Monday, June 27, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


CALIFORNIA INMATES

Ankita Bhanot, NBC

As part of an effort to help inmates become more prepared for life outside prison walls, a joint venture program will now be paying inmates at San Quentin for their technical work.

Turn 2 U, a non-profit organization designed to teach inmates coding and entrepreneurship skills, is partnering with the California Prison Industry Authority to help inmates gain employable skills and an income before they are released, according to a news release.

The organization has created partnerships with about eight companies that have agreed to outsource their coding jobs to the inmates of San Quentin. Turn 2 U’s design is based on the idea that the training courses will give prisoners experience that will help them re-enter a tech-dominant job market.

Fox 5 News

POTRERO, Calif. - Firefighters entering their seventh day battling the Border Fire say they have contained 75 percent of the 7,600-acre wildfire that leveled homes and forced widespread evacuations in the far southern reaches of San Diego County.

As of 6 a.m., there were 1,771 personnel on the scene, including 57 hand crews, 10 helicopters, 23 water tenders, 130 fire engines and four bulldozers, according to Cal Fire. Officials say no structures are currently threatened.

The cause of the fire, which erupted last Sunday morning near state Routes 94 and 188 just north of the U.S.-Mexico line, was under investigation.

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Nearly 50 K-9 teams are deployed statewide
Mike Hart, abc 23

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - There are 50 K-9 teams patrolling 34 adult prisons in California, along with state facilities, county jails, prison properties and various agencies statewide who request assistance.

And, it wasn't that long ago, there were just six dogs.

That was about six years ago.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation went on the offensive in the search for illegal contraband behind bars, by positioning the K-9's across the state, to enhance 'human' search efforts that have been going on since the first cell door slammed shut.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Sarah Linn, The Tribune

Over the course of eight years, Poetic Justice Project actors have played prison inmates, ex-cons, farm hands, even aliens.

But they’ve never portrayed themselves on stage — before now.

The original one-act play “Time Will Tell,” which premieres this week, features six formerly incarcerated cast members sharing stories about their experiences behind bars and on the outside in their own words.

Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post

As many as 12,000 prison inmates will be able to use federal Pell grants to finance college classes next month, despite a 22-year congressional ban on providing financial aid to prisoners.

The Obama administration selected 67 colleges and universities Thursday for the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, an experiment to help prisoners earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree while incarcerated. The schools will work with more than 100 federal and state penitentiaries to enroll inmates who qualify for Pell, a form of federal aid that covers tuition, books and fees for college students with financial need. Prisoners must be eligible for release within five years of enrolling in coursework.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Amy Maginnis-Honey, Daily Republic

VACAVILLE — Erick Silva managed one of his ear-to-ear grins Thursday as he sat in the back seat of an SUV pulling out of California State Prison Solano.

Silva, 22, was getting a brief respite from running the Special Olympics torch, also known as the “Flame of Hope,” through Solano County on its way to the opening games Friday at the University of California, Davis.

With torch in hand, he ran into the prison entrance at a breakneck pace. Cheers and chants greeted him. Silva also got many hugs and posed for pictures.

Dom Pruett, The Reporter

With the Special Olympics’ Flame of Hope just one day from being lit up at the State Capital in Sacramento in the games’ opening ceremony, representatives from Solano County law enforcement and related officials proudly participated in the annual torch run Wednesday and Thursday to ensure it reaches its final destination.

“We’re proud to be apart of it,” said Suisun City Police Officer Lindsey O’Brien, who helped grab the torch from the Solano County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol staff at the Suisun City Marina boat ramp Thursday morning. “It was a great experience.”

The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — California is regaining responsibility for providing medical care at Pelican Bay State Prison after a decade of reforms.

A federal court-appointed receiver on Wednesday gave the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation control of inmate health care at PBSP and one another state prison, Centinela.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal

Inmates in a computer coding class at San Quentin State Prison have been building websites and applications for the past two years -- but now for the first time, some are getting paid for it.

Thanks to a joint venture agreement with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Turn 2 You Inc., a nonprofit, has been able to employ inmates to operate a tech business behind prison walls. RebootSQ is comprised of eight offenders: seven to work as software engineers, developing real, client-driven products, and one as the project manager.

