Bill Emmerson

State Senator Bill Emmerson

By Lori Fowler, Staff Writer
@IECourtsNow on Twitter
Posted: 07/11/2013 08:28:37 PM PDT
Updated: 07/11/2013 09:25:51 PM PDT

A local politician and his constitutes are reaching out to legislators with hopes of getting more information regarding recent reports that two California women’s prisons performed sterilization procedures on inmates.

Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) sent a letter Thursday to Senator Loni Hancock, Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, expressing concern over reports that doctors coerced pregnant inmates into sterilization procedures at California Institution for Women in Chino and Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla and calling for an immediate oversight hearing to investigate the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“I feel it would be better to have to the issue out in the sunshine so we could have a better understanding of what’s been going on,” Emmerson said Thursday.

Legislature is now on its summer break, he said. But Emmerson hopes a hearing will be set for when they return, which would be the middle of August.

An oversight committee would allow officials to interview the California Prison Health Care Receivership Corp./FEDERAL RECEIVER and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation about their procedures. Emmerson said he would rather do that and discuss the issue than have it done by correspondence.

The Legislative Women’s Caucus had requested information some time ago regarding the controversial procedures, Emmerson said, but never
received it.

“I was aware that some legislators had written Federal Receiver Clark Kelso asking for a full explanation from his office over these procedures. The letter from the Legislative Women’s Caucus indicated that the Senate first asked Mr. Kelso over three years ago for information regarding these procedures, and the Senate has yet to receive a full report,” Emmerson said.

Earlier this week the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) stated that “doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals.”

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