Friday, January 30, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Prisons reach court-ordered inmate levels a year ahead of schedule
Sam Stanton, The Sacramento Bee

California’s prison system has hit a milestone, with new figures showing that the inmate population inside the state’s 34 adult prisons has fallen below a court-ordered cap more than a year ahead of schedule.

Following legal battles that went as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, the state’s prison population has been decreasing steadily in recent years, and a report posted online Thursday by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation puts the latest inmate numbers at 113,463, below the cap of 137.5 percent of capacity set by a panel of federal judges in 2009. The prison system’s design capacity is 82,707 inmates, and the population as of midnight Thursday was 137.2 percent of capacity.

Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office announces IMPACT Award winners

Greg Yee, Press-Telegram

LONG BEACH- The Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office announced the seven winners of its annual IMPACT Awards late Wednesday.

The awards are presented to individuals and groups who work with the prosecutor’s office and make a positive impact in the city within the last year. This is the awards’ fourth consecutive year.



Inmates take ice bucket challenge for charity
Jessica Rogness, The Reporter

The cold never bothered them anyway.

Inmates at California State Prison, Solano took the “ice bucket challenge” to raise money for the Special Olympics Northern California on Thursday.

Some inmates donned water wings, life vests, goggles or fun hats as costumes as they dumped buckets of water and ice over their heads. Songs from the Disney movie “Frozen” played in the background at the prison’s gym facilities.

The father missing from Marshawn Lynch's life
Josh Peter, USA TODAY

OAKLAND — Marshawn Lynch is playing himself in a movie about his life, titled "Family First the Marshawn Lynch Story,'' and a list of roles to featured in the film has a noticeable omission.

There is no father.

Lynch's dad, Maurice Sapp, is serving a 24-year sentence for burglary and been convicted six times, twice on felonies — grand theft and burglary — according to records reviewed by USA TODAY Sports. He is absent from the movie that's in post production, just as he was absent from much of Lynch's life.


California must move 2,100 inmates at risk of valley fever
Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — California will have to move more than 2,100 inmates from two Valley prisons because they could be susceptible to contracting a potentially deadly illness, officials said Thursday.

Test results showed that another 3,050 inmates have already been exposed to the soil-borne fungus that causes valley fever and could be moved to the prisons near Fresno.


'Selfish' Scott Peterson Deserves Death, CA Says
William Dotinga, Courthouse News

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Before Scott Peterson, the sleepy town of Modesto, Calif. - population 201,000 - made its name as the birthplace of wine behemoths Ernest and Julio Gallo and legendary filmmaker George Lucas, who immortalized the town in his 1973 ode "American Graffiti."

But on Christmas Eve, 2002, Peterson's wife of five years Laci - eight months pregnant with the couple's first child - went missing. Peterson said he had left early that morning to go fishing at the Berkeley marina on the San Francisco Bay, 90 miles away, and that Laci was alive and well when he left.

Tentative Ruling: California Must Adopt Execution Process
The Associated Press

California must adopt a new process for executing condemned inmates after nearly three years of delays, a state judge ruled Thursday in a lawsuit filed by crime victims.

The tentative ruling by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shellyanne Chang does not order the state to resume executions, which have been on hold since 2006. But she said corrections officials can't wait any longer to find a new way to conduct executions if they are reinstituted.


Vacaville Police Look For Missing Sex Registrant
Lonnie Wong, Fox 40 News

VACAVILLE-Police are looking for a registered sex offender who apparently cut off his GPS ankle bracelet and disappeared.

UPDATE: Kurtis Chambers was apprehended Thursday night and is in the San Joaquin County Jail.


Search of Vallejo home leads to arrest

NOTE: The writer has been informed that nobody is released early from prison due to Realignment.

A search by Solano County Sheriff’s Enforcement Team on Tuesday resulted in the arrest of a Vallejo resident, according to the Solano County Sheriff’s Office.

Alan Moore Almeida, 31, of Vallejo was arrested at his home in the 400 block of Wilshire Avenue for possession of a firearm, ammunition and for violating the terms of Post Release Community Supervision, deputies said.
Matthew Warner: Accused baby killer was free due to ‘realignment’

Father charged with sexual assault, murder of infant daughter previously freed through AB 109
Jim Holt, Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Matthew Brendan Warner — charged with torturing, sexually assaulting and murdering his 19-day-old daughter — would likely have been incarcerated at the time of the slaying if not for the state’s prison realignment program, which freed him on probation, officials with law enforcement, probation and corrections said this week.