Raja Shah, KALW

The backstory to this week's show is almost as interesting as the story itself. That's because it came out of the San Quentin Prison Report, a unique collaboration between KALW and a group of inmates at San Quentin State Prison who are telling their own stories of life on the inside.

Click the player above to hear a story of forgiveness from behind prison walls. We'll also take a sonic tour of San Quentin. To get each new episode as soon as it's released, subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, add our RSS feed, or just search for "Bridge KALW" in your favorite podcast app.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

Bob Moffitt, Capital Public

Thursday, more than 30 Sacramento prison parolees are receiving their high school equivalency certificates.

Marc Nigel is director of adult re-entry programs for the Sacramento County Office of Education.

He says the certificate is significant to the success of many parolees and their families.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Shane Bauer, Mother Jones

Have you ever had a riot?" I ask a recruiter from a prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

"The last riot we had was two years ago," he says over the phone.
"Yeah, but that was with the Puerto Ricans!" says a woman's voice, cutting in. "We got rid of them."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Tiffany Camhi, KQED

Professional musician and classical guitar teacher Gen Young recently bought a new pale-yellow guitar. It’s worth several thousand dollars and Young had to sell some instruments from his own collection just to afford it. It’s his third spanish-style guitar made by guitar maker – or “luthier” – Robert Vincent. Young says each one he owns has a different personality. “It has this beautiful, elegant sound where all the notes are separated beautifully,” Young says. “A lot of times hearing those voices separately is a really prized part of an instrument.”

Vincent had been making guitars by hand for close to 20 years. But unlike most luthiers, Vincent learned his craft while in prison, as part of the state’s Arts-In-Corrections program, a world-renowned initiative which brought arts programming to prisons for decades until it was cut due to budget shortfalls a few years ago. “The guitars that were coming out of that program were world-class,” says Vincent. “They were concert guitars.”

CALIFORNIA INMATES

CBS
RANCH CUCAMONGA (CBSLA.com) — A man convicted of killing his wife 23 years ago was released from prison Tuesday after the California Supreme Court overturned his conviction.

William Richards walked out of the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga with his arms raised, expressing a sense of triumph and joy.

When asked how he felt, William Richards said: “No words could ever express it. I mean the emotions, the feelings. It’s been a lot, yeah.”

Colin Atagi, The Desert Sun

A Desert Hot Springs man was in state prison for committing a series of crimes while police spent most of the past year positively identifying him as a suspect in a 2015 homicide.

Jesus Garza, 23, is accused of killing Maria Duarte, who died on April 12, 2015, according to the Desert Hot Springs Police Department. He was arrested June 14 at California State Prison Corcoran and then entered a not-guilty plea during his arraignment on June 15.

His arrest capped off an extensive investigation into the Coachella Valley's 14th homicide of 2015 and Desert Hot Springs' fifth of that year.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

Adam Randall, The Daily Journal

Another state prison inmate from Mendocino County has been found eligible for parole, and is among a list of others who will go before the Board of Parole this summer.

On June 10, a California Department of Corrections Board of Parole panel granted Steven Craig Crump’s parole suitability request.

At the end of May, Robert James McNutt, formerly of Laytonville and serving a 23 years-to-life sentence at Solano State Prison for second-degree murder, was also found suitable for parole.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Chris Roberts, SF Weekly

Tall and lean in a waist-length buttoned sweater, Michelle-Lael Norsworthy takes large steps in her thigh-high booted feet. But as the sun cracks through the morning fog at the Palace of Fine Arts, she breaks her stride — straight and narrow as if she were walking a line — and suddenly halts.

"Look at these big — what are these? Swans?" she asks, as two of the giant white birds — swans, indeed — preen near the Palace's pond.

She smiles. After being in prison for more than 30 years, swans are a new phenomenon for her. Google, smartphones, those are new, too — all newer to her than being a woman.

When Norsworthy was sentenced to life in prison in 1984 after killing a man in a drunken bar fight, she was Jeff, a 21-year-old macho ex-military man who loved to drink and get in fights, so aggro that he went to bars dressed in military fatigues and kept a loaded rifle in his car. It took 14 years inside and a chance encounter with a priest — who led him to a revelation just by asking him to look up the word "transsexual" — for Jeff to realize who she was.

Bill aims to fix sex-offender reporting requirement
Don Thompson, KCRA 3 News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) —California lawmakers moved Tuesday to fix a flawed voter-approved initiative that required registered sex offenders to disclose their email addresses, screen names and other electronic information to authorities.

