Tuesday, August 21, 2012

PRISON REALIGNMENT = Musical Chair..................... Where will the LIFERS fall?

In  October 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill (AB) 109 and AB 117, historic legislation that will enable California to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons. It is the cornerstone of California’s solution for reducing the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prison to 137.5 percent of design capacity by June 27, 2013, as ordered  by the Three-Judge Court and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

California state prisons began moving "non-non-non" (non-serious, non-sexual, non-violent) offenders into county jails, the county probation system and county courts. By this 2012 summer the number of former state prisoners was expected to reach 6,000 in county jails.


The combined effects of realignment, reducing the numbers of low level offenders headed to state prisons, and the recently implemented reclassification system, enabling many inmates to be housed in lower security level prisons, is causing CDCR’s prison to prison transfer of inmates to wobble. SIDEBAR:  LIFER attorney DIANE T. LETARTE has been in the prisons constantly but lately, the CDCR Staff is very frustrated with all these new changes!   Be PATIENT  !!! 

In order to accommodate the rapidly increasing numbers of inmates able to be housed in Level II facilities (lowest level for LIFERs)  the department has announced a series of YARD conversions and even the CLOSURE of aging California Rehabilitation Center at Norco.

In August 2012, the first reception center conversions taking place is with Facility D at RJ Donovan becoming a Level III SNY yard and Facility F at SATF swapping to a Level II EOP (Extended Out Patient). High Desert reception center yard Facility A convert to a Level III general population in October.

In one of the two big changes Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla will become a men’s facility, probably a Level II SNY facility. Most of the women prisoners now at VSPW are expected to transfer across the road to California Correctional Women’s Facility, also located in Chowchilla. The conversion is expected to be gradual, with the prison holding both men and women for a brief time, the men housed exclusively most likely on AFacility. The complete conversion is expected to take up to two months, barring unexpected complications.

California Medical Facility in Vacaville, now a Level III, will become Level II security in October and CDCR apparently will use the remaining two months of 2012 to stabilize and finalize these changes, as no other yard changes are slated until the beginning of 2013.

In January, 2013 Old Folsom, now a Level III, is expected to become a Level II general population and California Training Facility-North will also drop from Level III SNYs to Level II in February, with Ironwood changing its Level IV SNY Facility A to a Level III SNY in March.

In April Centinela will move Level IV GP Facility C to a Level II GP and Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy will convert four yards now designated Level III GP to Level II and the remaining three yards, now reception centers, will become Level II GP yards. And in May Alpine Section at San Quentin will move from reception center to Level II general population. It is also reported are that some institutions, including California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo and CIM at Chino will be designated as facilities for those prisoners with chronic, but not acute, medical issues with resulting transfer of prisoners from many facilities.

The CLOSURE of California Rehabilitation Center (Norco) will be completed by Fiscal Year 2015/16 for an estimated saving of $160 million annually in operations and an additional savings of more than $200 million in repairs that won’t be needed to the aging and expensive to repair wooden housing units, many not ADA (American Disability Act) accessible.

NOTE: The above prison information is mainly from the Life Support Alliance (LSA) July 2012 Newsletter. LSA can be contacted at 916-743-1654 or 916-402-3750.    Thank you   LSA!!!