Thursday, April 16, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Local police agencies review policies on where sex offenders can live
Ken Carlson, The Modesto Bee

Cities and counties are grappling with residency rules involving paroled sex offenders since a California Supreme Court decision last month.

The court struck down a blanket ban that kept registered sex offenders from living near schools or parks.


Mother-Killing Daughter: Prosecutor, Inept Defense Lawyer Robbed Me Of A Fair Trial
R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly

It's impossible for Huntington Beach teenager Rachael Mullenix to have reacted more bitterly to her mother's 1 a.m. curfew, especially after she bragged she'd discovered how to use sex to manipulate men.

In September 2006, Rachael, then 17, and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Ian Allen, used three or four knives to stab Barbara Mullenix more than 50 times and then dumped the corpse in Newport Harbor near Corona del Mar with a butter knife protruding from an eye socket, according to police reports.


Mendocino County Seeks Post-Realignment Funding

Jessie Fetterling, Correctional News

COVELO, Calif. — County jails will be competing for the about $500 million from Governor Jerry Brown’s 2015-2016 budget proposal allotted to the latest round of facilities funding to help offset the effects of California realignment, aka AB 109. Although the state has provided about $1.7 billion for new jail construction — $1.2 billion from AB 900 and $500 million from SB 1022 — since AB 109 was passed in 2011, not all of the counties needing help have received jail construction funding. One of those counties is Mendocino County in Northern California.

The strain on local jails due to realignment hit some sooner than others. At the time realignment started, the state prisons were at 180 percent and the jail system was at 95 percent. Prison populations are now at 133 percent capacity and jails are at 108 percent, reported Willits News.


Growing a Better System
At Planting Justice, urban gardens are a tool to address both food sovereignty and the prison industrial complex.
Sarah Burke, East Bay Express

Planting Justice, an Oakland nonprofit that builds and maintains urban gardens, practices sustainability in more than just the ways one would expect. Since 2009, the organization has transformed yards all over the Bay Area, using permaculture design to recreate natural ecosystems and build sustainable urban plots that require little extra work. But they also use the same principles of permaculture — citing fundamentals such as "diversity is resilience" — to design their organization to eliminate the majority of their need for funding from foundations and to employ formerly incarcerated people.

Permaculture attempts to create an optimized ecosystem in which excess product is reinvested into the soil in order to help future plants grow. Techniques like water catchment and graywater systems make the most of minimal resources, while no-till practices allow plants to grow in healthy soil enlivened by networks of beneficial organisms. Planting Justice uses the same method of re-investment in order to create long-term work opportunities and extended community benefits.

Report Shows Prison Population Increases, Decreases

Correctional News

WASHINGTON — The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based research and advocacy group, released new data on April 8 showing incarceration trends across the U.S. Two-thirds of states (34) have experienced at least a modest decline in prison population since 1999, while one third (16) have seen continued increases, according to the study “U.S. Prison Population Trends: Broad Variation Among States in Recent Years.”

Since 1999, nine states have produced double-digit declines during this period, led by New Jersey, whose prison population has declined 29 percent since 1999, New York, which saw a 27 percent decline over the same period, and California which showed a 22 percent decline since 2006. These prison population reductions have come about through a mix of changes in policy and practice designed to reduce admissions to prison and lengths of stay, according to the report. More recent data has also shown that these substantial reductions have had no adverse effect on public safety.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


California Ends Link to Voter-Approved Sex Offender Housing Restrictions
Don Thompson, The Associated Press

California parole agents will have to find a specific link to child victims if they decide to bar sex offender parolees from living near schools and parks, under a new policy issued Tuesday.

The 2½-page memo issued by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation responds to a state Supreme Court ruling last month that the blanket residency limits imposed by California voters in 2006 go too far to restrict where sex offenders can live.

Registered sex offender sentenced to prison for receiving child porn
Cathy Locke, The Sacramento Bee

A Winters man, described as a registered sex offender with a history of failing to update his registration information, has been sentenced to 13 years and one month in prison for receiving child pornography.

Michael Rea, 26, was sentenced Tuesday in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Drunken driver who killed 3 WSU students released from prison
The Associated Press

PULLMAN — Frederick Russell, convicted of killing three Washington State University students and injuring four others in an auto crash, has been released from prison.

Among those killed was Stacy Morrow of Milton.

Russell, now 36, served seven years of his 14-year sentence. He was released from Larch Corrections Center on Tuesday and will spend the next 18 months under the supervision of the California Department of Corrections.


