of television series "Cayenne Common Sense" and publishes a daily online newsletter to subscribers

Dr. B. Cayenne Bird September 9, 2007 A report on an emergency Sept 7 Human Rights Rally at the Sacramento Capitol attended by and supported by primary leaders of the prison reform movement. The theme of the rally was "A Call to the Governor for Common Sense and Compassion in Corrections". The legislative sponsor was Assemblymember Mark Leno. The convergence of human rights and labor union organizers on the California State Capitol September 7, 2007 over prison issues was unlike any other of the many rallies in Sacramento that we have held in the past decade. The tears and angry shouts of organizers representing tens of thousands of wounded Californians went on for hours in the blistering hot sun. Everyone present supported the passage of aAB1539, a bill that would better define the compassionate release procedure for terminally ill and medically incapacitated inmates. For the second time in as many years, both houses of the California legislature has passed it, and it is now on the Governor's desk for signing before October 12 which happens to be my birthday. Two other bills supported by all the prison reform groups in attendance at one of our best UNION rallies yet are SB110 and AB160 which would create a sentencing panel that would have the power to change some of the harsh sentencing laws that might ease the prison overcrowding. SB110 and AB 160 will both be voted upon tomorrow in the senate and the assembly floor. According to Senator Romero's legal consultant who telephoned me today to congratulate our UNION folks on Friday's successful rally, both bills are several votes short of passing in the Assembly and the Senate. This means that all Republicans in particular need to be telephoned (not emailed or faxed) by at least 500 people to make the noise loud enough that you as voters and taxpayers want them to vote "YES" for both these bills. No need to call the Democrats as most of them are doing the right thing as usual to relieve this terrible overcrowding. Start calling the Republican legislators at 8 am sharp as the vote could be taken by 9 am. Forget sending email, a fax is ok, it's too late for regular mail. The legislative sponsors have alerted us that we have the chance to influence the vote if enough phone calls are made to Republicans who are as usual voting against all prison reform bills by 9 am tomorrow.

Go to http:/ and to see the members of the Republican caucus, all of them are voting against the creation of a sentencing commission and all need to be telephone by as many people as you can find. Senator Romero apologized that she could not break out of the intense hearings that took place on Friday according to her legal consultant to say a few words to us, but the entire legislature certainly acknowledged our strong support of the three bills. Sacramento's television stations showed up a promptly at 10 am but key speakers didn't arrive until 10:40 due to delayed flights, so only the radio stations were broadcasting live.

It was an unforgettable day as nearly every speaker, even those in authority as human rights leaders and members of the clergy shared the untimely and unsettling preventable death of a family member at the hands of our state and local government. We shouted at the top of our lungs, we cried, held up signs, clung to one another with passion that crossed every racial, economic and religious barrier. The words "human rights violations" were used by every speaker and as mistress of ceremonies, I found myself unable to control a steady stream of tears as each person at the podium was literally shaking from the devastation of their personal lives.

 There was $800 in rented chairs, shade canopies and sound equipment. Everyone pulled together to buy a plane ticket to fly in Theresa Vaughn, the mother of Timothy Souders who was featured on 60 Minutes twice this year after video tape captured the torture and murder of her mentally ill son in a Michigan Prison. There is no doubt that our UNION coalition members proved once again that we can professionally organize, a talent that those in elected office have poked fun at in the past. Other groups outside of prison reform can make such a rally happen within a few hours. It took us more than a week to pull this emergency pow-wow together but it was like a Who's Who in human rights with each one bringing a few. MRSA Outbreak An emergency exists in that a deadly strain of MRSA is traveling throughout the prison and jail system at an alarming rate and little or nothing is being done about it. Not only has CCPOA, the prison guard's union, filed a lawsuit about it infecting 13 guards at Old Folsom Prison, but the California Nurses, Fire Department and others are up in arms about the risks to their employees on high alert. We cannot for the life of us comprehend how something this important, on a level with meningitis, known to be spreading throughout Old Folsom since April, didn't surface in the media until last week. It spreads like wildfire through handshaking or any type of physical contact, on surfaces such as light switches, door knobs, fibers such as clothing and bedding, even curtains.

At least 8500 cases have been reported at the Los Angeles County jail since I first started mentioning this type of staph, which is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As these prisoners have been moved to the various institutions, the disease has spread to workers and inmates, to their families who visit and out into the community through the guards and medical workers. It is the one time when everyone at risk is united in agreement that this is a crisis which deserves to be a top priority with all those posturing concern for medical care.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) often joins the UNION in solidarity, especially for the reasons around this rally, and as were leaving at about 1:45 PM a number of them in their classic purple shirts showed up. However, their late arrival yesterday should not be a measure of how frequently some of the SEIU members work with us behind the scenes, the many phone calls being made to share information, and the cooperation between our UNION and theirs in working to get anti-bacterial cleaners to prisoners. You heard me right folks. In spite of many epidemics such as MRSA, filth diseases such as the Norovirus and many others raging throughout these disease hotboxes, the prisoners are not allowed bacterial cleaners. Their laundry is not washed and dried properly, crammed into washers and dryers and coming back full or urine, it's a sanitation crisis that Sillen has acknowledged but so far, no program of prevention or educating the prisoners of what is taking place has been instituted that we can see. This summary of MRSA was translated by a hospital administrator who is a hardworking member of our UNION living in the Netherlands where there quick response to outbreaks and vigilance makes them a world leader in low incidence of infectious disease in institutions.

 Please mail it into at least one prisoner and to prison or jail warden in at least one of the prisons and jails before its spread into the community results in more deaths, a quarantine which means no visits and refusal of medical workers to enter infected prisons. One person lost a finger from MRSA, another person told me that they had to have it dug out of their eye. MRSA is a flesh-eating bacteria which cannot be cured in many cases. Do the mailing and pass this word widely as we need to educate ourselves and others when the Government refuses to do it. Print off and mail this page to at least one prisoner so they can have a prayer to save themselves from this dreadful,ofen incurable, flesh-eating bacteria
Nora Weber, whose son Mark Grangetto is dying a slow, tormented death after he continues to be denied medical care in a California prison detailed her nightmare experience in trying to get him into a long term facility through the courts.

She was told before the rally by her attorney not to mention the Judges' name who could have relieved the suffering of her son but who, after almost two years in an expensive tangle with the State Attorney General suddenly imposed such severe limitations on evidence the day before it was to go to trial that it This is the one of the most well-documented of cases of medical neglect and torture that I have ever reviewed in four decades of being a journalist and in my opinion, and that of thousands of other UNION members who have been witnessed this travesty, that JUDGE LA PORTE in his Hanford Court contributed the corruption and abuse which has taken over our system at every level from arrest through parole. He ruled in favor of Nora Weber's guardianship over the medical care of her son, ruled favorably a number of times and there was great hope amongst the prisoners and their families that we would see some accountability of CDC(r) employees for the continuous shocking disregard for his life. The State cannot provide the medical care that he needs, Grangetto is blind, in a wheelchair with atrophied limbs, has diabetes, cannot walk, there is no way he can dress himself, provide any personal care, or go shopping. Grangetto meets the criteria of those who should be compassionately released, yet Judge LaPorte put up legal brick walls that no human being could penetrate.

Just days before the trial was scheduled to begin, Attorney General Jerry Brown's attorney Jim Phillips filed 15 motions to limit evidence in Grangetto's case which was very well documented and should have been allowed to proceed. Judge LaPorte, granted the AG's motions, and limited the evidence that could be presented to the Jury. With this sleight of hand, LaPorte effectively narrowed the evidence that could be presented to such a degree that we did not have enough evidence within the Judge's narrowed definition of "Failure To Summons Medical Care" within the six (6) month limited time frame prior to the filing of the Government Tort Claim to even put on a trial. It is clear that La Porte's fear of political consequences was more important that the Constitution and he will portrayed in the upcoming book and movie about this case exactly for what he is - an inhumane coward who chose self-preservation over doing the right thing Let the news of what Judge LaPorte didn't do to ease the suffering of this brain-damaged-from-birth prisoner and his elderly mother ring throughout the land. This is more evidence that Californians need the Judicial Accountability Initiative to be passed here by we, the people, if we can ever get off our duffs to organize large enough to pass it. We in the UNION don't allow corruption to go without sunshine and LaPorte will get plenty of it in the book and movie in progress which features this case and several others. There are thousands of prisoners in the same circumstances as Mark Grangetto in the system and what happened here in this case is indicative of the continued torment of all of them, which is a sickening reality. Read Nora Weber's speech here.
Dr. Moss David Posner, a former CDC physician spoke frankly about the lack of medical care in the system and what it's like for doctors who actually dare to take care of the inmates. He appropriately criticized everyone who is politically espousing medical care, but not delivering it, in both the State and Federal Receivership. It was an eye-opening, straight forward talk that proposed great ideas on how to resolve some of the systemic dysfunction. His viewpoint from inside the system was enlightening to all the key advocates present who have been fighting medical neglect, and his final observation that it is getting worse instead of better was received with a noisy round of applause from the crowd. You can see his speech here Theresa Vaughn, whose voice for the nationwide abuse of mentally ill prisoners after the murder of her son Timothy Souders in a Michigan Prison was caught on video tape, gave us all a Federal Decree made by Judge Enslen worth the work it would take to bring it about. The three prisons in Jackson, Michigan have also been under federal monitor since the year her deceased son Timothy was born - 1985.

A class action law suit known nationally as the Hadex Case, which was filed in 1985 by the prisoners in Jackson - the year her deceased son was born, was won in the late 1980's and brought about the Federal Jurisdiction of the three prisons. The federal Judge set up a policy whereby video taping is required in all segregation cells and other areas of the three prisons under his federal jurisdiction. Prison administrators loathe this policy and fight it by insisting that the tapes be erased every seven days "to save money." Vaughn described the importance of the policy that resulted in hard evidence via a video tape of her son's murder by prison guards in these words. (Read the Speech she wrote and delivered here She was impressed with the enlightenment of our UNION coalition and with the way that all races are working together in harmony for the good of the whole.

Theresa came to support our rally and is staying with me in my humble home for two weeks, hoping to learn our UNION system of organizing a voting group back to Michigan as well as teaching it to family members in other states. Yesterday when "60 Minutes" called her to discuss her appearance at our rally, we were all encouraged with their interest in our UNION members who have died preventable deaths. Theresa is available for media interviews in Northern California until September 20. Her legal case is the most important one in the country, and she reports to us that another similar case in the same prison resulted in a $3 million dollar award. They actually win some of the cases of neglect in Michigan , unlike California where the punishers are in control at every level because we, the voters, have been sleeping and allowed them into elected office over us. Had it not been for the video tape policy, Theresa would have been left to believe that her son "died in his sleep" which as anyone who is viewing the tape can see, certainly was not the case.

She emphasizes that the murder and torture of her son captured on the tape and aired on "60 Minutes" reveals does not represent even 1% of all that he endured. Vaughn tells me that it was the journalists who took mercy and brought this atrocity out on an international level. The journalists in both broadcast and print are her heroes. "For the rest of my life, I will be in pain because my 21 year-old, mentally ill son shop-lifted something so he could pay the rent. This minor crime ended up to be a death sentence for him" she told the audience. Theresa Vaughn urged everyone in California to join the UNION and to participate and there were many emotional moments of devastated mothers as they embraced this brave young mother who spoke so eloquently through her own tears which flowed during her talk. To see 40 minutes of the actual torture video from August 2 through August 6, 2006 that is on the ACLU website is
Reverend Andre Shumake, whose nephew Anthony Shumake died at 41 years old of a simple tooth infection in 2004 at Solano State Prison gave a powerful talk about the historical importance of so many key organizers of different races and religions joining hands to stand up against state murder by neglect. "People don't believe these atrocities are taking place" he said. "I didn't believe it either until it happened to me. How many other prisoners are going to die before our elected officials realize that all we want is some humanity in this state." The speech he gave yesterday is not amongst those posted online to preserve the historic remarks made but it was similar to the one he gave at our August 12, 2004 rally located here . Three years later, his pain and contempt for what he unconditionally termed as "murder of our loved ones" hasn't subsided. Rev. Shumake is the well-known clergyman who set up the Tent Cities in Richmond last year and who has dedicated so much of his life to trying to solve problems in the troubled Richmond Triangle which has one of the highest homicide rates in California. His voice influences hundreds of thousands of poor, particularly in the Richmond African-American community, whom he recognized are failing to get people out to vote which is exacerbating and allowing the problems. At once point during his remarks, Rev. Shumake shouted "Where is the outrage over these inhumane practices? We don't like to face the reality and use the harsh term of murder but that's what it is, and we need to come together in the UNION and put a stop to it.

The outrage and participation and support must begin with each family member or we as leaders can't save you, because it's the power of numbers at the polls and in an organized group that matters to the lawmakers, which is wrong, but that's the way that it is and the sooner we all face that, the sooner we'll see these reforms take place." To see Rev. Shumake's speech from our 2004 rally (similar to the one he gave Friday) go to As members of law enforcement and Capitol security looked on, some mounted on horseback, and others standing on the perimeter listening intently, the mothers told tearfully shared stories which one would expect to hear only in third world countries, certainly not in America . Jacqueline Marshall-Alford, a Hupa Tribal Member gave us an emotional accounting of how the Humboldt County Sheriffs, EPD and SWAT killed Peter Stewart, her mentally ill son on June 4, 2007. She wants answers about how a mentally ill man WHO COMMITTED NO CRIME could be murdered by out of control law enforcement who shot 50 rounds of tear gas into his house and then when one of them caught on fire, watched the house burn down with him in it, even though three fire trucks were sitting in the driveway and his friends from school who were fireman begging the SWAT team to allow them to put out the fire. Her son was found dead in the bathtub naked and wrapped in sheets where he had tried to ease the pain of the burns from the teargas.

His parents were never allowed to talk to him. Keep in mind that Peter Stewart had committed no crime. Her remarks are posted here And another shocking case out of Humboldt County were next on our program, explained by remarks from the family of Hans Peters, a mentally ill young man who died yesterday after what was reported to be a suicide attempt in the Humboldt County Jail. The family doubts everything that was told to them by the Sheriffs for a number of reasons, including the nature of the wound. They were not notified of his critical injury for seven hours after it took place and denied access to visiting him in the hospital until a public defender stepped in and got a judge to issue an order to allow them access. It is inconceivable to me that the monsters who administrate prisons and jails would ever tell a family that they could not see their loved one after injuries or during illnesses that require hospitalization but this is a common report. Why are we as voters and taxpayers allowing such policies to exist?

The younger members of Hans Peters cried out at the podium, "We want answers, can't the lawmakers do something about the sheriffs murdering our people in Humboldt County ?" They the human rights leaders who made up the audience, "We must do lobby days and make our elected officials know that we are not asking for much except for fairness and humane treatment. Surely there is something we can do about this." And we who have spent a decade of our lives writing to editors, organizing similar rallies, finding lawyers for so many wrongful death lawsuits that I have lost count, listened to these innocent young people in such an intense state of suffering had no choice but to tell them a shocking truth. Quetza Ortez, Director of the Barrio Defense Committee emphasized that all the thousands of marches, rallies, and walks through the legislature which everyone present has made for the past decade in an attempt to end to the brutality and human rights violations that are considered as business as usual at every level in the California criminal justice system. Her son has been in the SHU for eight years at Corcoran Prison over a baseless, ridiculous charge.

Ortez showed us his sweet-faced picture on a protest sign telling us tearfully that his skin was yellow and his hair falling out, she tearfully relayed news of his great mental suffering after eight years of being locked in total isolation and heavily suffering sensory deprivation. Ortez' agreement that in spite of all the deaths, or continual outcry at rallies, and at least a few people writing to editors (everyone agrees that not nearly enough family members are doing this simple task of writing to editors so necessary to all our work) there is still no place to go for help even in life and death emergencies. The majority of the legislators are calloused and clueless or perhaps even powerless in controlling the law enforcement agencies who are terrorizing California 's poor. As shocking as this truth of judicial callousness may be, it was something that the experienced prison reformers had no choice but to deliver to the large tribal family connected to Hans Peters and Peter Stewart, both of the Hupa Tribe of the Hoopa Valley and to all the other mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins and grandparents who loved one has been killed. The family of Hans Peters did not have a prepared speech which I could release to the media and post online at our website due to the timing of his Sept 6, 2007, and their plans for a full Indian burial ceremony today. I urge the journalists on our list to please follow up with the very real people who are the victims of politics that are capturing the headlines daily instead of just quoting and giving publicity to the irresponsible and callous politicians at the core of these serious human rights violations.
Quanta Brightman, Vice President of the United Native Americans brought several people to rally with us and gave an energetic and passionate speech on racism and abuse of the mentally ill in California 's prisons and jails. Hopefully he will have a summary of those remarks for us later today so that we can put them up online and distribute them to the media. I worked in remarks between each speaker, you can read my speech notes here. I will probably clean these up later in the week but you can see them here Lourdes Duarte of Books Not Bars, told us the hair-raising tale of her son's torment in a CYA facility which drove him to a suicide attempt. The experience was so traumatic for her that she became an advocate for juveniles. It is the passion of the parents of juveniles, they're cooperation in organizing, writing, showing up, helping to raise money and show up at important rallies that has resulted in some important bills being passed. Lourdes ' speech including that she has joined the UNION and pledged her support of our work to set up a voting lobby strong enough to do initiative campaigns. She will continue to be active in Books Not Bars as well, but realizes that adult prisoners do not have families who will fight for them to the degree that the juveniles do.
More than 100 members of the United Farmworkers rallied with us and three of their representatives spoke on the incarceration and murder of their children. Several joined our UNION forces and vowed ongoing support on our issues. The Farmworkers spoke to us of the similar struggle of Cesar Chavez to educate the poor and bring them to the reality that the state runs on groups. For those individuals who do not have a group number in the tens of thousands of active writers and protesters there is no representation. Today the UFW has political clout but must still battle harsh labor practices such as being denied water and the right to go to the bathroom. Now the Farm workers worry about arrest, even though members of other races are unwilling to do this hard work. I was able to share my story about the time the Capitol was swarmed by non-violent Farm workers who filled every hallway, every floor as the famed UFW flag was temporarily flown on the dome. There was incredible youthful energy that gave us all hope as the UFW pledged support in every way to our UNION mothers, who never stopped weeping the entire day. Their history is our history, and when I emphasized that the prisons are being constructed to cage the children of Farm workers a loud scream went up from scores who were protesting on the street all the way up to those participating with us. We were inspired by the UFW members who continue to organize and whose members, although poor, traveled in from all over California to be there. While their primary focus is on labor practices, the UFW vowed to have at least some members of their Union join ours and be active in responding to the calls to action. The other labor unions in California are relieved that the families of prisoners are starting to recognize that they must provide the bulk of the energy to organize and fight for themselves, instead of waiting for a rescue. It was clear that the victim mentality did not exist amongst the many leaders of the prison reform movement who were present and speaking yesterday which was welcome news to UFW members, many of whom have a loved one incarcerated. We have solidarity now in Bakersfield, and the UFW workers described what living in an area dominated and controlled by the prison industry is like, not unlike the history books describing Nazi Germany, 1945 and all under Conservative Republican rule in that area because our people are not active enough in writing to editors and educating people there constantly. Where everyone came together yesterday, perhaps for the first time on such a scale, is that without Judges Henderson and Karlton there would be zero attempt at prison reform even after all the preventable deaths. It is abundantly clear to all the Coalition leaders in the UNION that only by organizing to do initiative campaigns will we ever see any relief from abuses or changes in the law. That can only happen when our UNION reaches 6500 membership of trained, active, participating workers. Even with all the new subscribers to the newsletter who are leaders and members of the United Farm Workers, Barrio Defense Committee, Books Not Bars, United Native Americans, Richmond Improvement Association, we still fall short of enough funds and volunteers to be able to launch initiative campaigns that are assured winning because our side is mobilized well enough to achieve the 150 day deadline. So what we all concluded was necessary was a total emphasis on recruiting new blood, new workers to the UNION with every group pledging five or six members to go out and find people with at least an 8th grade education who can/will write to editors and bring ten people each to the rallies, recruit ten people each to also learn how to write and recruit. Until this gets done, everyone is stuck in the current nightmare of the status quo, waiting for someone else to do the organizing work instead of pitching in. The politicians should be very nervous about this very real mobilization and joining together of all these human rights groups who will continue with their own work AND urge people to subscribe to the UNION newsletter communication system which brings them news of the issues and gives ways to fight back by writing, protesting, joining in lawsuits and preparing to do initiative campaigns each day.