Santa Cruz murder trial explores defendant’s mental illness history
Jessica A. York, Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ - Just days before Charles Anthony Edwards III was arrested for the slaying of Shannon Collins in 2012, he stood in front of a wall at the Homeless Services Center, talking to himself and saying he wanted to leave, a center employee testified Wednesday.

“I don’t know the difference between happy talking to yourself and mad talking to yourself. It was aggressive, and that concerned me,” said Homeless Services Center employee Stephen Nelson.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips

CALPIA donates to Folsom’s project for visually impaired
The Folsom Telegraph

The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) presented a check for $4,304 to Don Ring of the Folsom Project for the Visually Impaired at the Folsom Lion’s Club Annual Crab and Shrimp Feed fundraising event Saturday. CALPIA’s donation comes from the proceeds of CALPIA’s Golf Benefit in Folsom.

The Folsom Lions Club administers the Folsom Project for the Visually Impaired, which employs offenders at Folsom State Prison who refurbish and calibrate donated eyeglasses for the needy.


Vallejo man found with multiple weapons, say sheriff’s officials
Jessica Rogness, The Reporter

A Vallejo man and three other people were arrested Tuesday during a sweep that checked up on inmates who have been released into the community.

The Solano County Sheriff’s Enforcement Team focused on people currently on Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS) under Assembly Bill (AB) 109, said Deputy Sheriff Daryl Snedeker. People placed on PRCS were convicted of crimes considered non-serious, non-sexual and non-violent and are now overseen by the Solano County Probation Department, following the passage of AB 109 in 2011.

Paroled prisoners said to cause child abuse spike
County social workers detail rising caseload since 2011
Seth Nidever, The Sentinel

County jail crowding (and the early releases that go with it) is one of the most widely-described effects of realignment -- the state policy, beginning in 2011, of shifting low-level offenders from state lockups into county custody.

Child welfare workers detailed a less well-known effect at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting: A rise in child protective services cases directly attributable to realigned prisoners out in the community on supervised release because of crowding in the Kings County Jail.


Justices Stay Executions of 3 in Oklahoma, Pending Decision on Lethal Drug Protocol

Adam Liptak, The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the executions of three Oklahoma inmates who were challenging the state’s lethal injection protocol on the grounds that it might cause intense suffering.

In a brief, unsigned order, the court banned Oklahoma from executing the inmates using the particular chemical they challenged, the sedative midazolam. “It is hereby ordered that petitioners’ executions using midazolam are stayed pending final disposition of this case,” the order said, leaving open the possibility that the executions could proceed if the state obtained and used a substitute chemical.


Brother's Keepers: a suicide support group for inmates
Louis A. Scott, KALW         

Recently, a 65-year-old man fell to his death from the fifth tier in West Block at San Quentin State Prison. Although the coroner hasn’t officially ruled it a suicide, some inmates believe he jumped to his death. Such deaths are rare, but when they happen they create shockwaves.

Inmates need support with handling trauma, and in 2005, Dennis Pratt co-founded Brother’s Keepers, a support group that works with inmates to prevent suicide and help each other through crises.

Will Prop 47 affect prisoner firefighting program?
Abby Divine, The Union Democrat          

The statewide release of 1,700 inmates since November has not compromised the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s ability to run the state’s 43 inmate fire camps, according CDCR spokesman to Bill Sessa.

The inmate release comes in the wake of the November voter-enacted Proposition 47.

Salinas Valley Prison Attack Leaves Inmate Injured

Soledad, Ca – Salinas Valley State Prison officials are investigating an alleged four-on-one attack that has left one inmate injured with wounds from an apparent inmate-made shank.

The fight broke out at around 10:00 am this morning when four inmates are said to have ganged up on a fifth.


Jail population plummets, sheriff budget increases
Karen Yelie and Daniel Blackburn, Cal Coast News

Jail inmate numbers in San Luis Obispo County have dropped by more than 25 percent since last year following initial implementation of Prop. 47, but San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson’s spending continues to climb.

Proposition 47 reduces the classification of most “nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor. People charged with misdemeanors are usually released after a few hours in custody in contrast to those charged with felonies who often spend months in jail awaiting trial.

