Friday, November 21, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Inmates readied for modern-world jobs
Gap between prison system, technology sector bridged through new computer education
Soren Hemmila, Twin Cities Times

Computer coding has been called the “new literacy.” First graders in Marin County have begun to attend programming clubs, and now prisoners are learning the same skills with the promise of well-paying jobs once they leave their locked-up life behind.


NORCO: Suit accuses state of neglecting Lake Norconian Club
The state Department of Corrections, which owns the property, is accused of failing to maintain it
Peter Fischetti, The Press Enterprise

A Norco nonprofit group has sued the California Department of Corrections, alleging it has neglected the historic Lake Norconian Club, which the group says is deteriorating.

The suit seeks a court order to force the department, which owns the land that’s now part of California Rehabilitation Center, to maintain the club, a Spanish-style resort built beside a lake. It attracted Hollywood celebrities, such as Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth and Eddie Albert, beginning in the late 1920s and was the background for several movies.


Killer given release date but previous parole grant blocked
Michelle Durand, The Daily Journal

A convicted murderer serving time for fatally beating and choking a fellow transient before laying his body on the Redwood City train tracks 28 years ago has a shot at parole after a two-person board at his eighth hearing found him suitable for release.

A previous panel also found Aaron Gillum, 54, a candidate for parole in 2007 after he had served 20 years but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the decision. Three years later, another Board of Parole Hearings denied him release for five years after he argued with them during a hearing.


Here’s a Consequence Voters Didn’t Foresee
Lake Arrowhead Mountain News

Sociologists refer to unexpected outcomes of well-intended actions as “unintended consequences.” They’re a frequent occurrence when people try to rectify bad situations without having carefully considered the range of implications in their intended approach.

Proposition 47, dubbed the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” on the Nov. 4 ballot, may prove to be such a case, where the goal of fixing one problem leads to the creation of others.

Prop 47 prep: California needs to help prisoners re-enter society
Dani Fishman, Mercury News

This month The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, also known as Proposition 47, was passed into law in California. This landmark proposition is the first in the country to reclassify select nonviolent and drug-related felonies as misdemeanors and redirect state resources to community mental health services and rehabilitation programs.

Prop. 47 supporters are confident that this new legislation will bring financial benefits to the state, increase public safety, and change the lives of countless individuals and families wrapped up in our overcrowded prison system. Opponents argue that reduced criminal sentencing and early releases will pose a threat to the public.


Two more prisons on horizon
Adelanto plans pass first steps for approval at packed, hours-long meeting
Desert Dispatch, Brooke Self

ADELANTO — Despite several critical comments in a meeting that lasted into the wee hours of Thursday morning, two separate prison proposals that could potentially alleviate the city’s current fiscal crisis passed preliminary steps for approval by the Adelanto City Council.

The council met in its packed chambers and listened to at least 30 public comments during the 5 1/2-hour meeting. The five-member board approved the first reading of development agreements to construct both a 1,050-bed prison and 3,264-bed prison within the city limits.

San Joaquin County leaders, police react to passage of Proposition 47
James Striplin, Lodi News-Sentinel

Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, was approved by voters earlier this month, but the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office has not released any inmates because of the new bill, spokesman Deputy Les Garcia said.

“We are working with the (district attorney) to establish a process on how this will be executed,” Garcia said.

The new law reduces certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, such as non-violent drug crimes and thefts.

California Black Brown Summit welcomes speaker
The Record

Rev. Willie A. Douglas, co-founder of the California Black Brown Summit on Re-entry/ Recidivism, was the opening guest speaker during the California Black Brown Summit held Nov. 12 to 14 at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield.

With emphasis on AB109, known as Public Safety Realignment, thousands of felons now serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prisons. Many offenders released from prison after completing their sentences are now supervised by County Probation instead of State Parole.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Let's Review: Shakespeare goes to prison and all’s well that ends well
Diana Saenger, La Jolla Light

For a few short hours on a recent Thursday, the daily regime for more than 100 inmates at Centinela State Prison was drastically altered. The inmates were brought into the prison gym to partake in the Old Globe’s touring production of Shakespeare's “All's Well That Ends Well,” part of the Globe For All program.

Envisioned by Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, the touring production has made its way through San Diego, presenting at several underserved venues. Getting permission to bring actors, cameras and media into the prison facility took some work, but was welcomed by the prison staff.

