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First California inmate cleared for medical parole

June 15, 2011 |  1:10 pm

The first California inmate to get out of prison under a controversial new "medical parole" law will most likely be Craig Lemke, 48, who is serving 68 years for home invasion. The Board of Parole Hearings granted Lemke's request Wednesday morning, but still has 120 days to further review the decision.

Lemke is the second inmate to have a medical parole hearing under the law signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year. The board denied the first, a convicted rapist who was paralyzed during an assault by other inmates, saying he remained a threat to public safety.

Officials would not provide details of Lemke's medical condition, citing health privacy laws. But a spokeswoman for the receiver put in charge of inmate healthcare by a panel of federal judges said the state will save $750,000 per year in security costs alone if Lemke is paroled.

That's what it costs to post guards around the clock on inmates who are so sick they require care in hospitals outside of prison walls.

Two other inmates are set for medical parole hearings Thursday.

-- Jack Dolan