Returned to the California Institution for Women after Sentence Recalculation
"Sara Jane Olson's case is extremely complicated, given the amount of changes to the sentencing laws that have occurred over the last 30 years," said Scott Kernan, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary of Adult Operations. "Upon request for review, CDCR case records staff immediately reevaluated this sentence calculation, and in coordination with our legal affairs unit and the Board of Parole Hearings has revised the sentence accordingly to ensure that all appropriate time is served."
"After careful review, we have determined that questions raised about Olson's release date have merit," said Alberto Roldan, CDCR Chief Deputy General Counsel. "Upon review Olson is required to serve two additional years on a consecutive sentence for the Sacramento conviction."
"We understand how sensitive the impact of such an error has on all involved in this case and sincerely regret the mistake," said Kernan. "To ensure we do everything possible to prevent this from occurring in the future, we have launched a full investigation into this matter."
Olson, a member of the infamous Symbionese Liberation Army associated with the kidnap of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst in the 1970s, was paroled Monday, March 17, 2008 from the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. Olson was sentenced to prison after being returned to California following 20 plus years of living in Minnesota under an assumed name.
Olson was convicted of two crimes. Her first was for a 1975 terrorist act of planting pipe bombs under two Los Angeles Police Department cars. Those pipe bombs were discovered before they detonated. It was presumed that the bombs were intended as revenge for SLA members who died in a fiery shootout with the LAPD months before.
Her subsequent conviction was for second degree murder in Sacramento County in 1975, for the death of a bank customer, Myrna Ophsal. Ophsal was shot to death as the SLA attempted to rob the bank.
Because she was convicted subsequent to 1977, when California's indeterminate sentencing structure was transformed, the Board of Prison Terms (now known as the Board of Parole Hearings) conducted a Serious Offender Hearing to establish a determinate sentence for her crimes. This hearing was similar to hearings conducted for most California inmates prior to the transformation of its sentencing structure.
The Board set her total term at 13 years including a one year enhancement. In October 2007, the one year enhancement was dismissed by the Court. She was paroled after serving six years, after receiving credit for good behavior and her work assignments while in prison.
Olson was initially paroled to the Antelope Valley region of Los Angeles County, her last legal residence in California. Late Friday night, Olson was prevented from traveling to Minnesota, where she had requested to be transferred, in order to investigate her sentence release date. Olson's approval to travel out of state was revoked.
On Saturday, Olson was taken into custody and returned to the California Institution for Women in Corona after a determination that she was due to serve an additional two years. This sentence could be reduced to one full year if she receives all of the good-time credits for which she may be eligible.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
“It is critical that state agencies and local governments have a coordinated approach to providing programs that serve the needs of mentally ill offenders and improve public safety, said Secretary Tilton. “These awards highlight examples of the 'best of the best' approaches throughout California to effectively serve the needs of the mentally ill offender.”
A major function of the California Council on Mentally III Offenders (COMIO) is to encourage effective creative services in an ongoing effort to identify best practices.
COMIO intends to annually recognize providers who successfully treat mentally ill patients within the state and county criminal justice systems.
COMIO was created by the legislature in 2001 "to investigate and promote cost-effective approaches to meeting the long-term needs of adults and juveniles with mental disorders who are likely to become offenders or who have a history of offending." Two strategies to achieve this were defined:
1) to improve service coordination among state and local mental health, criminal justice and juvenile justice programs, and
2) to improve the ability of adult and juvenile offenders with mental health need to transition successfully between corrections-based, juvenile-based and community-based treatment programs.
COMIO is comprised of a ten person panel of experts and practitioners selected to tackle the difficult challenges posed by mentally ill offenders. The board meets six times a year.
Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO)
Chairperson James E. Tilton, Secretary, CDCR
Vice-Chairperson: Stephen Mayberg, Ph.D., Director, CA Department of Mental Health
Members: Joel Fay, PsyD., Mental Health Liaison Officer, San Rafael Police Department; David Lehman, Chief Probation Officer (retired), Humboldt County, and former member of the Board of Corrections (now the Corrections Standard Authority); Wendy Lindley, Judge, Orange County Superior Court; Duane E. McWaine, M.D., Medical Director, Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Los Angeles; David Meyer, J.D., Professor, Institute of Psychiatry, Law and Behavioral Science, Keck School of Medicine, USC, and former Chief Deputy Director, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health; Jo Robinson, M.F.T., Program Director, San Francisco Jail Health and Psychiatric Services; James W. Sweeney, J.D., Principal, James W. Sweeney & Associates; Charles L. Walters, Ph.D., Assistant Sheriff, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department.
COMIO Website: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/COMIO/index.html
Link to Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) 2008 “Best Practices” Awards Recipients
Posted by CDCR_Star at 3:17 PM
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Chowchilla Family Express, CDCR Celebrate First Year Anniversary of Successful Partnership to Bring Children, Families to Visit Incarcerated Mothers
"We are excited about the many successes so far and the ongoing dedication by the Chowchilla Family Express because it provides yet another rehabilitative option for so many women offenders, said Wendy Still, CDCR Associate Director, Female Offender Programs and Services, who also noted that the majority of those inmates are mothers. "This bus program provides unique opportunities for female offenders to reunite with their children, who are in most cases hundreds of miles away. We remain committed to extending our responsibility for female offenders beyond their incarceration to improve their chances of success when they return to their communities."
"I love this work," said Eric Debode, Program Director for the Chowchilla Family Express. "It is so gratifying to be a part of something so positive in the lives of children and families. The program is successful because it is so simple--the people are enthusiastic about coming to visit their loved ones and we give them a ride. Through this program, the state of California is helping families stay together--and increasing the likelihood of successful reentry."
Posted by CDCR_Star at 3:10 PM
Monday, March 10, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Gov. Schwarzenegger Attends Female Inmate Carpenter Graduation, Opens New Inmate Firefighter Training Center
"This program not only gives inmates the training they need for a career upon release, it gives them a foot in the door with an employer," said James Tilton, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). "We know that ex-offenders who have a plan for life after prison have a much higher probability of returning home to become productive members of their local community. It is our ultimate goal to return inmates better off than when we received them. The Prison Industry Authority plays an important role in providing skills inmates need for success."
The carpenter's training program was funded with a $1.2 million grant from CDCR that was intended to reduce repeat crime among inmates.
Posted by CDCR_Star at 2:54 PM
Monday, March 3, 2008
Environmental impact reviews and public hearings on the proposal discussed today are forthcoming, and the state remains open to discussing additional or alternative uses of the property as a correctional facility.
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Posted by CDCR_Star at 2:48 PM