Inmate firefighter dies in training in Southern California
The Associated Press

BANNING, Calif. (AP) — A Riverside County jail inmate serving as a state firefighter has died from a heart attack suffered during a training exercise.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement Wednesday that 37-year-old Raymond Araujo (ahr-ah-OOH'-hoh) went into full cardiac arrest during the training on the Morongo Indian Reservation near Banning.

R. Jay Soward I'm Devastated
Over Cousin's Prison Murder

Former NFL receiver R. Jay Soward -- a 1st round pick in 2000 -- says his entire family is "traumatized" over the prison murder of his cousin ... who cops suspect was killed by ex-NFL star Lawrence Phillips.

As we previously reported, R. Jay's 1st cousin Damion Soward was murdered last week while serving time at Kern Valley State Prison ... and cops say Phillips, his cellmate, is the main suspect.


LA County To Spend $100 Million To Improve Jail Conditions
Phil Shuman, FOX 11 Los Angeles

Terri McDonald has spent her adult life behind bars, but in the good way. She was with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for 25 years, helping to run the prison system.

Now, for the past two years, she's the Assistant Sheriff in charge of custody for the LA County Sheriff's Department. She runs the nation's largest local jail system, with more than 17,000 inmates in 7 facilities. I spent some time with her today, at the Sheriff's Department invitation, to go into the Twin Towers jail in Downtown Los Angeles so she could show me and some of my media colleagues what the Department plans to spend a lot of our tax dollars on inside their lockups.

Monterey County inmates win jail improvements
Jason Hoppin, Monterey County Herald

Salinas >> In a sign that profound changes are at hand for operations at Monterey County’s beleaguered main jail, a federal judge on Tuesday sided with a group of inmates who sued over health and safety violations.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal ordered the county to come up with a detailed plan, within 60 days, to improve conditions for detainees, including steps to improve medical and detoxification screening, prescription drug care and suicide prevention. The court sided with inmates on almost all points.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Former NFL Star Suspected in Death of Inmate at California Prison
Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players
R. Stickney and Derek Togerson

A former NFL running back is suspected of killing his cellmate in the California prison where he is serving decades for a number of criminal charges.

Lawrence Phillips, 39, is accused of killing his cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison, after Damion Soward, 37, was found unresponsive in his cell just before 1 a.m. on Saturday, officials said.

Universal experiences captured in song

Erik Chalhoub, Register Pajaronian

CORRALITOS — Audrey Auld’s performance at San Quentin State Prison in 2006 led to regular songwriting workshops with the inmates.

That culminated in the release of “Hey Warden,” the singer/songwriter’s latest album that features songs co-written by the inmates.

“Prisons have got all kinds of people, all colors and cultures and religions, all wearing the same uniform,” she said. “It’s really great to interact with such a diverse range of people.”

Audrey Auld will perform at the Corralitos Cultural Center, 127 Hames Road in Corralitos, Friday at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $40 in advance or $45 at the door, and includes a CD and dessert. For tickets, visit For information about Auld’s work, visit


County unaffected by sex offender ruling
Berenice Quirino, Lake County Record-Bee

Lake County >> Even though the county has the highest number of sex offenders when compared to its neighbors, the recent loosening of housing restrictions will not cause any notable change in Lake County.

“The supreme court’s decision doesn’t affect us,” Lake County Chief Probation Officer Rob Howe said. “With the current supervised population, there is no affect in Lake County, not to say that it couldn’t in the future.”


Los Angeles pays $8 million to settle wrongful-imprisonment lawsuit
Stephen Ceasar, The Los Angeles Times

A man whose murder conviction was thrown out by a judge after he spent 17 years in prison said Monday that an $8.3-million legal settlement from the city of Los Angeles could not make up for the years he lost behind bars.

“We’ve suffered and we’re still suffering,” said Obie Anthony, 40, gesturing toward Reggie Cole, his co-defendant in the case whose conviction was also thrown out.

Sentenced to prison and sent home the same day
Cynthia Dizikes and Todd Lighty,  Chicago Tribune

By the time Pedro Arenas pleaded guilty to a gun charge, he had already served his sentence.

Still, Arenas was herded onto a heavily guarded Cook County sheriff's bus and driven an hour from Chicago to an Illinois state prison, where he was photographed, fingerprinted, fed twice and issued an identification number. Hours later, he was released from prison with new street clothes and enough bus fare for a return trip home — all of which left him confused.

Crime is down, but thefts are still high
Mountain View police say new state laws may be fueling property crime rates
Kevin Forestieri, Mountain View Voice‎

Crime is on a downward trend in Mountain View, but that isn't stopping thieves from burglarizing homes and businesses, according to a police department report on 2014 crime statistics. And while its a tricky business finding the root cause of crime trends, police say it might be state laws fueling the fire.