We all agreed that the most important issues of today are ending the abuse of the mentally ill, whom we want to see taken completely out of the criminal justice system, saving lives through railing and protesting against continued medical neglect which is getting worse not better as the politicians continue to lie to the public and violate the orders of Judges Henderson and Karlton. We also supported the creation of a sentencing commission and strongly urged the Governor to sign AB160 and SB 110 because one way or the other, and no matter how long it takes the teach the families of prisoners that they can and must organize to give their own legal cases relief by doing initiative campaigns, the recruiting team is now larger. It is our intention to teach the poor to vote against Republicans at the ballot box because they are the primary source of these oppressive laws and inhumane conditions, and have blocked every attempt at reform for the past decade, either because of the way the legislators lockstep vote on the individuals bills (research their voting records at click on legislation and enter key words on prison reform) or by electing Governors such as Peter Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Gray Davis was a Democrat but his own party members participated in the Recall in large part because he was voting with the Republicans on criminal justice issues and allowing inhumane conditions to exist. We must always remember that the problem is with the Republican politicians who are put into office with the funds and votes of law enforcement labor unions and not with the Republican voters who do not the human rights violations taking place because our side is not actively telling these stories at the news websites underneath the posted articles. It is a simpler message for the poor to understand that due to peer pressure and the fact that they are purchased into office by law enforcement labor unions, that Republicans politicians are punishers by nature who have no conscience about what is going on and have rejected all efforts to do the right, humane thing by the prisoners. Take a look at the vote on AB1539 which is on the Governor's desk right now, a bill backed by a number of legislators that would more clearly define the procedure for the compassionate release of terminally ill and medically incapacitated prisoners.

 Are the Republicans who voted "NO" on this bill this week in the Senate human beings or they so hung up on their political careers that they have sold their souls to participate and condone in truly evil and unlawful practices of murder by medical neglect? How could anyone think that paying billions of dollars each year of California taxpayer dollars to punish quadriplegics, brain dead, elderly with dementia, and very sick people who could not possibly be a threat to society is a moral and wise decision? Still take a look at the people voting against the bill and remember their names, because reform at the ballot box is very important and only the poor who number in the millions are capable of forcing this reform simply by bringing 20 others into the voting process. This is the AB1539 history and vote which did pass both houses of the legislature and is now on the Governor's desk for signing. Take note of all the no votes coming exclusively from Republican legislators and post about them out at the news sites or every bad thing that they do.

If you're not writing, you're not fighting back - call them on their bad votes, even if the bill passed and is waiting for the Governor's signature, the Republican legislators DID try to block it. It takes a 2/3 vote to changes laws in the legislature, which is why we must work to prevent them from ever getting elected and teach the poor how to mark their ballot. As the web pages with the photos and speeches given at the rally are up put up at our site over the next days, you'll be able to see more of what happened at this historical Pow Wow on the North Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento on September 7, 2007
Rev. B. Cayenne Bird UNION P.O. Box 340371 Sacramento, Ca. 95834

Print - Close Window Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 19:53:56 -0700 (PDT) From: "B. Cayenne Bird" <> Subject: COURT REJECTS GOV'S APPEAL OF PRISON PANEL CREATION To:

Another  Major Victory!  Hooray!  Keep on writing and posting at the websites to identify the problems!    There are many places to post in today's newsletter  Don't agonize, organize. The prisoners cannot fight for themselves, they have only the power of the vote of their own family members

Rev. Cayenne

09/11/07 4:20 PDT SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) A federal circuit court in San Francisco today turned down Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's appeal of the creation of a special judicial panel to consider capping the population of California's overcrowded prisons.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a brief ruling that it has no jurisdiction over the appeal at this point.

The appeals court said lower court orders calling for a special three-judge panel to consider overcrowding "can be effectively reviewed" later, after the new panel completes its work in the case.

The panel was appointed by Chief Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder on July 26. It has set its first hearing in San Francisco on Sept. 24 to discuss procedural issues. The panel was called for earlier in July by U.S. District Judges Thelton Henderson of San Francisco and Lawrence Karlton of Sacramento, both of whom were later appointed to the panel along with 9th U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt. Henderson and Karlton are presiding over two long-running lawsuits challenging the adequacy of medical and mental health care for the state's 173,000 prisoners. Both said in July rulings that while a population limit would be a last resort, it may be the only way to correct health care that is so deficient it violates constitutional standards. Under a 1995 federal law governing prison civil rights cases, an order limiting inmate population can be made only by a three-judge panel and not by a district judge acting alone. Schwarzenegger spokesman Bill Maile said he had no information on whether the governor may be considering further appeals to block proceedings by the panel.

Andrea Hoch, the governor's legal affairs secretary, said, "We are taking every action to convince the three-judge panel that there is no need to endanger public safety with the drastic measure of releasing convicted felons."

Hoch said the administration is "working aggressively" to resolve overcrowding through a $7.7 billion prison construction program, addiction treatment programs, out-of-state transfers and parole reforms.

Lawyer for the prisoners who sued the state over health care were not immediately available for comment.

The state's 173,000 prisoners are housed in facilities originally designed for 100,000. Lawyers for inmates have suggested in court briefs that a reasonable and safe limit might be 138,000, a number suggested in a 2004 report by an independent prison review group.
More posts are needed at this link on harsh sentencing laws -

Dick Price & Sharon Kyle September 11, 2007 at 11:47 AM Here's a message we wrote our local assembly member, Kevin de Leon, regarding the sentence commission law under consideration Dear Kevin, We learned that you abstained on the Assembly's companion bill to Senator Gloria Romero's bill (SB110) to establish a nonpartisan, independent sentencing commission to address overcrowding, inequities, and racism in California's burgeoning prison complex.

We're told the bill will come to vote again in the Assembly this week. We encourage you – as a progressive Democrat representing our district here in Mt. Washington – to support this legislation. We do not believe that the solution to any of California's problems will come from building yet more prisons. An increase in rehabilitation rather than punishment, the sooner release of those convicted of nonviolent crimes, a long look at California's draconian three-strikes law, and the establishment of this independent sentencing commission all need to happen in place of further expansion to our state's prison-industrial complex. Hope All Is Well, -- Dick Price & Sharon Kyle
a few more posts are ned at this link on sentencing reform Editorial: Time running out on prison refor 

Comments No...please...lets not review sentencing now. Lets not try to make fairness & reason part of the criminal justice system. If we do try, we'll risk losing our place as the world's largest jailer. Lets leave things as they are & just keep telling the world how free we are. This system is totally out of control due to years of reactionary legislation. If you call it the land of the free, you are misinformed. Posted by: Chris VanKeuren, San Jose
Editorial: Time running out on prison reform Print Email Bookmark RSS

Comments AB 160 has already passed the Assembly and now they want it to come back to add amendments? Why? If there are additional things to add, then they should have been in the original bill already! What nonsense is this? Wait, we are talking about the legislature! They do things like that. All amendments must be added and voted again and again! A lot of the time that we read in the paper there are amendments that are added that have nothing to do with the original bill or meaning. If someone adds an amendment that the Governor does not like then the whole bill is vetoed. If it has passed already, then leave it alone. Posted by: Robert of Fremont

9/11/2007 9:44 AM

14100.1 Report as Violation Avg 3.00, 1 vote No...please...lets not review sentencing now. Lets not try to make fairness & reason part of the criminal justice system. If we do try, we'll risk losing our place as the world's largest jailer. Lets leave things as they are & just keep

telling the world how free we are. This system is totally out of control due to years of reactionary legislation. If you call it the land of the free, you are misinformed. Posted by: Chris VanKeuren, San Jose
9/11/2007 12:34 PM
14100.2 Report as Violation Avg 5.00, 1 vote Sentencing reform is a must, without any reform we might as well put up a barbed wire fence around the state because there will not be many of us left. Every year we seem to have more and more of our freedoms turned into crimes. It is apparent with all the information coming out about the roll the police and district attorneys office play in wrongful convictions no one is immune from being the next victim in that all consuming conviction rate.

 There are to many men, women, and children’s serving ridicules sentences. So many of our children are being charged with crimes for being children; being convicted of horrendous amounts of time in a prison when they should be home growing up. Men and women are given absurd amounts of prison time and when they have done the time the parole board still refuses to allow them to go home no matter what they have done to change their lives around.

 Our prisons population is out of control and will just get worse. Building more prisons just means that more and more people will be in prison. The only ones that benefiting from this are the people who have a direct connection with the system. This attitude of lock em up and throw away the keys is destroying our family structure at an alarming rate.

The abuse and torture that is and has been going on for years has got to come to a stop, the diseases that run rampant in our prisons not only effects the inmates it effects the visitors and employees and is brought back into our communities, thus effecting everyone, the medical neglect is deplorable and an mark against our society that we allow human beings to be treated in this way. Our mentally ill need to be in hospitals where they belong receiving the care that they desperately need and not thrown into solitary confinement where they are neglected even more. We need this sentencing commission in order to try to fix the horrible injustice that the politicians have been heaping on us for years and years. I would hope that this bill will be passed, the need is great.

Posted by:
9/11/2007 6:46 PM
14100.3 Report as Violation Avg 5.00, 1 vote
What?  zero posts on such a major development and such an important bill to benefit the mentally ill? Snooze you lose. Make noise...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 The Orange Grove: We need special courts for mentally ill Diversion from prison to treatment will cut crime, save taxpayers' money. By MICHAEL CARONA Orange County sheriff

Prison crowding a grave problem By Sen. Michael Machado California Senate 5th District September 09, 2007

More posts needed at the bottom of this article September 10, 2007 Prison guard end run SACRAMENTO -- The prison guard union, after 14 months of stalled talks on a new contract, may try to move legislation in the final days of the session that would give its members a pay raise without bargaining a new contract.


One proposal would extend the contract that expired in July 2006 for three years, continuing a link that would keep pay for prison guards $666 a month behind the Highway Patrol. Another less costly proposal reportedly would give the guards a retroactive 3.5 percent pay raise for the fiscal year that ended last June and a 6.1 percent increase for the current year.

"We are looking at a bunch of options here in the last week of the legislative session," said Ryan Sherman, a spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. The Schwarzenegger administration said that the proposal to maintain the link between the pay of the prison guards and the Highway Patrol, recently rejected by an arbitrator, would result in a 23 percent pay increase over three years. The proposal that would extend the previous contract would cost the state $636 million in this fiscal year and a total of $1.3 billion over three years, said the administration., "This is the ultimate in pork politics and abuse of the system," said Adam Mendelsohn, communications director for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Cashing in political favors to circumvent the negotiating process and load up the contract is Sacramento at its worst. Their proposal is even richer than the Gray Davis contract from 2001."

The contract signed by former Gov. Davis resulted in a 33 percent pay increase for the prison guards over five years and contained work rules that critics say make it difficult to manage prisons.

One of the sticking points now is what the prison guards say is a Schwarzenegger administration demand for "give backs" on work rules covering seniority-based posts, grievances, sick leave and other things.

The union broke off mediation on Aug. 22, contending the administration was bargaining in bad faith. The administration said the walkout came just as it was delivering a new offer: Annual 5 percent pay raises for three years, plus other benefits that could boost the total increase to nearly 20 percent.

"For the administration to have concern about collective bargaining is comical," said Sherman. "They have broken our contract so many times, forcing us to go to arbitration and to court. They refuse to follow the rules of collective bargaining."

As a last resort, the law allows the administration to impose its "last, best and final offer" when mediation fails -- something that has never happened since state workers were allowed to form unions nearly three decades ago.

Sherman said that an imposed offer could not include the overtime waivers the union agreed to in previous contracts. He said standard overtime rules would dramatically increase pay for the guards, who work in understaffed prisons.

"Our members would probably love it, because they will get paid overtime for everyone," said Sherman. "It will end up being a de facto huge pay raise."

But there will be resistance to any attempt to make an end run around the collective bargaining process and get last-minute legislation authorizing a pay raise.

"The responsibility for negotiating those contracts is between the governor and the bargaining units," Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman, R-Tustin, said this evening. "So I think for the Legislature to be involved is not appropriate."
---------------------------------- Bill for Soledad treatment plant finds ally Caballero lends her support to Denham’s effort By JAKE HENSHAW The Salinas Californian Capitol Bureau

SACRAMENTO — Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, has lent her assistance to Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, to make one more last-minute push this year to allow Soledad to buy a wastewater plant that serves both the city and a nearby prison. Contact Jake Henshaw at For three years running, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill by Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, to allow Soledad to purchase a wastewater treatment plant that serves both the city and the nearby Correctional Training Facility.
More Posts are Needed Here

What the Republicans are telling their vote against the sane  sentencing bills!  As you can see, the victory goes to the people who have the largest number of elected representatives in office.  Remember that we have nine bad democrats sometimes voting with the Repugs and nobody can get a 2/3 majority to change laws in the legislature.  This means we must change all the laws ourselves through initiatives.  Or keep Repugs from elected in the first place. Cayenne Briefing Report: Receivership/Overcrowding Crisis Aggravation ("ROCA")


8/22/2007 - For Immediate Release - Print Version


In early 2007 , Senator Romero , as chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee (SCoPS) , announced the Receivership Overcrowding Crisis Aggravation (ROCA) policy under which any bills that could potentially add to the prison/jail overcrowding problem would be held until at least January 2008. Senator Romero justified the ROCA policy because of the state’s “extraordinary and severe prison and jail overcrowding crisis.” The SCoPS background sheet now asks each author to answer “How would this bill impact bed space in California’s jails and prisons?” In addition , authors are asked to provide evidence-based data and analysis in support of any assertions in this regard. The committee analysis also now contains a section dedicated to the ROCA implications of each bill. Thus far , SCoPS has held bills that have the potential to add to the overcrowding problem even at a de minimus level.

Despite the fact that the legislature passed and the governor signed AB 900 (The Prison Deal) on May 3 , 2007 , Senator Romero insists that the overcrowding crisis has not been adequately dealt with, and bills continue to be held on the ROCA file. As of August 2007 , 17 Senate bills and nine Assembly bills are on the ROCA file.

The Prison Overcrowding Crisis

The “prison overcrowding crisis” was created by two cases ,Plata v. Schwarzenegger and Coleman v. Schwarzenegger , brought against the state alleging cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The decision in Plata v. Schwarzenegger put the prison medical care system in the hands of a federal receiver. The Coleman case , dating back to 1995 , resulted in 77 substantive orders being issued in an effort to “fix” the mental health system in California prisons.

AB 900 (Solorio , 2007) , the “prison deal ,” authorized the issuance of $7.4 billion in lease revenue bonds in two phases to support the construction of 53 ,000 new beds at existing prisons , re-entry centers, health care related facilities, and local jails. AB 900 passed both houses with bipartisan support and was signed by the governor on May 3 , 2007. In July , judges in both cases approved the appointment of a three-judge panel to determine if a population cap should be imposed to remedy issues resulting from overcrowding.

Shortly after AB 900 was chaptered , 11 Senate Republicans sent a letter to Senator Romero insisting that the ROCA policy be lifted since the Legislature had addressed prison overcrowding concerns. Senate Republicans pointed out that the bills being held addressed several pressing issues such as “reducing gang activity , stopping the use of new technology to commit crimes , addressing newer identity theft crimes , closing the loopholes in sex offender registration , slowing methamphetamine use,…and expanding the statute of limitations for some of the most heinous crimes--rape and vehicular manslaughter.”

Senator Romero responded to the request by pointing out that she did not support AB 900 and insisting that AB 900 failed to abate the overcrowding crisis. For these reasons, Senator Romero continues to use the ROCA file and defer passage of critical public safety bills until at least January 2008.

Is ROCA being applied fairly?

The ROCA policy was put in place as a means of delaying the passage of any bill that has the potential of increasing either the state prison population or the local jail population. Many of the bills that have been held greatly affect public safety. ROCA gives criminals or would-be criminals at least a one year free pass – some of the most blatant examples include:

SB 256 (Alquist) Removes the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes , including rape , sodomy , lewd or lascivious acts , oral copulation , continuous sexual abuse of a child , forcible acts of sexual penetration , and flight of a sex offender to avoid prosecution.

SB 368 (Harman) Defines the term “distribute” for purposes of crimes relating to obscene matter. Includes within the definition of “distribute” making available for access or possession over the internet. This would criminalize the exchange of child pornography on peer-to-peer Internet programs like Kazaa and Livewire, making such an action a felony punishable up to six years.

SB 476 (Hollingsworth) Extends the statute of limitations for voluntary and vehicular manslaughter.

SB 479 (Hollingsworth) Provides sentence enhancements for a person who impersonates a peace officer during the commission of kidnapping or specified sex crimes and for peace officers who, in uniform and under color of law, commit those acts.

SB 501 (Hollingsworth) Requires sex offender registration be under penalty of perjury.

SB 591 (Cogdill) Increases the penalty for possession of methamphetamine from an alternate misdemeanor/felony (wobbler) to a straight felony.

SB 612 (Simitian) Expands the jurisdiction of a criminal action involving identity theft to include the county in which the victim resided at the time the offense was committed.

AB 426 (Galgiani) Makes “human trafficking” a “serious felony,” and solicitation to commit murder a “serious” and a “violent” felony, and makes them both “strikes” under the Three Strikes law.

However , two bills that have the most potential to increase prison sentences have escaped the ROCA file. AB 160 (Lieber) and SB 110 (Romero) both create a California Sentencing Commission that would have the power to develop and implement a new sentencing system in California. Because the Commission , under either bill , would have the power to adopt increased prison sentences , which would increase the prison population , both bills should have been held on the ROCA file. In fact , Senator Romero has even admitted that prison sentences could be increased under her bill , SB 110. On March 15 , 2007 , Senator Romero was quoted in a Sacramento Bee article stating that the purpose of SB 110 “is to review sentences. Some may have to be increased. Some may have to be decreased. Some may be modified.” (This article can be viewed at

In addition, a January 2007 report by the Little Hoover Commission noted that most states with sentencing commissions have reduced overall crime rates by increasing the penalties for the most dangerous offenders and expanded options for community-based sanctions for certain low level non-violent offenders. Despite this evidence, Senator Romero refused to hold these bills on the ROCA file.


Senator Romero’s ROCA policy helps place the public at risk, thus benefiting criminals or would-be criminals for at least another year. Senator Romero has chosen to hold bills that protect our identities, our children and the overall public safety. The ROCA policy is not in the public’s best interest and should be lifted as soon as possible. The bills being held warrant the consideration of the Legislature, at the same level received by SB 110 and AB 160.

For more information on this report or other Public Safety issues , contact Laura Enderton, Senate Republican Office of Policy at 916/651-1501.
I have consented to help this individual by lining her up with cases and have shared UNION members stories with her.
In between all the press inquiries, and putting up the other pages of the site, the tremendous commotion, I am working on a photo page.  This is not nearly complete but you can see some of the first photos from the rally up here.  I will alert you when it is finished. You can help by posting at the links and continuing to recruit, we do have a number of new members apparently coming in to subscribe to the newsletter.  It's ok with me if people send $5 a month instead of paying for the whole year in advance, as long as we don't have to bug them to send it and they are active in honoring the commitment letter which is located here

Here's the Newsletter sign up form - it is also available in Spanish
Rev. B. Cayenne Bird UNION P.O. Box 340371 Sacramento, Ca. 95834


It appears that the vote on SB 110 and AB 160 will be taken today  Keep on calling the list in yesterday's newsletter as well as all Repug legislators right up until I notify you that the vote has been taken.. Post about SB110 and AB160

Sentencing Commission Law Among Over 200 Bills Left for the Last Day of the 2007 California Legislative Session
AB 1539 on the Governor's desk - keep on writing to editors and posting at the news sites that he needs to sign it.  The pressure can only come from you.

