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February 15, 2005

Late Blogging Today

Topics: Administrative

Blogging will begin around noon today.

The Terri Schiavo Blogroll now has 48 blogs and growing.

We are considering a press release when it hits 100 blogs. Never before have 100 or more blogs "organized" to support a single event. One hundred (plus) blogs organized to force MSM participation in addressing the continuing injustice to Terri' Schiavo at the hands of her husband and the court of Pinellas County, Florida through Judge George Greer.

A Big thanks to Tim at ProLifeBlogs and Beth at  My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy for all of their hard work in getting some of the big blogs in.

Posted by Hyscience at February 15, 2005 6:20 AM

Hey, move over Terry. Here's a roommate for you. And he's not married, yet!

State releases injured prisoner


By Mark Gladstone

Mercury News Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO - After spending more than $30,000 in taxpayer funds to guard an inmate who is brain-dead, California's prison authorities released Daniel Provencio to his family Monday and relieved the officers who watched him around the clock.

``We'll credit him with time served and cut him loose,'' said Todd Slosek, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

The Mercury News first reported that Provencio was shackled and under 24-hour guard at a cost of $1,056 a day in overtime. The ensuing controversy prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to label his own administration's policy as ``ludicrous.'' Soon afterward, the department unshackled the 28-year-old felon from Oxnard.

Provencio's case was the most visible example of a longtime state policy whereby all sick or injured inmates who are treated outside prison walls are required to be escorted and guarded by two officers. The Mercury News reported how the cost of transporting and guarding inmates who are comatose or incapacitated has jumped 61 percent to more than $30 million annually.

In the wake of those reports and the mounting cost of Provencio's guarding, the department has launched a broad review of the policy of guarding bedridden inmates taken outside prison walls for treatment.

Provencio was hit in the head with a rubber projectile shot by a guard during a disturbance at Wasco State Prison on Jan. 16. As he's lingered in an intensive care unit at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield, his case has raised questions about the credibility of the $6.5 billion-a-year prison system, especially its ability to adequately provide health care for the 165,000 inmates in the state's 32 prisons.

Because of his condition, Provencio had only one guard and was unshackled 10 days ago. But the department still faced a conundrum: how to live up to its security policy yet also respond to Provencio's family's pleas for a compassionate release. Some relatives interrupted a Capitol hearing earlier this month with appeals for help.

Monday, Provencio's older sister, Nancy Anaya of Moorpark, said now the family should face less red tape when attempting to visit her brother, who they've been told is brain-dead.

``I hope now things won't be so difficult,'' she said, adding the family hopes to get additional tests performed on Provencio's brain and see if there have been changes since he was first hospitalized. Still, Anaya acknowledged, ``it's pretty much a waiting game.''

Provencio, a former high school wrestler who most recently worked construction, was originally sentenced on drug charges. He was sent back to prison in August, authorities said, on a parole violation related to charges of drunken driving, associating with gang members, evading arrest and possessing a gun.

Monday, Provencio was technically discharged by the Board of Prison Terms.

Besides removing the guards, it means that instead of his bills being paid by the corrections department, they will probably be picked up by the hospital and Medi-Cal, the state health care program for the poor, prison officials said. The Corrections Department is attempting to determine Provencio's health care tab.

``We're operating in concert with the family's wishes'' in discharging him, Slosek said, adding that corrections authorities have been trying to hammer out a resolution satisfactory to the family and the hospital.

But B. Cayenne Bird, a prisoner-rights advocate, complained: ``CDC should have done the right thing and released Daniel Provencio weeks ago. Instead they did everything in their power to block it.''

Posted by: Voltaire at February 18, 2005 6:04 AM

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