California Sued Over Old Movie Stars' Hangout
Jamie Henneman, Courthouse News

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - California's prisons department is letting an 85-year-old resort patronized by Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable and others fall into ruin, the nonprofit Lake Norconian Club Foundation claims in court.

The Lake Norconian Club opened in 1929 in Norco, a small inland city north of Corona, in Riverside County. Buster Keaton, Spencer Tracy, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey were among its many patrons. The club's private airstrip was used by Amelia Earhart for practice landings and takeoffs.


Fresno woman wants answers to why brother’s killer released from prison
Pablo Lopez, The Fresno Bee

A Fresno man who killed a co-worker in 1984 and then cut out the man’s heart and put it in a jacket pocket has been released from prison.

Theodore LeLeaux Jr. was serving 16 years to life for killing 25-year-old Kenneth Carlock.

He was set free last week after a Fresno County judge determined LeLeaux no longer posed a threat to society.


Ex-teacher Copithorne released from jail
Kerana Todorov, Napa Valley Register

A Napa County Superior Court judge on Wednesday ordered a former teacher be released from jail after a California Court of Appeal on Oct. 2 reversed his 2012 conviction for molesting a former student.

Michael Copithorne, 40, a former teacher at Napa Christian School, a Seventh-day Adventist school, was sentenced to five years in prison in August 2012 for sex crimes against the teenager. He would have been released on Dec. 28 for good behavior, according to court records.

Prisoner's Civil Rights Case Revived by 9th Cir.
Elizabeth Warmerdam, Courthouse News

(CN) - Citing improper jury instructions, the 9th Circuit threw out a jury verdict Tuesday against a man who says California prison officials roughed him up.
Adonai El-Shaddai, also known as James Wilkerson, says the altercation occurred while he was in the law library at High Desert State Prison under the escort of two guards so that he could make copies of his legal documents.

When Officer Bobby Wheeler and Lt. Nickolus Albonico allegedly tried to take El-Shaddai back to his cell, the inmate says he told them that he wanted to wait for his documents and that he needed to use a stapler located in another office.

Michael Hanline's Murder Conviction Overturned After 36 Years In Prison

Alex Dobuzinskis, Reuters

LOS ANGELES, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A man convicted of murder in the 1978 shooting death of a Southern California man should be freed after 36 years behind bars, based on DNA analysis and investigative reports withheld from his trial attorney, a prosecutor said on Wednesday after a judge overturned the conviction.

The California Innocence Project, which worked to win the freedom of Michael Hanline, now 69, and pressed local prosecutors to re-examine the evidence, said his case represents the oldest conviction ever reversed in state history.



Why a California Town Wants Yet Another Prison
Kate Linthicum, Tribune News

The budget deficit and the detention centers are about the only things growing in this economically depressed High Desert city.

Amid the tumbleweeds on the edge of town, construction crews are adding 650 beds at a privately run detention facility for immigrants facing deportation. A few blocks away, San Bernardino County recently completed a $145 million expansion of its jail. A third prison down the street started housing state inmates last year.

Prop. 47: What de-felonizing some crimes means for SLO County
Law enforcement says it will make treating addicts harder, but advocates hail it as progress
Matt Fountain, The San Luis Obispo Tribune

With the approval of Proposition 47, officials at every level of San Luis Obispo County’s criminal justice system — like those in other counties throughout California — are scrambling to determine what the new rules mean for existing treatment programs and public safety.

On Nov. 4, voters made California the first state in the nation to de-felonize simple drug possession and several other low-level, nonviolent offenses. The victory has been interpreted as a mandate to move away from tough-on-crime policies and toward prevention and rehabilitation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Hacking Out of Prison: San Quentin Inmates Learn to Code
Charley Locke, EdSurge‎

“Javascript is like learning a foreign language on another planet,” exclaims student Larnel Wolfe. He and his classmates sit attentively at their desks as Marcus Phillips, co-founder of Hack Reactor and instructor of the day’s Code.7370 class, demonstrates how to build an interactive online version of Tic-Tac-Toe.

Although this tableau may seem familiar to many aspiring computer programmers, Wolfe’s experience stands out from others: in addition to being Hack Reactor coding camp students, Wolfe and his 17 classmates are inmates at San Quentin State Prison.

San Quentin Prison adds clever patches to donated MLB jerseys
Sports Illustrated

San Quentin State Prison has an uncommon tradition of allowing its inmates to play baseball, the only prison in California that does so.

