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Catherine’s Center helps San Mateo County inmates transition back into society

By Christine Morente
San Mateo County Times
June 10, 2009

BURLINGAME Tiffany Taylor didn’t know how to live before she stepped into Catherine’s Center, a transition house in San Mateo County. In and out of the jail system since she was 12 years old, Taylor grew up in a dysfunctional home of drug addicts and alcoholics.

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California can’t afford the death penalty

Eliminating capital punishment, which is rarely carried out anyhow, would save the state $125 million a year.

By John Van de Kamp
June 10, 2009

There are many reasons why people object to the death penalty. Opponents point to the ever-present risk of wrongful conviction. They note that there’s bias against people of color and low-income defendants, as well as geographic disproportionality in its administration. And there’s the fact that most other civilized societies around the world have concluded that it should be abolished.

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California’s Older Prisoner Crisis: Facts and Figures

Prepared by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, May 2008

Rising Number of Incarcerated Seniors

  • In the past 15 years, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) population of prisoners over 55 has increased by 500% to over 10,500. (California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, Data Analysis Unit, Prison Census Data as of December 31, 2007.)

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Free the old, fix the prisons

Some inmates are too old to be dangerous and cost millions to incarcerate. California should parole them.

By Vince Beiser, VINCE BEISER is a California-based writer who often writes on criminal justice issues.
June 6, 2007

CALIFORNIA’S PRISONS are in crisis, bursting at the seams with nearly twice as many inmates as they were designed to hold. Things are so bad that this month, federal judges will begin holding hearings on whether to impose inmate population caps. The Legislature’s solution: build 53,000 new prison beds, at a jaw-dropping estimated cost of $7.4 billion. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has already started transferring the first of thousands of convicts to other states. But there’s at least one safe, simple and immediate thing the state could do that would free up prison beds and save millions: parole inmates who are too old to be dangerous.

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Action Committee For Women in Prison

Some facts about incarcerated Women

Female inmates comprise about 6% of all inmates, yet they are the fastest growing segment of the total prison population. The yearly growth rate for female incarceration is 1.5 times higher than the rate for men. Women now make up a greater percentage of today’s prison population than ever before.

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Older Women in Prison

The population of older prisoners in the United States is increasing exponentially that by 2030 one-third of the U.S. prison population will be geriatric. California has the largest prison system and the number of geriatric women has increased 350% just in the past decade.

The aging crisis is due to longer sentences, mandatory minimum sentencing laws and tighter parole policies.

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The Punitiveness Report

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Volunteers reach out to those in prison

As she thanked the four women who surrounded her at the California Institution for Women, Sofia started weeping.

“I feel His (God’s) presence and I don’t know how to explain it, but I never thought this would happen,” said Sofia, referring to the visit of parishioners to the women’s prison in Corona, where she has lived for the last year. “I wasn’t expecting this.”

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