SLO County man considered for medical parole

May 22, 2011

A San Luis Obispo County man serving a 157 years-to-life sentence for kidnapping, beating and raping a woman he ran down as she left a San Diego Club is being considered for an early medical release. [MercuryNews]

A stabbing behind bars left Steven Martinez, 42, a quadriplegic, and raised his cost of incarceration to about $625,000 per year.

Martinez could become the first California inmate granted medical parole under a law that took effect this year when his release is considered on Tuesday at Corcoran State Prison, the Mercury News said. The program is intended to parole inmates who are medically incapacitated, saving the state millions of dollars a year.

The balance between savings and safety is at the crux of the debate over the law proposed last year by J. Clark Kelso, the receiver appointed by the federal courts to oversee inmate medical care, the Mercury News said.

“He can breathe on his own and he can talk. That’s it,” Martinez’s attorney, Ken Karan of Carlsbad said. “It’s just not reasonable to suggest he is a likely candidate to go out and commit a crime through somebody else.”

However, Richard Sachs, a supervising deputy district attorney in San Diego County, intends to oppose Martinez’s release before two parole board commissioners at Corcoran.

“The law is useful for saving money for the state, but it doesn’t fit this particular situation because he’s still very angry and very violent,” Sachs said to the Mercury News.

Thirty-two other states and the federal government have similar medical parole programs, according to State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who carried the bill.

“We still have a $10 billion hole in our budget. Schools are still at risk of closing days, if not weeks, early. We’ve slashed higher education. We’ve devastated our social safety net. We don’t have tens of millions to waste on the Department of Corrections,” Leno told the the Mercury News.

The cost of medical care for paroled inmates could be paid by Medicaid, private insurance and prisoner finances. After a pressure sore Martinez suffered in prison required him to spend 6 months in an outside hospital, he was awarded $750,000 in damages.

The program is expected to lower the high cost of providing guards to watch over paralyzed or comatose inmates. The state will still cover some of the released prisoner’s medical costs and the law promises it will not burden counties or hospitals with remaining costs.

The state will still bear some cost for their care, and the law promises the state won’t burden counties or hospitals with whatever costs remain.


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26 Comments

  1. brook says:

    $750,000 for a bedsore? That’s a perversion of justice. A few days of applying Aloe Vera juice on the sore is all it takes to heal it! I know this because it’s something I used when my mother was bedridden with much better success that the hospital remedies.

    More to the point, the Supreme Court has ruled against people suing corporations and against class action suits. Better they should rule against prisoner lawsuits which are frivolous, as Martinez’s seems to be.

    I also find the in-prison medical costs to be unnaturally high – maybe that needs some exposure?

    Lastly, the prisoner release is just another sign that it’s time for our government to re-think its’ foreign wars and ludicrous defense spending and start some “Home Improvement Work”- bridges, roads, schools, etc., etc.

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    • Cindy says:

      brook, A bedsore can become very serious and fester into a large wound right down to the bone. You obviously gave your mother care at the first sign of an irritation. This clearly occurred with this creep because no one was turning him. Regardless, he shouldn’t have been able to sue us. It’s not as if he had any pain what with being a quad and all and the hospital was probably more pleasant than the prison. So how did he suffer?
      The thing that is so irritating is that the prison has the nerve to tell us that his care costs $625K a year,
      Prison has become big business, big money and the cost makes no sense, none what so ever. I have to wonder if this is a set up by some prison officials to set up some cronies to provide outside care for $625K a year?

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      • brook says:

        Cindy,
        Yes indeed, prison’s are big business. That’s why the Republicans are pushing to
        privatize them throughout the country. Same with schools. And it’s why they want to destroy Medicare as we know it. They’re not fond of’agencies”, they prefer “Corporations”.

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  2. Side_Show_Bob says:

    For $625k a year?!!

    I can save the State of California a potential $11,875,000 over a 20 year period.

    I’ll take care of Mr. Martinez and all the State has to do is pay me the $625k up front and only once. They can even keep his $750k settlement.

    I assure you, he’ll be quite comfortable.

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  3. Bigmike says:

    It’s funny how they want us to think it is so much cheaper to let him out. Sure the prison will not have to pay but, California will still foot the bill. His family is not going to pay $500,000 a year to keep him alive. I say if we are going to pay, he might as well stay in prison.

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    • Cindy says:

      Bigmike, They could stick him in a nursing home with no phone privledges (not that he can dial a phone anyway). The guy is a quad, no doubt we can put him in a state home or even a private home for 50K a year.

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