Editorial: Time running out on prison reform LEGISLATURE MUST ACT NOW TO CREATE SENTENCING COMMISSION Mercury News Editorial Article Launched: 09/11/2007 01:48:08 AM PDT

California has one last stab at legislation that could avert a court takeover of the state's prison system. But time is running out. A bill to create a sentencing commission must be passed this week.

The commission would make sense of the crazy quilt of sentencing laws that helped cause the prison overcrowding that lawsuits now are forcing the state to alleviate. A panel of three federal judges is considering whether to intervene further. They'd likely view a failure to pass a bill as another sign that the governor and Legislature simply aren't up to the task of reform.

A commission has worked well in other states to establish uniform and even-handed sentences. Two similar bills would establish one in California.

AB 160, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, passed the Assembly. If approved by the Senate, it will return to the Assembly for approval of amendments.

SB 110, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, zipped through the Senate and was thought to have the best chance to become law. But three times Friday, it came up short of votes, the last time 34-38 with all Republicans and some Democrats voting no and several Democrats abstaining. Romero's bill can be reconsidered one more time - and will be, if she can cajole more Democrats who voted for Lieber's bill to vote for hers, too. Romero's proposal, which has been amended extensively, may be better crafted to withstand constitutional challenge. But either bill would be a significant reform. Over the past 20 years, legislators have added 1,000 enhancements to sentencing laws without regard to the consequences, often in reaction to the crime headline du jour. It's one thing to be tough on violent criminals. But California has been cramming prisons with drug offenders and minor parole violators, while providing neither space nor money for job training and drug rehab. It can't claim its current sentencing and parole laws are working; the state has the nation's highest recidivism rate. A sentencing commission would include judges, prosecutors, public defenders, victims' advocates, legal scholars, sheriffs and mental health experts. It would set sentencing priorities, in part by studying what has worked elsewhere. Under both bills, the commission's changes in laws would take effect unless a majority in the Legislature voted to overturn them. Opponents say this would strip the Legislature of its authority over public safety, but the commission needs that leverage to be effective. Under both bills, it would not have the power to overturn "three-strikes" and other sentences that voters imposed. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also proposed a sentencing commission last year as part of his prison construction plan, but it was dropped from the final bill. His commission would have been strictly advisory, and he has threatened to veto both Lieber's and Romero's bills.

But Schwarzenegger also knows that the judges are serious and watching closely. That's all the more reason to send a sentencing commission bill to his desk.

Post at the bottom of the above article on AB 160 and SB 110 and harsh sentences as the reason for overcrowding.  This is great support of the reasons for our rally!  Hurray Mercury News!
Needs Your Comments! Remember that the Legislators Read the California Progress Report but not their own mail Covering the End of the California Legislative Session Has Many Challenges and Yet is So Important

I changed the wording around Nora Weber's presentation at the rally to be more accurate. You will want to read all of the speeches

Prison Reform Pow Wow at Capitol Supported bills, Exposed Human Rights Violations
Did hell freeze over or something? I believe that your public education about abuses of the mentally ill are being heard - even by law enforcement.  Keep on writing and reaching out to recruit others UNION members, you're doing it.  This is huge in Republican Orange County!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 The Orange Grove: We need special courts for mentally ill Diversion from prison to treatment will cut crime, save taxpayers' money. By MICHAEL CARONA Orange County sheriff

Imagine you broke your arm, went to the doctor, and for treatment you were simply told to not use it for a while. Not only would this be inadequate but would lead to a more difficult recovery and greater expense down the road when you were finally given proper care.

This hypothetical may sound absurd, but something similar, on a larger and more serious scale, is happening throughout California. And the human and monetary costs of the situation are dire. Currently, 15 percent to 20 percent of California's prison inmates and parolees suffer from serious mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and major depression. Sadly, we do not have a comprehensive system in place to diagnose and treat these offenders; California instead incarcerates them when they get into trouble, and then sends them back onto the streets after they do their time.

As a result, they offend again and again. In fact, the U.S. Justice Department reported that nearly a quarter of state prisoners with a mental health problem had served three or more prior jail terms, a recidivism rate about 25 percent higher than for offenders without mental illness. This recidivism alone is costing state taxpayers millions of dollars each year – yet it is largely avoidable.

Senate Bill 851, authored by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, seeks to remedy the revolving door for mentally ill offenders by providing them with comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. SB851 will implement mental health courts statewide to help divert mentally ill offenders and parolees from prison and into treatment. The bill will also expand screening for serious mental illnesses in prisons and provide more treatment services for parolees. SB851 will help reduce crime, address prison overcrowding and lower our incarceration costs by millions each year.

How much does all this cost? Actually, mental health courts would produce a net savings.

According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, the expansion of the state's use of mental health courts to divert seriously mentally ill inmates from state prisons could "generate net state savings of a couple of tens of millions of dollars annually when fully implemented." Moreover, the LAO's analysis concluded that there was "no significant net state general fund costs to operate the mental health court program" in that similar mental health courts actually cost less to run than traditional criminal courts. Mental health courts already exist in 31 of the state's 58 counties. The program in Santa Clara County saved $2.2 million in one year in reduced prisoner housing costs. SB851 would standardize mental health courts in California.

The bill also gives mental health courts jurisdiction over mentally ill parole violators. California recognizes the seriousness of mental illness and has taken steps to address the problem, including past legislation addressing the chronically homeless mentally ill. This legislation alone has resulted in a 67 percent reduction in the number of days the targeted population spent homeless, a 65 percent increase in the number of days working full-time and an incredible 72 percent reduction in the number of days spent incarcerated.

Providing those same services to seriously mentally ill parolees would result, the LAO estimates, in a 58 percent reduction in the number of offenders returning to prison – where they are assigned to beds that can cost up to $110,000 a year for this high-need population. We must give serious consideration to our mentally ill offenders and provide them with proper psychiatric treatment. By ignoring the real source of the problem, they will continue down the same path and return behind bars again and again. SB851 is the right answer at the right time. Not only will this bill provide the resources for proper treatment for mentally ill offenders, but it will also reduce recidivism rates, increase public safety, address prison overcrowding and save California taxpayers money. SB851 deserves to be passed by the Legislature, which could happen as soon as today, and then should be signed into law by the governor.
Needing Posts

Commonsense Bill to Prevent the Spread of AIDS and Other Diseases from Prisons to the California Public is on Governor Schwarzenegger's Desk
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Rebellion at $388 Million State Hospital Forces Resignations. Professional Staff Tells Patients "You Have no Civil Rights." A revolt and hunger strike by civil detainees in California's widely criticized and massively expensive Coalinga State Hospital has resulted in a staff shakeup. Detainees, refusing to participate in Hospital programs, have effectively shut down all treatment efforts. Both the Acting Director and the Program Clinical Administrator have now resigned.

The inmate strike which began on August 6th was prompted by abysmal conditions in medical care, nutrition, therapeutic and rehabilitation programs as well as by mistreatment of patients and violation of their legally protected civil rights. Professional staff who should know better, have declared to detainees "you have no civil rights." These individuals include the ousted Hospital Director and Clinical Administrator as well as the Chief Medical Officer and Police Lieutenant.

Coalinga State Hospital, located in central California, is so isolated that it cannot attract qualified staff. This has made a joke of the promise of preparing patients to reenter society. The few competent professionals hired have promptly left the failing institution. Isolation has allowed the administration to become unaccountable to the rule of law or to its mandate from voters. Precious tax resources better spent on health care and education have been and are continuing to be wasted in a failed experiment that is a betrayal of California's citizens. A few of the issues which led to the strike:
* Clinical assessments are rarely performed on individual Detainees. State evaluators whose recommendations are critical in civil commitment trials spend little or no time with detainees before issuing reports, relying instead on aging court or police records. Lacking current test results or objectivity, their reports are routinely skewed against detainees.
* Abysmal medical care. Life-threatening conditions are often ignored or inadequately treated. Medical staff recommendations are routinely overruled by non-medical staff.
* Lack of independent and professional oversight by outside organizations. The Hospital falls short in standards of care and management set by federal guidelines and even by those of California's Department of Corrections, an agency now under court order to address gross deficiencies in health care, overcrowding, and inhumane treatment.
* No published Detainee rules for conduct or rights of appeal. Rules issued arbitrarily by individual staff are often contradictory and without legal basis or consequence for the staff. Policy varies from one housing unit to the next and arbitrary and capricious enforcement have created an atmosphere of continuous uncertainty and turmoil.

Civil Detainee Contact: RPAC (Resident Policy Advisory Council) Niles Carr CO-000002-6, Unit 3 P.O . BOX 5003 Coalinga , CA 93210-5003 Telephone: 559-934-0399 / 559-934-0889

OC district attorney's office investigating Taser death The Associated Press
(Updated Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 3:05 AM) ADVERTISMENT ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Officials are investigating the death of a 25-year-old man who collapsed after police responding to a domestic-violence-related call subdued him with a stun gun, district attorney's officials said. Investigators immediately responded to the scene where Jorge Renteria Terrquiz lost consciousness after being hit with the Taser gun, district attorney's spokeswoman Farrah Emami said Monday. Police fired the Taser at Terrquiz Sunday when they responded to the source of a hang-up call and found him beating his wife, police Sgt. Juan Reveles said. An officer used the gun when Terrquiz attacked police, Reveles said. Terrquiz collapsed after he was hit and was taken to a hospital, where he died, he said. No evidence of drug use was immediately detected in Terrquiz, but autopsy results will take weeks, Reveles said. Police said they had intervened in at least one prior domestic violence case involving Terrquiz and his wife, and a restraining order was in place against him.

Dear Cayenne I saw Mark yesterday and they can't even find a vein to draw blood from Mark right now for any test. It appears that all of his viens have hardened and they cannot draw blood. I am worried to death over this new development.  Thanks for your support and understanding. Nora
Dear Cayenne, I thought about all of you all day Friday, wishing I could have been there. Jason was moved and is now only a little over an hour from us. I feel encouraged right now. But, my heart is with all those mothers who are dealing with life and death situations. Like you said, it could happen to any of us. The battle continues... Jill
Thank you Jill for the contribution that you made toward the rental of the chairs, tables and canopies and for the people you sent to attend the rally to represent your family.  You were there by helping with the expenses and by sending people.  Glad to know Jason has been transferred nearer to you with HIS BROKEN LEG.  The battle continues and there is much follow up posting that needs to do be done, what we would do without you to post out there Jill! Rev. Cayenne
Reverend Bird- I am very impressed by the power and emotion that some of our speakers brought to the state capitol Friday.  I do not think anybody on the block would be able to block out the words, emotions and raw messages that were delivered with such conviction(did you see smoke coming out of the repugs' ears?).  Though we didn't have the "hundreds" for the turn-out(their loss) the message was still the same with those power house speakers.  Thank you for your divine work and the faith you have in some of these exceptionally difficult situations you endure.  You FEEL the pain of each story and dont just blow it off as another statistic of the state.  I highly commend you for your bravery and will.  Keep me posted on what you may need as you know I'm a Warrior by your side... Mike -Sonoma County
The three primary  ways to change the laws
1.  A 2/3 vote in the legislature by a bill that has been brought by a Senator or an Assemblymember. This means that at least some Republicans must vote for a change in California since we do not have a 2/3 majority and they always vote against all prison reform bills.
2. By initiative - a petition is registered with the Secretary of State, and we are given 150 days to collect enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot.  This means at least 6500 people must be willing to gather 200 signatures each in 150 days.  Then it is qualified for the ballot.  The second part of this process is that each person with a loved one in prison registers and brings 20 people each to vote. That's because law enforcement, prosecutors, prison guards, crime victims and those who profit off the industry at the ones doing most of the voting and putting their legislators into office over us.
3. Electing our own representatives to office who will vote the right way which requires the formation of a large enough and funded enough voting lobby to get behind the candidates with votes and money so they can buy advertising. If the poor all voted to keep Repugs out of power and our people in power, wrote to editors, showed up to legislative hearings, helped to file lawsuits, the world would be a different place.  Apathy and lack of understanding of how the system works is the reason the punishers are in power over us. It is the only reason since there are 3 million of us attached to a state prisoner but we are not all writing, recruiting to the UNION workers to get trained or registering the poor to vote.  Simple, but if enough people were doing it, we would have none of our present problems.

SEX OFFENDERS Being forced to Move

Dear Editor This is in response to your article of Sept 9, 2007 about 2741 Sex Offenders being forced to move.  The 2000 ft rule is not going to stop anything.  Contrary to popular opinion most sex offenders do not hang out near parks or schools  searching for their victims. The enforcement of Prop 83 has begun, it’s bad law and would might not have passed  in Nov if voters had  had a clear understanding of the impact it would have on paroled sex offenders and their families trying to rebuild their lives. It was created by Republican State officials who want to appear tough on crime.  They sold the public a bill of goods without informing them of the cost either fiscally or in human terms. How can the RSO rebuild their life, get counseling, education and a job to so that they can support themselves and their families  with no viable place to live? Who is going to take care of these displaced families when they are forced to move and have no jobs and homes?  We are!  The Republicans and their supporters have created  another group of homeless people.  So what if the parole offices have created a way to track where they are?   Big deal!   This is the United States, and the fact that there are so many here who are homeless is a disgrace!  Sex offenders need stable environments job and skills training , placement and assistance finding a place to live that is safe for all.. Another initiative needs to be brought to the public to repeal Prop 83 and replace it with a good, fair law that is workable.

Sandy Port
------------------------------- Deputies shoot, kill man with gun in El Dorado Hills By Niesha Lofing - Bee Staff Writer September 11, 2007

A man has been shot and killed by El Dorado County Sheriff's deputies near a home in El Dorado Hills. Deputies received a call around 9:50 a.m. regarding someone with a possible psychiatric issue, El Dorado County Sheriff's Lt. Kevin House told KCRA. When deputies arrived on scene, they called for backup and witnessed a man with a gun "running around" near a home in the 2500 block of Highland Hills Drive, House said. Deputies heard shots fired and "saw the guy in possession of a gun," he said. Deputies fired one shot, killing the man. No deputies were injured, he said.
Dear Dr. Bird I’m writing to you because I’m currently working on a story about how prisons can actually serve, in some situations, to make nonviolent criminals more violent.

In particular I’m interested in scenarios such as when the mentally ill go to prison on non-violent charges, cycle upward into supermax units because they don’t follow prison rules, come out more disoriented than they were before entering prison, and then get rearrested shortly afterwards having committed violent crimes. A similar situation might hold for young men or women incarcerated on low-end drug charges, who are exposed to gang activity etc in prison, and come out more embittered and more violent than they originally were – and, again, bounce back into prison shortly after release on new, more serious charges.

I’m hoping you can help me navigate this complex story, and that you might be able to put me in touch with individuals, or lawyers, who can talk me through such cases.

California journalist
I have consented to help this individual by lining her up with cases and have shared UNION members stories with her.

Lots of questions on how to influence the votes on AB160 and SB110 to create a sentencing commission came into me  today.  Here's the challenge. The legislators carrying bills for us have advised me  that votes will be taken sometime TODAY on both bills, maybe as early as 9 am.  What everyone needs to do is call the REPUBLICAN senator and assemblymember in your district, or any other district and leave a phone message beginning at 8 am that you as a taxpayer and voter want them to vote YES on both of these bills.

Done right, a sentencing commission would mean that the legislators could change some of the harsh laws without our having to organize 6500 workers and a million dollars to change each law. The trick would be in the mindset of the punisher vs. healer balance of panel members.  If they both fail, the only option open to us in order to change the laws is through organizing large enough and funded enough to do initiatives.  No one (except me) believes that  the families of prisoners are capable of doing this basic organizing so the legislators are trying to find another way to change laws other than by initiative.

All of the Republican politicians and some of the Democrats consider the bills a threat to the prison empire building and they are lockstep voting against both of them.  So as many phone calls as you can place to bug the list of legislators below TODAY  at 8 makes a noise when enough people actually do it.  Simple message "I want you to vote for SB110 and AB160 to set up a sentencing commission"  Do it at 8 when people are there so we can hopefully jam up their switchboards.

No one can call them all, just take a few  of the list and call them from the member directories at these links.  As a UNION member you know your way around this website, correct?


** California Prison Crisis Alert** Please Contact CA Lawmakers Now!

Last Friday the California assembly fell several votes short of passing its version of Senator Gloria Romero’s bill (SB110) to establish a non-partisan independent sentencing commission to address overcrowding, inequities, and racism within our prison system.

On Monday, the assembly is expected to take another vote.  Please contact (info below) Democratic Party lawmakers (listed below) to reverse their position and support an independent sentencing commission to tackle California’s prison crisis.

Despite the fact that the California Democratic Party passed a resolution (text below) supporting sentencing reform, some Democratic Party lawmakers, 6 from LA (DeLeon, Calderon, Fuentes, Levine, Lieu, Karnette), failed to support Romero’s bill.

Talking Points

Building new prison and jail beds will not resolve the overcrowding in California’s prisons.  With almost half of the state’s incarcerated population behind bars for non-violent offenses, it is imperative we change the sentencing laws.

California lawmakers, fearful of being labeled soft on crime, have failed to revise the sentencing laws themselves.  We need an independent commission, not subject to the pressure of electoral politics.

The non-partisan Little Hoover Commission, a body established to study solutions to the state prison crisis, long ago recommended the establishment of an independent sentencing commission.

Federal judges overseeing the state prison system, have called for urgent sentencing reform measures, including the establishment of an independent commission.

One out of every four African American males in California is incarcerated.

Of the 240,000 California inmates, almost 70% are people of color. Please Contact Lawmakers who Abstained (**) or Voted NO Ask them to VOTE YES ON SB110 THIS WEEK!

Assemblyman Juan Arambula (Fresno) –Voted NO
916-319-2031FAX:  916-319-2131


Assemblyman Charles Calderon (East LA, City of Industry, Downey, Whittier) - **
916-319-2058FAX:  916-319-2158
562-692-5858FAX: 562-695-5852

Assemblyman Kevin DeLeon  (Echo Park, Hollywood, Silverlake) - **
(Assistant Majority Leader to Fabian Nunez)
916-319-2045FAX: 916-319-2145
323-258-0450FAX:  323-258-3807EMAIL:

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes  (San Fernando, Mission Hills, Pacoima) – Voted NO
916-319-2039FAX:  916-319-2139
818-504-3911FAX:  818-504-3912EMAIL:

Assemblywoman Betty Karnette (Long Beach, San Pedro) - **

Assemblyman Ted Lieu  (Torrance, Beach Cities & Venice) –Voted NO
916-319-2053FAX: 916-319-2153
310-615-3515FAX: 310-615-3520EMAIL:


Assemblyman Lloyd Levine  (Northridge, Reseda, Canoga Park, Van Nuys) – **
916-319-2040FAX:  916-319-2140
818-904-3840FAX: 818-902-0764EMAIL:

Assemblyman Pedro Nava (Santa Barbara, Ventura) – Voted NO
805-564-1649FAX:  805-564-1651
805-483-9808FAX:  905-483-8182EMAIL:

Assemblywoman Nicole Para (Bakersfield, Delano, McFarland, Hanford) **
916-319-2030FAX: 916-319-2130
661-334-3745FAX:  661-334-3796EMAIL:

Assemblywoman Mary Salas  (Chula Vista, Coronado, San Ysidro) – Voted NO
916-319-2079FAX:  916-319-2179

Assemblyman Alberto Torrico (Fremont, Union City, Milpitas) – Voted NO
916-319-2020FAX:  916-319-2120
510-440-9030FAX:  510-440-9035EMAIL:

Assemblywoman Lois Wolk (Vacaville, Benicia, Fairfield) **
916-319-2008FAX:  916-319-2108
707-445-8025FAX:  707-445-0490 Copy of LACDP & California Democratic Party Endorsed Resolution

RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT PAROLE & SENTENCING REFORM TO ADDRESS OVERCROWDED PRISONS WHEREAS Governor Schwarzengger and California legislators decided to build 53,000 new prison and jail beds at a 25-year cost of $15-billion dollars in construction and debt service funds; WHEREAS this legislative decision was made without a single public hearing in a state that, according to the California Legislative Analyst, currently incarcerates 240,000 inmates in prisons and jails, almost 70% of  whom are people of color, 29% African American, even though African Americans constitute only 6% of the Adult population;

WHEREAS the current plan to build new prison and jail beds ignores the Governor’s Independent Review Panel and the Little Hoover Commission recommendations for parole and sentencing reform that would immediately and drastically reduce California’s prison population and address the problem of overcrowding in a state that, according to the California Legislative Analyst, spends $43,000 each year to incarcerate but only $8,000 to educate a student in our public schools; THEREFORE BE  IT RESOLVED the California Democratic Party supports implementation of the state’s Independent Review Panel and the Little Hoover Commission’s parole and sentencing reforms: releasing selected low-risk non-violent offenders without parole; moving parolees off parole automatically after 12 clean months; providing community alternatives, not prison, for technical violations of parole; creating a sentencing commission that would recommend changes to penalties.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the California Democratic Party, recognizing a disproportionate percentage of minorities is behind bars, supports implementation of these reforms to address overcrowding in prisons and jails.