The city's property crime has been on the rise in the last five years, spiking in 2013 when the number of residential burglaries jumped by over 70 percent from 106 cases in 2012 to 183 cases in 2013. Reported cases have since declined in 2014 to 118, but it still remains relatively high, according to the Mountain View Police Department.


Group works to rehabilitate prisoners
Greg Seastrom, The Sentinel

A small band of dedicated volunteers is making a difference in rehabilitating the prisoners who are being released from California prisons and returning to live in our communities. We all want these returning citizens to become well-adjusted and productive. Studies show that inmates who have spent signifiant time in prison, and who participated voluntarily in rehabilitation programs, generally have a much higher chance of not re-offending after release. Their greater maturity, with insights and resolve gained from rehabilitation programs, and the pain felt from awareness of the damage they have caused to their victims and to their own families, often transform them into productive citizens. This is what we all want.

One particularly effective rehabilitative program is the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP). AVP is facilitated by trained volunteers who enter prisons to conduct fast-moving 20 hour workshops in an interactive style which develop affirmation of self and others, team and community building, and attitudes and skill to resolve conflicts non-violently. Through the Basic and Advanced worship levels, some inmates train to become volunteer facilitators themselves and join with outside facilitators to provide additional prison workshops. As the number grows, experience shows that prisons tend to be more peaceful. The AVP program is well regarded in prisons all over California and particularly at S.A.T.F. in Corcoran where Warden Stu Sherman says “AVP is a success at SATF and we look forward to the continued relationship and collaborative efforts with this organization in hopes of providing this program in all our facilities.”

Monday, April 13, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Inmate Sex Change Order From Judge Will Face Challenge From California
The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California’s corrections department said Friday that it will appeal a federal judge’s order that it immediately provide a transgender inmate with sex-reassignment surgery.

The state’s court filing challenges last week’s decision by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco that the surgery is medically necessary for Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, 51.

State prison system to appeal order for inmate's sexual reassignment

Ryan Parker, The Los Angeles Times

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation plans to appeal a federal judge’s order that an inmate be allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery, according to documents filed Friday.

In addition, the prison system has requested a stay. If granted, the operation could not occur until after a ruling from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A Record of Trouble

California looks to halfway houses, finds a company cited for violence and escapes.
Anat Rubin, The Marshall Project

As California prepares to greatly expand its use of halfway houses for people leaving its overcrowded prisons, state officials have turned for help to a private halfway house operator that has been cited in other states for inadequate care, unchecked violence and repeated escapes at its facilities.

The private company, Community Education Centers, or CEC, recently began work on a $30-million contract to arrange housing, substance-abuse treatment and mental health services for thousands of former convicts returning home to Los Angeles County.


From prisoner to programmer
Mia De Graaf, Daily Mail

Kenyatta Leal has something millions of people would give anything for: the ability to bring the cream of Silicon Valley’s executives to their feet.

However, unlike most app developers, he learnt about technology not at MIT or at Stanford, but at San Quentin Correctional Facility.

ETSU to feature film documenting prison desegregation, transformation

The Johnson City Press

Filmmaker Noel Schwerin spent nearly 10 years in prison in Soledad, Calif. – not as an inmate, but to document the struggles of those who are incarcerated. The result was a perspective on prison culture and hierarchies that few people outside correctional facilities ever see, much less understand.

The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at East Tennessee State University will present A Kind of Order (newly titled In An Ideal World) with filmmaker Schwerin as a part of the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers on Monday, April 20, at 7 p.m. in Ball Hall Auditorium. The film is free and open to the public and will be followed by a Q&A and reception with producer/director Schwerin.


Stan empowers families

Rich Greene, Daily News

Red Bluff >> Just three blocks from the home where she was kept locked up in a box, tortured and raped, Colleen Stan was the featured speaker Thursday at the 2015 Tehama County Crime Victims’ Recognition Ceremony held at the Board of Supervisors Chamber.

It was the first time Stan had spoken publicly in Tehama County in decades.

The Tehama County Victim and Witness Assistance Program had moved their ceremony up to accommodate Stan, who on April 16 is scheduled to speak at the parole hearing of Cameron Hooker, the man who kidnapped her and kept her as a slave. 

10 things to know about Darren Sharper's plea deal settling rape charges
Ken Daley, NOLA

Terms of Darren Sharper's global plea agreement with the four state jurisdictions prosecuting him as a serial rapist were revealed Wednesday (April 9) from a 15-page memorandum obtained by | The Times-Picayune. But to get you water-cooler ready, here are 10 things to know about the proposed agreement for the disgraced Saints star:


Jail term in 'revenge porn' case is county's longest
Website operator was sentenced to 18 years in county jail
Dana Littlefield, U T San Diego

San Diego — The first person to be prosecuted for operating a so-called “revenge porn” website secured another dubious distinction when he was sentenced in San Diego Superior Court.