Proposition 35 was approved by an overwhelming 81 percent of the vote in 2012, making it the most popular initiative in California's history.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2014 that the measure violated the free speech rights of about 73,000 sex offenders who have served their prison terms.

Gabrielle Canon, Medium

Just before 2:30am Daniel Treglia jostled awake at the sounds of the mechanical iron doors slowly screeching open. The jangling keys and the heavy footsteps that followed were all part of the normal soundscape inside the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison, where guards patrol hourly each night.

But on that early morning in March, these sounds signified something new — after nearly nine years, Treglia’s time in solitary confinement had finally come to an end.

There was time for one last look at the peeling white paint covering the barren concrete walls of his 8 by 10 foot cell, the small metal sink he had filled with soapy water each morning to clean himself and mask the smell that wafted from his neighbor’s toilet, and the slot in the perforated metal doors through which his meals were delivered twice daily. He had only been allowed a reprieve from this cell for about an hour and a half each day, when he was entitled to exercise in a small concrete room with a skylight, or during the three showers he could take each week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


CALIFORNIA INMATES

Tiffany Camhi, KQED

Every Tuesday at six in the morning, members of the San Jose-based Red Ladder Theatre Company meet at the San Jose Caltrain station to drive about 90 minutes Southeast to Soledad, Calif. They meet early to make sure they have enough time to get ready for a three-hour improvisation class they teach at Salinas Valley State Prison — a maximum security facility where the state houses some of what it considers to be its most dangerous prisoners.

Red Ladder Director Karen Altree Piemme says the spontaneity of improvisation helps prisoners expand their sense of what’s possible. “In order for them to live a different life than the one that was handed to them they have to be able to imagine it first,” Altree Piemme says. “That’s what we’re giving them the opportunity to do through this process.”

Julie Unruh, WGN

Rehabilitating the prison population: What's the best approach? Where do you begin?

One California man is trying and he starts with a stretch and some deep breaths.

James Fox is the founder of Prison Yoga Project. He wants meditation and centering to transform inmates so they are calmer behind bars and capable of coping better after they are released.

James is doing it with yoga at San Quentin State Prison. And he wondered why it wouldn't work at the Cook County Jail too.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

Adam Randall, Daily Journal

Another state prison inmate from Mendocino County has been found eligible for parole, and is among a list of others who will go before the Board of Parole this summer.

On June 10, a California Department of Corrections Board of Parole panel granted Steven Craig Crump’s parole suitability request.

At the end of May, Robert James McNutt, formerly of Laytonville and serving a 23 years-to-life sentence at Solano State Prison for second-degree murder, was also found suitable for parole.

John Myers, The Los Angeles Times

The sister of Sharon Tate, the actress murdered by followers of Charles Manson during a brutal two-day rampage across Los Angeles in 1969, had hoped to see California Gov. Jerry Brown in person on Monday.

“Let him look into our eyes, feel our pain,” Debra Tate said as she stood in the hallway outside Brown’s office in the state Capitol.

Instead, Tate met with two top Brown aides and left them with copies of an online petition signed by some 139,000 people that urges the governor to deny parole to a former member of the Manson cult, Leslie Van Houten.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

B. Wayne Hughes Jr., The Modesto Bee

As a person of faith, I believe in the power of forgiveness. As an American, I believe in giving an individual an opportunity to redeem their life. As a business leader, I see that when a person experiences a “rebirth,” it’s a great investment.

For too long our criminal justice system hasn’t placed much stock in the power of redemption or rehabilitation. Here’s why: California, over the past 30 years, has enacted extreme sentencing laws that have emphasized prison expansion over rehabilitation. Our state increased prison spending by 1,500 percent, built 22 additional prisons and passed more than 1,000 new crime laws, most of which mandated long sentences. Bloated prison spending has depleted budgets, increased recidivism, and destroyed families and communities.

Dom Pruett, The Reporter

The Special Olympics’ iconic Flame of Hope will make its first appearance in Solano County today when local law enforcement personnel join competing athletes in the games’ time-honored torch run.

The route, which spans over 30 miles in two days, starts at 8 a.m. in Benicia, and will follow with stops in Suisun, Fairfield, Vacaville, and eventually Dixon, where it ends.