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News Scan

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10 California Inmates Held in Isolation Sue State: Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle reports 10 inmates held in isolation at California's Pelican Bay State Prison sued the state Thursday. The proposed class action on behalf of the unit's 1,000 inmates seeks court orders limiting stays in the isolation unit to 10 years, requiring regular review, and barring what is described in the suit as sensory and environmental deprivation.

Prison to Hire Friends for Norwegian Mass Killer: The AFP reports if mass murderer Ander's Breivik is sentenced to the high security prison in Norway, the government will pay people to socialize with him, because he cannot have normal contact with others inside the prison, and it is illegal to hold people in complete isolation in Norway. Ila prison director Knut Bjarkeid said Breivik could be allowed to do things like playing sports with the guards or playing chess with someone the prison hires. "We are planning a professional community around him, with employees and hired personnel," Bjarkeid said. In July 2011, Breivik bombed a government building, killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage at a summer camp, killing 69 people, most of them teenagers.

CA Bill Would Extend Medical Release to County Jails: Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times reports the California Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow county jails to release terminally ill and medically incapacitated inmates before they have served their full sentence. Sheriffs could release prisoners determined by a doctor to have six months or less to live and are deemed not a threat to society. A county sheriff could also grant medical probation to physically incapacitated inmates. The most recent version of the bill, SB 1462, is here

Justice Department Tells Florida to Stop Non-Citizen Voter Purge: Marc Caputo of The Miami Herald reports the Justice Department, in a letter sent late Thursday night, ordered Florida's elections division to stop its effort to find and purge noncitizen voters from the state's voter rolls. T. Christian Herren Jr., the Justice Department's lead civil rights lawyer, says Florida's effort violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. So far the state has flagged about 2,700 noncitizen voters, and is asking counties to contact those voters by mail. Those who haven't responded by a certain time after being contacted could be stricken from the rolls. The state has until next Wednesdays to reply to the Justice Department with its planned course of action.   

CA Senator Calls for Repeal of Realignment: California Senator Tom Berryhill (R, Modesto), who represents the 14th Senate District, has this opinion piece, where he calls on the majority party in California to put communities first and repeal the state's realignment law. He writes, "...our communities are prey to the violent felons they have released early because they refuse to prioritize public safety." He says realignment should really be called "the early release of violent criminals into our neighborhoods for political expediency's sake."

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