Author: Genevieve Bookwalter

Gardening Program Helps San Quentin Parolees Adjust to Life on the Outside

Anthony Forrest has lived almost half of his 52 years behind bars. He’s been in and out of prison for much of his life, spending a total of 25 years incarcerated, he said. Less than two months before he left San Quentin State Prison for the last time, Forrest said, he knelt down and prayed for help turning his life around. He walked out of the room and saw a flier for Planting Justice, offering paroled felons from Alameda and Contra Costa counties jobs planting gardens around the East Bay and greater Bay Area after they got out.

Barriers to Mental Health Treatment Remain Under Obamacare

When a patient at St. James Health Center needs mental health care, the first thing Susana Farina does is check insurance. The type of insurance patients have — if they have any at all — determines what kind of doctor they can see and even the date of their appointments. The Affordable Care Act covers treatment for some mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, but the law is not comprehensive and many Californians with mental illnesses still face challenges accessing care.

Clinics Wait For More Patients in Obamacare Wake

St. James Health Center is ready for the onslaught. The community health clinic, one of the busiest in San Jose, sits on the corner of 2nd and Julian streets near downtown. Doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other health-care providers here treat some of the poorest patients in Santa Clara County — patients whom many expect to have newly-minted health insurance this year as the federal Affordable Care Act kicks in.

Will Food Prices Rise Under Obamacare?

The cost of food likely will go up, but growers could have a more reliable work force after federal laws kick in requiring many farms to provide health insurance to their workers by 2015. That’s according to growers and agriculture experts in California and around the nation, as they and other employers in the United States prepare to offer health insurance if they employ 50 or more full-time workers.

Two Years Later, Prison Reform a Mixed Bag

Two years ago, California began a massive experiment: shift low-level criminals from state prisons to county jails, and put local law enforcement in charge of their housing, treatment and parole. Now, early reports show a mixed bag of results.

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