Posts Tagged: prisons

Opinion

Call it what you like, but solitary confinement equals torture

An artist's rendering of an inmate in solitary confinement. (Photo: LaHellen, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Prolonged solitary confinement is torture. Whether it is referred to as administrative segregation, secure housing, or protective custody, the effect on an individual is the same. Significant psychological harm, and mental and physical damage that can be permanent.

News

Private prison firms make big money in California

A facility run by CoreCivic, a private-prison company. The photo was taken in November 2019, shortly before private prisons were outlawed in California. (Photo: Shuttertstock)

In January 2020, Californians thought they were getting out of the private prison business. They are, but under a new law, AB 32, which went into effect at the first of the year, the state remains heavily invested in backing for-profit correctional services — including facilities that resemble detention centers run by the same companies who operate private prisons.

News

COVID-19 behind bars: Tough indeed on inmates, officers

San Quentin Prison, where a coronavirus outbreak was reported last year. (Photo: Mark R, via Shutterstock)

For Cristina Garcia, there’s something unsettling about the idea that an unvaccinated person, confined to a prison cell, could be exposed to the corona virus because a guard or other state employee had declined an opportunity to be vaccinated.

News

Mental health care: From the snake pit to the streets

Illustration of a person suffering from mental illness. (Image: GrAl, via Shutterstock)

The modern history of mental-health care in California begins more than half a century ago with passage of the landmark 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, an ambitious — but ultimately disastrous —  overhaul of a draconian “system” of hoary old mental hospitals throughout California. Most of the hospitals were closed, but the “community care” that was to take their place never materialized.

News

State Dem Party shuns private-prison donations*

Headquarters of the California Democratic Party in Sacramento. (Photo: cadem.org)

The head of the California Democratic Party says the CDP will no longer accept political contributions from private prison corporations. Party Chair Eric Bauman said any contributions received since May 21, 2017 would be “donated to organizations doing critical work to protect immigrants from the Trump administration or to support and rehabilitate recently incarcerated folks.”

News

Private prisons are California political players

A correctional facility in Salinas operated by The GEO Group. ((Photo: GEO Group website)

So you think privately run prisons are a Republican thing? Perhaps in Texas and Tennessee. But in deep blue California, it is the Democrats who take in the most contributions from for-profit correctional corporations, primarily Florida’s The GEO Group and the Tennessee-based CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America.

Opinion

Unfair to blame visitors, families for prisons’ woes

An inmate gestures through the bars of his prison cell. (Photo: Sakhorn, Shutterstock)

OPINION: In all the justifications for the new measures going in under Beard’s watch, the Corrections Secretary never mentions the well-known, privately acknowledged fact that while visitors may bring in small amounts of drugs, the importation of trafficable amounts of drugs comes in not through visitors, but through staff at the prisons, including custody staff.

Opinion

Latinos’ role crucial in fixing correctional system

A section of the San Quentin Prison area for condemned inmates. Photo via SanQuentinBlog.org

OPINION: Here in Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, anyone will tell you that casting is key. A film’s meaning and potential are lost if it’s miscast or missing the right characters. The same could be said about a blockbuster story that has been playing out for decades in California: our bloated and costly prisons. Much attention has been paid to lawsuits about the conditions in these packed facilities, as well as the response by the Governor, Legislature and others.

News

CalSTRS: Stratospheric price tags for full funding

The total spending increase needed to get CalSTRS, brought low by mismanagement, back to full funding may be the biggest-dollar scenarios ever presented to a California legislative committee. Legislators were told last week an additional $181.7 billion would be needed for full funding in 20 years. If payments are spread out to ease the budget bite, the additional amount needed to reach full funding in 60 years is a staggering $618 billion.

Opinion

Tragedy: Mental illness in a state prison

OPINION: This is what it’s like to be a mentally ill, delusional prisoner in a California prison. Already so deranged, paranoid and irrational that you have flooded your concrete prison cell with toilet water and smeared feces, a small, grinning face appears in the window slit of the cell door and tells you to take medication. (Photo: Rennett Stowe)

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