Authored by: Marcy Winograd

Submitted by:

Progressive Democrats of Los AngelesProgressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains Valley Democrats United East Lake Bonita Democratic Club

Articles Needing Posts Prison crowding a grave problem
There are 36 posts here no more are needed - good job UNION members at showing up for the war without having to be asked....

Disease clouds a prison's future A deadly outbreak of valley fever is sparking doubts about expanding the Pleasant Valley lockup in Fresno County. By Andy Furillo - Bee Capitol Bureau Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, September 9, 2007 The records show that Javier Garcia received a term of six years and four months in 2004 on convictions for inflicting corporal injury on his spouse and for second-degree burglary.

But Garcia's punishment now has turned into a far more serious one than the time given him by a Fresno County judge.

When Garcia, 37, was paroled from Pleasant Valley State Prison in June, he was in a coma and near death. Infected in a valley fever epidemic that has torn through the prison the past two years, Garcia came out with a lifetime sentence of valley fever meningitis.

Last week, Garcia was back in the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where he had surgery to drain fluids from his brain. Although he will need to make visits to the hospital for the rest of his life, Garcia's situation could be worse. At least four inmates and one staff member at Pleasant Valley have died of valley fever-related illnesses in the past two years. "I think that prison should be shut down," said his father, Jesse Garcia, a retired Marine sergeant. Nobody in a position of authority is calling for Pleasant Valley's closure, but some of the prison system's top medical officials and other experts are coming pretty close to it. They say there likely will be more illness, and possibly death, among inmates and staff if California goes ahead with a construction plan to add prison beds there and at other San Joaquin Valley lockups. Construction stirs the soil and contributes to the spread of valley fever spores, and prisoners are thought to contract the disease at a higher rate than the population at large because they haven't built up specific immunity that lifelong valley residents have, generally have higher rates of compromised immune systems and spend a good deal of time outdoors in the yards at their facilities. A recent report commissioned by the federal medical care receiver called on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to hold off on building 12 dorms at five prisons in the "hyperendemic" disease area, including two slated for Pleasant Valley.

 The report also said that if the state can't reduce valley fever exposure at the prison, where 300 inmates are being treated for the disease, prison officials should "consider relocating all inmates from this institution." The recommendations conflict with California's recently enacted Assembly Bill 900, the $7.9 billion prison construction program designed to keep the federal courts from imposing a cap on the inmate population. More than a third of the 16,000 new "infill" beds contained in AB 900 are supposed to be built in the five San Joaquin Valley prisons, including 600 at Pleasant Valley. In interviews with The Bee, the prison system's regional medical director for the Fresno area and the top doctor at the prison suggested it would be a bad idea for California to break more ground at a place where the disease clinically known as Coccidioidomycosis already is costing the state millions. It's a good bet, they said, that dorm construction at Pleasant Valley will increase chances of prisoners and staff becoming ill. "It's up to the Legislature to decide where they are going to build these beds," said Dr. Elena Tootell, the prison system's regional medical director who reports to Robert Sillen, the federal receiver. "But it will certainly make our job more difficult if we have to create beds here where people will be exposed to cocci (pronounced cox-see). ...

We are putting more people who might be at a higher risk for dissemination and more morbidity associated with cocci into this area." Dr. Felix Igbinosa, the prison's medical director, said the "experts" have already made it clear that "they don't believe it would be safe" to build the dorms at Pleasant Valley. "Historically," Igbinosa said, "the disease is about exposure. It means if you bring in more people, you expose more people." Correctional officials say they have responded to the epidemic by transferring inmates with weakened immune systems, at a rate of 30 a month. They say they also are taking steps to screen inmates away from Pleasant Valley if they are at high risk of contracting the disease. Sillen, in spite of the recommendations in the report he commissioned, said he is not in favor of stopping the infill construction program at the valley prisons. He said there are "construction techniques and groundskeeping techniques," such as watering, laying concrete and planting grass and trees, that serve to mitigate valley fever's spread. "I want to make sure the state knew that we wouldn't accept not taking those things into consideration when they do their desert construction," Sillen said.

 Prison officials say contractors also will be laying gravel pads on dirt roads, adding stabilizers to the soil before it is broken, planting windbreaks and improving air filtration systems to defend against valley fever. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed no concern over the problem at a Sacramento news conference last week. "We will go ahead and build," he said. Lawmakers from both parties concur that the state should go ahead with the infill program in the valley fever zone. "We're building the beds to keep bad people in prison," said Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines of Clovis. "We can deal with valley fever as a separate issue." State Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, agreed. "There are many health risks associated with prisons and we should mitigate those risks to the best of our ability, but we also have an obligation of keeping people behind bars," he said. From South America to the deserts of Arizona and California, valley fever almost forever has sprung from the soil to attack people with immune systems incapable of fighting off its afflictions. About half the people infected shrug it off with no observable problems. The other half show symptoms ranging from colds to flu to pneumonia. About 1 percent develop skin lesions, or severe bone-and-joint problems, or, in the worst-case scenario, valley fever meningitis. Embedded in the soil, the cocci fungus grows when moistened by rain, then goes airborne when the dirt dries and the wind blows. Soil-disturbing events such as earthquakes or earth-moving construction projects compound the chances of an outbreak. Experts say that inmates transported into the "hyperendemic" areas are much more susceptible to valley fever than natives to the region. They say that longtime residents who are exposed to the disease over a lifetime build immunities that protect them for life. Adults inhaling valley fever spores for the first time -- especially African Americans, who are overrepresented in the prison population -- are at greater risk. "Once you're recovered from the disease, you are protected against infection," said Dr. Demosthenes Pappagianis of the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, one of the leading valley fever experts in the country. Researchers believe the construction of a state mental hospital next to the prison ignited Pleasant Valley's cocci epidemic in 2005. Last year, Fresno County health authorities documented 776 new cases of valley fever. Some two-thirds of those cases were reported at Pleasant Valley. Those Pleasant Valley victims, in turn, totaled about 10 percent of the prison's population. New infections at the prison have continued this year at a rate of 17 to 20 a month, according to Igbinosa. About 300 inmates at Pleasant Valley are currently being treated with the anti-fungal antibiotic Diflucan, prison officials said. One of them is Arthur Bussiere, 44, a second-degree murderer from San Diego County. Bussiere came down with symptoms in 2004. He spent five months in the hospital in 2005 after his right lung collapsed. He now has a 2-foot-long scar across his back as a result of valley fever surgeries. "They removed all the muscles in my back, removed all the ribs and threw them away," Bussiere said. "They removed part of my right lung and then left me open for four and a half months. They kept packing it and unpacking it twice a day, to drain out the valley fever." Mark King, 50, who has three years to serve on a second-degree robbery conviction, showed cold symptoms in December. Lesions then developed on his legs. He spent four months in the hospital and lost 30 pounds. "It got so bad I almost died," King said. In addition to the prisoners, 37 prison staff workers came down with valley fever in 2005. The prison's warden, Jim Yates, said that 26 staff members have filed workers' compensation cases over the past year, claiming that they are suffering from valley fever. Two haven't returned. No staff members agreed to be interviewed during a recent visit to Pleasant Valley by The Bee. But a correctional lieutenant at the nearby Claremont Custody Center, a community correctional center operated by the city of Coalinga, contracted valley fever meningitis in December 2005 and never shook it.

Walt Sanders, 36, twice went to the hospital for months-long stays. His weight dropped from 200 to 130. He said he remembered looking out the window of his Stockton hospital room at a nearby cemetery and envisioned himself winding up there as a result of his valley fever infection.

"Before this disease started eating away at me, I could bench-press 315 pounds," Sanders said. "It got so bad in the hospital I couldn't open up my own water bottle. I remember my father and I, we both started crying -- I couldn't open my own water bottle." Sanders hasn't gone back to work. "I'm told I'll never get rid of the disease because there's no cure for it," Sanders said. Dr. George Rutherford, a public health professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and an expert on valley fever, said Sanders is right. "You never really kill it," Rutherford said of valley fever meningitis. "On a spectrum of bad to horrible, it's on the horrible end." And the cost to treat valley fever is growing. According to a report by Pappagianis, the UC Davis expert, it costs about $34,000 to hospitalize a typical valley fever prison patient and $788,000 for the more serious cases such as Walt Sanders and Javier Garcia. Pleasant Valley officials did not have a price tag on the disease at their prison. The receiver's office has estimated the cost at no less than $11 million for the last fiscal year.

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----------------------------------- Prison crowding a grave problem Print this Article Email this Article Text Size: A | A | A By Sen. Michael Machado California Senate 5th District September 09, 2007 6:00 AM The Record's editorial on Aug. 19 rightly expresses legitimate concerns about California's atrociously overcrowded prisons. This problem takes on a personal dimension with the possibility of the former Northern California Women's Facility south of Stockton being reinstated as a men's prison. Prison overcrowding is indeed a grave and immediate problem requiring urgent action, but turning the former women's facility into a men's prison is not the answer. The region already has its fair share of the state's prisons and prisoners. However, leaving the site vacant poses many risks and much uncertainty for the community. The panel of three federal judges charged with development and monitoring of solutions to the state's prison problems may see the Stockton facility as an opportunity to reduce overcrowding. I have opposed any step to open a men's prison in the facility and will continue to do so. But the federal judges can overrule any state or county agreements. For this reason, I am proposing a compromise solution. Currently, state law provides funds for the establishment of "re-entry" facilities for inmates who will be released back to their communities within a year of the completion of their sentence. The former women's prison would be an ideal location for a re-entry facility. San Joaquin County and its citizens would benefit in several ways. First, the county, in particular Stockton, is already receiving recently released inmates every week, who return with $200 and a bus ticket. They walk out of the prison door, get on a bus and end up on our city streets. There is no readjustment period for the newly released prisoners, nor any resettlement support such as employment assistance or mental-health and substance-abuse treatment.

A re-entry facility could play a positive role in helping former prisoners become responsible members of the community. It would be used only for prisoners who are being released back to this area. It would not be used to bring in prisoners who committed crimes elsewhere in the state.

Second, counties that establish re-entry facilities qualify for special state benefits. These benefits include funds to build local jails and to establish community programs for mental health, substance abuse and employment assistance. Sheriff Steve Moore has often expressed his concern at the lack of available funds for expanding local jail space. This is our chance to receive much-needed public-safety funds. Presently, San Joaquin is the only county in the state able to move forward with the creation of a re-entry facility because of the availability of the former women's prison. This provides an opportunity that should not be missed. A re-entry facility provides a chance for former prisoners to readjust with the goal of preventing recidivism. In addition, the county will receive funding for new jails, and new mental-health, substance-abuse and employment-assistance programs. It would be shortsighted not to seize this opportunity to shape our own destiny in this matter before other, distasteful options become a reality. Machado, D-Linden, is serving his final term representing the 5th District in the California Senate. HOME Reader Reaction
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------------------------- More family contact would prevent deaths Print this Article Email this Article Text Size: A | A | A September 09, 2007 6:00 AM Eighteen-year-old Joseph Maldonado died by suicide in a Stockton youth prison on Aug. 31, 2005. He had been in solitary confinement for two months. Even before the system's specious decision to put the entire facility population on "lockdown" without classes, exercise or family contact, the Maldonado family had been denied visits for four months because of a bureaucratic technicality. Maldonado's was the fifth death in California's youth prisons in three years. His sister insists that had the family been able to communicate with him, he would be alive today. About a year ago, surviving family members gathered not to mourn, but to organize. Their painful experiences coalesced into two pieces of legislation to protect public safety and improve conditions in the state's youth prisons. One of the bills drafted by Families for Books Not Bars will likely be on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk soon, and a truncated version of the other recently became law. The families, with the help of attorneys and activists, presented legislators with a raft of research proving that public safety could be enhanced by involving families in rehabilitation and by providing education programs in settings closer to home. The governor should sign AB1300. It is based on sound public safety research and fiscal analysis. With his signature, the governor will honor the family of Joseph Maldonado by streamlining the bureaucratic process and strengthening family connections. Sumayyah Waheed policy director, Books Not Bars Oakland HOME Reader Reaction
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-------------------------------------------- Long terms in solitary can warp minds, critics say Sunday,  September 9, 2007 3:54 AM By Alayna DeMartini THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

James D. DeCampDispatch English teacher Gretchen Hull-Morris works with an inmate outside his solitary-confinement cell at the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility.


James D. DeCampDispatch photos Above: The interior of a solitary confinement cell at the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility

Right: Guards Robert Zinn, left, and Nathan Castle look in on prisoners in their solitary-confinement cells and fill out a log of check times at the Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility. The teen presses his pale face to the window of the locked door. When the guard flips open a slot in the door, the boy bends down to look out. Justin has been alone in this 9-by-8-foot cell for all but one hour a day for nearly a month. The room has only a stainless-steel toilet and sink and a plastic shelf above the bed. Through a narrow rectangular window, he can see a stretch of lawn -- a glimpse of what's beyond the white cinder-block cell wall. When he's not sleeping, Justin says, he kills time drawing. The Dispatch was allowed to interview the 17-year-old from Toledo on the condition that his last name not be published. In May, guards led him to this cell in the state juvenile prison in Marion County. Before he was transferred there, he had scaled a wall of the Cuyahoga Hills prison in Cuyahoga County, but his freedom was brief. Police arrested him after he stole a screwdriver at a Home Depot. Justin would have spent only two weeks in 23-hour-a-day lockup if he had done his homework while there. But he didn't. So instead, he spent six weeks in solitary -- sitting and waiting, sleeping and drawing. "Getting tired of being in there yet?" a guard asks, looking at Justin through the window in the door. The boy says nothing. No state limits Federal law requires that inmates in both juvenile and adult prisons get at least one hour a day outside their cells. But how long a chronically troublesome or violent youth can be kept in solitary confinement in a juvenile prison is left up to states to determine. In Ohio's adult prisons, inmates can be held in solitary for six months. There's no limit for juveniles. Last year, two inmates each spent four months straight in solitary confinement in an Ohio juvenile prison.


On 36 occasions in 2006 and 2007, inmates spent three or more consecutive weeks in solitary, according to prison records. The American Correctional Association, which sets standards for prisons nationwide, recommends no longer than five days for juvenile inmates. Staying in solitary even for more than a few hours can push adolescents toward depression, suicide or violence, experts say. Even Gov. Ted Strickland, a former adult-prison psychologist, said he considers locking up youths for 23 hours a day for several days to be "pretty severe." "I quite frankly wonder if that is the best approach," he said. He has suggested starting off with fewer lockdown hours and then moving inmates to 23/1, as it's called, if they repeatedly defy rules. Tom Stickrath, director of the Ohio Department of Youth Services, said solitary confinement has helped prevent chronically violent offenders from further harming other inmates or staff members. Two juvenile prisons -- in Marion and Scioto counties -- have discipline units for chronically violent youths. The units have cells for solitary confinement as well as lockup for 16 or 14 hours a day. But Youth Services tracks only how long inmates stay in the discipline units, not how long they spend in 23-, 16- or 14-hour lockup. Effects of confinement Leaving inmates alone for days with little or no outside contact can be harmful to their psychological health, said Jamie Fellner, a director of Human Rights Watch. "For the mentally ill, it can be torture," Fellner said.


"You cannot just be locked up with your own mind because it can be very scary and damaging." An inmate in solitary is allowed to have a pencil, paper and one book at a time. A teacher and a social worker are supposed to visit each of the youths in solitary every day and talk to them through the slot in the cell doors. But social workers are stretched thin, said Jim Tudas, head of that union for the juvenile-prison system. At the Scioto County prison, for example, "The contact amounts to maybe they walk by and look in and say, 'Do you need anything?' " Tudas said. A U.S. Justice Department investigation into conditions at the Marion County prison found that youths often were placed in solitary confinement even though they weren't a threat to themselves or others. Some were held in confinement for long periods "for refusing breakfast, cursing and talking in class," according to Justice Department letters to Strickland. The Children's Law Center, which represents jailed youths in Ohio and Kentucky, sued the state in April, saying that prison employees don't watch, teach or counsel inmates enough while they're in the long-term lockup. Stickrath said the discipline units have made the prisons safer by keeping the repeatedly violent offenders apart from the rest of the inmates. "I'd love not to even have this unit, but not at the expense of youths or staff," Stickrath said. "It's not humane to have kids out there assaulting each other." But he said he is open to alternatives to 23-hour lockdown. No changes are in the works, but a team of consultants has been hired to evaluate the system's effectiveness, including how it handles repeatedly violent youths. Bonnie Kerness, coordinator of Prison Watch Project, a national jail and prison watchdog group based in New Jersey, said corrections officers commonly rely on solitary confinement to isolate troubled youths instead of helping them learn to deal with their anger or violent behavior. "It provides a nice, safe working environment for the officers, and then no one has to look at the roots of the problems," she said. A few hours alone is enough for a person to calm down, she said. A longer confinement can harm youths already struggling with their emotions. Brian Lane, who manages the 23/1 unit at the Marion County prison, said the confinement teaches youths to change their behavior. They seldom return to the unit, he said. "I think it's very successful," he said. "It's very structured. "Our business is to help kids. I wish there was not a need for my unit. In reality, there is." Concerns about suicide An April survey of 25 states that use solitary confinement in their juvenile prisons found that the average stay was 18.3 hours, said Ned Loughran, executive director of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators. The survey did not include states such as California, which was sued for inhumane prison conditions, including keeping kids in solitary confinement for as long as nine months. New Jersey changed its policy last year so that juvenile inmates can be placed in solitary confinement for five consecutive days at most. The state used to allow a month, but that was changed because of the risk that youths would kill themselves, said Howard Beyer, executive director of New Jersey's juvenile-prison system. "I didn't want to challenge fate," he said. Inmates locked in 23/1 often have chronic mental illnesses that cause them to act out, said Barry Krisberg, president of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Troubled youths need to learn how to communicate, and that's not happening when they have little or no contact with others. "It leads to a psychological deterioration of youths who are vulnerable," Krisberg said. In Ohio's juvenile prisons, guards are required to check on inmates in solitary confinement every 15 minutes to make sure they aren't trying to kill themselves. Vincent Walker, now 18, was in the 23/1 lockup at the prison in Marion County at least three times, each for two weeks. Walker was sent to prison in November 2005 after stealing a man's car and threatening him with a gun in Cuyahoga County. Although his bipolar disorder had been diagnosed before he arrived, he was never treated with medications or therapy in prison, said Linda Julian, his attorney. In prison, he got into trouble for having marijuana and attacking inmates, his records show. Walker called his days in 23/1 "dead time." To pass the hours, he slept, wrote or thought about his son. "I daydream about the outside world," he wrote in a letter to The Dispatch. When he was let out for his daily hour of recreation, a guard walked him to a room with a pull-up bar and a stair step. But he usually didn't exercise. As Walker put it: "Being in the room alone all day just makes people mad." "It leads to a psychological deterioration of youths who are vulnerable." Barry Krisberg president, National Council on Crime and Delinquency "It's not humane to have kids out there assaulting each other." Tom Stickrath director, Ohio Department of Youth Services

California Republicans At Arms Over Prison System Governor joins the fight to prevent early release of criminals

Senator George RunnerGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined law enforcement officials from across the state and Republican legislators to warn of the dangers that early release of felons or a prison population cap could have on California communities. Standing with public safety officials who have or will petition to be a part of the case, the Governor pointed out the consequences of releasing criminals into our communities before they have served their sentence and urged the panel to give prison reform time to work.