During the game the two teams wear uniforms donated by the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, but with one minor, very clever difference in the league logo on the sleeve.

While the patches may look cool, it is not really worth the cost, considering you have to go to jail just to get one.

Program Transforms California Inmates into Software Coders
The nonprofit that developed the six-week program says it could be a model for other states and a solution to address California's growing prison population.
Nicole Blake Johnson, State Tech

Cities across the country are developing and funding programs that teach residents with little to no technology skills how to write computer code within weeks.

These coding boot camps are often located within innovation centers and tech incubators in flourishing downtown districts. But in California, coding classes are being held in an unlikely place: the state’s oldest prison.

Sister of slain actress crusades against Charles Manson
Linda Deutsch,  The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Debra Tate, whose pregnant sister Sharon was slain in 1969 by the murderous followers of Charles Manson, has spent much of her life trying to divert attention from the cult leader and keep him in prison.

Her job got tougher with the news that Manson, now 80, plans to marry a 26-year-old woman who moved from the Midwest years ago to be near him.

Debra Tate calls the development "ludicrous" and "insane," but says she is not surprised.


Watchdog: Feds still can't access state GPS data on sex offenders
A half-day course could have helped federal probation officers monitor two men accused in Orange County serial killings. Officers have yet to take it.
Keegan Kyle, OC Register

A recent report from the California Office of the Inspector General raises new questions about a federal agency’s supervision of two Orange County sex offenders and hundreds of others in the state.

Although the two local offenders wore GPS bracelets while under the supervision of federal probation officers, a lack of training in the use of that technology effectively blocked officers from the data and the numerous red flags that data contained.


State can't make sex offenders give authorities their Internet IDs
Maura Dolan, The Los Angeles Times

California can't require registered sex offenders to give authorities their Internet names, email addresses and other identifying information they use on the Web, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Internet reporting requirements of Proposition 35, a 2012 measure designed to fight sex trafficking, infringed on free speech rights.

Impacts of Prop. 47 on convict fire crews uncertain
4,000 inmates serve on fire crews state-wide
Philip Wood, Auburn Journal

When Proposition 47 passed earlier this month allowing many convicted felons to have their crimes reduced to misdemeanors and their sentences reduced, it caused ripple effects.

One of those ripples touches convict fire crews, of which about 4,300 state prisoners in California serve, said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Bill Sessa.

California AG “Shocked” To Learn Her Office Wanted To Keep Eligible Parolees In Jail To Work
Lawyers for California Attorney General Kamala Harris argued releasing non-violent inmates early would harm efforts to fight California wildfires. Harris told BuzzFeed News she first heard about this when she read it in the paper.
Adam Serwer, Buzz Feed News

Lawyers for California Attorney General Kamala Harris argued in court this fall against the release of eligible nonviolent prisoners from California’s overcrowded prisons — because the state wanted to keep them as a labor force.

Harris, a rising star in the Democratic Party, said she learned about the argument when she read it in the paper.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Committed to Turning His Life Around
Nigel Poor, KALW

KALW has partnered with radio producers inside California's oldest prison to bring you the San Quentin Prison Report, a series of stories focusing on the experiences of these men, written and produced by those living inside the prison's walls.

Inside the walls of San Quentin prison there are about 5,000 men serving time -- 5,000 stories of how a man gets to prison, and what he does once he's there. Troy Williams went from being a gang member and a convicted felon to the founding director of the San Quentin Prison Report. From San Quentin Prison, Nigel Poor has this profile of his transformation. Troy Williams was released from San Quentin last month.

“Note: The text above was published on a webpage to promote an interview on a local public radio station. The archive audio of the discussion can be found by clicking on the link.”

AP Exclusive: Charles Manson gets marriage license
Linda Deutsch and Scott Smith, The Associated Press‎

CORCORAN, Calif. (AP) — Mass murderer Charles Manson plans to marry a 26-year-old woman who left her Midwestern home and spent the past nine years trying to help exonerate him.

Afton Elaine Burton, the raven-haired bride-to-be, said she loves the man convicted in the notorious murders of seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate.

Prisoners Who've Never Used A Computer Mouse Learn How To Code
Robbie Couch , The Huffington Post 

Long prison sentences mean that some of the men incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in California have never used the Internet. For these inmates, learning how to write computer code wasn't the easiest assignment.

