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    SANTA CRUZ — Santa Cruz County is set to end its coronavirus pandemic-instigated “zero” or “penny” bail schedule Aug. 1 Statewide, jails on April 6, 2020, began whittling down their inmate populations after the Judicial Council of California issued a series of public health and safety emergency orders in response to the widespread outbreak — including an emergency bail schedule that became effective April 13 of that year. In response, local court systems required jails to set bail for all misdemeanor and felony offenses at $0, with several exceptions for crimes such as serious or violent felonies. In order to clarify that inmates were not being held without bail, jail records show the bail amount as $0.01, birthing the shorthand “penny bail.” A Santa Cruz County Jail inmate looks out from a holding cell in December 2019. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel file)  Unlike many lingering COVID-19 emergency orders, the Judicial Council emergency bail order quickly was repealed statewide, effective June 20, 2020. Santa Cruz County, similar to many counties across the state, however, has maintained the practice for...
    SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnia’s rate of vaccination against the coronavirus is one of the lowest in Europe, but one population in the Balkan country has bucked the national trend: its prison inmates. Over 80% of the 2,000 men and women serving sentences in Bosnia’s 13 prisons have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That compares to slightly over 27% for the nation as a whole, a rate that results from a lack of takers, not an absence of shots. Bosnia and most of the rest of the Balkans struggled at the beginning of the year to secure vaccines but had a steady supply of jabs by late spring. While the public demand for shots quickly slowed, interest remained high inside correctional facilities, where authorities say getting vaccinated remains voluntary. The country’s largest penal institution, the maximum-security prison in the city of Zenica, is a case in point. Over 90% of the prison’s 600 inmates and over 60% of the staff have received two shots after an initial drive to encourage vaccine uptake. ...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – After inmate populations in Florida prisons plummeted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of prisoners is expected to increase 7.1 percent during this fiscal year, state analysts projected in a report posted online Wednesday. The number of inmates was 80,495 as of the June 30 end of the 2020-2021 state fiscal year, down from as many as 99,119 at the end of the 2015-2016 year. READ MORE: Florida Girl, 12, Takes On School Board, Calls For Mask Mandate But with courts working through a backlog of felony cases that built up because of the pandemic, the inmate population is projected to increase to 86,223 at the end of the current 2021-2022 fiscal year and continue gradually increasing to 93,414 inmates at the end of the 2026-2027 year, according to the report from a panel known as the Criminal Justice Estimating Conference. “This judicial backlog totaled 25,198 cases on the date the (Criminal Justice Estimating) Conference met and is expected to take several years to work its way through to the prison population,” an executive summary of...
    SUSANVILLE (CBS SF/AP) — What was once the nation’s largest state correctional system has shrunk to the point where officials announced Tuesday they will close one of two inmate firefighter training centers. The California Correctional Center in Susanville will close by July 2022, officials said, the second such prison closure announced in recent months. The 58-year old prison, one of two in rural Lassen County, trains inmate firefighters who staff 14 firefighting camps in Northern California. READ MORE: Body Found At Scene Of Fire At San Jose Restaurant The announcement comes as state officials prepare for what they predict will be an earlier, severe wildfire season driven by a second consecutive dry winter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has increased hiring of other firefighters to make up for fewer eligible inmates. Officials last fall announced they were closing eight inmate firefighting camps, consolidating inmates into 35 remaining camps. They said the roughly 2,000 inmates at the Susanville prison will be moved to other prisons without earlier releases. The more than 1,000 employees may also be offered jobs at other facilities. The number...
    SACRAMENTO (AP/CBS13) — A decade after prison crowding forced California to realign its criminal justice system, the population in what once was the nation’s largest state correctional system has shrunk to the point where officials announced Tuesday they will close one of two inmate firefighter training centers. The California Correctional Center in Susanville will close by July 2022, officials said, the second such prison closure announced in recent months. The changes have inmates’ attorneys worrying that crowding could eventually again become a problem. READ MORE: Painful Parallels Between Disappearances Of Kristin Smart And Christie Wilson The 58-year old prison, one of two in rural Lassen County in northeastern California, trains inmate firefighters who staff 14 firefighting camps in Northern California. The number of lower-level inmates eligible for the camps has been dwindling for years because of changes in state law and most recently the pandemic. After the prison closes, all firefighter training will be at the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown, east of Stockton. Minimum security facilities at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi and the Correctional Training Facility in...