"We must be given adequate time for our prison reform package to work. Earlier this year I worked with members of the Legislature to develop a comprehensive prison reform package to ensure dangerous criminals are kept behind bars and that our rehabilitation programs are effective in reducing recidivism," said Governor

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In July, a three-judge panel was formed based on motions granted in prison medical care and mental health care cases by two judges. In the coming months, this panel will hear evidence related to prison overcrowding and health care, the result of which could be an order for the early release of thousands of dangerous criminals into our communities or a population cap that would prevent prisons from housing convicted criminals.

"AB 900 attacks our recidivism rate, which is the highest in the nation, by bringing rehabilitation back to our prison system. This will protect the public because inmates who are committed to turning their lives around will have more opportunities when their terms end," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Much of that rehabilitation will be done in the secure re-entry facilities we are building in partnership with California communities."


And in the middle of this prison fight, a separate issue regarding enhancing criminal rights has legislative Republicans up in arms.


The Democrat-controlled Senate has approved two measures that would give increased rights to convicted felons.  One measure, Assembly Bill 508, authored by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, would give taxpayer-funded food stamps to convicted drug felons, including growers, traffickers and dealers. Republicans blasted the idea, saying that food stamps should be reserved for the truly needy who depend upon them, not “drug felons looking to further their dangerous habit.”


Another measure that passed the Senate today and opposed by Republicans was Assembly Bill 1334, also authored by Assemblyman Swanson, which would allow for the distribution of condoms to prison inmates.  Republicans argued this would only encourage inmates to engage in sexual activity that is already illegal in prisons. They also said; “prison time should be about serving time and paying one’s debt to society, not having a good time.”


“It's incredible that in a legislature that has so many serious issues facing us and facing the citizens of California, we’re taking time to even consider the issue of what we need to do in order to make sure that our convicts and inmates have safe sex,” said Senator George Runner, who represents the Santa Clarita area. Runner went on to call the idea “Wrong headed.”



Prison health czar loses bid Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, September 7, 2007

U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson refused Thursday to grant a request by prison medical czar Robert Sillen to cut off plaintiffs' lawyers from monitoring prison health care in the case they filed that created Sillen's job.

In an 18-page order, Henderson characterized as "unseemly, and seriously distracting" the deteriorating relationship between Sillen and the Prison Law Office.

Sillen had asked the judge to eliminate the San Rafael inmate rights group's monitoring status over prison medical care.

He said in an interview in May that "all those inspections" conducted at state prisons by the group's lawyers interfered with his ability to do his job.

-- Andy Furillo, Bee Capitol Bureau


Dr. Bird:  I am impressed to read everything you are doing about sick prisoners.  My brother-in-law is an ill inmate at California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo.  His brother and I are in the process of requesting a Compassionate Release for him.  He has Dementia and Alzheimers Disease.  His health and mental status are failing rapidly. We would like to have him transferred to a facility that specializes in this illness, as we were informed that CMC is not equipped for this.  Can you provide me as to who I can bombard with letters.  I have written to the warden, ombudsmen and secretary.

Thank you,


Dear Nadine

Writing to legislators is a complete waste of time - come to rally with us tomorrow so we can prove that an intelligent voting lobby does exist that objects to the abuse of prisoners.

We can't just always send email and regular mail and expect that will be enough, several times a year it is necessary to show enough faces.  The Bill for Compassionate Release is on the Governor's desk

Here is the rally flyer

We have a great line of speakers and people who are suffering just like you.  Don't agonize, just organize in the UNION

Rev. Cayenne

--------------------------------- September 9, 2007. 0 comments. Topic: Covering the End of the California Legislative Session Has Many Challenges and Yet is So Important By Frank D. Russo Trying to cover the final days of this year's California legislature with around 700 bills in play, and now some smaller number, is like driving down a busy street with side traffic, pedestrians, and the distraction of a circus going on that threatens to distract one's attention from a clear picture of the road. One can try to take in the big picture and write in short brush strokes about individual bills that have passed, noting a few that have not, and perhaps a larger picture emerges for the reader as these different snapshots are published on the internet.

The sheer variety of legislation boggles the imagination and challenges even veteran reporters. Political and policy debates range from the environment, healthy foods for school children, health care, insurance, safety for workers on the job, criminal laws and sentencing, prisons, discrimination, campaign finance laws, to the initiative process--and the list goes on, including seemingly esoteric laws about the use of kangaroo products in shoes and other products. There is little time to group the bills by subject area and give a detailed analysis--although we have tried--such as on the flood package that has passed and the remaining bills that are under consideration. So we try to give as much information as we can, with a lick and a promise to come back to these issues in greater detail--perhaps later when the Governor is about to sign or veto legislation "piling up on his desk." This is the season where there are last minute amendments to legislation that sometimes have a major or unintended effect. Sometimes these are in fact intended.

 Many times they are not noticed by legislators, staff, and the thousands of legislative representatives (lobbyists) and organizations that abound in the Capitol in the blur of the last few days. There are inaccurate statements made in floor debates, in coverage by the main stream media and the blogosphere, and comments made on or off the record about what is in the legislation and facts surrounding the dozens of policy issues at hand for the state of California. There are wild rumors. There are rumors that turn out to be true, even though they initially sounded far fetched or distorted. You have two houses usually meeting at the same time. It's a bit like listening to two different radio programs in stereo at the same time. And you have actions taking place off the floor, including the many breaks for hour long or longer closed door caucuses by Assembly or Senate members from both parties. There are conversations taking place on the floor between different legislators. In particular, I wish I was the fly on the wall when Senators appear on the Assembly Floor and Assemblymembers appear on the Senate Floor, to wrangle out the wrinkles and fates of legislation in conversations, often with one hand on the other's shoulder and whispers in the other's ear or a bit of laughter and bravado and a slap on the back.

Then there's the stuff that's not happening--the bills that go to the purgatory of the "inactive file" where they can be recalled at some point in the future--many of them next year as the policies and politics of them are worked out. And there are interesting connections to be made with events outside of the Capitol arenas. For instance, Governor Schwarzenegger gave a speech to the California Republican Convention at Indian Wells in the desert, warning that the party is "dying at the box office" because saying "no" is not the basis for a healthy party. An interesting pattern I have noticed in the last couple of weeks is the phenomenon of Republicans, sometimes en masse, voting against bills where the presenter and the analyses both reveal that there is no opposition to the measure. When this happens with no debate on the bill and no contrary comments, one is left scratching one's head and wondering "what was that all about?" There are major stories largely untold from last week. These include the fate of SB 110 (Romero) and AB 160 (Lieber) both aiming to create a sentencing commission to rationalize California's crazy quilt of prison terms that has been the product of sentence creep over the decades. A very important set of measures to deal with prison overcrowding and our priorities as a state, especially considering the fact that we will be spending by next year more on our prisons than we do on higher education. There are some differences between them, but they have been amended to the point they are closer to each other. The Romero bill came up for a vote on the Assembly Floor Friday and was defeated on a 34 to 34 vote. A motion for reconsideration was made and the Romero bill can still pass, with or without amendments, in the next few days. And it looks like the Leiber bill may be up for a Senate vote, perhaps tomorrow.

This is just one of the bills that are the subject of speculation, informed or otherwise, that they are caught up in a "war between the houses." My bet is that this is not the case here, given the debate on the Assembly floor, which revealed sharp differences of opinion, especially between the parties, on the Romero bill. Still, the Lieber measure, having passed the Assembly and the Senate policy and fiscal committee, was then sent to the Senate Rules Committee, where its proponents feared, and others reported, it was being bottled up over a battle as to which house's version would pass. Well, on Friday, it was withdrawn from the Senate Rules Committee, and is now on the Senate "Third Reading File," meaning that it is now in line for a Senate floor vote. There is a lot of continuing controversy that bills by Assemblymember Leno are being held up by the Senate because he is running against one of their members, Senator Migden, in next years Democratic primary.

We will head up the road to Sacramento tomorrow and may hole up overnight to get an early start on Tuesday, which may or may not be the last day of the regular legislative session. Both houses will not be in session on Wednesday and probably Thursday because of the Jewish holy day, Rosh Hannah, and the Senate may adjourn Tuesday for the year while the Assembly may convene on Friday, the last day either house can meet for the year. Even Friday's "deadline" is not clear, as there are persistent reports that the legislature may be called into special session to deal with leftover business, including health care. At least on health care we have some detailed reports of what is now in AB 8 (Nunez/Perata) from Anthony Wright.

That bill was amended late Thursday and is in place for a Senate floor vote. In order to pass and go to the Governor, it also must be passed by the Assembly. Who knows if there will be further amendments, if it will come up for a vote, and if the Governor will sign it if it does? Today's New York Times has a major article on health care legislation in California including a prediction by some experts that "failure in California may arrest the national momentum behind health care reform." Columnist Dan Weintraub, has an article, "A deal on health care is coming into focus", in today's Sacramento Bee edition that should be read. It starts out" "A deal between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats in the Legislature on what could be a historic expansion of government's role in the health care system is within reach -- if both sides decide they want it badly enough.

 "The agreement would likely come in two pieces -- legislation that lawmakers would approve this week or soon after in a special session, and a separate measure that would appear on the November 2008 general election ballot to finance the plan." Brickbats are being thrown at AB 8 from some of the proponents of SB 840 (Kuehl) and the single payer approach, most notably the California Nurses Association, and from those on the other side, who basically do not want any health "reform" at all passed, including those who defeated SB 2 (Burton) in a referendum on the 2004 ballot. There has been increasing hyperbole on this complex bill--and whether it is "half a loaf" that even some supporters of single payer such as Sheila Kuehl herself may support--or a "half baked" idea even with the last minute amendments--that needs more refinement and that both sides of the single payer debate will oppose, is up for grabs. I'd personally like to see single payer--"Medicare for All"--passed in California, but with the Governor steadfast in opposition to the idea and willing to veto SB 840 yet again, even Senator Kuehl is not planning on taking up her bill at this point. AB 8, even though it retains insurance in the health system, would make major advances, and may be our last best hope for the year. We will see--and I wouldn't be surprised to see this whole issue go to overtime in a special session--and even competing 2008 ballot initiatives and referenda. One can belittle the accomplishments of this year's legislative session, even if it is not over yet and there probably are some unexpected twists in the road ahead. There is good reason to be disappointed in the fate of many bills, the missed opportunities, and halfway measures. But there are also many bills passed already that are important to the daily lives and futures of Californians and the budget impasse and fight shows that the Democrats and Republicans in the legislature have very different visions about public policies. There is one undeniable truth that I see: This is important stuff and has real impacts. There is not enough coverage with the shrinking of the Capitol Press Corps in Sacramento and more engagement by the average citizen and voter is sorely needed. Stay tuned.
--------------------------------------- September 9, 2007 Your Children and Friends are Dying in Prison--here's why By Moss David Posner, M.D.

Good Morning. My name is Moss David Posner. I have been a physician with the California Department of Corrections for almost five years, before I was forced out. I’m putting my burden down now. I’m out of the picture, but I want to say a few things to you: Here’s the threat: AB 1539 defines permanent incapacitation, which is the logical first step in compassionate release procedure.

If this is diluted down, which appears to be what is happening, virtually no inmate will be able to meet the standard for compassionate release. AB. 1393, was to have put teeth into requests for disclosure of public records, has been gutted by eliminating the order for punitive damages for any agency which refuses to cooperate with lawful requests for records, If there is---literally—no way out, then the seriously ill inmates are boxed in between being kept in prison, on one side, and being denied appropriate medical care, on the other. You have to push back on two fronts: first, the demand for the humane alternative of release of terminally incapacitated, and second, the demand for the needed care for everyone, especially those who are seriously ill.

In order to help you with the medical end of this dilemma, let me tell you why any hope of improving the medical care of the seriously ill is in such a mess as matters now stand. Here are my credentials: I started out as a contractor, a staff physician at Pelican Bay. I went to Salinas Valley, where I was subsequently appointed the acting Chief Physician and Surgeon at Salinas Valley State Prison. From there, I was transferred to the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran as the acting Chief Medical Officer. From there, I then transferred to Corcoran-1 and asked by the then-Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Klarich to be the Chief Physician.

When I complained about an anti-Semitic death threat, on paper and as defined by a yard captain, my appointment to the chief physician job was cancelled. Dr. Klarich told me this to my face. I have won round one of an action against the Department, and now am waiting on the result of an appellate hearing, which of course the department insisted on. You see—that was my crime: trying to help inmates. Let me fill out your picture of what really happens in the medical department. I ran into brick walls everywhere I went. I worked 14-hour days at SATF, arriving early and not leaving until the restaurants in town closed. I spent hours each night speaking with distressed relatives, and doing whatever I could to make life more bearable for these unfortunate men.

 I kept detailed files on my computer so that I could have the information at my fingertips should any attorney called—and call they did. They deeply appreciated my help. I even got compliments from the prison law office, and they were upset when I was transferred. You would think that all this would be appreciated and encouraged. You would think so---but you would be wrong. The California Department of Corrections doesn’t want to help their doctors give quality care. I cannot count the number of times our requests for consults, requests for outside assistance, requests for equipment were ignored, even laughed at. Our orders were ignored. Some Correctional officers would just ignore appointments with us and with outside consultants. Officers would routinely throw out appliances desperately needed by inmates, when they transferred to other facilities. Orders for important treatments were ignored, and many cases just cancelled. Here’s what happens to doctors: I’ve never been sued in 43 years of practice. I actually saw a Chief Physician, without my knowledge or permission, take over the care of my patient, changing my orders three times, and then when he realized I was right and he was wrong, changed the orders—again, and then, based upon his care, turned around and reported me to the medical board for what he had done. Go figure. A word about the cops; A wise man once said, “stuff rolls downhill.” I don’t excuse any form of wrongdoing; but even so, keep in mind that, like the rest of us, the cops are subject to enormous peer pressure and pressure from those in charge. That’s no excuse, but don’t think for one moment that these guys are all acting on their own. The one who sets the tone and the way things are done is the warden; and he is totally responsible for everything that happens in that institution—and I mean, everything, including death threats. We filed petitions. We met with officials—all resulting in nothing. I wrote letters to Judge Henderson, to the Receiver, Robert Sillen. I got nowhere. We got nowhere. Don’t misunderstand: I’m not sticking up for bad care; but I want you to understand what that “bad care” actually means. You are all good people. You are not responsible for the mistakes made by your children and loved ones. You don’t--and your loved ones in prison don’t--deserve the kind of care they’re getting. Animals get better care. At least my cat did. Suppose that your kids don’t cooperate. Now on top of that, just suppose the police, the fire department, Amtrac and the grocery stores all decided not to help you to take care of your family. Where would you be? I’ll tell you where you’d be—you would be held responsible anyway. That’s the way it’s done: The administration would pit the doctors against pharmacists, against nurses, against the MTA’s, and against you.

The real culprits are the medical administration, and ultimately the administration of the California Department of Corrections. They want you to fight—with the doctors and with anyone else so that they can hide, as they always do. You want proof? What has happened since Sillen has taken over? Have things gotten better? No. They are worse. No doctors want to work in the Department when they become aware of what happens to doctors who try to do their job. Doctors are fleeing the department like rats from a sinking ship. Prisoners are dying off right and left, and others were planned for transfer out to other states, in blatant violation of existing rules. Recently, Judge Ohanesian ruled this is illegal. MTA’s were trashed—probably the biggest mistake made to date. The nurses hired in their place won’t put up with the same garbage, and they are more organized than doctors or MTA’s; and the nurses are pushing back. I cannot tell you the number of times I promised inmates care, and then later had to explain to them that my hands were tied. Sad part of it all is—they understood it all too well. There is no accountability.

The thing that would change this would be to employ a chain of custody. Let me explain to you what this is: Law enforcement agencies use this procedure to document what they have done, so that if and when charges are brought—either by law enforcement or by defendants—everyone’s responsibility is an open book. Each time someone is responsible for some step in the chain, he or she is required to document that they have completed their part, within the time expected, that they have signed it off to the next person, who now is responsible. . We all know this. We see this everywhere: When kids receive report cards, they are obligated to bring it to their parents who, in turn, sign it and so show that they are aware. This is in turn returned to the teacher. Many jobs require that you sign in and sign out. That’s a simple chain, documenting that you were there and can be held accountable for what happened at work.

 When a doctor writes an order, it should be clearly defined who is next in line, in the chain of responsibility. The order goes to a Chief Physician. As matters now stand, this person can simply decide he doesn’t agree, and scribble a hasty note and sends it back to the doctor, leaving the doctor stuck with the consequences, which means the patient is stuck. If an official receives an order, he should be obligated to fulfill it as ordered or to suggest an alternative. He should be obliged to put his decision into writing. Should the doctor disagree, this should go to a subcommittee specifically set up for this purpose, that would decide the matter—and that would hold all parties responsible, including that committee. Should the doctor disagree, his reasons should be listed. If the patient suffers as a consequence, then all those who forced the decision can then be held accountable.

 If a patient comes in with an assistive device, like a cane or a wheelchair, this equipment is the responsibility of the Correctional Officer in Receiving, and he should sign off on it, turning it over to the next responsible individual, who, in turn, must sign on and off. If a consult is scheduled, those responsible for the transportation should sign off that they have done what they are supposed to do, such as transporting the patient in a timely manner for an appointment., then either that person or his or her superior—or both—should be held responsible if it is not done. Whoever drops the ball is responsible. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Now follow me here: Can you see that the same standard and technique should and must be applied to those with a public trust?


 If public records must be available, then those tasked with the responsibility of making them available. And that official responsible to provide it must be compelled to sign off on it. That official has so much time to complete his job. If he doesn’t do his job in the time allotted for it, then he should be held accountable. If a legislator ignores his responsibility, you good people must force a recall election. It is time that everyone is held responsible for what they do, in a proper manner and in a timely fashion—as defined by law, including you, as citizens. Isn’t that what Cayenne Bird is telling you? Remember—the issue is not whether an inmate “deserves” a break. The issue is whether that legislator takes care of his constituents, or whether a correctional officer does his duty —or doesn’t do so. In the absence of these chains of custody—of responsibility—no one can be held responsible. But you already know that. With this set-up, it is a simple matter to define citizen committees to review these documents. I would suggest a designated Grand Jury formed for just such a purpose.

Get together with attorneys you trust. Start with the Prison Law Office, which has been totally discarded by your Receiver, Robert Sillen. And stop being in such awe of Sillen. If he doesn’t do his job, you hold him accountable. After all, he goes to the toilet the same way you do. So what is doing on? Where is all this craziness leading? Let me tell you what I believe is really going on: In a little publicized meeting, Governor Schwartznegger met with officials for Geocorp, which is a “private” (which is to say—“corporate”) correctional organization now about 4 or 5 yeas ago. You heard nothing further.

