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Instead of prison, felons get jail and rehab

May 21, 2013
Instead of prison, felons get jail and rehab

By Lynn Graebner

After serving time in jail, a three-step program helps men in Santa Cruz county make a new life after a felony conviction.

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Poor health care moving from prison to jails

May 15, 2013
Poor health care moving from prison to jails

By Mary Flynn

California’s sweeping criminal justice reform plan, in place since October 2011, was meant to sharply reduce the state’s prison population. But the changes may have also had the unintended consequence of passing along the biggest problem associated with overcrowding – poor health care – to county jails.

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Ballot-mandated drug treatment cut, despite success

May 9, 2013
Ballot-mandated drug treatment cut, despite success

By Robin Urevich

In 2000, California voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 36, a ballot measure that offers non-violent drug offenders treatment instead of jail. But now the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act is on life support, if not altogether dead, despite data that shows it has saved taxpayers money and tamped down recidivism among its participants.

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San Mateo County courts strained by state prison reforms

May 7, 2013
San Mateo County courts strained by state prison reforms

By Callie Shanafelt

State prison reforms are supposed to reduce dangerously overcrowded prison populations and help to alleviate the state’s fiscal crisis. But trial courts in San Mateo are feeling the squeeze of the fiscal crisis and the reforms on the county.

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Tribal courts aim to heal

May 3, 2013
Tribal courts aim to heal

By Callie Shanafelt

Advocates for Native American survivors of intimate violence cheered when they won the right to prosecute non-Indian assailants in tribal court. That change came with a provision in the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year. On at least one slice of California sovereign tribal land, the change also means defendants will have to engage with a very different criminal justice system – one that is based on restorative justice.

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Therapy to help close revolving door on prisons and jails

April 24, 2013
Therapy to help close revolving door on prisons and jails

By Clare Noonan

When California legislators decided that certain felons no longer would be held in the state’s overflowing prisons, they were under pressure from a court order to relieve the system’s dangerously overcrowded conditions. But part of their goal also was to keep lower-level convicts near rehabilitative programs in their own communities. Some counties are embracing the goal of rehabilitation, too, and are turning to local non-profits to help people convicted of non-violent, non-serious and non-sexual crimes start a new life.

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Special court helps veterans with addictions

April 15, 2013
Special court helps veterans with addictions

By Callie Shanafelt

What happens at Veteran’s Treatment Court is anything but typical. Modeled on drug treatment courts, they provide extra support and treatment opportunities for vets.

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