Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Laura Newell, Folsom Telegraph

Recently, Folsom State Prison’s medical services were returned to the supervision of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

According to department officials, this was an important step in the long-term transition of full control of medical care back to the state. Over the last nine years, California has invested billions in state prison medical care.


NOTE: The reporter has been informed that Joseph Corey died at California State Prison-Los Angeles County (LAC), not San Quentin.

Jennifer Bonnett, Lodi News-Sentinel

Joseph Corey, the Galt man who gunned down a Sacramento County animal control officer, has died at San Quentin State Prison.

Charlotte Marcum Rush, though, wishes he would have suffered just as her son, Roy Marcum, did that fateful November day.


Jeffrey Hess, Valley Public Radio

Thousands of residents in the valley are working through the process of having their previous felony convictions dropped to misdemeanors. It’s an element of Proposition 47 intended to help provide people with a clean slate and re-integrate more easily back into society. Advocates and the public defender in Merced are working hard to get the word out.

For years, Jesse Oralas lived the life of a drug addict, being homeless and piling up felony drug convictions which made him, in his words, ‘unemployable’.

Move comes as criminal-justice policies place more emphasis on preparing inmates for life beyond bars

Joe Palazzolo, Wall Street Journal

Philanthropy groups and lawmakers are giving college education for prisoners a fresh look, as criminal-justice policies around the country place greater emphasis on preparing inmates for life beyond bars.

If we want to reduce the prison population, ex-offenders need more compassion and understanding from the criminal justice system.

Matt Ferner, Huffington Post

For some prisoners, especially those that have spent years or decades of their lives locked up, getting out comes with a mixture of overwhelming joy and anxiety.

They often want to start over, but don’t know how to achieve that. They need somewhere to live, to work. They need counseling, but have limited resources. Some prisoners are released with only the clothes on their back, $10 to $200 and a bus ticket to the state line. Life on the outside can be a huge challenge -- so hard that many prisoners fail at it and end up back behind bars before long.

In California, San Quentin Prison -- one of the largest prisons in the country -- is offering college-level education to inmates through the Prison University Project, the largest in-prison college program in the California prison system.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Josh Thompson, Chino Champion News

The number of former inmates returning to state prison in California has dropped for the fourth straight year, according to a report released July 8 by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“Reducing recidivism and making our communities safer is a top priority for us,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard. “We are committed to providing inmates and parolees with the tools they need to turn their lives around and we will continue to implement innovative and evidence-based programs to sustain this downward trend.”

Courtenay Edelhart, The Bakersfield Californian‎

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ruled that a black former prison inmate can allege violation of a hate crime law in litigation over becoming infected with valley fever while incarcerated in Kern County.

It’s a novel and unprecedented use of the Bane Act, California’s civil rights statute.

The lawsuit, filed April 2, argues the state “recklessly” exposed Glenn Towery to valley fever by placing him in facilities known to have high infection rates among racial minorities. Towery served 15 years in North Kern State Prison and Kern Valley State Prison, both in Delano.


The Reporter

The California Medical Facility in Vacaville invites the public to attend a memorial and dedication ceremony for the 35th anniversary of fallen Correctional Officer Albert “Al” Patch.

The ceremony will take place at 12 p.m. Aug. 17 on the grounds of the front entrance to the facility, 1600 California Drive, Vacaville.

Sharon Cotliar, People Magazine‎

Rather than dwell on the sorrow of losing their beloved dad, Robin Williams' children celebrated what would have been his 64th birthday on July 21, by remembering the fun they always had with him at a private dinner with family and friends.

"We try to focus on the joyful moments and memories," Robin's son Zak tells PEOPLE.


Themes of time and community resonate in inmates' hopeful drawings.
Maddie Crum, The Huffington Post

When Laura Pecenco and Kathleen Mitchell began giving art lessons to the men incarcerated at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Southern California, they had trouble selling the merits of self-portraiture. A particular inmate grew physically agitated in response. He threw down his pen, yelling, “I don’t do introspection!” But, weeks later, he crafted a thoughtful reflection of his own image.