Do you know what “Geocorp” really is? It was split off and renamed so that it wouldn’t be identified with the parent company—Wackenhut, and by some remarkable coincidence, this occurred shortly before a meeting with the Governor. And do you know who good ol’ George Wackenhut was? He was a “retired” CIA agent who formed this company. This governor has been cozying up to Geocorp, and then backing off when things are made public. What is the significance? In my view, the long-range plan is to hand over control of the California prison system to corporations, thus effectively federalizing California State Corrections. And if California falls, the other states will fall like dominoes. Remember, these corporations are not limited to state lines. In such a situation, transferring patients from one corporate hellhole to another will be so simple.

It won’t even matter if it is out of state. And as far as the families are concerned, it may as well be on the moon. Did you know that when an inmate is admitted, a security is issued in his name, and is bought and sold like any other security on the market? It’s a great investment. If a person is sentenced to ten, fifteen or twenty years, it’s almost predictable how much money that will require—feeding, clothing, housing, medical care. That’s because what is called the “time value of money.”

 Like Al Pacino said in “The Godfather,” “it’s nothing personal, Sonny; it’s just business.” Follow the money. Even so, for you dear loved ones, right now, there is only one issue: documentation, specific and time-sensitive, and disclosure, so as to hold your elected officials and your appointed Correctional officials responsible. And if someone in the legislature says that that’s not realistic, you tell him or her that human life is time sensitive—and so is your patience. Thank you and God Bless. Authors Website: Authors Bio: Previously Staff Physician, California Department of Corrections
43 years in practice writer on Social, Jewish and Medical issues pilot, skiier, and perpitetic philosopher
Commonsense Bill to Prevent the Spread of AIDS and Other Diseases from Prisons to the California Public is on Governor Schwarzenegger's Desk By Frank D. Russo With the California State Senate's passage of AB 1334 (Swanson), which would allow nonprofit organizations to distribute condoms and sexual barrier devices to inmates, the Governor has on his desk a public health bill that will really do something to slow the spread of AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other diseases communicable to the general public. The Inmate and Community Public Health and Safety Act, addresses the fact that prisons have become incubators for disease, and an unsuspecting public is suffering the consequences.

Specifically, AB 1334 will allow non profit and government agencies to provide sexual barrier devices to inmates in order to mitigate the chances of those inmates infecting their partners, wives, and girlfriends upon release This is a public health bill--and a serious one that received national notice in an unusually strong supportive editorial in the New York Times in July, "Fighting AIDS Behind Bars.” The Times points out that, “By protecting inmates, the states would also protect the all-too-vulnerable wives and lovers to whom they inevitably return when their sentences are completed.”

 They note the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control, which has urged states to implement condom distribution programs in the prisons as a way to prevent the spread of HIV behind bars and in the community at large. The editorial states, “Prison inmates have unprotected sex, despite laws forbidding it and denial by prison officials, which makes prisons prime settings for the spread of deadly blood-borne viruses like hepatitis C and H.I.V.” It concludes “Governor Schwarzenegger should sign the bill. It would give California’s public health community a powerful tool to fight the spread of a deadly disease." Yet the sniggering has already begun. Senator Cox, a conservative Republican who along with all of his party members in the Senate voted against this measure, has urged a veto, stating, "The fact that this irresponsible bill has made it this far is outrageous.” Aside from the California Family Council, a bona fide right wing religious based fringe group, the only other opposition to the bill has come from the California Correctional Supervisors Organization, which stated in its letter opposing AB 1334 that: "If the inmates would abstain from illegal sex within the prisons, there would be no health concerns." There are two glaring problems with this specious reasoning. First, in point of fact they aren't abstaining and the prisons are obviously not able to stop this practice from occurring. Secondly, the brutal facts are that many prisoners do not have a choice--they are raped and sodomized against their will. And the consequences are visited on those outside of the prison system. That is why the bill has the support of a large number of medical groups such as the California Medical Association, The California Chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, those organizations specifically fighting AIDS, and groups like the California Commission on the Status of Women and the Conference of Delegates of the California State Bar. That is why a chaplain in the prisons testified at a hearing on the bill that he is tired and frustrated counseling inmates who came into prison clean but became infected as the result of a sexual assault.

 “This is such a simple fix that would have profound implications,” he told the committee. State Senator Gloria Romero, Chairwoman of the Senate Public Safety Committee, said “This is a step we must take in order to address the reality of HIV and AIDS. And there is a very real--fiscally conservative--reason for the Governor to sign the bill: The State of California is exposed to the real costs of not implementing procedures--Each HIV-infected inmate costs the state $25,000 per year in health care costs.

The California prison healthcare system is under federal receivership because the treatment of prisoners’ healthcare needs did not even meet constitutional standards. The entire system was threatened with a federal takeover because of an exploding prison population and escalating costs that could not be contained. AB 1334 offers a positive solution by reducing the spread of disease in the prisons and easing the correlating costs of care. Assemblymember Swanson says about his bill, “Let’s not put our heads in the sand and ignore this problem.

 We should not allow this disease to incubate, mutate and get stronger in the environment of our prisons and be unleashed upon an unsuspecting community.” In the face of vituperative charges made by Republicans in the legislature that this bill is designed to promote sex in the prisons, it took courage for Democrats to vote for this bill. The Governor vetoed a legislative attempt to solve the problem last year. Hopefully, he will have the courage to sign AB 1334--or he will have the spread of these horrible diseases on his hands. There is no way of escaping the science and medicine on this and the costs in human tragedies and to the state and local budgets if he does not allow this bill, passed by both houses, to become law.

There is plenty of calling this morning at 8 am until the votes are taken for the sentencing commission bills until they take the vote.  Call for your relatives and friends, let's make incredible noise  The session is almost over, they saved the critical decisions until last AB1539 is on the Governor's desk - be sure to write about it in all your letters to editors. Rev.  B. Cayenne Bird UNION P.O. Box 340371 Sacramento, Ca. 95834


Does anyone know one of these Fresno firefighters who would like to address MRSA and the dangers to firefighters and other public employees  at our rally?  When law enforcement cares, the politicians pay attention because after all, they are the voters with the big checks to get them elected to office.
rides are still needed from almost every city in California, if you have a ride or need a ride please email Stephanie at, don't wait until the last minute, that puts unnecessary strain on everyone.  Confirm today
The rally flyer is being updated continuously at
Ride information is being updated continuously at
8500 cases have been documented out of the LA County jail since 2002, we know that this is all over the prisons.  Keep in mind that if the families don't report these cases, the media has no way of knowing where they are.  One of the family members of James Peters a mentally ill inmate who is on life support at  a Eureka hospital had MRSA in her eye.  She will speaking about their nightmare  at our rally, if you come early, ask her about her MRSA which in most cases is incurable for the serious strain.  My suggestion to you is that you do not shake hands but bump elbows through through clothing in greeting everywhere you go but especially at the prisons.  One woman reports getting it off a toilet seat.  We must hasten to educate the prisoners and their families in self defense

Firefighters want illness classified as job hazard

Drug-resistant staph infection has infiltrated three Fresno stations.By Vanessa Colón / The Fresno Bee09/05/07 04:26:06A type of drug-resistant staph infection has become so common in prisons and fire and police stations that some union officials want it classed as a work-related hazard. Among the latest victims are up to 13 firefighters at three Fresno stations.

Fresno County health officials say they've been working with the Fire Department to contain the outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Thirteen Fresno firefighters have filed workers' compensation claims over the infections, asking the city to pick up their medical bills, said Jerry Smith, vice president of Fresno Fire Fighters Local 753.

The most recent case was two months ago, Smith said. Terry Bond, Fresno's city personnel services director, said only four firefighters tested positive for the bacteria. Infections in the others had cleared up by the time they were tested, or were found to be the result of something else, Bond said.

The infected employees are from Station 1 at Olive and Jackson avenues, Station 7 on South Cherry Avenue near Jensen Avenue and Station 11 on North Fresno Street near Barstow Avenue.

"It's not an epidemic," said Fire Chief Randy Bruegman. "I'm concerned about it. We are daily coming into contact with people on the street. I'm worried about bringing all kinds of things to the firehouse."

Staph infections have become an increasing problem for firefighters, police officers, prison inmates and others in the state. Dozens of Folsom Prison employees and inmates, for example, were infected with the bacteria this year.

The bacteria can flourish in settings where people live in close quarters, such as jails or prisons, or practice poor hygiene. Firefighters and law enforcement officers may be more at risk through contact with the homeless, for example. In 2005, for example, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services documented 20 skin infections among Los Angeles city firefighters working on Skid Row, where the homeless and substance abusers gather. "We've seen too many cases. It's developed to the point that firefighters, correctional officers and police officers have banded together to support legislation to address this," said Afrack Vargas, legislative advocate at the California State Firefighters' Association in Sacramento. His group wants MRSA infections treated as a workplace injury for firefighters and law enforcement officers.

The legislation, which has stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, has drawn support from police and fire associations and opposition from cities and counties. Vargas said his association began to notice a rise in staph infections in 2005. "While firefighters and medics are using protective equipment, they are always at risk for contracting disease," Vargas said.

Staph can be found on the skin or in the noses of 25% to 30% of the public -- and in most cases, it doesn't trigger an infection, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, it is one of the most common causes of skin infections, which can appear as a pimple or a boil. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia or infections of the bloodstream or surgical wounds.


Most skin infections caused by the drug-resistant strain of staph can be treated, either by lancing and draining the boil, or by antibiotics, the CDC says. Dr. Edward Moreno, Fresno County's health officer, said his department has not heard of other staph outbreaks at other police or fire agencies, but he hears from physicians that county residents are being infected. Gyms are just one of the places where people can come in contact with the bacteria.

Moreno speculates that the bacteria, which was once limited largely to health facilities, have spread in the community because of growing resistance to antibiotics.

The first Fresno firefighter affected initially didn't realize what it was, fire officials said. The infection was treated as a spider bite in August 2004.

Months later, a second firefighter was infected with MRSA.

After a physician diagnosed the second case, the Fire Department notified its staff. The first victim was then told he too probably was infected, fire officials said.

The department began enforcing a cleaning policy, urging staff to wash their hands, clean equipment and use disinfectant swipes on objects they touch, Bruegman said.

Moreno said his Health Department staff visited the firehouses to educate workers about the bacteria and how to prevent its spread.

In July, a hygienist examined the three affected fire stations and found poor hygiene in the weightlifting area, the television remote control and the kitchen cabinet doors, fire officials said. The Fire Department implemented a new cleaning policy based on the hygienist's recommendations, Fire Department spokesman Ken Shockley said. Smith, the firefighter union representative, said the department is making efforts to contain the outbreak, but added that "it's not under control." Smith said it's unknown whether firefighters have been infected at the city's 20 other stations.

Smith said employees whose skin infections were treated as spider bites had their workers' compensation claims approved, but those who tested positive for the bacteria or a staph infection were denied.

"Our members want their medical bills paid and sick time reimbursed as on-the-job injury," Smith said.

Smith said that if the skin infections were treated as a work-related ailment, workers' compensation insurance would pick up the medical costs, instead of leaving firefighters to pay part of the cost. In addition, it would reduce the kinds of costs that drive up medical insurance rates for firefighters, he said. Bond, the city's personnel services director, said the city paid $11,747 in medical bills for some of the 13 people who filed claims. Other claims were denied because anyone can be exposed to the bacteria and the firefighters couldn't prove they were infected at the firehouses. Smith said the claims shouldn't have been denied because they are all job-related. The reporter can be reached at or(559) 441-6313.
Dr. David Posner, former CDC Physician who helped us try and save Mark Grangetto and was penalized for it, will be one of our speakers.  He has filed a lawsuit over his treatment.  He will have plenty to say at the rally from the physician's standpoint.  You won't want to miss this one
Diane, the wife of a sculptor and television producer with a loved one in prison has donated money for 30 more chairs.  She also plans to attend coming up from the coastal area.  Barb Christie recruited her about six months ago.  thank you Diane for the chair rentals and for your attendance, for the posting you do at the sites.

How about bringing that TV producer husband of yours especially if he can shoot video or someone who can get our event captured for some You Tube and at our site.

This is turning out to be an incredible response considering it is an emergency call but many things we need help on haven't been volunteered for yet. Video shooting is one of them.  Let's get these dads active too. thank you Diane! Rev. Cayenne
Remarks by speakers due before dawn tomorrow
I have a quinkydink to report.  We have on our list  District Attorney Gallegos who is not your usual type of well, power hungry jerk, and a couple of defenders and prosecutors out of Humboldt County where the James Peter case is taking place.

Last night in talking with Peters' family members, they relayed to me that it was Gallegos and other attorneys who got them access to visit James in the hospital a day and a half after the Sheriff would give them no access.  They had nothing but good things to say about him "Gallegos saved our spirits" was what the worried sick family said.

When a District Attorney does something good, he needs to be recognized for it as rational, compassionate human beings are becoming more and more difficult to find working as prosecutors.

The public defenders are almost always heroes but working under too  much of a workload, which we as voters who could do something about that problem by organize, allow to happen.  But prosecutors are rarely people that you would want to invite to your home or have as friends..

This is obviously not the case with DA Gallegos and his staff and for this, I am deeply relieved and thankful. The report from the family is that James Peter only has lower stem function, similar to Ed Rister, who has been alive for years but can only breathe and do very basic body functions, no cognizant ability at all.  He is not expected to live and the family is very grateful to be joining in the UNION rally with us and to tell you their story. And what a sad saga  it is....
I have a report that there was a fight between inmates and staff at RJ Donovan which is totally locked down with no visits right now.  Three members of staff are reported to have minor injuries, eleven inmates are now in the hole.  Is anyone surprised given the mismanagement there which goes unaddressed?

I need a  volunteer to help me with the Kinko's online order process so that I am not down there in the middle of the night ordering flyers for our membership table.
Still need volunteers for clean up, voter registration table, (teach people how to do this online as every county has a different form), working at our own table handing out flyers and building toward our 6500 active workers so we can do initiative campaigns instead of just complain.  A rally is like a big party and event planning on a dime at the last minute is a huge challenge. Need a videographer, the press release still needs to be written, there are probably things I'm forgetting.  Why do I give you all this detail.  What if I died, would anyone else in the entire movement be able to coordinate a rally the right way unless I pass on this knowledge?

On the chair rentals - I apologize for misinformation, You can't add three dollars via the Pay Pal at the site as that is set up for six month newsletter subscriptions.  You can send $3 a chair that you would like to have available for you and those you are bringing by just sending to PayPal the regular way to the email address The speakers chairs are already paid for and maybe a couple of extra ones.  The extra chairs should go to the disabled and elderly.

Diane Cov and Linda S are trying to get money to me to rent a few more chairs and some shade canopies - we always patch these events with email, nickels and bubble gum. It is much more important that you attend and bring people if you are too tight to donate for equipment, chairs, tables, canopies, etc.  The ticket for bringing Theresa Vaughn, Timothy Souders mother is paid for and purchased.

wear a fanny pack with a frozen big bottle of water in it, put in a peanut butter sandwich which is least likely to spoil in the heat, it's a long way to the cafeteria inside the Capitol and you can't bring protest signs in there.  After the speakers, there will be plenty of time for walking the hallways but the big problem we have is with the Governor signing critical reform bills.

The size of the crowd delivers the message.....or not.  They figure one person at a rally represents the views of one thousand voters, so when the attendance is huge, the lawmakers pay better attention.  No crowd equals no voice.  That's why the guards and their allies are out full force on the internet right now to prevent people from coming to our rally, because the oppression is only possible because we haven't organized large enough.

Those who understand this don't want the families of prisoners getting together and doing more lawsuits and finally being able to do initiaitive campaigns.  They like it better when everyone is dumbed down, not writing to editors, not showing up en masse to Sacramento.  When everyone is silent, they can do what they want to us without any of that embarrassing media coverage that they all dread.

It's a choice to be a victim or an activist for change.  Activists for change write to editors, show up three or four times a year when called to Rally over emergencies and to support bills. They recruit others to become activists and get trained and register the poor to vote for candidates that will represent us and not law enforcement labor unions Rev. Cayenne
The creation of a sentencing commission greatly impacts all those paroled and/or sentenced under the current harsh laws and Propositions put into place including Prop 83

Sex-offender law ruled unconstitutional Akron Man's right to live near school decades after crime is upheld By Ed Meyer Beacon Journal staff writer POSTED: 09:29 p.m. EDT, Sep 04, 2007 Beacon Journal staff writer A federal judge Tuesday ruled that the Ohio law restricting sex offenders from living near a school is unconstitutional for those whose crimes were committed before the 1,000-foot limit went into effect. Lane C. Mikaloff, 39, a registered Summit County sex offender freed from prison by the Ohio Parole Board five years ago, had challenged the law in a one-day trial in Akron in June 2006. U.S. District Judge James S. Gwin ruled the residency restriction cannot be applied to offenders who committed their crimes before July 2003, when the state legislature passed the law prohibiting sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.

Gwin wrote in his decision that the law ''only restricts a sex offender's place of sleep. It does not limit the offender's ability to occupy a residence in proximity to the school during school hours. It does not limit the offender's ability to go to any public park or drive on any street within 1,000 feet of a school. And it does not limit the offender's access to children in the offender's own neighborhood.''

Mikaloff's lawyer, David Singleton of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center in Cincinnati, called the decision ''a landmark ruling that will have national impact as courts around the country address the growing number of such restrictions.'' Singleton argued last year before Gwin that Summit County's effort to enforce the law violated Mikaloff's constitutional rights because the residency restriction was enacted long after his crimes were committed. Mikaloff was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General's Office said state lawyers, who challenged Singleton's arguments before Gwin, reviewed the judge's decision, and ''they believe the ruling applies only to this plaintiff and that the buffer-zone law is still in effect as it relates to all other sex offenders in the state.''

The spokesman, Leo Jennings, said the state's position was based on ''the fact that the judge repeatedly refers to this defendant ...and the special circumstances and unique set of facts that are present in this case.''

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, in a statement released by her spokeswoman, said she did not agree with Gwin's ruling and intends to appeal. Walsh said the 1,000-foot law is ''significant to protecting our children and we will pursue the necessary legal steps to uphold this law.''

Mikaloff was freed from prison in 2002 after serving 16 years for rape and aggravated burglary convictions from the 1980s.

He and his family had been living rent-free in cramped quarters on Beardsley Street on Akron's south side. The residence behind a home owned by his mother has been in his family for decades.

But in late November 2005, Mikaloff received a letter from sheriff's officials giving him 30 days to move.

A similar letter was sent to 148 registered sex offenders determined by county prosecutors to be in violation of the residency restriction.

Mikaloff's case, however, drew nationwide attention

after his victim read an Akron Beacon Journal news account about his eviction first published in December 2005 and said she had forgiven him long ago. A Christmas benevolent fund, organized by friends of Mikaloff's victim, raised about $800 for his family. His victim was the first to contribute to it.

Mikaloff, who was in Tennessee attending to his mother's health problems, according to Singleton, was expected to return to Akron later this week, the lawyer said.

Singleton said he did not have exact figures on how many state sex offenders might be affected by Gwin's ruling but estimated that it could be ''in the thousands.''

In testifying before Gwin last year, Mikaloff told the court he was ''not the person I used to be. Through treatment and help from many people and the desire to change I've turned my life around.''

Find this article at: HYPERLINK

Rides are needed from all destinations in California.  I may be delayed in answering email as I am overburdened with a million chores during the day but I will get to you, don't worry.  And if I sound a little curt, that's just stress talking. I have a new house decor, it's called "Looks Like Sears Blew Up".

In the final analysis, we will not remember the hatred of our enemies but the presence (or lack of presence)  of our friends and no one will remember the condition of our housekeeping.

Washing cars and cleaning house when we need rally attendance?  Outrageous.  A dirty car is the sign of a good advocate for change.  Of course if you have children, we don't want the health department on you, and it saves a whole bunch of work to leave the animals outside if they shed, but I digress.

Our official legislative sponsor is Assemblymember Mark Leno who is chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee (Budget) - this is a very important job. thanks to  you Mark and your great staff and we'll look forward to your remarks on Friday if you can break out of the last minute hearings.

