Steven Martinez, convicted of multiple 1998 felonies, was stabbed in the neck in prison, leaving him paralyzed and unable to perform even simple tasks. Next week, says the San Francisco Chronicle, the 42-year-old quadriplegic whose annual medical bills average $625,000. will be the first inmate considered for release under the state’s new medical parole law.
The medical parole law is aimed at shaving tens to hundreds of millions of dollars off California’s prison budget at a time when the deficit-plagued state is slashing spending on education, public safety, and social safety net programs. It is also stirring strong emotions. “I don’t think this guy has the right to see another sunset, to sit in front of a TV, to be with his family or to be able to enjoy anything,” said Rick Bulette, the San Diego police officer who saved Martinez’s victim and arrested him. “He is a monster.” Medical care for incapacitated inmates can range from $10,600 a year in correctional treatment centers to $1.35 million a year in nursing facilities or outside hospital. Hospice care within the prison system lands at around $110,000 a year.