    By DON THOMPSON | The Associated Press SACRAMENTO — A decade after prison crowding forced California to realign its criminal justice system, the population in what once was the nation’s largest state correctional system has shrunk to the point where officials announced Tuesday they will close one of two inmate firefighter training centers. The California Correctional Center in Susanville will close by July 2022, officials said, the second such prison closure announced in recent months. The changes have inmates’ attorneys worrying that crowding could eventually again become a problem. The 58-year old prison, one of two in rural Lassen County in northeastern California, trains inmate firefighters who staff 14 firefighting camps in Northern California. FILE – In this May 20, 2009 file photo, several hundred inmates crowd the gymnasium at San Quentin prison in San Quentin, Calif. A decade after prison crowding forced California to realign its criminal justice system, the population has shrunk to the point that officials on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, announced they will close one of the state’s two inmate firefighter training centers along with portions...
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — A 66-year-old inmate was found unresponsive in his cell at San Quentin State Prison early Wednesday, and state corrections officials said they are treating his death as a homicide. John Sullivan had served half of his 10-year sentence from Placer County for failing to register as a sex offender, a second-strike. READ MORE: Man Accused Of Trying To Light El Dorado County Womans Home On Fire Identified As Brian Steffes He was found during a headcount shortly after midnight and pronounced dead less than 40 minutes later. Officials said they suspect his 28-year-old cellmate in the death. He has not been charged but was serving a seven-year sentence from Los Angeles County for first-degree burglary and injury to a dependent adult causing death or great bodily injury. READ MORE: Despite Traffic Troubles And Highway Headaches, Sierra Storm Draws Snow Lovers The Marin County coroner did not immediately provide a cause of death, and corrections officials wouldn’t give more details, citing the investigation. The Associated Press found in a 2015 analysis that male sex offenders were being...
    By GRANT SCHULTE, Associated Press OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Across the nation officials are closing prisons as crime rates drop and views about drug use change, but not in Nebraska, where the governor is pushing for a new $230 million prison to relieve overcrowding and house a steadily rising inmate population. It's not certain that lawmakers will support Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts' plan to build a 1,512-bed maximum security prison, but the fact that the state is considering what would amount to a 37% increase in bed space runs counter to most states. Sen. John McCollister, who has introduced bills this year to try to steer more inmates into rehabilitation programs, said he can't understand it. “It’s too bad Nebraska hasn’t learned from the experiences of other states,” McCollister said. “We’re definitely going against the grain.” As Nebraska is seeking to expand its prison capacity, other states are taking a different approach. California plans to shutter one prison this year that holds about 1,500 inmates and another as early as 2022, partly in response to state budget cuts. Connecticut plans...
    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Across the nation officials are closing prisons as crime rates drop and views about drug use change, but not in Nebraska, where the governor is pushing for a new $230 million prison to relieve overcrowding and house a steadily rising inmate population. It’s not certain that lawmakers will support Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ plan to build a 1,512-bed maximum security prison, but the fact that the state is considering what would amount to a 37% increase in bed space runs counter to most states. Sen. John McCollister, who has introduced bills this year to try to steer more inmates into rehabilitation programs, said he can’t understand it. “It’s too bad Nebraska hasn’t learned from the experiences of other states,” McCollister said. “We’re definitely going against the grain.” As Nebraska is seeking to expand its prison capacity, other states are taking a different approach. California plans to shutter one prison this year that holds about 1,500 inmates and another as early as 2022, partly in response to state budget cuts. Connecticut plans to close two facilities as...
    SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS) -- A judge who previously ordered that Orange County's jail population be cut in half to better comply with physical distancing to help contain the spread of COVID-19 said Tuesday he is satisfied with what Sheriff Don Barnes has done so far and that it is not necessary to release any inmates at this time."The situation today is that I cannot conclude that the sheriff has not substantially complied with both the letter and intent of the Dec. 11 order" to halve the jail population, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson said.The judge acknowledged that "the facts have developed significantly since the hearing on this matter in December, which resulted in the Dec. 11 order and clarification order that followed.''An outbreak at the jail in December led to nearly 1,250 inmates getting infected and two dying.As of Tuesday, 13 inmates were infected, including seven newly booked inmates, according to sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Breckner. One inmate was hospitalized and officials were awaiting 334 test results.RELATED: OC sheriff ordered by judge to reduce county's jail population by...
    SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of inmates in the Orange County jail could soon be released due to coronavirus.The ACLU says an appeals court has just denied an effort by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes to stop the release of half of the jail population."Sheriff Barnes must comply with the order and submit a plan to reduce the jail population. Doing so will save lives," the ACLU tweeted.Earlier this month, an inmate died from COVID-19. The county has had 1,246 infected inmates as of Tuesday.After the ACLU filed suit, a judge had ordered Barnes to reduce the county jail population by 50% as COVID-19 was spreading inside the facilities.But Barnes was fighting the order, noting many of the inmates have been convicted of violent crimes. He said if he was ordered to release them, then the judge issuing that order "will have to go through line by line, name by name and tell me which ones he is ordering released."
    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — One of Nebraska's largest county jails is locked down after an outbreak of the coronavirus among inmates, and a state prison inmate with the virus has died. Lancaster County officials said Tuesday that their jail was locked down as a precaution after 12 inmates tested positive for COVID-19. All of the ill inmates are being treated in the jail's infirmary and more testing is being done in the two housing units where they had been held. Officials said it's not clear how the virus reached the jail's general population. The jail screens new inmates and holds them in quarantine for 10 days before releasing them into the general population. Previously, nine cases of COVID-19 were discovered during booking at the jail. All inmates and staff are required to wear masks inside the jail. Separate from the jail outbreak, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said Tuesday that an inmate in his 70s died at a Lincoln hospital. The cause of death hasn't been determined. The department said the inmate had COVID-19 and other underlying medical conditions....
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — A California appeals court has ordered state corrections officials to cut the population of one of the world’s most famous prisons to less than half of its designed capacity, citing officials’ “deliberate indifference” to the plight of inmates during the coronavirus pandemic. State prison officials are still deciding whether to appeal the order, which would force them to parole or transfer about 1,100 inmates serving time in San Quentin State Prison north of San Francisco. California’s oldest prison, home to its death row, was the site of one of the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, with 28 inmate deaths and 2,200 infections at its peak — about 75% of the inmate population. Additionally, nearly 300 got sick and one died. All but nine employees are now back to work. It was “the worst epidemiological disaster in California correctional history,” the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said in Tuesday’s ruling. The three-justice court called the officials’ decision not to cut the inmate population by half, as recommended by prison officials’ outside advisors in June, “morally indefensible...
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A California appeals court has ordered state corrections officials to cut the population of one of the world's most famous prisons to less than half of its designed capacity, citing officials' “deliberate indifference” to the plight of inmates during the coronavirus pandemic. State prison officials said Wednesday that they are deciding whether to appeal the order, which otherwise will force them to parole or transfer about 1,100 inmates serving time in San Quentin State Prison north of San Francisco. California's oldest prison, home to its death row, was the site of one of the nation's worst coronavirus outbreaks, with 28 inmate deaths and 2,200 infections at its peak — about 75% of the inmate population. Nearly 300 employees were sickened and one died, though all but nine employees are now back to work. It was “the worst epidemiological disaster in California correctional history,” the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said in Tuesday's ruling. The three-justice court said officials' decision not to cut the inmate population by half, as recommended by prison officials' outside advisors...
    By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California appeals court has ordered state corrections officials to cut the population of one of the world's most famous prisons to less than half of its designed capacity, citing officials' “deliberate indifference” to the plight of inmates during the coronavirus pandemic. State prison officials said Wednesday that they are deciding whether to appeal the order, which otherwise will force them to parole or transfer about 1,100 inmates serving time in San Quentin State Prison north of San Francisco. California's oldest prison, home to its death row, was the site of one of the nation's worst coronavirus outbreaks, with 28 inmate deaths and 2,200 infections at its peak — about 75% of the inmate population. Nearly 300 employees were sickened and one died, though all but nine employees are now back to work. It was “the worst epidemiological disaster in California correctional history,” the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said in Tuesday's ruling. The three-justice court said officials' decision not to cut the inmate population by half, as...
    California corrections officials must release or transfer more than 1,000 inmates from the state’s notoriously outdated San Quentin prison after showing “deliberate indifference” to prisoners’ healthduring an outbreak of the novel coronavirus , an appeals court ruled this week. Under the decision issued late Tuesday by a three-judge panel from the 1st District Court of Appeal, the Bay Area facility can house “no more than 1,775 inmates” — half of what the prison’s population was in June and a drop of more than a third from the roughly 2,900 people currently housed there. The ruling comes in a case filed by an inmate in May that challenged the prison’s ability to prevent an outbreak of the virus. Within a few weeks, the number of infections among prisoners had begun to soar as the virus spread unchecked through the state’s oldest prison, infecting more than 2,200 prisoners and killing at least 28. . “By all accounts, the COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin has been the worst epidemiological disaster in California’s correctional history. And there is no assurance San Quentin...
    CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — The entire population of a jail in Georgia is under quarantine due to COVID-19. Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap, in a post Wednesday on Facebook, said the county jail is being quarantined due to positive tests among some of the jail's population. Most of those affected are asymptomatic but “we think it is prudent to quarantine to prevent further spread,” he said. The quarantine is effective as of Wednesday, Millsap said in the post. He did not say how many inmates are housed at the jail or the number under quarantine. He also did not say how long the quarantine would last or provide details on how the quarantine process would work inside the jail. In his announcement, Millsap said people will still be able to do video visitation, telephone calls, and emails with those currently in custody. Millsap cautioned relatives not to contact the sheriff’s office to inquire about an inmate's status, noting that due to federal health care regulations, the sheriff’s office is not permitted to release that information. “If the inmate tests positive,...
    NEW YORK (AP) — City officials announced on Friday the closing of two aging jail facilities, part of a broader plan to shutter the notorious Rikers Island complex by 2026 and replace it with four smaller jails intended to be more modern and humane. The Manhattan Detention Complex, nicknamed “The Tombs,” and the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island will stop housing inmates before the end of November. The facilities currently house about 750 people combined. "This will help us consolidate operations in better facilities, reduce overtime, expand training and programs and continue investing in enhancing safety,” Peter Thorne, a spokesperson for the city's Department of Correction, said in a statement. The announcement was blasted as “recipe for disaster” by the union representing city correction officers, which has urged the city to spread out its inmate population to forestall a resurgence in COVID-19 infections. “Now is the time to leverage our low inmate population to decrease the density in our facilities,” said Benny Boscio Jr., president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association. “With the second wave of COVID-19 already...
    A federal judge on Tuesday denied Ghislaine Maxwell’s request to be transferred to the general inmate population and to have the 24-hour surveillance eased. Maxwell, the cohort and ex-lover of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has not provided “any basis for the Court to conclude that the level of surveillance is punitive,” Judge Alison Nathan wrote in an order Tuesday, according to the New York Post. Maxwell’s layers had sent a letter August 10 to Nathan saying that Maxwell is being subjected to conditions unequal to her fellow prisoners, adding that her treatment stems from fears over Epstein’s apparent suicide last summer in a New York City jail. The Metropolitan Detention Center, (MDC) in Brooklyn, a United States federal administrative detention facility is pictured on July 6, 2020 in New York City. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images) Maxwell’s lawyers said that she is being held “under uniquely onerous conditions,” and that she isolated from her fellow prisoners, carefully watched through video surveillance and note-taking guards around the clock, CNBC reported. “She has been forced to undergo numerous body...
    California has lost critical manpower in its fight against the wildfires after more than 800 inmates in a controversial firefighting program were released from state prisons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The state relies on the prison population to make up a staggering 43 percent of its fire crews, meaning it has been left with a shortage of much-needed resources at a time when they are needed most.     The current crisis facing the state has brought the debate over using prisoners for the essential public service to the fore, given they earn just $1 an hour for the dangerous work and many liken the scheme to slave labor. Around one million acres of the Golden State have been destroyed over the course of the last week after adverse lightning strikes and hot weather sparked more than 500 mammoth fires. One of the huge blazes has grown to become the second largest in the state's history and at least six people have been killed.    Firefighting resources have been pushed to breaking point in the face of the escalating wildfires and Gov....
    A Connecticut prison inmate was found dead this week with a cloth mask intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus tied around his neck. His death was ruled as a suicide by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, CNN reported. Daniel Ocasio, 32, was found early on Wednesday with a ligature around his neck, the state's Department of Correction (DOC) spokesman Andrius Banevicius said in a statement. "The ligature was made from the cloth mask issued to the offender population to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus," the statement added. Prison staff tired to help Ocasio by giving him medical attention before he was sent to a hospital and pronounced dead. Ocasio was a resident of Windsor, Ct. He had been an inmate at the prison facility since August 5 over charges of third-degree burglary, the DOC said. His bond was set at $10,000, and it is unclear whether he was seeking legal counsel. His death comes as the prison population has proven to be at an elevated risk of contracting the novel COVID-19 virus due to the...