Rev Cayenne Quana Brightman, Vice President United Native Americans will be speaking on the blocking of James Peters' family from visiting him while he is on life support and abuse of the mentally ill in prisons.

Two other tribal leaders from Roseville who just happen to be related to Peters directly will be present and they will bring a delegation of our people.  I am dying on pneumonia down here in Victorville, was in the emergency room all night, but these arrangements are firm. As you know, Indians never forget a wrong.

Our good friend broadcast journalist WOz will be covering the rally in Humboldt.  Enough is enough. Patricia St. Peter Retired Journalist
Great job Patty - looks like at least ten power houses.  I hope the families can get past their grief to get me speeches for the press packet by midnight tomorrow.  Sleep now Patty, you have more than earned it.   Love it, Patty can't come so she send the whole Indian Nation, now that's a great job. Rev. Cayenne
I hope to bring three people with me on Friday. If you know of others in the area attending, let me know. Perhaps, we can car pool. My phone number is 805-XXXXXXXXX. Let me know what I can do.

God Blesss, Ramona L
A ride is needed from San Francisco from near SF General Hospital, share gas.
UNION members and friends, how many people in your party?  We need to make plans for equipment and security requirements.
Rev. Cayenne, Could I get you to order 6 chairs for me and  for Joanne  & Family. Her son is incarcerated in Cal. has been in for 5 years.

I would consider it a Huge favor to let her speak, and speak after me, or soon after me. Huge favor, I'm in this to help others, I've been working on Donald's case since September last year. Joanne helped me with my Petition and set up my Group, that still is getting over a 1,000 hits a week. She is joining the UNION and will bring other to join, lives just one hour from Sacramento.

I'm going to have my speech to you tonight, if there is something I do not touch on or if you want me to touch on something not mention, we can work on that and still have it to you tomorrow. I'll be cooking up the Internet support tonight. I'll be pretty busy tomorrow doing last minute things during the day, but work do any changes to the speech tomorrow night. I'm ahead of you on time this will work to our benefit.. I have over a hundred people from our groups that are coming out in support I know it's not alot. Theresa Vaughn
hmmm, where I am going to get the money to rent 106 chairs for one group.  One thing we've learned is that people are not always reliable.  OK here's what we will do.  Everybody who wants a chair who didn't donate any money to help with the rally put $3 on the PayPal for each chair by sending to  I will try to get some shade canopies too but we're calling very late for this arrangements so no promises.  Be casual in the event some people will be sitting on the grass.  Speakers of course will get the first chairs which Jill and Nancy rented.


106 people brought to the rally by a grieving mother who lives in Minnesota - put us all to shame does it not?  I hope she isn't disappointed.  I had 1500 confirmations for our June 27 hearing and I think about 250-300 actually showed up. If people let you down, it's not your fault, just keep going...


We are patching this emergency rally together with bubble gum and email, equipment rental gets tricky, so if you want a chair, and you are not a speaker, please go to the website and put $3 per person on the paypal and send me a note, this way we share the costs.

Sound system, hanging our banner, ice chests full of water, poster materials, nothing is free.  If you're choosing between putting in money and actually coming to the rally, it's more important that you be there with a carload.

The divide-and-conquer agents don't want to ever see the families of prisoners organizing a voting group and Matt Gray and his girls are out doing everything they can to stop the rally from being a success, much to the detriment of everyone who is suffering. We've had to deal with this for seven years out of that destructive kid, and nobody with any sense has listened to him yet. put your $3 per chair on paypal at by 8 am tomorrow or you may be sitting on the grass (except for speakers)

If you already sent money, no need to do this.

Rev Cayenne
Rev. Cayenne: Pencil in Rev. Andre Shumake, last time he brought 30 people to our rally, hopefully he can update the media on what's going on at San Quentin.  I am waiting for confirmation, I know he loves you and loves the UNION, if he's available he will be there, leave him some time to speak  I will also ask Rev. Newsome to lead the prayer as you asked. Alexis
Rev. Cayenne I only wished I could be there I live in Oklahoma, I will be praying over all this... Peace, Love, Hope and Prayers, Tjuana Jesuschick44
Out of state people, back us up with posts at the California news sites, that is a real way that you can help out.
We may hear some words at the rally from a former CDC Physician to whom we all owe a big debt of gratitude, he is checking with his attorneys now to see if he can do it as litigation is in progress.  I'll not say more until it's firm.  What an interesting line of speakers we have in only a week's time.  The UNION people are dynamic, even if we are mostly chiefs and not nearly enough workers to do the details.  Wow, I am impressed with this mobilization but we should way overshoot as so many people are flakes out there.

Frances is bringing three and rides and possibly shared motels are needed from Palmdale
Nora and Jane are taking the Amtrak up from Bakersfield - Price only $38 each way, cheaper than driving her big car...



MEASURE :  S.B. No. 110 AUTHOR(S) :  Romero and Perata (Principal coauthor: Senator Migden)
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Leno) (Coauthors: Senators Alquist, Kuehl, Machado, Negrete McLeod, Scott, and Vincent) (Coauthor: Assembly Member Hancock). TOPIC :  Sentencing commission. HOUSE LOCATION :  ASM +LAST AMENDED DATE  :  08/31/2007

TYPE OF BILL : Active Non-Urgency Non-Appropriations Majority Vote Required State-Mandated Local Program Fiscal Non-Tax Levy LAST HIST. ACT. DATE:  08/31/2007 LAST HIST. ACTION   :  Read second time.  Amended.  To second reading. FILE :  ASM SECOND READING FILE DATE :  09/04/2007 ITEM : 11 COMM. LOCATION :  ASM APPROPRIATIONS COMM. ACTION DATE   :  08/30/2007 COMM. ACTION :  Do pass as amended. COMM. VOTE SUMMARY  :  Ayes:   10 Noes: 06 PASS
**** Leno Caballero Davis DeSaulnier Huffman Karnette Krekorian Ma Solorio De Leon

**** Walters Emmerson La Malfa Lieu Nakanishi Sharon Runner

********************************* Nava

Let us recognize Birgitte "Yap Yap" for taking on Matt Gray and his destructive groupies in PTO who are doing everything in their power to keep people from attending a rally where every prisoner will benefit (not to mention their desperate family members)

She's very disgusted having to deal with this much ignorance but hanging in there on it anyway, back her up if possible.  We know that intelligent people can't stand that forum but remember that so many are young people who are being misled and they're worth fighting for, even if they do kick us in the teeth for our efforts to save them.  Ignorance can be overcome.


Matt Gray has been bashing most of the prison reform groups lately. I don't know how people have time to waste in PTO. Wish I could be at the rally


Thanks for coming on June 27 Barb, I realize it is a long way, it's good to send people. The sentencing commission would have given us some relief on having to change all of the laws by initiative campaign.

We have a professional still photographer lined up but do we have a professional videographer as the going rate is at least $200 for two hours and that's a big discount for someone who can shoot TV quality video.

Is there a professional cameraman on the list who can help us out here, we should capture the rally for You Tube and our Website which gets 87,000 hits?

My Column Sunday on the News Wires please post this link widely

Prison Medical Crisis Worsens - An Urgent Call to Rally in Sacramento

The link to the flyer for the Rally - Still need the name of the speaker(s) you are lining up for us. Would love to have someone describe risks in the workplace and another one detail prevention - remember the prisoners don't get cleaners except for two teaspoons of Ajax People can go to this link and hit print.

Call for Compassion and Common Sense in Corrections

Video: Folsom Prison Dentist Tests Positive For Infection kcratv


Link to Video in English & Spanish - Mentally Ill in LA Jails - very disturbing - let's address this!

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird UNION P.O. Box 340371 Sacramento, Ca. 95834


This bill AB 1539 is one of our key reasons for rallying - there has been some sort of apparent gutting of our bill to release sick and dying prisoners.  It is very, very strange how this never appeared in Daily File before Senate Appropriations and now has passed the Senate Floor - never was on the schedule to be heard in order to keep people from showing up to testify no doubt....very sneaky.  Who is the person doing all this SNEAKING?  Luckily it passed but we need to look at the changes that were made. Any attorney on the UNION list, we need your opinion about what the changes to AB 1539 mean,  if you can help us understand it in layman's terms. It affects all our speeches for Friday, all our suffering, and all of our hope for progress. Apparently the bill has gone back to the Assembly to define permanent incapacitation


The NO votes are made by the really evil Repugs that should work very hard to keep out of any office at any time. They want to keep elderly, terminally ill and permanently disabled inmates even knowing that the state prison system cannot take care of their medical problems.  Evil is mild word for those who voted NO on this Bill.

It has passed the Senate, now it goes to the most narrow, most black-hearted, callous, superficial person of all - the Governor.  The timing for the rally is perfect.

We do need to review the changes that were made and need some legal help doing that I believe.

The yes votes are the good people.  Hooray for them!

UNOFFICIAL BALLOT MEASURE: AB 1539 AUTHOR: Krekorian TOPIC: Sentencing. DATE: 09/04/2007 LOCATION: SEN. FLOOR MOTION: Assembly 3rd Reading AB1539 Krekorian By Steinberg
(AYES  22. NOES  16.)  (PASS)


Alquist Calderon Cedillo Corbett Ducheny Florez Kehoe Kuehl Lowenthal Migden Negrete McLeod Oropeza Padilla Perata Ridley-Thomas Romero Scott Simitian Steinberg Torlakson Wiggins Yee


Aanestad Ackerman Ashburn Battin Cogdill Correa Cox Denham Dutton Harman Hollingsworth Maldonado Margett McClintock Runner Wyland


Machado Vincent

The changes going back to the Assembly even though it has passed the senate floor do not appear to be posted on the legislative site, perhaps I am missing something?  Why all the secrecy?  To keep this away from us?  From the media?  What's going on here?  ( see bill below)


Keep in mind that Mark Leno is our Legislative Sponsor and that much of the torture and murder in the prisons could end with more media access as a natural control factor.  This is incredible about this sneakiness taking place in the Senate Appropriations committee on both these bills - why was neithers of these bills put on the Daily File for public comment?

Legislative Alert

For Immediate Release September 5, 2007 How 16 State Senators Gutted the Year's Major Open Government Bill — without Debate — and What You Can Do to Reverse the Damage By Terry Francke, General Counsel, Californians Aware Sacramento, September 4 (CalAware) – The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously voted last week to gut a bill that would have been the most serious advance yet known for enforcement of the California Public Records Act.

Californians Aware is asking its supporters and allies to demand that the measure be restored to its full strength and go on to a vote by the full Senate this year.  CalAware also asks those with home district Senators on the Appropriations Committee to demand an explanation for their surprising and crippling vote. What was cut from the bill AB 1393 by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), sponsored by CalAware, was amended by the Senate Appropriations Committee to eliminate: review by the Attorney General of refusals by local agencies to provide access to public records, and a monetary penalty for deliberate, bad faith delays or denials of access to public records. The first of those provisions would have given anyone denied access to local government information the chance to have that denial reviewed by the Attorney General's office, with a published but non-binding opinion released in three to six weeks, concluding whether the denial of access was lawful or not.

The other provision would have allowed a court to impose a penalty of up to $100 per day on agencies found not only to have failed to comply with the law, but to have deliberately defied it by denying or delaying access in bad faith.

These parts of the bill were simply removed by quietly drafted amendments given a sudden, undeliberated and unexplained vote last week, when the measure was shortly to go to the Governor. What's left is simply a requirement that state agencies provide a place on their websites to accept online public records requests—and the creation of a task force to recommend what information they should post on their sites without being asked.

Why the bill was gutted

Smoking gun memos showing just who ordered a hit like this are probably never written, much less available.  But the consistent speculation among experienced observers with no stake in the bill—but watching these final days in the session closely—is that Senate President pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) ordered the gutting, probably to deny Leno the political credit for improving the Act. We are told that of 13 Leno bills making it to the Senate, only five have reached the floor—with two, including AB 1393, drastically weakened.  The move is seen as protective of Senator Carole Migden, whose San Francisco-area seat Leno has announced he will compete for in the next election. Why it wasn't the cost What makes it impossible to believe that the gutting was done for fiscal rather than political reasons is that the provisions stripped out of the bill have gone through this committee and on to the Governor four times before, with overwhelming bipartisan support. This time, they got as far as Senate Appropriations, the final committee stop, with not a single No vote in any prior committee, and only three out of 78 on the Assembly Floor. The Senators voting to gut AB 1393 were told by their own Appropriations Committee Consultant that the bill's only significant fiscal impact—projected costs to the Attorney General's office for reviewing access denials—showed a dramatic reduction from those assigned last year to Leno's vetoed first attempt at such reforms, AB 2927. Bill Estimated Estimated Estimated Year 1 cost  Year 2 cost  Year 3 cost AB 2927 (2006)  $606,000 $1,212,000 $1,212,000 AB 1393 (2007)  $157,000 $750,000 $725,000

The reduction reflects AB 1393's elimination of all state agencies from those subject to Attorney General review of records access denials. Moreover, no cost to the state has ever been assigned to the other provision, approved in the four prior bills, allowing a court to order a public agency to pay a monetary penalty to the requester who proves deliberate, bad faith withholding of public information contrary to law. This addition of "teeth" to the Act has never been an issue even identified as a fiscal consideration. Yet it, too, was stripped out by the committee with no public deliberation. Why it wasn't the controversy These Senators did a complete about-face from their prior support.  Every member of the committee has, on prior occasions, voted for the AG review and penalty provisions at least once. What you can and should do—and why If what was done to AB 1393 is left to pass unremarked, much less unchallenged, no open government bill will ever be respected and given the hearing it deserves. If this behavior happened even in the smallest city council or school board, the effect would be outraged cries of a blatant Brown Act violation, and with reason.

No better time could be imagined to begin to attach consequences to secret dictates and no-fingerprints manipulation in the Capitol than when it is used to cripple reform legislation to bring strength and respect to public information law.

We can and must use this chance to discourage those who sabotaged AB 1393—and the due legislative process—from showing so little respect for open government the next time. And we can remind them that such behavior will not be forgotten if we are ever asked as voters to trust them with longer legislative careers.

Time is running out to salvage the bill, most state lawmakers respond only to constituent or press queries, and we are in neither category. CalAware asks all members, allies and supporters of open government to contact their state Senator today if possible, but by close of business Friday in any event (find contact information here) and urge him or her in the strongest possible terms to tell Senator Perata to allow AB 1393 to be returned to its pre-Appropriations strength by floor amendments, and to be given an up or down vote in the Legislature this year—before the recess. Constitutuents of the 16 Senators who voted to gut the bill may want to ask an explanation. In any event please then e-mail me with a report on what you hear from your Senator, and I will report the summary results to you next week.
Contact: Terry Francke General Counsel Californians Aware 487-7000

Californians Aware is not a front of a Porn Promotion lobby such as the one that pays Matt Gray's salary, it is a real First Amendment group to which most California journalists belong.

This has a date of Sept 4, 2007 on it as being in the Assembly Floor

AB 1539

Page  1

CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS AB 1539 (Krekorian) As Amended July 5, 2007 Majority vote

|ASSEMBLY:  |41-35|(June 7, 2007)  |SENATE: |21-15|(September 4,  | |           |     |                |        |     |2007)          |

Original Committee Reference:   PUB. S.

SUMMARY :  Establishes a criteria and procedure for which a state prisoner may have his/her sentence recalled and be re-sentenced if he/she is diagnosed with a disease that would produce death within six months or is permanently medically incapacitated and whose release is deemed not to threaten public safety.

The Senate amendments :

1)Define a "permanently medically incapacitated prisoner" as one with a medical condition that renders him/her permanently unable to perform activities of basic daily living, and results in the prisoner requiring 24-hour total care, including, but not limited to, coma, persistent vegetative state, brain death, ventilator dependency, loss of control of muscular or neurological function, and that incapacitation did not exist at the time of the original sentencing.

2)Declare that the purpose of imprisonment for crime is punishment.  This purpose is best served by terms proportionate to the seriousness of the offense with provision for uniformity in the sentences of offenders committing the same offense under similar circumstances.  The Legislature further finds and declares that the elimination of disparity and the provision of uniformity of sentences can best be achieved by determinate sentences fixed by statute in proportion to the seriousness of the offense as determined by the Legislature to be imposed by the court with specified discretion.

3)Find and declare that programs should be available for inmates, including, but not limited to, educational programs designed to prepare non-violent felony offenders for successful re-entry into the community.  The Legislature


AB 1539 Page  2

encourages the development of policies and programs designed to educate and rehabilitate non-violent felony offenders.  In implementing this section, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is encouraged to give priority enrollment in programs to promote the successful return to the community to an inmate with a short remaining term of commitment and a release date that would allow him or her adequate time to complete the program.

4)Provide that in any case in which the punishment prescribed by statute for a person convicted of a public offense is a term of imprisonment in the state prison of any specification of three time periods, the court shall sentence the defendant to one of the terms of imprisonment specified unless the convicted person is given any other disposition provided by law, including a fine, jail, probation, or the suspension of imposition or execution of sentence or is sentenced because he/she had committed his/her crime prior to July 1, 1977.  In sentencing the convicted person, the court shall apply the sentencing rules of the Judicial Council.  The court, unless it determines that there are circumstances in mitigation of the punishment prescribed, shall also impose any other term that it is required by law to impose as an additional term. Nothing in this article shall affect any provision of law that imposes the death penalty, that authorizes or restricts the granting of probation or suspending the execution or imposition of sentence, or expressly provides for imprisonment in the state prison for life.  In any case in which the amount of pre-imprisonment credit or any other provision of law is equal to or exceeds any sentence imposed pursuant to this chapter, the entire sentence shall be deemed to have been served and the defendant shall not be actually delivered to the custody of the CDCR Secretary.  The court shall advise the defendant that he/she shall serve a period of parole and order the defendant to report to the parole office closest to the defendant's last legal residence unless the in-custody credits equal the total sentence, including both confinement time and the period of parole.  The sentence shall be deemed a separate prior prison term, and a copy of the judgment and other necessary documentation shall be forwarded to the CDCR Secretary.

5)State when a judgment of imprisonment is to be imposed and the statute specifies three possible terms, the court shall order imposition of the middle term unless there are circumstances

AB 1539 Page  3

in aggravation or mitigation of the crime.  At least four days prior to the time set for imposition of judgment, either party or the victim, or the family of the victim if the victim is deceased, may submit a statement in aggravation or mitigation to dispute facts in the record or the probation officer's report, or to present additional facts.  In determining whether there are circumstances that justify imposition of the upper or lower term, the court may consider the record in the case; the probation officer's report; other reports and statements in aggravation or mitigation submitted by the prosecution, the defendant, or the victim, or the family of the victim if the victim is deceased; and any further evidence introduced at the sentencing hearing.  The court shall set forth on the record the facts and reasons for imposing the upper or lower term.  The court may not impose an upper term by using the fact of any enhancement upon which sentence is imposed under any provision of law.  A term of imprisonment shall not be specified if imposition of sentence is suspended.

6)Require the court to state the reasons for its sentence choice on the record at the time of sentencing.  The court shall also inform the defendant that as part of the sentence after expiration of the term he/she may be on parole for a period as provided under existing law.

7)Mandate that when a defendant has been sentenced to be imprisoned in the state prison and has been committed to the custody of the CDCR Secretary, the court may, within 120 days of the date of commitment on its own motion, or at any time upon the recommendation of the CDCR Secretary or the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH), recall the sentence and commitment previously ordered and resentence the defendant in the same manner as if he or she had not previously been sentenced provided the new sentence, if any, is no greater than the initial sentence.  The resentence under this subdivision shall apply the sentencing rules of the Judicial Council so as to eliminate disparity of sentences and to promote uniformity of sentencing.  Credit shall be given for time served.

8)Make other technical non substantive changes.


1)Allows the CDCR Director or the BPH, or both to determine that a prisoner satisfies specified criteria upon which the

AB 1539 Page  4

Director or BPH may recommend to the court that the prisoner's sentence be recalled.