For-profit prison group drops plans for third jail in Adelanto
Geo Group Inc. runs ICE and Desert View facilities
Brooke Self, Victorville Daily Press

ADELANTO — Geo Group Inc., a global for-profit prison operator, has decided to vacate plans to construct a 1,050-bed facility in the city, officials said Wednesday.

The Adelanto City Council was expected to vote to accept Geo Group’s request to drop its plans at a City Council meeting on Wednesday.

Soboroff calls for probe of meeting featuring ex-Mexican Mafia member
Richard Winton, Ruben Vives and Kate Mather, The Los Angeles Times

The president of the Los Angeles Police Commission called for an investigation late Wednesday into the decision to use LAPD resources to arrange a downtown meeting between a convicted ex-member of the Mexican Mafia, a group of business leaders and local police chiefs.

From about noon until the evening, police secured a section of downtown L.A. near Spring and 6th streets, where the meeting took place. Unmarked sedans dropped off uniformed officers who filed into the building. Later, a bomb squad vehicle briefly stopped outside.

Organizers cancel California crime victims rally over security concerns
Don Thompson Associated Press

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- An annual crime victims rally that has drawn law enforcement, governors and other dignitaries to the state Capitol has been canceled this year over worries about rising anti-police sentiment.

Harriet Salarno, founder of Crime Victims United of California, said Wednesday that demonstrators have shown up at the National Crime Victims' Rights Week march and rally each of the past two years.

A full docket
County supervisors fund extra help for Proposition 47 resentencing cases
Ken Smith, News & Review

This past November, California voters passed Proposition 47, which redefined some nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors, and Butte County legal authorities braced themselves for a flood of petitions from those seeking resentencing for reduced charges. Later that month, District Attorney Mike Ramsey told news sources he expected about 600 Butte County residents charged with eligible offenses—particularly drug possession and property crimes of less than $950—to take advantage of the new law, which supporters dubbed the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.

Salinas Valley prison officer focus of loaded weapon allegation
The Monterey County Herald

San Ardo - A Salinas Valley State Prison correctional officer being investigated for allegedly holding a man at gunpoint has been temporarily removed from the position he has held for the past six years.

As of Tuesday, Brian Gertsch has been temporarily assigned to administrative duties pending the investigation, said Lt. Eduardo Mazariegos, a spokesman with the prison.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Partnership revamps Tehama County welcome sign
Under the direction of Cal Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmates prepare to put the final touches on a revamped welcome sign along Interstate 5 near Cottonwood.
Red Bluff Daily News

COTTONWOOD- The north Tehama County welcome sign on Interstate 5 has been completely revamped.

The Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber of Commerce along with Cal Fire and Sierra Pacific Industries partnered to replace and upgrade the county sign at the Shasta County line on I-5.


County to Spend More Money on Jails, Not Services
Alameda County continues to invest heavily in jail cells while failing to put public safety funds toward critical social services for the formerly incarcerated.
Sam Levin, East Bay Express

Andre Wiley knows how hard it can be for formerly incarcerated people to rehabilitate their lives and find housing and employment. Since he was released from prison in 2012 — after spending two decades behind bars for a gang-related crime — the 45-year-old Union City resident has worked to make the reentry process easier for former inmates in Alameda County through his organization Timelist Group.

UPDATE: High-speed chase causes three crashes
Daily Press

VICTORVILLE — A car chase that reached speeds of 80 mph and caused three collisions ended with a man detained on Amargosa Road near the Nisqualli Road offramp around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Roughly 30 minutes earlier, deputies were called to a home in the 15000 block of Manzanita Street in Hesperia, responding to a call of a domestic disturbance.


Sentence reduction law sparks sharp drop in L.A. County jail crowding
Abby Sewell, The Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County’s long-overcrowded jail system saw a sharp decline in new inmates after California voters approved a law last year reducing penalties for a wide array of nonviolent crimes.

According to a report delivered Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors, law enforcement officials said that with the passage of Proposition 47, which downgraded many drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, the jail population has begun to dip, although they said it was too early to project if that trend would continue.

Lancaster Officials Aim For Stiffer Fines To Support Law Enforcement Efforts

LANCASTER ( — City Council members in Lancaster want to go after the pocketbooks of criminal offenders.