    (CNN)An inmate at a Connecticut prison was confirmed dead this week after he was found with a cloth mask intended to prevent the spread of Covid-19 tied around his neck, according to the state Department of Correction. The inmate's death has been ruled a suicide, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told CNN. Resources for helpNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255) Trevor Lifeline1-866-488-7386 Trans LifelineUS: 1-877-565-8860Canada: 1-877-330-6366 Crisis Text LineText "741741" Daniel Ocasio, 32, was found just after 5 a.m. Wednesday at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville, Connecticut, with a ligature tied around his neck, DOC spokesman Andrius Banevicius said in a statement sent to CNN."The ligature was made from the cloth mask issued to the offender population to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus," the statement said. Staff attempted to provide medical aid and called 911, the DOC said. Ocasio was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.His death is under investigation by the DOC's Security Division and the Connecticut State Police, Banevicius said. Read MoreOcasio, from Windsor, Connecticut, had been at the facility...
    Ghislaine Maxwell is being held in isolation from other inmates in a Brookly Federal jail for her own safety and the “orderly” function of the facility, federal prosecutors argued Thursday. The British socialite, 58, earlier this week petitioned to be released into the general population at the Metropolitan Detention Center. She whined in court documents of the “onerous” conditions she’s facing — including around-the-clock camera surveillance and guards filing notes on her every move. But Assistant Manhattan U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller responded Thursday that the Bureau of Prisons’ exhaustive measures were to protect Maxwell. “For reasons including safety, security, and the orderly functioning of the facility, BOP has made the determination that, at present, the defendant should not be fully integrated into the dorm-style accommodations of the general population,” Rossmiller wrote. The Bureau of Prisons “will continue to evaluate” where Maxwell should be placed and will only consider sending her into the general population “if and when BOP is assured that such placement would not pose a threat to the orderly operation of the institution,” he went on. Maxwell...
    As inmate numbers plummet, new facility could be half empty Faced with a shrinking population of inmates that has been accelerated by a newly enacted bail-reform law, Dutchess County last year redrew its plans for a proposed $147 million jail, removing more than 40 percent of the beds. Smaller may not be small enough.  The redesign dropped the number of beds from 569 to 328. But in June, the current 292-bed jail had only 131 inmates on average, compared to 324 in June 2019, according to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services.  While the COVID-19-related shutdown of the court system has likely also affected the census, if June’s numbers remained consistent, a 328-cell jail would be more than half empty. Democratic county legislators — including Nick Page and Frits Zernike, who each represent parts of Beacon — are now trying to overturn a 2016 vote that authorized the county to borrow up to $192 million to build the jail and headquarters for the sheriff, the latter of which is already completed. The resolution, which the Legislature was scheduled to...
    SAN QUENTIN (KPIX 5) — Demonstrators gathered at San Quentin State Prison Thursday as the worsening coronavirus outbreak tallied still more infections. More than 1,300 inmates, about 40 percent of the entire population, have tested positive for COVID-19. Seven condemned inmates have died. Inmates’ family members, elected officials, health care providers were among those rallying outside San Quentin, immersed in a coronavirus outbreak so severe it’s putting pressure on Bay Area hospitals. “This is not about ‘Oh, they did a crime,'” said Shawanda Scott, a mother of one San Quentin inmate. “They’re humans. You do not have the right to put lives in jeopardy.” “Nothing less than the worst prison health screwup in state history,” is how Assemblymember Marc Levine of Marin County described it. The primary focus of the demonstration, however, was what comes next. “There are thousands and thousands of men and women within the prison system that need to be released,” said Marion Wickerd, whose husband – like about half the state’s prison population – is considered a low-risk inmate by the California Department of Corrections and...
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The number of prison inmates testing positive for the coronavirus soared well past the 50,000 mark last month, as recent outbreaks threatened to undo control measures put in place earlier in the pandemic. At the end of June, the total number of coronavirus cases among prisoners had reached at least 52,649, an increase of 8% from the week before, according to data compiled by the Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization focusing on criminal justice, and The Associated Press. Of those, at least 35,796 have recovered, and at least 616 inmates have died, the data showed. NEW APP: Download the new CBS Sacramento News app for iOS and Android Among staff, more than 11,180 cases of coronavirus have been reported, including 43 deaths. As of June 30, only Wyoming and Hawaii still had not identified any confirmed cases of coronavirus among prisoners. New cases in prisons began to drop last month, with less of the rapid growth seen in the spring when Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and other states began mass testing of prisoners, the data shows. But...
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