Kevin Bollaert, 28, is now serving the longest sentence of any jail inmate in San Diego County since state law changed to allow certain nonviolent offenders to serve prison terms in local custody, according to county authorities.

Political Notes: Gallagher prison bill advances, but sex ed proposal voted down
Eric Vodden, Appeal Democrat

Area Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Nicolaus, won one and lost one last week.

Gallagher's bill calling for a fiscal review of prison realignment made it out of committee. But his legislation requiring parental permission for children to receive sex education in schools didn't advance.

ACLU Forum Questions New Jail

Prop. 47, Other Laws Discussed
Lyz Hoffman, Santa Barbara Independent‎

The questions raised by the Board of Supervisors on Monday over the need for and financing of the planned North County Jail continued at a forum on Wednesday night. About 50 people gathered at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara to hear from an ACLU lawyer and a couple of former inmates, in a discussion hosted by the Fund for Santa Barbara and CAUSE (Central Coast United for a Sustainable Economy).

After a previous speaker noted the history behind plans for a second jail in Santa Barbara County — including the 2008 Sheriff’s Blue Ribbon Commission report on overcrowding and the 2010 failed county ballot initiative to increase the sales tax by one-half percent to pay for a new lockup — ACLU lawyer Jessica Farris launched into her presentation. For several years, Farris said, Californians have been shifting their attitudes away from incarceration and toward prevention and treatment. Alternatives like electronic monitoring, day reporting, and probation are “not slaps on the wrist,” Farris said and should be given more weight.

Sonoma County incarcerating fewer people
Paul Payne, The Press Democrat

Sonoma County is putting fewer people behind bars since the passage of landmark legislation three years ago to ease prison overcrowding, the head of a state corrections board said Friday.

Last year, county residents were incarcerated at a rate of about 400 per every 100,000, a 22 percent decline over 2007, when 509 out of every 100,000 residents were in jail or prison, according to data from the Board of State and Community Corrections.


Hack Reactor seeks to bridge the technology divide

Alicia Johnson, Tech Mag Gen

Coding bootcamp Hack Reactor recently announced a partnership with TechHire, a government initiative designed to provide computer and technical training in underrepresented communities across America.

A call to action

chart_openjobsThis partnership is in response to President Obama’s desire “to empower Americans with the skills they need.” Specifically, to help retrain Americans seeking to secure jobs in the fields of technology, science and engineering.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


‘Tip a cop’ to benefit Special Olympics
Jessica Rogness, The Reporter

Local correctional officers will be waiting tables to raise money for Special Olympics athletes at the end of the month.

Officers from California State Prison, Solano will be collecting tips and helping to serve guests from 5 to 9 p.m., on April 30, at Chili’s at 2001 Harbison Drive in Vacaville.

Correctional Officers wait tables for good cause
Kern Golden Empire

BAKERSFIELD, CA- Correctional officers from Kern Valley State Prison will be serving it up again Thursday night.

Wednesday night the same officers served tables at Famous Dave’s in northwest Bakersfield hoping to score some extra tips.


Sick prisoner may be set free for '97 killing
Kerana Todorov, Napa Valley Register

A man sentenced to 12 years in state prison for voluntary manslaughter for stabbing to death Edwin Njuguna in Napa may be released after being diagnosed with cancer.

Randy Weeks, who is now housed at San Quentin State Prison, would be released under his mother’s care in Napa after spending eight years in prison if a judge agrees to re-sentence him to time serve because of his terminal illness, according to testimony at a court hearing Thursday.

Sacramento City Unified settles suit with molestation victim for $1.2 million

Loretta Kalb, The Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento City Unified School District has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a special needs student who was sexually molested by his Sam Brannan Middle School teacher.

The student filed suit in 2013 against the district and former special education teacher Preston Howard Lewis complaining that Lewis sexually molested the teen between 2009 and 2010 both in the classroom and later at the teacher’s house. The suit alleged the school district should have known about the teacher’s “dangerous and exploitive propensities.”


‘Penile plethysmograph’ test to gauge arousal part of Darren Sharper’s strict post-prison deal

No alcohol, no internet dating, no bars; treatment includes penile monitoring
John Simerman and Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Advocate

When Darren Sharper gets out of prison in less than a decade, if he wants to stay out, the former NFL star who once cut loose on the field and in nightclubs from Miami to Los Angeles will live the closely monitored life of a known predator.

During his first three to five years of freedom, California officials will track him by GPS.