In what officials say is an “effort to preserve the safety of its residents and businesses,” the City Council is considering an initiative to counteract changes to state law that mandates certain criminal offenses must now be charged as misdemeanors.

25 surprising things you can buy at a prison commissary
Sarah Heise, WTAE Pittsburgh

Many privileges are taken away from people once they go to prison, but most inmates are allowed to buy their own items at a prison commissary. Check out these 25 items available for sale to prison inmates -- some of the items may surprise you. (Information provided by California Department of Corrections.)

Prop. 47 brings a shift to longer time spent behind bars
Marisa Gerber, Abby Sewell and Cindy Chang

For decades, Los Angeles County jail inmates divided their sentences by five, 10 or 20 to calculate the time they would actually spend behind bars.

Because of overcrowding, they left after completing as little as 5% of their sentences.

San Bernardino County to pare down sex-offender ordinance
Joe Nelson, San Bernardino County Sun

Registered sex offenders in San Bernardino County will be able to move more freely within their communities after the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved repealing restrictions on offender presence and movement in the county’s unincorporated areas.

The gutting of the county’s 8-year-old sex offender ordinance would fulfill the terms of a legal settlement between the county and civil rights attorney Janice Bellucci, reached in December.

SVSP officer suspected of brandishing loaded gun during drunken argument
Ana Ceballos, The Monterey County Herald

San Ardo- A Salinas Valley State Prison correctional officer is under legal and administrative scrutiny after he was arrested on suspicion of holding another man at gunpoint.

Brian Gertsch, 35, was arrested Sunday during a traffic stop. Inside the vehicle, deputies said they found a loaded 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Fair Oaks Facility Gives Female Criminals A Second Chance At Contributing To Society

Mojgan Sherkat, CBS

FAIR OAKS (CBS13) — Female criminals are being offered a second chance inside a new state-funded facility.

Some prisoners are spending the end of their sentence in the facility, while others choose to go there instead of home.


Homicides of women more likely to be solved, involve an intimate partner
Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News

Before going to bed each night, Edna Santos utters reassuring words to a photo of her slain daughter, Sharon, and asks that she watch over her.

Her daughter’s half-clothed body was found inside the trunk of her abandoned car on a Chinatown street in September 2004, two weeks after the Warner Bros. financial analyst from Burbank vanished.

Court upholds conviction in 1988 killing of racing great Mickey Thompson and his wife

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES –  A California appeals court has upheld convictions in the murders of auto racing great Mickey Thompson and his wife.

A three-judge panel on Monday said it found no prejudicial errors in the trial of Michael Goodwin.


Brown Vows Prison Realignment Will Continue
Katie Orr, KVCR News

Speaking Friday to a crowd interested in the subject, Governor Jerry Brown had a lot to say about the California criminal justice system.  But he stopped short of proposing reforms.  Capital Public Radio's Katie Orr explains.

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

Task Force Captures Covina Bank Robbery Suspects
Covina police were called to the 1000 block of West Badillo Street Dec. 17 for a bank robbery.
Mirna Alfonso, Patch

NOTE: The writer has been informed that no inmates are released early from prison under AB 109.

“AB 109, prison realignment, is not an early release program,” said Joe Orlando, with the CCDR.

“The inmate serves their time as sentenced, and then when they are released, they are then under the custody of the county where they offended, and that county oversees their probation,” Orlando told Patch.


Homeless youth bring bold, confrontational approach to Santa Clarita
Sandy Banks, The Los Angeles Times

The rumpled young men were sleeping on the ground outside the coffee shop as early morning patrons made their way in. They routinely hogged the store's bathroom, and often left it stinking and littered with the residue of narcotic use. At the market nearby they'd cruise the aisles, buoyed by drug-fueled belligerence, intent on shoplifting.

When they were done — or after the sheriff had been called — they'd disappear into the brush behind the shopping center in Santa Clarita and head toward the Santa Clara riverbed.

UPDATE: SVSP officer arrested for brandishing gun
Allison Gatlin, The Salinas Californian

A 35-year-old Salinas Valley State Prison officer was arrested Sunday on suspicion of holding another man at gunpoint.

