Prisons

California could release up to 8,000 prisoners to prevent coronavirus spread, officials say

California will release around 8,000 prison inmates early in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in state correctional facilities, with more than half expected to return to society by the end of July, officials said Friday. The move will allow prisons to use the extra space to impose social distancing rules, isolation and quarantine measures, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. “These actions are taken to provide for the health and safety of the incarcerated population and staff,” CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said. “We aim to implement these decompression measures in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.” The department estimates 8,000 inmates could be released by the end of August, providing they meet several criteria. Prisoners with a year or less left on their sentences are eligible for early release. Those with convictions of violent felonies and sex crimes are not. Anyone released from custody will be tested for the virus within seven days of their return to society, the CDCR said. Several states have opted to release some prison inmates early amid a surge in infections in correctional institutions. California has reduced its prison population by 10,000 since mid-March, when the COVID-19 pandemic first triggered government protection measures in the United States. As of Friday, the state prison system reported 5,841 coronaviruses among inmates, which increased by 864 in the past two weeks. In San Quentin State Prison in San Francisco’s Bay Area, infections among prisoners soared after the transfer of 121 inmates from the California Institution for Men in Chino, which reported hundreds of cases amid crowded conditions. A third of San Quentin’s 3,500 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 following the transfer.

Utter insanity..  But, then again..  This is California.  Thank God I don’t live there.

8,000 Colorado Inmates Given Computer Tablets with Games, Books, Music

8,000 prison inmates in Colorado have been given computer tablets with the ability to call loved ones from the inside, play games, read books, and listen to music. “Until February, Andrew Stiern could only speak with his girlfriend on a phone in a prison day hall while 10 other inmates listened in and waited impatiently in line behind him,” reported The Denver Post . “Now the 29-year-old inmate can kick back in the limited privacy of his cell at Four Mile Correctional Center in Cañon City and call his girl on a new computer tablet anytime between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. He can also use the same device to listen to his favorite tunes from a streaming cache of 12 million songs, read books or play video games to his heart’s content.” GTL Corp’s Inspire pilot program seeks to distribute tablets to over 18,000 prison inmates, and eventually to every prisoner in the United States, according to The Denver Post. It is reportedly “designed to give inmates access to a wide range of media, including educational programming, but also creates a new revenue stream for GTL, which specializes in inmate telecommunications and payment systems.” “It’s great. I’m kind of the tablet rep guy,” said inmate Andrew Stiern to The Post. “When you are in prison, you are cut off from the outside world. You want your mind to be focused on positive things. It’s kind of an escape from this world. These tabs have become a new piece of life in here.” Though some believe that the tablets could help deflate friction between prison gangs over prison phone use, other correctional officers and victims group representatives are skeptical of the program. “I’m a little stunned. They are not there to be catered to and offered all the comforts of home,” said Rob Wells, the president of Families of Victims of Homicide and Missing Persons. “I’m not pleased with it. Some of them are gang members and have been involved in some pretty nasty stuff. They shouldn’t be given something that will give them an opportunity to continue their criminal enterprises in prison. How are they going to monitor this?”

Exactly!!  This is a stunningly BAD idea on oh so many levels.