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Don’t call it a prison release – or a panacea

September 29, 2011

California’s prison realignment is a confusing process, but state officials want to make one thing clear. While the prison population is being reduced starting next week, California isn’t actually releasing any prisoners early. Instead, they are shifting responsibility for “low level offenders” to the counties, which have historically had responsibility for this type of inmate. But that doesn’t mean that prison realignment has solved California’s criminal justice problems. “In the old days,” one expert says, “we used to call this ‘put the money on the stump and run.’”

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Athletes with disabilities find Outdoor Adventures in Long Beach

September 28, 2011

Athletes with disabilities find Outdoor Adventures in Long Beach

Exercise helps everyone, but physical activity is especially important for people with disabilities. A annual water camp in Long Beach gives people with disabilities a chance to get out on the waves.

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Services for aging need better coordination, experts say

September 27, 2011

Aging Californians depend on a wide range of connected services – health, housing, transportation and access for the disabled – that must be better coordinated to maximize the quality of their care, according to a panel of experts at a Tuesday conference on long term services and supports.

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DAs ponder and prepare for long-term effects of prison realignment

September 27, 2011

DAs ponder and prepare for long-term effects of prison realignment

The effects of prison realignment will remain unclear until after – perhaps months after –prison reform starts next week. Two district attorneys from very different California counties consider how AB 109 might affect them, and expert David Ball worries that no one really understands the implications of the complicated law.

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Homeless for Years, Older Women in Los Angeles Find a Good Home

September 26, 2011

Homeless for Years, Older Women in Los Angeles Find a Good Home

On Skid Row, the downtown hub of the homeless population in Los Angeles, transients ask passersby for change, slump against concrete buildings, and mumble obscenities at bus stops. The Downtown Women’s Center’s beautiful new building, sitting in the middle of the mayhem, is a standout. The DWC’s Day Center serves hundreds of homeless women in its facilities every day and 71 lucky ones live in permanent residences, or efficiency apartments.

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Care Innovations: The Future of Aging?

September 22, 2011

The brainchild of two well-funded corporate giants, a new Sacramento-area company hopes to change the future of aging by using technology to help senior citizens age gracefully – and safely – at home.

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Uninsured in the Central Valley eager for health care reform

September 22, 2011

Uninsured in the Central Valley eager for health care reform

The Bridge to Reform is a $10 billion program that will transition low-income residents in California to a Medicare-like health coverage before the 2014 federal health care coverage mandate kicks in. That funding could bring much-needed changes, like providing patients with a medical home where they can get preventative care and where their medical histories are kept on file. But cash-strapped counties are worried – will the costs of extending coverage overrun their available funds, even with help from federal dollars?

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Brown: Prisons give state ‘healthiest damn criminals in the world’

September 21, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that California’s prison system, under pressure from the courts, has focused on turning inmates into “the healthiest damn criminals in the world” but has done little to make them less likely to commit another crime after they leave custody.

County sheriffs, probation officers and others at the local level could do a much better job if given the funding and the authority to supervise low-level offenders and try to rehabilitate them, Brown said.

The Democratic governor, speaking to a gathering of 500 local law enforcement officials, heralded the Oct. 1 beginning of a new program to shift responsibility for 34,000 inmates from the state to the counties.

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After realignment, fewer women expected in prison

September 21, 2011

After realignment, fewer women expected in prison

Half of women in California prisons are there for non-violent crimes – the kind of offenses that will be managed on the county level after prison realignment starts Oct. 1. Women’s needs are different from men’s and so are the reasons behind their brushes with the law. San Francisco County is already developing help tailored to women who commit crimes. Should other counties follow their lead?

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Elder Abuse bill would regulate signature stamps

September 20, 2011

By Meda Freeman

Liz Sanders’ elderly mother had a $20 signature stamp that she used for her banking, but that little stamp ended up costing more than $700,000 after a dishonest caregiver got her hands on it.

Sanders said the stamp turned out to be the perfect tool for forging checks, gaining access to dormant credit lines and transferring large sums into a bank account opened without her mother’s knowledge.

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