But Gary Valentino wasn't intimidated by the task.

"You never master this," Valentino, who has been in prison for about 20 years, told KPIX 5 News in San Francisco of his newfound skill. "There's always an ongoing process, and I look forward [to] the challenge."


Woman accused of bringing heroin, meth into prisonChelcey Adami, Imperial Valley Press

CALIPATRIA - A Riverside woman visiting Calipatria State Prison is accused of trying to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine into the prison while visiting an inmate there with her child this weekend.

Monica Garza, 31, was visiting Carlos Deharo, who has been convicted of assault with a firearm, on Sunday when staff noticed that they were acting suspiciously while seated at a table with the child in the visiting area, said Lt. Everardo Silva, prison public information officer/administrative assistant.


Small town with several detention centers debates if it needs another
Kate Linthicum, The Los Angeles Times

The budget deficit and the detention centers are about the only things growing in this economically depressed high-desert city.

Amid the tumbleweeds on the edge of town, construction crews are adding 650 beds at a privately run detention facility for immigrants facing deportation. A few blocks away, San Bernardino County recently completed a $145-million expansion of its jail. A third prison down the street started housing state inmates last year.

Proposition 47 releases, resentencings begin in Lake County
Elizabeth Larson, Lake County News

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – In the wake of the Nov. 4 passage of a voter initiative to reduce some felony crimes to misdemeanors, hearings held last week in Lake County Superior Court led to a number of inmate releases as well as sentence reductions.

Proposition 47, The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, reduces felonies such as commercial burglaries, forgeries, vehicle theft and stolen property possession to misdemeanors when the thefts total less than $950, and also reduces most firearm thefts and drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors, as Lake County News has reported.

Prop 47 triggers more releases from jail
Convicted burglars, drug addicts set free
Mike Luery, KCRA

ROSEVILLE, Calif. (KCRA) —After 16 months behind bars, convicted burglar Kevin Stovall was released Monday from the Placer County Jail.

"I'm going to kiss my wife," Stovall said.

Stovall's was one of 28 cases heard Monday in South Placer County Court, in Roseville, where convicted burglars, thieves and drug users rejoiced upon getting their early release from jail.

O.C. is less Republican than it used to be
Despite a reputation as a conservative bastion, the county supports Prop. 47 in another sign of political shift.
Martin Wisckol And Keegan Kyle

Orange County continued its trend toward an electorate that looks more like the rest of the Democratic state when it supported Proposition 47 – which reduces some non-violent felonies to misdemeanors – with 53 percent of the vote.

Republicans had a good mid-term election nationwide and in Orange County wrested two state legislative seats from Democrats. But a Register analysis of Prop. 47 reflects a broader ongoing shift of county voters.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Daily Corrections Clips


Silicon Valley is turning prisoners into programmers at San Quentin
Jessica Guynn, USA Today

SAN QUENTIN, Calif. — The men in prison-issued blues sit side by side at long wood tables, learning to write software code on refurbished computers in a bare-bones lab inside San Quentin State Prison.

On the wall hangs a sign with the famous Steve Jobs slogan "Think Different."

You can't think much differently than this.

At San Quentin, from prisoner to programmer
Kristen V. Brown, San Francisco Chronicle

Separating San Quentin State Prison from San Francisco is just 20 miles of the San Francisco Bay, but the divide between the prison and the opportunity of the city’s tech boom is much wider.

A new prison program seeks to narrow that gap — by teaching inmates how to code.

The Prison Coding Class That Might Have Inmates Making Six Figures On Their Release
At California's San Quentin prison, inmates who never even used a computer before are learning software development and planning their apps.

Like everyone else in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason Jones has an idea for a new app. Called "In Touch," the app would automatically upload information about a student's schoolwork, so that busy parents can make sure that their kids aren't flunking. Jones has a personal stake in this. He has three kids himself, and says his parents never cared whether he paid attention at school. "As a result, I was able to cheat my way through high school and college," he explains.

Jones is going through a coding bootcamp, so he will soon have the skills necessary to start working on his app. But the 31-year-old has never actually used a smartphone, and his Internet experience is limited to casual web browsing. He's an inmate at California's San Quentin State Prison—incarcerated since 2006 for assault—who is participating in Code 7370, a six-month intensive computer programming class developed by The Last Mile, a nonprofit program that offers entrepreneurship training for inmates.