Brian Gertsch was arrested during a traffic stop by Monterey County sheriff’s deputies, according to a report. Inside his vehicle, deputies said they found a loaded handgun.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Brown Urges Counties To Find Realignment Solutions
Lonnie Wong, FOX40

SACRAMENTO- Governor Jerry Brown urged a conference of sheriffs, probation departments and county administrators to keep working to find practices that will make California’s 3-year-old realignment plan workable.

In its third year, realignment shifted the responsibility for housing and supervising certain criminals from the state corrections department to county governments. Initially, the shift drew criticism from local sheriffs who said their jails would become over-crowded and that they would have to release inmates early.

Police: Gang member found with stolen loaded gun in Azusa
Brian Day, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

AZUSA - A gang member with a lengthy criminal record who was released earlier this month under AB 109 guidelines was back behind bars Sunday after being caught with a stolen loaded handgun, police said.

Officers chased down and arrested Anthony Joseph Zepeda, 23, of West Covina about 11:30 p.m. Friday after he ran from officers and discarded a handgun in the 700 block of South Donna Beth Avenue, according to Azusa police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.


Citizens detain wanted man for police during chase

Juniper Rose, Eureka Times-Standard

Citizens in Eureka helped to apprehend a man who was attempting to evade police in a turquoise Chevrolet Camaro on Friday.

Eureka Police Department officers originally spotted the car at about 12:41 p.m. stopped near West Harris and California streets and recognized the driver as wanted parolee Julian Shaffer, 36, of Eureka, according to a press release from the Eureka Police Department.


Public-worker payroll increases 7% or $1.1 billion post-recession
Manteca Bulletin

SACRAMENTO  (AP) — California’s public-employee payroll increased again last year as the state emerged from the recession that shrank salaries and the size of its taxpayer-supported workforce, a newspaper reported Saturday.

The state’s payroll costs rose to $16.4 billion in 2014, 7 percent or $1.1 billion more than the year before, The Sacramento Bee said based on data from the State Controller’s Office.              


Serving Life for Surviving Abuse
Misconceptions about domestic violence can turn the justice system against survivors, often with devastating results.
Jessica Pishko, The Atlantic

On August 3, 1995, 23-year-old Kelly Savage was making last-minute plans to leave her abusive husband, Mark Savage. A few weeks before, Kelly had contacted a battered-women’s organization for advice on how to leave her husband. “Act as normal as possible,” they told her, a common tactic given to women seeking to evade their abusive spouse’s suspicion. For the next few weeks, Kelly quietly amassed what she needed to leave—birth certificates for her two young children (Justin, who was three, and Krystal, who was almost two), medications, and clothes—all of which she hid so that Mark would not find them. She purchased bus tickets to Los Angeles dated the next day, August 4.


Correction on CMC article

Cal Coast News

CalCoastNews incorrectly listed punishments implemented following an investigation into the removal of a document from a California Men’s Colony (CMC) prisoner’s file in a Jan. 9 article.

In the summer of 2012, an inmate informant began bragging about being an informant. In the past, the informant’s tips about other inmates’ drug use led to multiple busts at CMC.


Vallejo woman tells her story of addictions, prison, redemption
Irma Widjojo, Vallejo Times-Herald

Cheauvon Brown, dressed in a modest pantsuit, sat in a Vallejo church one afternoon. On her lap were two folders holding all the certificates and awards she has compiled in the past few years of her life.

The 46-year-old Vallejo woman was upbeat and warm. She spoke about her experiences going to the state capitol to lobby on various legislation, and her advocacy work and efforts to provide support for other women.

Serious offenders in LA County prisons now serving 100 percent of their sentences
Andrea Gardner, 89.3 KPCC

A huge drop in the Los Angeles County jail population has allowed officials to require the most serious offenders to serve 100 percent of their sentences - up from 40 percent - and other offenders are serving 90 percent, up from 10 percent.

Probation officials say the inmate population dipped down to just 15,000 inmates by the end of December - the lowest it's been in more than three years. They credit voter-approved Proposition 47, which downgraded penalties for some drug crimes and petty thefts. Under the new law, those offenses are no longer punishable with jail time.

Corrections officer arrested for brandishing firearm
Allison Gatlin, The Salinas Californian

A 35-year-old California Department of Corrections officer was arrested Sunday on suspicion of holding another man at gunpoint.

Brian Gertsch was arrested during a traffic stop by Monterey County sheriff’s deputies, according to a report. Inside, deputies said they found a loaded handgun.