Pecenco founded Project PAINT: The Prison ArtsINiTiative as a way of studying masculinity and creativity in prisons -- the topic of her dissertation -- but found the project to be more rewarding than expected. Though much of the work produced by the men, who are guided through exercises in crafting charcoal drawings and 3D mobiles, centers on the passage of time, themes of transformation ripple throughout, too.

The Guardian

A single word changed Michelle Norsworthy’s life forever. Until she heard it, she had no way to express herself and her emotions always came out wrong. She would explode in anger, or in desperation cut herself until the blood flowed.

Then in 1994, at the age of 30, she met a psychiatrist who gave her the gift of that one word: transsexual. “I’d never heard it before,” Norsworthy said. “I looked it up in a dictionary back in my cell and it clicked – a person who strongly identifies with the opposite sex.”

Norsworthy, who is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder, said the word was like a “magical incantation”, a “liberation”. “It gave me a language. Every opportunity I had to say the word I would, it made me feel so much better.”

Phil Helsel, NBC News

California firefighters have made progress in fighting a large wildfire west of Sacramento that has scorched 6,900 acres, officials said.

The so-called Wragg Fire was 55 percent contained by Saturday, three days after it broke out in steep and rugged terrain in Napa and Solano counties, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The fire destroyed one outbuilding and a tent trailer, and damaged another structure. Some 140 structures are threatened, fire officials said. All mandatory evacuation orders were lifted by Saturday. Napa County is known as wine country, but no wineries were threatened, officials have said.


The Sacramento Bee

A man imprisoned for a 1992 gang-related slaying in West Sacramento has been denied parole.

Harold Rigsby, 38, was denied release at a parole hearing Thursday at RJ Donovan State Prison in San Diego. This was his third denial of parole, according to Yolo County District Attorney’s Office news release.

On Dec. 14, 1992, Rigsby and several identified members of the Broderick Boys street gang met at a home of a young woman. Rigsby told authorities that they lured 23-year-old Pierre Fortier to the home because he had made disparaging remarks about the Broderick Boys. After beating Fortier, Rigsby shot and killed him with a sawed-off shotgun.

Daily Democrat‎

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced Friday that convicted murderer Harold Rigsby, 38, was denied release at a parole hearing this week at RJ Donovan State Prison in San Diego.

This was Rigsby’s third denial of parole.

On December 14, 1992, Rigsby of West Sacramento and several identified members of the Broderick Boys street gang met at the home of a young female.


Sandy Mazzahe, Daily Breeze‎

On a street corner in a city where they aren’t welcome, a handful of convicted sex offenders continues to press the city of Carson to change its ways.

In March, the group held its first protest timed to coincide with the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights march to Selma. And they were back again last week before a City Council meeting, clutching placards demanding their full constitutional rights from a city that refuses to allow them anywhere near its parks, libraries and other public facilities frequented by children.

EXCLUSIVE: Javier Limon's Family Speaks to KCOY About New Arrest
Oscar Flores and Nia Wong, KEYTTV

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Detectives have arrested 21-year-old Bryan Rios of Santa Maria, as a fifth person to have allegedly played a direct role in the death of Javier Limon.

Limon's body was discovered by a group of field workers on August 19, 2014 near the entrance to Guadalupe Dunes. Authorities determined that Limon had been murdered and immediately launched an investigation.

Monica Vaughan, AppealDemocrat

The Sutter County justice system launched a new program Friday that creates an immediate incentive for defendants to complete drug treatment programs.

In the first case under the new agreement, Brandon Michael Fuller now has the threat of 10 years and four months in prison hanging over his head if he fails a one-year residential treatment program.

Charles McNulty, The Los Angeles Times

With reports of police abuse, racial unrest and murderous hate crimes in the news on a daily basis since Ferguson, has Anna Deavere Smith, whose solo work has long grappled with issues of social justice, become discouraged?

