Prison problems. Gov Jerry Brown is asking the state Legislature for nearly half-a-billion dollars to move 9,600 inmates out of overcrowded state prisons. The governor’s request comes as the state faces an order to transfer thousands of prisoners who are at risk of contracting Valley fever. The transfers must start within a week.
California has already reduced its prison population by thousands of inmates in the past two years. But a federal court has said the state must make additional cuts to guarantee adequate health care and mental health treatment.
Brown appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday. In the meantime, he’s asking lawmakers for $450 million over the next two years to lease more than 4,100 hundred beds in county jails and private prisons.
Brown is also proposing to allow more non-violent inmates to win early release by giving them additional credits for working at firefighting camps or completing classes. That’s drawn protests from some law enforcement officials, but cheers from civil libertarians.
Meanwhile, a federal judge says the state must move more than 3,000 inmates out of two prisons because they are at a high risk of contracting a potentially deadly airborne fungus. The judge says black, Filipino and medically at-risk inmates need to move because they are more vulnerable to health problems from Valley fever. The illness – which can cause flu-like symptoms or even death in about one percent of cases – originates in San Joaquin Valley, where Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons are located.
Detectives wounded. A massive search for a gunman who shot and wounded two LAPD detectives has closed down 25 square blocks in the Mid-City Area this morning. The detectives were only slightly wounded. They were treated at a hospital and quickly released, returning to the command center to help identify possible suspects. Three people have been taken into custody but police are not calling them suspects at this point. Officials say the detectives were shot from behind as they were entering a security gate at the Wilshire Division Police Station on Venice Boulevard. KNBC
Homeless belongings. The U.S. Supreme Court won’t allow the city of L.A. to cart off the belongings of homeless people. The court refused to reverse lower court ruling that prevents police and city workers from throwing away the contents of shopping carts that homeless people left behind temporarily. City officials say the belongings are a health hazard because they prevent workers from cleaning streets and sidewalks. Eight homeless people sued over the city’s policy of disposing of the property. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that possessions could only be taken if they represented an immediate health threat. L.A. Times
Protecting children. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote later today on whether to create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection. The push follows the horrific death of a Palmdale boy a few weeks ago. Eight-year old Gabriel Fernandez was allegedly beaten and abused by his mother and her boyfriend. They’re both charged with his murder and special circumstances of torture. Red flags had been raised several times, but Gabriel was never taken from the home because social workers deemed the accusations unfounded. L.A. Daily News
‘Bandit’ protest. There are plenty of taxi cabs in downtown L.A. this morning, but good luck catching one. Hundreds of cab drivers were expected to take part in a motorized protest over smart phone apps that allow users to summon rides in so-called “bandit cabs” with the touch of a screen. Taxi companies say the apps are promoting unlicensed and unregulated cabs and they want the city to crack down on the illegal operators. The city’s taxicab administrator did take some action yesterday – sending cease-and-desist leaders to a trio of companies. The letters warn that drivers could be arrested on misdemeanor charges for operating an illegal cab, and their cars can be impounded for up to 30 days. Long Beach Press-Telegram