Thursday, May 5, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Wet winter yields lush vegetation, which will dry out and become more fuel
Guy McCarthy, The Union Democrat

The wettest Central Sierra winter in five years has produced decent snowpack and more water in some reservoirs, and it’s helped spawn bumper crops of grass, weeds and chaparral species in some parts of the Mother Lode, raising concerns for the coming fire season when all that new vegetation dries out.

California’s interior chaparral mix, found on slopes from 300 to 3,000 feet elevation and higher, is among the most flammable plant groups on Earth. Designed by nature to burn hot and fast, chaparral species have helped fuel some of the Lode’s most devastating megablazes, including the 2013 Rim Fire and the 2015 Butte Fire.

Cristina Davies, KRCR News

PAYNES CREEK, Calif. - For over 30 years, inmate crews have been a crucial asset to fighting fire in California.

Every year CAL FIRE and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation train inmates.

Scott McLean, battalion chief and public information officer with CAL FIRE, explained they try to have at least 4,000 inmates each year.

CDCR NEWS

The Tribune

The California Narcotic Canine Association held a certification and training day Wednesday at the former California Youth Authority complex in Paso Robles.

More than 55 K-9 teams from all over California received training and certification in patrol, narcotics and explosives detection.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Maura Dolan and John Myers, The Los Angeles Times

California's highest court is slated to hear arguments Thursday on whether Gov. Jerry Brown may ask voters in November to allow an early release from prison for some who were convicted of nonviolent crimes.

The California Supreme Court hearing, scheduled for 9 a.m. PDT, can be watched live on the court's website.

Brown's proposal, unveiled in late January as part of a plan to reduce the prison population, was amended into an existing proposed initiative that dealt solely with juvenile justice.

The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California’s Supreme Court is set to hear arguments over Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to put his plan to reduce the state’s prison population before voters in November.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning, though the justices will not issue a ruling at the hearing.

At stake are Brown’s amendments to a juvenile justice initiative increasing sentencing credits for adult inmates and allowing earlier parole for non-violent felons.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA INMATES

George Lavender, MarketPlace

At the prison hospital inside the California Men’s Colony near San Luis Obispo, 75-year-old Floyd Masterson is waiting to pick up some medication. He carries a walking stick in one hand and a pink appointment slip in the other.  Like the rest of the inmates around him, he’s dressed in a dark blue prison uniform. He has something else in common with many prisoners: hepatitis C. The disease affects about 1 percent of the country’s population as a whole, but 17 percent of those in prison.

About 17,000 prisoners in California have tested positive for hepatitis C and health officials suggest the actual number is probably much higher. Liver cancer as a result of chronic hepatitis C infection is the most common cause of cancer death in the state’s prisons. Like many prisoners, Masterson said he probably caught the disease when he was using drugs. Intravenous drug use is a common way infection occurs, though sex and sharing needles for tattoos also play a part in spreading the disease.

Hillary Jackson, My News LA

A 58-year-old San Quentin inmate who killed two Fullerton residents more than 30 years ago has lost his bid to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn his death sentence.

Richard Delmer Boyer had petitioned for a “writ of certiorari” to overturn his death sentence, which was handed down 32 years ago in Orange County. The denial, with Justice Stephen Breyer dissenting, came on Monday.

Boyer was convicted on June 24, 1992, of fatally stabbing 67-year-old Francis Harbits and 68-year-old Aileen Havitz in their Fullerton home. Boyer took the victims’ wallets and fled the scene following the Dec. 7, 1982, attack.

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Matthew Adkins, Times Herald News

NOTE: The Prison Outreach Program of California State Prison-Solano was honored as Service Club Champion.

Child advocates and political dignitaries from across Solano County gathered with their families and friends to honor those who have dedicated their services to help benefit the lives of children at the second annual Champions for Children Awards Thursday evening at NorthBay Conference Center in Green Valley. Before awards were announced, healthy portions of a Mexican style meal catered by La Cabaña were doled out to those who attended. People also had a chance to bid on a variety of gift baskets in a silent auction.

As the event began, the first person honored was Linda Seifert, who won the Lifetime Champion Award.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

CBS

HIGHLAND (CBSLA.com) — The bag from her wedding day, her pearl earrings, the stories told over and over – that is all Jenny Py-Swafford has from her husband’s aunt, who was a victim of domestic violence.

Jill Swafford, 26, was murdered on March 21, 1986 in Big Bear Lake. She was nine months pregnant with twins.

“She thought that being a mother was the greatest thing a woman could do in her life,” Jenny said as she wept.

