California

Cut health care costs by cutting incarceration

Our Letter to the Editor at the Sacramento Bee

Last week, Emily Harris of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) came to Santa Cruz to facilitate a Letter to the Editor Training. We collectively wrote a letter at the training, Courtney submitted it, and it got published! Check it out:

Cut health care costs by cutting incarceration

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2014 – 8:09 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Sep. 12, 2014 – 10:48 am

Re “Health costs for counties with influx of inmates” (The Public Eye, Sept. 8): Thank you, Brad Branan, for writing a piece that illuminates the disastrous difficulty of asking county jails to provide adequate mental health treatment.

Our county jails are hemorrhaging. For Jerry Brown, realignment has meant the literal shift from prison overcrowding to jail overcrowding.

Let’s make sure we don’t make the same mistake that was made when the state decided to build its health care prison in Stockton, which proved to be a $900 million disaster. To cut health care costs, we must cut incarceration by responding to the War on Drugs as a medical crisis, rather than a criminal issue.

This looks like investing in community-based treatment centers that have a long-term vision of quality healthcare for everyone.

— Courtney Hanson, Santa Cruz

sacbee.com/2014/09/10/6697251/to-cut-healthcare-costs-we-must.html

Justice for Frank Alvarado & Support for His Family

by Bradley Allen & Alex Darocy

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In response to the killing of Frank, the Direct Action Monterey Network called for a rally on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the corner of S Sanborn Rd & Fairview Ave in East Salinas against police violence and to demand justice for Frank Alvarado. Demonstrators, including friends and family of Frank from Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, held signs with messages such as “Stop Police Brutality. Justice For My Uncle!,” “SPD Don’t Shoot Me. I’m On My Phone,” “Another Murder Brought To You By The SPD,” and “Stop Giving Cops Paid Vacation For Murder!”

Speakers at the July 12 rally included Frank Alvarado’s sister, Angélica Garza; Frank’s niece, Natalie Mendoza; as well as Courtney Hanson and Tash Nguyen of Sin Barras, a prison abolition group based in Santa Cruz.

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Grand jury investigation into county jail deaths reveals troubling trends

Our victory is in the news!

Hard Cell
BY Aric Sleeper, GoodTimes
June 10, 2014

Before Christy Sanders was booked into Santa Cruz Main Jail, she complained of severe pain in the left side of her body, and was sent to the emergency room at Dominican Hospital. There she received a medical examination and an X-ray, but the ER staff did not see anything immediately wrong. They logged their diagnosis into a medical record database, which is shared with the medical staff at the jail. The incident was detailed in a recent grand jury report that investigated Sanders’ death, and those of four others at the county jail.

Deputies had arrested Sanders, a 27-year-old Felton resident, on August 12, 2012, for failing to appear in court on charges of petty theft. The next day, Sanders received medical screenings in the jail, where she declined treatment, including medicine for opiate detoxification. Later that afternoon, she said she was still experiencing chest pain, and saw the jail doctor, who did not find any serious medical issues and sent her back to her cell.

That same day, a Dominican Hospital radiologist revised Sanders’ diagnosis, and noted in the record database that her condition warranted a “close follow-up,” but the information went unnoticed by the jail’s medical staff, and Sanders’ health continued to worsen.

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Sin Barras Proposes Alternatives to Jail Expansion

City on a Hill Press – May 22, 2014 by Aron Garst

California already spends more than 60,000 on each inmate while only spending 9,200 on each K-12 student, and to add to that Jerry Brown is adding $500 million to the states budget to expand county jails.

Last week, organized protests took place across the state in San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento in a coordinated effort to halt Gov. Brown’s revised May budget. Protesters from the coalition Californians Reunited for a Responsible Budget (CURB) gathered outside the Santa Cruz County’s Superior Courthouse last Wednesday to stand against California’s proposed budget.

“It’s really illuminating to see where the state’s priorities are,” said community organizer Tash Nguyen. “We’re in a place where we really need to follow the money to see how lawmakers are addressing our issues. Clearly they’re not.”

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Report blasts Main Jail over inmate deaths

We’ve won! Community organizing works!

Santa Cruz Sentinel – May 21, 2014: Report blasts Main Jail over inmate deaths by Jason Hoppin

A Santa Cruz County civil grand jury on Wednesday issued a scathing report into a slate of Main Jail inmate deaths during an 11-month period, saying most were preventable.

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