A California quadriplegic inmate -- who is described by caretakers as an “angry, repulsive” person -- will be released despite concerns that he is a still a public threat.
Steven Martinez was the first inmate to apply to a medical parole program designed to release inmates who require 24-hour medical care. The program began in 2011 as a way to cut costs and move released prisoners into community hospitals or other care centers, where the federal government will help pay for medical expenses. Martinez is said to cost the state of California $625,000 per year due to his condition, according to The Daily Mail.
Martinez was sentenced to 157 years in prison in 1998 after running a woman over with his car and then beating, abducting and raping her. A few years into serving his sentence, Martinez was involved in a prison fight that resulted in another inmate stabbing him in the neck, which severed his spinal cord and paralyzed him.
Martinez first applied for release through the program in 2011, but the Board of Parole Hearings denied his appeal. The board cited concerns raised by prison caretakers that he verbally assaults and threatens them. They claim, despite being paralyzed, he remains a threat to others.
However, the Fourth Appellate Court in San Diego ruled this decision unreasonable last month. Thus, Martinez’s release to an undisclosed facility has been ordered. He will be the 48th inmate paroled under the medical release program. There have only been six denied under the program, according to corrections records.
The release of Martinez has raised public concern, especially from neighbors of his mother, who lives in Clairemont and has volunteered to care for him.
“It's a definite issue and I will have to keep a real eye on things that [are] going on around here,” neighbor Gregory Smith told 10News when Martinez first petitioned for release. “It's a concern.”