Follow the Money: Invisible Investors Seek Big Bucks in Mass Incarceration

Wednesday, 08 April 2015
By James Kilgore and Brian Dolinar, Truthout

When authorities booked Richard Murphy into the jail in Monterey, California, on January 18, 2013, the war veteran likely never envisioned ending up being back in court months later, not to face criminal charges, but to expose the abuse he would suffer at the hands of the jail’s private health-care provider.

His saga began when he complained to guards about his injured back. Before his arrest he managed the pain with prescribed medication and regular cortisone shots, neither of which he could get in jail. Despite his repeated pleas, it took several months to get even a cane. During this time, he could not get out of bed without serious pain, and his condition worsened.


How to Stop a Jail in Your Town

Written and compiled by Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB).

Here in California many sheriffs are planning to expand county jail systems, and in most of those counties residents are questioning whether a bigger jail and more county spending going to the sheriff’s budget is necessary. Almost 2/3 of the people in California jails last year were being held pre-trial, meaning that they hadn’t been convicted yet.

CURB believes that expanding the number of jail or prison cells is terrible public policy. We incarcerate too many people for too long, already. Tax dollars that were used a generation ago to pay for schools and public housing have been diverted to pay for more law enforcement and incarceration.

If you’re wondering whether your county really needs more jail cells – or if you’re already determined that it doesn’t, we have put together some resources to help you and your neighbors sort through what some of the key issues are, what the policy alternatives to jail expansion are and what you can do to move your county away from a disastrous jail expansion project.

Download as a PDF


Getting Called Out: How to Apologize

Getting Called Out: How To Apologize via Chescaleigh

In this video I talk about what it means to get called out, a recent experience where I was called out and had to apologize and 4 steps to making a genuine and successful apology. I hope you find this helpful and are able to use it in future call out situations that result in non-apologies.

She even calls out her own history of being called out, citing an anti-trans woman video. Truth.

Lawsuits Brought Against California County Correctional Facilities

Lawsuits Brought Against California County Correctional Facilities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With Gov. Jerry Brown’s AB 109 that sends low-level offenders to county jails rather than state correctional facilities, California county jails have witnessed an influx of lawsuits for alleged unsuitable facilities.

Lawsuits against Alameda, Fresno and Riverside counties have sprung from growing populations that have caused more demands in terms of mental health services.

The Prison Law Office, headquartered in Berkeley, Calif., is heading lawsuits in Fresno and Riverside counties.

Three prisoners from Riverside County filed a class-action lawsuit for allegedly depriving inmates of basic medical and mental health services.

“These people are entirely dependent on the jail for their health care — they have no other options,” said Donald Specter, executive director at the Prison Law Office. “The county does not provide the minimal care that the Constitution demands. To leave them in pain, at risk of life-threatening injury and permanent disability is inhumane.”

While sheriffs have cited Brown’s realignment act as the catalyst to unfit facilities, the Prison Law Office and Disability Rights of California said Riverside and Fresno counties lack of mental health services is the responsible party in these cases.

“Since Fresno has radically cut back outpatient mental health services, the jail has become a costly dumping ground for people with mental illness who need care but cannot find it elsewhere,” said Rachel Scherer, an attorney at Disability Rights California, in a statement. “It would cost the county far less to provide mental health treatment in the community through alternative diversion programs or supervised release of those who pose a low risk to public safety.”

The 3,291-bed county jail is in need of updates to accommodate the growing population, according to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. At a board of supervisors meeting last week, Mims requested $80 million in state funding to bring the jail to a 5,000-bed capacity.

About 830 inmates, who would previously be housed in a state facility, now reside in the Fresno County Jail.

According to Nick Warner, legislative director of the California State Sheriff’s Association (CSSA), the CSSA is working with legislators and the governor to make revisions to the law.

With already overcrowded county correctional facilities, the realignment law created an increasing burden, Warner said.

“It exacerbates an already existing difficult situation,” Warner said.

The Legal Services for Prisoners with Children are currently suing Alameda County for its inability to provide adequate services to inmates with disabilities.

Monterey County is also expecting a lawsuit from San Francisco-based law firm Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.