Inmate firefighters help fight California flames
Frank Esau, The Signal

Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 1, there have been 5,400 fires in California, burning 91,912 acres over the course of 2014, according to Cal Fire’s Incident Information.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Conservation Camp Program (CCP) has provided inmate firefighters to aid in fighting the flames.

Parlin Fork inmate charged with escape
Man had crossed the perimeter line in March
Adam Randall, Ukiah Daily Journal

NOTE: This article has been substantially reworked thanks to correct information being supplied by CDCR.

A Sacramento man has been charged with escaping a low-security prison near Fort Bragg last March, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Leandre Marquise Sipert, 40, allegedly escaped custody from the Parlin Fork Conservation Camp, located near the Jackson Demonstration Forest, which houses low-risk inmates and is considered a minimum security facility, said Kevin Davenport, deputy district attorney for Mendocino County. Davenport said the inmates at the camp typically work on fire lines in conjunction with Cal Fire.

'Every 15 Minutes' teaches Clovis North students a powerful lesson
Sontaya Rose, abc

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN)- A powerful and emotional lesson about drinking and driving Friday left many Clovis North students in tears.

The "Every 15 Minutes" program urges students to make wise choices and shows them how quickly lives are changed as a result of drunk driving.


'Camp Grace' offers incarcerated fathers and families another chance
Chelcey Adami, Imperial Valley Press

NOTE: An online subscription is required to view this article in its entirety.

CALIPATRIA — There were many “firsts” last week at Calipatria State Prison as some incarcerated fathers picked up and held their children for the first time, drew their first picture together, played their first baseball game together, and more.

The bonding experiences were offered as part of “Camp  Grace,” a five-day enhanced visiting program at the prison that organizes activities between fathers and their children as well as gives them important parenting skills to help strengthen their relationships.


State ordered to complete parole program plan by Dec. 1
Paige St. John, The Los Angeles Times

Saying state officials failed to comply with an order to grant many two-time felons early parole from prison, federal judges on Friday said the state must quickly launch hearings that could free those inmates.

The judges gave the state until January to begin holding parole hearings for second-strike felons who have served half of their sentences. The Friday order, which restated a February 2014 directive that California further reduce prison crowding, applies only to those whose crimes were not violent.

Federal judges order California to expand prison releases
Paige St. John, The Los Angeles Times

Federal judges on Friday ordered California to launch a new parole program that could free more prisoners early, ruling the state had failed to fully implement an order last February intended to reduce unconstitutional crowding.

The judges, for a second time, ordered that all nonviolent second-strike offenders be eligible for parole after serving half their sentence. They told corrections officials to submit new plans for that parole process by Dec. 1, and to implement them beginning January.


Picking 'three-strikers' to free poses complex challenge
Marisa Gerber, The Los Angeles Times

In California prison, Lester Wallace was hardly a model inmate.

He spat at a correctional officer, fought with another convict and grabbed a prison guard by the neck before punching him in the stomach.

Wallace racked up more than 20 disciplinary charges while serving a life prison term under the state's "three strikes" sentencing law for trying to steal a car radio.

Still, he says, he deserves another chance.

Some officials taking issue with new crime categories under Prop 47
Brendan P. Bartholomew , The San Francisco Examiner

Some law enforcement officials in San Mateo County are looking at ways to mitigate the uptick in crime they believe could result from the recent passage of Proposition 47.

That's the word from San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer, who said the new law makes it harder for authorities to intervene in the criminal careers of offenders and removes incentives for criminals to participate in rehabilitation programs.

Inmate releases under Prop. 47 begin
Rob Roth, KTVU San Francisco

MARTINEZ, Calif. - From California prisons to county jail, inmates throughout the state are starting to be released under Proposition 47.

"This is absolutely a historic time. California has taken a bold step forward," said Ellen McDonnell, Contra Costa County Deputy Public Defender.

Yolo County Court, jail adjusting to Prop. 47
45 prisoners released so far
Sarah Dowling, Daily Democrat

The recent passage of Proposition 47, which reduces certain felony charges to misdemeanors, has left more questions than answers for Yolo County court officials and law enforcement.

"Prop. 47 is a smoke bomb dropped in the middle of every courtroom in California," said Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg. "We have to clear the smoke and it will take weeks to clear out. It is not as simple as easy as you might think."