"Oh, no!" she said, almost taken aback by the idea. "Because I'm a dramatist, I like moments when there's something unsettled. I'm in this business of looking at conflict. Conflict is never absent. It's just that when it gets exposed, more people are concerned about it."

Andrew Holzman, The Sacramento Bee

very day, California government officials are looking for people to fill thousands of full-time vacancies. Their recruiting is heating up. Forty percent of state employees are eligible to retire, and only about 10 percent of the workforce is under age 30, compared to about 25 percent of the overall workforce in California in that age group.

The state’s human resources department, CalHR, is looking for new ways to reach out to people. For those willing to wade through the complicated public-sector employment process, including exams and a difficult-to-use website, jobs.ca.gov, the trends provide more opportunities for a stable job with benefits.

Here’s some information about a few of the jobs available as of last week and some tips on how to land one.

Tony Bizjak, The Sacramento Bee

Drew Mendelson is a writer, a Vietnam vet, and a former consultant to some of the state’s big-name politicians. What he’s not is a scofflaw or scam artist. Neither is his wife or son.

So no surprise that Mendelson was taken aback recently when his son was pulled over while driving Mendelson’s wife’s car and issued a $1,000 citation for defacing the car’s license plate.
This license plate’s protective coating has peeled away. If police believe the car owner tampered with the plate to avoid camera detection, they can issue a $1,000 citation.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Ruling could have a broad application for immigrant workers
Jennie Rodriguez-Moore, Record

STOCKTON — A federal court has found that a Stockton man’s civil rights were violated when California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation denied him employment because he had used a fake social security number in the past to work while he was undocumented.

Victor Guerrero, who became a U.S. citizen in 2011, applied for a correctional officer position twice after becoming a citizen, both times disclosing he had used a false social security number in a questionnaire, an answer that cut him from the eligibility list each time after having passed written and physical examinations.


Beatriz Valenzuela, San Bernardino Sun

More than 30 years after the slaughter of a family and a young friend in what is now Chino Hills, the case of death row inmate Kevin Cooper will be the subject of an hour-long episode of CNN’s “Death Row Stories,” Sunday.

Since his arrest following the June 1983 slayings of Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and her friend, Christopher Hughes, 11, Cooper has maintained his innocence, claiming he was framed by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office. Cooper is represented by attorneys at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe on a pro bono basis.

Courtenay Edelhart, The Bakersfield Californian

The Kern County Coroner’s office Thursday identified a man found dead in a Wasco State Prison cell as Roberto Gomez Guerrero.

The 57-year-old man was found dead in a prison cell at 8:27 a.m. Saturday.

The cause of death is under investigation.


Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Juvenile offenders, just like their adult counterparts, are entitled to have certain felonies reclassified as misdemeanors under a crime initiative approved by voters last year, a California appeals court ruled Thursday.

The ruling by a division of the 4th District Court of Appeal could spare juvenile offenders from tougher sentences in future criminal cases, said Barry Krisberg, a criminologist at the University of California, Berkeley who specializes in juvenile justice.

Joe Palazzolo, The Wall Street Journal

Inmates aged 50 years and older represent the fastest growing population in federal and state prisons. In January, The Wall Street Journal highlighted research that attributes much of the growth to more middle-age offenders entering prison.

Jeremy Luallen and Chris Cutler of research firm Abt Associates Inc. have gone a step further in a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. How much, they wondered, has the aging of society influenced the graying of the prisoner population?

Tami Abdollah, The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A recent change in California law making certain drug and property crimes misdemeanors instead of felonies played "a significant role" in the rising crime rate in Los Angeles County and has taken away the incentive for addicts to seek treatment, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Thursday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, McDonnell also said legalizing marijuana for recreational use is a bad idea and that recent public backlash against police over use of force is having an impact on his agency, the largest sheriff's department in the country.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Lydia McNabb, The Folsom Telegraph

Author Rick Wiley, 63, will share insights into his experiences growing up at Folsom State Prison at two book signings in Folsom this weekend.

