CA: Money for Death Penalty and Politicians; IOUs for Elderly
CALIFORNIA'S ELDERLY AND DISABLED citizens will soon get IOU vouchers rather than money, unlike the state's judges and politicians, who are to be compensated in hard cash. California has a serious budget crisis that is felt intensely by the state's most vulnerable citizens, including those in the state's prison system. California's prisoners continue to be at risk due to overcrowding and inadequate medical and psychiatric care.
The state could save $1 BILLION within five years by repealing capital punishment. It costs around $90,000 more per year for each individual condemned inmate than it does for inmates sentenced to life in prison without parole. However, it is more important to the state's officials to kill inmates than to support California's aged and handicapped citizens. In the midst of the state's budget crisis, California is preparing to resume executions after a three-year break.
Excerpts from Daily Finance regarding the IOUs to elderly and handicapped Californians are below.
July 2, 2009
In California, grandma, the blind get IOUs; politicians get USD
As California is set to begin issuing IOUs instead of cash due to a budget crisis, Felix Salmon has a chart explaining who will keep getting paid in cash, and who will have to accept paper promises. Sadly, but not surprisingly, politicians and judges will continue to get greenbacks, while the poor, elderly, and disabled will have to learn to deal with California's new "currency."
Estimates put the total IOU payments in July at $3.35 billion, with the majority going to the Department of Social Services for assisting the aged, blind, disabled, and basic family needs. Vendors and those helping the developmentally disabled will also be major recipients of the IOUs. There is also $10.9 billion in additional July spending that is mandated to be paid in cash by a combination of Constitutional, Court, and Federal laws (including the salaries of legislators and judges), that the legislators haven't yet found funding for.
See the balance of the article at this link:
California's budget crisis has been the subject of much headline news over the past year, and much of it has centered around inadequacies in the state's prison system and accusations that Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed budget cuts target the poor.
The economic crisis in California has been building for 30 years. Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on where budget cuts should be made. One area that suffered was the budget for indigent defense, even for capital crimes. Unfortunately, some of California's death row inmates who may have had inadequate defense at trial face execution if California resumes lethal injections as planned. One inmate at risk is Darrell Lomax.
Lomax was sentenced to death as a teen and has been on death row for over 14 years. The budget for public defenders was so lean during Lomax's trial that he was forced to share an attorney with a witness against him - a clear conflict of interest. Lomax's case has similarities to that of Troy Davis, a condemned Georgia man who is the subject of considerable public controversy regarding his plea for a new trial in the face of what many believe is insufficient evidence for execution. Lomax describes his case in the website at this link, an excerpt of which is below: http://www.freedarrell.com/case.html
My name is Darrell Lomax, and I have been wrongly incarcerated on death row at San Quentin State prison for over 14 years. I was convicted even though:
- I passed a gunshot residue test
- even though I have an alibi
- even though the eye witness said it wasn't me
- even though the fingerprints on the gun weren't mine
- and it was found in someone else's car
- even though the footprint wasn't mine
- My witnesses were never called
- and I couldn't afford a lawyer so I had to share a public defender with the man who made a deal to testify against me.
- When the situation with the public defender was discovered he was replaced by a former DA who made no effort to find the witnesses for my defense.
Download fact sheet on Lomax's case (pdf-file) here...
California's correctional system is said to be the nation's lagest mental hospital. Jeremy Smith, a young schizophrenic man who has been sick since childhood, is presently suffering solitary confinement in "the hole" in one of the California prisons. Jeremy's mother reports that Jeremy, in his demented condition, was encouraged to sign a plea deal and was sentenced to eight years incarceration for merely hitting another mental patient when he was in a mental health facility. Jeremy caused the other mental patient no serious injury. Excessive sentencing may be something that California can no longer afford. See petitioners' appeal to Gov. Schwarzenegger to move the acute mental patient who is presently deteriorating in an isolation cell into a mental hospital. The petitions below can be opened and the petitioners' comments read without endorsing:
Justice for Jeremy and Other Mentally Ill Prisoners
Another petition for Jeremy Smith closed at 372 signatures. It is at this link:
California Preparing to Resume Executions
Schwarzenegger seeks $67 million boost for private-prison operator
by Andy Furillo
Published: Sunday, Mar. 09, 2008 | Page 1A
McFARLAND, Kern County – This year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's state corrections agency is proposing a five-year, $67 million increase to one company, GEO Group Inc. The proposal would bump up the daily rate the state pays per inmate by 50 percent, which the company says it needs to increase the minimum pay of its officers from $10 an hour to $14.70. (See link above for entire article.)
Gov. Schwarzenegger's Mental Health Crisis
California Prison Budget Up by 79 Percent
December 26, 2007
Sacramento, CA (AHN) - California's budget for prison maintenance is expected to go beyond $10 billion in 2008. The 79 percent hike compared to 2003's $8.5 billion allocation, is caused by an 8 percent rise in prison population, now more than 173,000. Read more: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7009545769#ixzz0KNt3aVJt&C
Senate Defeats GOP Budget Plan that Targets Children and Elderly
DEATH PENALTY FOCUS (DPI) is working to have capital punishment repealed in California. On June 30, there was a Day of Action to End the Death Penalty. Highlights are at this link - http://death.live.radicaldesigns.org/downloads/Highlights%20from%20the%20June%2030.2009.pdf
DPF brought together approximately 250 murder victims’ family members, family of the executed, exonerated, religious voices, former wardens and law enforcement, teachers and civil rights activists to demonstrate broad and diverse opposition to the regulations and the death penalty. Signatures from 5,000 petitioners were generated to immediately convert all death sentences. Death penalty opposition meetings and activities are planned throughout July. The DPF website is www.deathpenalty.org and its phone number is 415.243.0143.
Californians are advocating for change in a system that apparently places higher value on conducting executions and giving a $67 million raise to private prison company GEO Group, Inc., than on providing for the state's elderly and disabled citizens, issuing those persons IOUs instead of pensions and disability income.
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Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ~ Matthew 25:40