Obstacles to Reform

Monday, October 26, 2009 | |

California's prisons have been overcrowded for a quarter of a century; yet lawsuits, legislation, prison building, and more than 70 court orders have failed to fix the prison crisis. In the conclusion of KPFA's original series "Criminal Neglect: California's Failing Prison System," Christopher Martinez looks at proposals to improve California's prison system, and the obstacles to reform.

The Death of the Death Penalty?

Friday, October 23, 2009 | |

California currently has 685 people on death row, yet hasn't carried out an execution in almost four years. Half a dozen states have put executions on hold largely over concerns about execution procedures. Other states are reconsidering the death penalty because of its costs.

California is in the middle of a process to update its execution procedures, and some death penalty opponents say the state should throw out capital punishment altogether, saving more than a hundred million dollars a year. In part five of our series "Criminal Neglect: California's Failing Prison System" we look at the death penalty. Christopher Martinez files this report.

Mothers Behind Bars

Thursday, October 22, 2009 | |

California's prisons currently hold about 11,000 women. Many of them are single mothers, and when they go to prison, their children's lives are fundamentally disrupted, too. In part four of our series "Criminal Neglect: California's Failing Prison System," Veronica Faisant looks at the plight of women behind bars and how their children are affected.

Juveniles in California's Prison System

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 | |

Increasing numbers of youth are being introduced into California's criminal justice system. According to the most recent state figures, more than three quarters of youth offenders are charged with nonviolent crimes. Advocates for institutionalized youth say rehabilitation is an evasive goal while abuse and isolation is commonplace. Pacifica's Ernesto Arce files this report from Los Angeles.

Prison Health Care: Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | |

Lawyers for prisoners and the state of California have been in and out of court for years over conditions in the state’s prisons, with courts finding that poor prison health care is killing as many as 50 inmates a year. A recent court ruling to cut the prison population has prompted the Schwarzenegger administration to vow to take the case up to the US Supreme Court. But the problem has been festering for years. In part two of our series “Criminal Neglect: California’s Failing Prison System,” we look at the state of health care in California’s prisons. Christopher Martinez files this report.

An Overview of California's Failing Prisons

Monday, October 19, 2009 | |

California has the largest prison system in the nation, and by many measures, the most troubled. Problems include severe overcrowding, spiraling costs, and health care so poor federal judges have ruled it amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment”. Today we begin our series “Criminal Neglect: California’s Failing Prison System” with an overview of the state of California’s prisons. Christopher Martinez files this report.