DEATH PENALTY

Wills Robinson, Daily Mail

Without any experience or medical training, Dan Vasquez was employed by the government to kill other human beings.

As warden of San Quentin, one of the most notorious prisons in the world, put inmates to death in the gas chamber - known by his staff and those on death row as the 'coughing box'.

The day before an execution he would bring in a psychologist to help his team prepare to watch a condemned criminal die, in a bid to avoid post-traumatic stress.

Then, just hours later, he would ask the prisoner for his last words as he was strapped into a chair inside a tiny metal green room.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Sandhya Dirks, KQED

For 18 years, the San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno has run a program aimed at keeping inmates from committing more crimes. It invites victims to meet with perpetrators, with the idea that hearing the voices of victims will force perpetrators to face their own actions. The meetings can be hard, but healing — especially when they’re between father and son.

Delia Ginorio runs the Resolve To Stop Violence Program (RSVP). In a room just off the jail hallway, Ginorio talks with the day’s speakers, outlining the work they do here. In addition to survivors’ talks, they also run an on-site charter school, substance abuse recovery program, creative writing classes, yoga classes and meditation. It’s not a quick fix nor a guaranteed one, but Ginorio says that in the 18 years since they started, it’s proven incredibly effective at interrupting cycles of violence.

Lee Stranahan, BreitBart

The current political push for “criminal justice” reform is picking up bipartisan support in Congress, but the history of the “prison reform” shows movement shows the leftists driving the effort have a dangerous agenda rooted in revolutionary communism.

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy recently described the sentencing reform bill currently working its way through Congress as “the worst combination of bad elements coming together.” McCarthy, currently a Senior Fellow at National Review, told SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily host Stephen K. Bannon that the bill was sponsored by an alliance of groups including the Black Lives Matter movement.

OPINION

Big Bear Grizzly

On Page 1 of this week’s issue is a story about a family’s fight to keep Jill Swafford Evans’ killer behind bars. Sam Evans was convicted in 1988 of beating his wife, Jill, to death with his service revolver. She was pregnant with twins and near term. The babies didn’t survive either, and Sam Evans was convicted of three counts of murder.

Sam Evans is being considered for parole even though he was sentenced to 75 years, with eligibility for parole after serving 50 years. It’s been 30 years and because he is now 60 and has served at least 25 years, Sam Evans is eligible for parole consideration. The law was passed in 2014 in response to prison overcrowding.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


CALIFORNIA INMATES

Lance Knobel, Berkeleyside

When Berkeley-based comedian W. Kamau Bell went to San Quentin State Prison last fall he expected a tough dystopia, thanks to the images accumulated through what he calls “prison porn.” Bell found something very different.

He went to prison to make an episode of his new CNN series, “United Shades of America” (broadcast on Sundays at 7 p.m.). In “United Shades,” Bell “explores the far corners of our country and its various groups and subcultures.” In the first episode, he seeks out and speaks to Ku Klux Klan members, encounters that veer from frightening to hilarious to disquieting. The San Quentin episode first aired on May 1.

Stephanie K. Baer, The San Gabriel Valley Tribune

A low-security inmate who walked away from a conservation camp near Azusa early Monday morning was located about a mile and a half away from the camp about 12 hours later.

At 12:55 a.m., California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials discovered the inmate, Wade Raffaniello, 51, was missing from his dorm at the Julius Klein Conservation Camp, 2367 E. Fork Road, said Camp Commander Lt. Hector Morua. He had last been seen at about 12:05 a.m. during a routine security check.

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Fox26 KMPH News

Avenal State Prison (ASP) participated in the 23rd annual national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on Thursday, April 28th.

The days is when millions of workplaces welcome boys and girls to experience the working world.

Annual festival celebrates culture, brings people of all races together
Almendra Carpizo, Record

STOCKTON — A two-day event intended to build a bridge between the community and opportunities and celebrate culture is planned for May 14-15.

The annual Stockton Black Expo Unity Festival is about bringing people of all races together and helping them find the tools they need to succeed, said expo founder Rickie Warren. The theme of the event is “Help Stockton Thrive.”

To do that, Warren said, everyone should be afforded the same opportunities.

abc 30 News

A correctional officer is recovering after a mishap on the grounds of the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility & State Prison at Corcoran.

The accident reportedly happened around 7 a.m. Monday morning during training at the weapons range on the grounds of the prison. The victim was reportedly conducting target practice with a rifle when it malfunctioned, and the correctional officer was injured.