2)Mandates BPH to make findings pursuant to this subdivision before making a recommendation for re-sentence or recall to the court.  This subdivision does not apply to a prisoner sentenced to death or a term of life without the possibility of parole.

3)Requires that within 10 days of receipt of a positive recommendation by the Director of CDCR or BPH, the court shall hold a hearing to consider whether the prisoner's sentence should be recalled.

4)Allows the prisoner or his/her family member or designee to request consideration for recall and re-sentencing by contacting the chief medical officer at the prison or the Director of CDCR.  Upon receipt of the request, if the Director determines that the prisoner satisfies the criteria, the Director or BPH may recommend to the court that the prisoner's sentence be recalled.  The Director shall submit a recommendation for release within 30 days in the case of inmates sentenced to determinate terms; and, in the case of inmates sentenced to indeterminate terms, the Director may make a recommendation to BHP with respect to the inmates who have applied under this section.  BHP shall consider this information and make an independent judgment and make findings related thereto before rejecting the request or making a recommendation to the court.  This action shall be taken at the next lawfully noticed board meeting.


1)Allowed the Secretary of CDCR, BPH, or both CDCR and BPH, to determine that a prisoner satisfies the necessary criteria and recommend to the court that the prisoner's sentence be recalled.

2)Gave the court discretion to recall and re-sentence if the court finds that the following facts exist:

a)   The prisoner is terminally ill with an incurable condition caused by an illness or disease that would produce death within six months, as determined by a physician employed by the CDCR;





AB 1539 Page  5


b)   The conditions under which the prisoner would be released or receive treatment do not pose a threat to public safety; and,

c)   The prisoner is medically incapacitated by a medical condition that renders him or her permanently unable to perform activities of basic daily living, and results in the prisoner requiring 24-hour total care, including, but not limited to, coma, persistent vegetative state, brain death, ventilator dependency, loss of control of muscular or neurological function, and that incapacitation did not exist at the time of the original sentencing.

1)Requested physicians employed by CDCR who determine that a prisoner has six months or less to live shall notify the chief medical officer of the prognosis.  If the chief medical officer concurs with the prognosis, he/she shall notify the warden.

2)Required within 48 hours of receiving notification of the prognosis, the warden or the warden's representative notify the prisoner of the recall and re-sentencing procedures, and shall arrange for the prisoner to designate a family member or other outside agent to be notified as to the prisoner's medical condition and prognosis, and as to the recall and re-sentencing procedures.  If the inmate is deemed mentally unfit, the warden or the warden's representative shall contact the inmate's emergency contact and provide the necessary information.

3)Mandated the warden or the warden's representative to provide the prisoner and his/her family member, agent, or emergency contact, updated information throughout the recall and re-sentencing process with regard to the prisoner's medical condition and the status of the prisoner's recall and re-sentencing procedures.

4)Allowed the prisoner or his/her family member or designee to independently request consideration for recall and re-sentencing by contacting the chief medical officer at the prison or the Secretary of CDCR.  Upon receipt of this request, the chief medical officer and the warden or warden's representative shall follow the necessary procedures.


AB 1539 Page  6

5)Provided that if the court grants the recall and re-sentencing application the prisoner shall be released by CDCR within 48 hours of receipt of the court's order, unless a longer time period is agreed to by the inmate.  At the time of release, the warden or the warden's representative shall ensure that the prisoner has each of the following in his/her possession:

a)   A discharge medical summary;

b)   Full medical records;

c)   State identification;

d)   Parole medications;

e)   All property belonging to the prisoner; and,

f)   After discharge, any additional records shall be sent to the prisoner's forwarding address.

6)Requested the Secretary of CDCR issue a directive to medical and correctional staff employed by CDCR that details the guidelines and procedures for initiating the recall and re-sentencing procedure.  The directive shall clearly state that any prisoner who is given a prognosis of six months or less to live is eligible for recall and re-sentencing consideration, and that a recall and re-sentencing procedures shall be initiated upon that prognosis.

FISCAL EFFECT :  According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.

COMMENTS :  According to the author, "The compassionate release law was enacted because prisons should not act as long term health care providers for terminally ill prisoners. Their care comprises a disproportionate portion of the CDCR's budget.  This bill, the Medical Release and Fiscal Savings Bill, seeks to modify the CDCR compassionate release process by increasing the awareness of CDCR staff and families of terminally ill prisoners regarding the compassionate release process, and to extend the reach of the law to include prisoners who are permanently medically incapacitated, significantly increasing fiscal savings from their release.

"Far too many terminally ill and medically incapacitated inmates

AB 1539 Page  7

have died in correctional institutions although they were eligible for, but never received, recall and re-sentencing consideration.  The release of even a few terminally ill and permanently medically incapacitated inmates, who can no longer pose a threat to the public safety, saves state taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, allows California families the chance to heal, and provides these women and men with appropriate end-stage medical and palliative care.

"Medical release under these circumstances is both humane and cost-effective.  The current statute in the California Penal Code was an important step toward establishing a procedure for early medical release.  This bill will ensure that the process is effective and will result in significant fiscal savings in the state's General Fund without reducing public safety."

Please see the policy committee analysis for full discussion of this bill.


Analysis Prepared by :    Nicole J. Hanson / PUB. S. / (916)


FN: 0002080


Rev. Andre Shumake has confirmed that he is doing his best to appear as one of our speakers.  He is a key human rights activist and a long term ally in our UNION Coalition.  His nephew died in prison over an infected tooth in 2004 and ever since that time he has joined with me and other UNION members in speaking engagements statewide.  Google him up, Rev. Andre Shumake, Richmond, California

I forgot to put the links in to that particular rally at the Capitol with all the great speeches this morning so here it is now


Birgitte (Yap Yap) who lives in the Netherlands and Jill (Poway) a San Diego Schoolteacher are in battling the ignorance in PTO and fighting for our loved ones here in California Let us recognize and thank them profusely.

Rev Cayenne

I just putup another post in PTO and added some heart-felt sarcasm in my  trademark Yap post style =)

Let's see what this smartass has to say to this!

By the way, I've collected the addresses, fax numbers and names of the wardens of all the prisons in California. Couldn't find any e-mail addresses, that would've been even better (and a lot faster). I'm going to contact them all to pass on the information about MRSA and inform them about simple, efficient and pro-active ways of fighting the outbreak. I doubt it's a big investment for them so let's hope it'll be picked up.

I have also collected the e-mail addresses of all the people at the Ombudsman's Office and the State of California Corrections Standards Authority.

Tomorrow I'll get the e-mails out and will try to get as much faxes out as possible but I don't think I'll be able to send all of them and Friday I'll be going away on vacation for 1 week. So that's a bit of a bummer. Do you know a way to find out the e-mail addresses of the wardens? You can't make me believe they don't have e-mail yet....

Well, on with the battle I'd say =)

Dear Birgitte thank you so much, they usually delete anything intelligent about organizing a voice for the prisoners in that guard-controlled forum but we thank you so much for everything.  The wardens do not make their emails  public, the only way we can ever get their attention to send everything certified mail  which would be very expensive from the Netherlands.

We can discuss an education campaign after the rally, we know from experience that the best way is to educate the prisoners themselves and have people at every prison who are well educated to pass the word to those who are not.



This is a former prosecutor who has mellowed and her writing is fantastic now that she sees the light. Gonzales is Gone but his changes to the SORNA remain behind to destroy more Americans

The Politicization of the Department of Justice By Elizabeth de la Vega t r u t h o u t | Perspective Tuesday 04 September 2007 Amidst the jubilation, calls to reinstate the rule of law, and speculation about replacements that have flooded the media in response to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's recent resignation, I keep thinking of the old joke: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: One ... but the light bulb has to want to change. So it is with the Bush-Cheney administration's Justice Department. It can only be changed for the better if George W. Bush and Dick Cheney want such a change. And they most fervently do not - at least not if you construe the term "for the better" to mean returning the Department of Justice (DOJ) to its former status as an agency that strives to fairly and independently enforce the law on behalf of the people of the United States.

The truth is, the high-level decay and politicization of the DOJ that has been so starkly exposed in the past months did not begin with the arrival of Alberto Gonzales in 2005. It began with the arrival of Bush and Cheney in January of 2001. From the moment they moved into the White House, they set about to pervert the functions of the office of the attorney general to advance not only their own personal and political agendas, but also those of the Republican National Committee.

To achieve that cynical aim, they elevated their inexperienced politicos to key positions at DOJ's main offices in Washington, DC and gave them free rein to ignore, undermine, overrule and mistreat career attorneys. Consequently, by the end of 2004, many of the most experienced DOJ attorneys had left. But they left quietly, so the public didn't pay much attention. Having quite successfully cleared the way for its political agenda at Main Justice, the administration could then move on to the politicization of US attorney offices around the country. This process - which began in 2005 and led to the much-publicized US attorney firings - was not the beginning of the chief executive's unprecedented injection of politics into the operation of the DOJ; it was actually the second phase of the project.


From day one, the Bush-Cheney administration has been engaged in an intentional waste of the DOJ - and every other agency in the executive branch - that is not going to stop as long as they remain in office, no matter who they choose to be the attorney general. Those who doubt that sad conclusion need only take a brief look at the DOJ of 2001. So much shameful conduct has occurred at, and been sanctioned by, the leadership of the nation's top law enforcement agency over the past six years that we can barely remember it all. But a glance in the rear-view mirror at the first year of the Bush-Cheney administration's DOJ should suffice to refresh our recollections. The first sign of the impending deterioration was the president's choice of attorney general.

Indeed, short of locking the doors to the building, the Bush-Cheney administration could hardly have demonstrated its disdain for the traditional work of DOJ lawyers more powerfully than it did with the nomination of former Missouri Senator John Ashcroft to be attorney general. In 2007, now that we know of his sickbed-refusal to reauthorize the warrantless wiretapping program, Ashcroft may look like a heroic champion of civil rights. In 2001, however, it was obvious to many the only rights Ashcroft was willing to champion were those of the far right. As Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy put it on January 29, 2001, There is no appointed position within the Federal Government that can affect more lives in more ways than the Attorney General, and no position in the cabinet more vulnerable to politicization by one who puts ideology and politics above the law. We all look to the Attorney General to ensure even-handed law enforcement; equal justice for all; protection of our basic constitutional rights to privacy ... to safeguard our marketplace from predatory and monopolistic activities and to protect our air, water and environment. Ashcroft was the wrong man for this task, but nevertheless the right man for Bush. The darling of the Christian right and the National Rifle Association (NRA) as well as big business, anti-environment and anti-civil rights lobbies, he could be expected to carry out the duties of attorney general with due attention to the wishes of the president's conservative base. Ashcroft did not disappoint. Almost immediately, he delighted Christian conservatives by gathering his subordinates together on federal property to participate in daily Pentecostal Christian prayer meetings. (Hey, they were voluntary meetings and anyone - Jew, Muslim, Pagan, Buddhist, Atheist, Wiccan - could participate, so what is the big deal?) In May 2001, he turned to another top priority: undermining gun prosecutions by formally advising the NRA that the DOJ would no longer take the position that the Second Amendment does not guarantee private citizens the right to bear arms, a 180 degree shift from longstanding DOJ policy. Using the DOJ to repay the gun lobby that had donated over $1 million to the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign was a trifle, however, compared to the decision to pull the plug on over 50 environmental cases against air-polluting power plants and refineries that had also, coincidentally, been huge donors to the Republican party in the 2000 election. In late June of 2001, the DOJ not only suspended its lawsuits against the energy companies, but advised them to abandon the pollution-control upgrades they were implementing as part of pending settlement agreements. This, as we now know, was merely the beginning of the administration's use of both the Ashcroft and Gonzales DOJ to benefit big business at the expense of the environment - an assault that is now in its sixth year.

Also in its sixth year is the assault on civil rights and liberties Bush and Cheney set in motion in 2001 - with the wholehearted cooperation of Ashcroft and so many others in the highest levels of the very agency specifically designated to uphold those rights and liberties. It was, for example, the head of the DOJ's criminal division - the current Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff - who, in the fall of 2001, supervised the round-up of over 1000 Arab and Muslim non-citizens within the United States, holding them as "material witnesses" to offenses that were never quite specified. Although the men were imprisoned for months, often in solitary confinement, Chertoff refused to allow them to have lawyers, because - he argued without apparent irony - they were not charged with a crime. In 2003, the DOJ's inspector general called this draconian mass detention "indiscriminate and haphazard." Ashcroft's response to that charge? He would "make no apology."

It was Ashcroft who, in 2001, first lobbied Congress for broad expansion of government surveillance powers in the form of the Patriot Act, which included changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. What we did not know, however, was at the same time the attorney general and his minions were secretly acquiescing to widespread violations of that same law. Because the administration has slithered away from oversight and accountability at every turn, we still - six years later - know almost nothing about the executive branch's illegal surveillance 

Of all the lawlessness sanctioned and nurtured by the DOJ since Bush and Cheney took office, none is more horrifying than the treatment of the thousands who have been detained in the name of the undeclared "War on Terror." As we now know, on September 25, 2001, Attorney General Ashcroft's subordinate John Yoo penned a memo which informed the president that he had virtually unlimited authority to take retaliatory or preventive action against "terrorists.

Beginning in October of 2001 - with the door to any and all forms of illegal government conduct having been thrown open by the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel - Ashcroft, Chertoff and many other DOJ officials watched and offered counsel to advance a program of mass detentions in Afghanistan and elsewhere that were, more often than not, based on unreliable information and even mere whim. They acquiesced in the torture of these prisoners by both our own and foreign governments, attempting to justify this unspeakable conduct with the now-withdrawn memo John Yoo submitted to then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales in August 2002. (That our highest government officials felt the need to commission such a memo and allowed it to remain extant until 2004 is proof enough of widespread guilty knowledge on the part of both White House and DOJ officials.)


Nearly six years after they were first captured on foreign soil in the fall of 2001, 375 of these men are still imprisoned by the United States at Guantanamo Bay - and they have never had a hearing.

Were it not for the attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the public might not even know about these detainees. As it is, we know precious little, but far more than we need to know to conclude they have been abused and illegally detained by our own government. Since 2002, CCR has been pursuing a tortuous, and often devastatingly frustrating, course of litigation on their behalf. During that time - over five years - they have, as CCR points out in its recently-filed Supreme Court brief in Al Odah v. United States, have been making an almost absurdly modest request. They would like to be given "a fair and impartial hearing at which they have the opportunity to confront and rebut whatever accusations there are against them and to present evidence of their own to establish their innocence."


To make matters worse, not only have these prisoners been denied counsel, a hearing and an opportunity to make their case, most of them have never even been told precisely what it is they are accused of having done wrong. Although the administration cites classified-information concerns as the reason for its failure to proffer specific charges, the real explanation may be there are no charges to bring, particularized or otherwise: As a former Guantanamo commander has conceded, we have been detaining people who are not actually "the right folks."

Given that these admittedly "wrong folks" have been in prison now for over half a decade, it is obvious that their illegal detention does not stem solely from injustices wrought by Alberto Gonzales or, for that matter, by John Ashcroft. The detainees at Guantanamo have been mistreated and wrongfully held without any means to challenge their detention because that is what Bush and Cheney directed - and their appointees at the DOJ were more than willing to oblige by devising spurious rationales to support that position. During Ashcroft's tenure, now-Acting Attorney General Paul Clement was the voice of DOJ, arguing - all the way to the Supreme Court - that the prisoners had no right to habeas corpus because they were enemy combatants held outside the United States, even though Guantanamo is controlled exclusively by the United States. (As CCR notes in its brief, even iguanas on the base are protected by US laws.)

Not surprisingly, in Rasul v. Bush, the Court smacked down the government's argument and ordered that the detainees be provided hearings.

Barely missing a beat, the administration - with Alberto Gonzales now at the helm of Justice- simply began seeking new legislation to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling. With the help of DOJ, they got it, in the form of the Military Commissions Act passed in the fall of 2006, a shameful capitulation by Congress that sent the Guantanamo prisoners back to square one with the filing of lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of this hastily-passed law. The cases, consolidated under the name of Al Odah v. United States, had inconsistent results in the lower courts, but on June 29, the Supreme Court reversed a prior order and agreed to hear them. Oral arguments are tentatively scheduled for December 5, 2007. It is now, of course, September 2007 and we have had more than enough time to see the results of the administration's misappropriation of the DOJ which began in 2001:

Environmental cases abandoned or settled in favor of polluters, the Voting Rights section used to keep people from voting, the Civil Rights Section suing on behalf of white males, warrantless wiretapping in blatant violation of FISA. We are all affected by these travesties and any attorney general nominee should be asked about them.


But the first topic of inquiry should be the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The urgency of their appeal - both from the point of view of the prisoners and the Supreme Court's schedule (the government's reply brief is due October 9) - presents a perfect opportunity to find out just how many new attorneys general it would actually take to change the Bush-Cheney DOJ. I fear the answer is none; Bush and Cheney do not want it to be changed.

An expeditious way to test that proposition with regard to a particular nominee is to ask about the Al Odah case. Given that the legal issues are so clear-cut - and the administration's refusal to provide a fair hearing to admittedly innocent men who have been incarcerated for six years is so morally repugnant to anyone who is truly committed to the rule of law - we need only ask one question to determine whether a putative attorney general has the integrity and independence to effect a positive change in the Bush-Cheney DOJ. This is it: "Will you insist the US government confess error in the Al Odah case?" The response will tell us all we need to know.
Elizabeth de la Vega is a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience. During her tenure, she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and chief of the San Jose Branch of the US attorney's office for the Northern District of California. Her pieces have appeared in The Nation, the Los Angeles Times and Salon. She writes regularly for The author of United States v. George W. Bush et al, she may be contacted at

Ohio Judge Under Fire

"Asking a lawyer to go to trial without preparation is like asking a doctor to perform surgery before diagnosing the patient"

We recently reported that the Florida judiciary were suffering a publicity crisis, and that an effort is being made for lawyers to prop up their image. Right on the heels of the Florida report, comes news of an Ohio judge under fire.

ABC News Judge Has Unprepared Lawyer Arrested

Ohio Judge Sparks Outrage for Ordering Public Defender Arrested By SCOTT MICHELS Aug. 20, 2007 An Ohio judge angered state and national defense lawyers after he had a public defender arrested for being unprepared for trial. Portage County Judge John Plough had assistant public defender Brian Jones arrested for contempt of court last week after Jones refused to begin a misdemeanor assault trial because he said he was unprepared. Jones was assigned to the case one day earlier. Jones, who started working as a public defender earlier this year, was held for five hours in the local jail before being released on bail, said Ian Friedman, a lawyer with the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. A hearing on the contempt charge, to be held before Plough, is scheduled for Friday. Jones' attorneys have asked Plough to remove himself from the case, saying he cannot be impartial. Plough did not return calls for comment Monday. Plough's ruling prompted an outcry from defense lawyers, both in Ohio and across the country. Carmen Hernandez, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said in a statement that defense lawyers have an ethical obligation not to start trial if they are not prepared. "Asking a lawyer to go to trial without preparation is like asking a doctor to perform surgery before diagnosing the patient," she said. The Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has also intervened. "The defense bar has been outraged," said Friedman. "Anyone who's heard of this matter has been outraged." This is not the first time that Plough has come under fire. Earlier this year he reportedly had another public defender arrested for refusing to go forward with a trial, though in a May interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer Plough denied that he had the first lawyer arrested. In May, Portage County Judge Laurie Pittman complained about Plough to the Ohio Supreme Court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, saying he intimidated defendants who acted as their own lawyers, according to the Plain Dealer. She said Plough was "making a mockery of justice," according to a letter cited by the Plain Dealer. Pittman and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel declined to comment. The office has not opened an official investigation into Plough. J.A.I.L. (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law) www.jail4judges. org

Rev. B. Cayenne Bird UNION P.O. Box 340371 Sacramento, Ca. 95834