Wiley will sign copies of his book, “My Life Around the Big House,” from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Folsom History Museum, located at 832 Sutter St. in Folsom, and from 4-7 p.m. Saturday at Colton Books, located at 604 E. Bidwell St. in Folsom. Wiley’s co-author, Matthew Easterbrook, will be at the morning signing at Folsom History Museum.

“Everybody is welcome, even if you just want to come in and talk,” Wiley said.


Tehachapi News

Tehachapi got a good soaking over the weekend with heavy rain from a tropical storm leaving a muddy mess with the prospect of more coming Monday night.

Officials were scrambling to assess damage on Monday morning and Highway 202 just west of the intersection with Cummings Valley Road still closed at the time of this posting.

The rain is courtesy of “Dolores, the tropical cyclone later downgraded to tropical storm that moved north from Mexico over the weekend, bringing clouds, humidity, thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding in southern and central California.

Rebuilding efforts begin after fire, flood
Anneli Fogt, The Desert Dispatch

It was a weekend to remember for Baldy Mesa and Phelan residents — and not in a good way.

They were faced with the massive, rapidly-spreading North Fire on Friday that exploded to thousands of acres before giving way to a torrential downpour Sunday that washed out roads throughout the area.


Cindy Chang, The Los Angeles Times

A convicted sex offender charged last week with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Santa Clarita is in the country illegally and had recently been released on bail from immigration custody, according to federal authorities.

Keane Dean, 26, a citizen of the Philippines, was released in April on $10,000 bond so he could be free while he contested his immigration case. He had been targeted for deportation because of his criminal record.


Justin Pritchard, The Associated Press

NOTE: “Staff members who work at Chuckawalla Valley and Ironwood state prisons are affected by the bridge collapse.”

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The main route connecting Los Angeles and Phoenix, which was closed when a surge of floodwater damaged several bridges spanning small desert gullies, is set to partially reopen Friday - far sooner than officials first estimated.

The California Department of Transportation had expected repairs on Interstate 10 to take weeks but announced Tuesday that it will be able to handle traffic again less than a week after the spans were damaged.

Jen Chien, KALW

There’s a disturbing national trend many call the school-to-prison pipeline -- where students, often low-income children of color, are pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system. That’s the subject of actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith’s new show at Berkeley Repertory Theater, “Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education, the California Chapter”. The show uses Smith’s signature style of documentary theater, where she interviews people and then performs their words verbatim, using her acting skills to embody their voices and mannerisms.

She’s trying something new this time around: during the second act, the audience is randomly broken up into small groups to discuss the themes of the play and issues of race and inequality with facilitators from local arts education non-profit Youth Speaks. Anna Deavere Smith spoke with KALW’s Jen Chien about her new work, and what she hopes audiences will come away with.

Eric Vodden, AppealDemocrat

With two major law enforcement-related construction and renovation projects already being planned or built, Yuba County is seeking funds to expand the county jail as yet another improvement.

Yuba County supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday proceeding with filing an application with the state for a share of construction funds intended to boost inmate treatment programs. Funding would come from the Board of State and Community Corrections and would be used for medical and mental health treatment and classroom space.

Peter Baker and Erica Goode, The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Before he was exonerated of murder and released in 2010, Anthony Graves spent 18 years locked up in a Texas prison, 16 of them all alone in a tiny cell.

Actually, he does not count it that way. He counts his time in solitary confinement as “60 square feet, 24 hours a day, 6,640 days.” The purpose, Mr. Graves came to conclude, was simple. “It is designed to break a man’s will to live,” he said in an interview.


Van Jones and Christine Leonard, CNN

(CNN)If you do not yet believe that bipartisan criminal justice reform is possible inside the dysfunction of Washington, it is time to put away your doubts.

Over the last two weeks, we have witnessed a historic surge of momentum for the prospects of justice reform -- punctuated by this week's Bipartisan Summit on Fair Justice, co-hosted by our organizations, the Coalition for Public Safety and #cut50.

The summit is drawing commitments from leading, bipartisan reform leaders and congressional voices to advance comprehensive reforms this year.