Jon Chown, Courthouse News

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — A Muslim mother's civil rights complaint against guards at Salinas Valley State Prison will move forward after a federal judge denied their motion to dismiss.

Latifa Isakhanova, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Azerbaijan, sued William I. Muniz and six other prison guards after receiving rough treatment on a visit to her son in August 2103.

Before she visited, her son had '"signed two prison group grievances and two inmate group appeals challenging SVSP's interference with the religious practices of Muslim inmates,'" U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson wrote in his April 26, order, quoting from her second amended complaint.

Eduardo Santiago, KYMA

CALIPATRIA, Calif. – Four women visiting Calipatria State Prison were arrested in three separate incidents throughout Saturday.

Prison officials say the first incident happened after they noticed Tamarrah Jeanniece James looked nervous as she refused to make eye contact.

The 30-year-old continued to get more nervous as officers questioned her. Officers say the Victorville resident consented to a search of her person and car where they found 0.97 grams of cocaine. Officers say they weren’t able to link the evidence to any inmate.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

Jamie Schram, The New York Post

A former disciple of Charles Manson admitted that she would have done anything for the cult leader in 1969 — even if it meant killing babies — during a parole hearing last month, The Post has learned.

Leslie Van Houten, 66, was recommended for release from prison after the April 14 hearing in which she discussed her role in the savage murders of a wealthy married couple in their Los Angeles home on August 10 that year.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Lisa Van De Hey, Gridley Herald

Editors note: Although the gang members formerly of Gridley gave their names willingly for the film, their names are excluded from this article for the protection of their innocent family members.

A one hour film, produced by Butte County's Public Defenders, gave the most insight into gangs and the aftermath of their choices than any other public forum could possibly accomplish.

After Butte County Public Defender Ron Reed interviewed gang members from Gridley who are now incarcerated, the one hour film was edited from hundreds of hours by Channel 12 Production Manager Casey Zampa.

Biggest changes due to prison population shifts in Avenal and Corcoran
Seth Nidever, The Sentinel

Lemoore had the biggest non-prison related population increase in Kings County in 2015, according to new estimates released Monday from the California Department of Finance.

Lemoore’s 2 percent growth rate more than doubled the .9 percent growth Hanford experienced from Jan. 1, 2015, to Jan. 1, 2016.

Hanford went from 55,337 to 55,840, while Lemoore went from 22,215 to 22,691.

To explain the boost to their city’s numbers, Lemoore officials pointed to growth at Naval Air Station Lemoore. The Navy jet base is expanding and has been selected as the home of the new F-35C fighter.

OPINION

Mark Berman, The Washington Post

California is not the first state that springs to mind when considering the country’s death penalty, perhaps owing to how infrequently inmates there are executed. The last execution in California took place in 2006, when the state executed 76-year-old Clarence Ray Allen for three counts of first-degree murder. Even before the current decade-long hiatus — prompted by concerns over lethal injection protocols — it was still rare for the state to put someone to death. Since 1976, the year the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, California has executed 13 of its death row inmates; Texas, far and away the country’s most active death-penalty state, executed 13 inmates last year alone.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Jimy Tallal, The Malibu Times

A fund was set up on March 2 to support the family of Shawna Lynn Jones, the 22-year-old inmate firefighter who died battling a brush fire in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu two months ago. Following her father’s death from cancer last year, she is survived by her mother Diana and two younger siblings, Daniel and Ashley.

The “Shawna Lynn Jones Fund” is being administered by the charitable hand of the Firefighters First Credit Union in response to the Malibu community’s desire to help. According to Robin McCarthy, an employee at the fund, “about $4,000” has been collected so far.

DEATH PENALTY

David G. Savage, The Los Angeles Times

The U.S. Supreme Court, over a dissent from Justice Stephen Breyer, turned down a challenge to California's death penalty system from an Orange County murderer who said that waiting decades on death row results in "psychologically inhumane stress."

His appeal pointed to what it called the state's "dysfunctional" system of capital punishment. With 743 inmates facing death sentences, California has by far the nation's biggest death row, but it has carried out only 13 executions in 40 years, and none since 2006.

Richard Boyer was sentenced to death in 1984 for the robbery and murder of an elderly couple in Fullerton. The state Supreme Court overturned his conviction because of a police error, but he was tried and convicted again and sentenced to death in 1992.

OPINION

W. Kamau Bell, CNN

(CNN)I had a great time in prison. That's something I never thought I'd say. The day-to-day discomforts of prison life, combined with the big-picture realities of mass incarceration, do not add up to a party.

But as a comedian, I'm also attuned to what American audiences enjoy. And America loves what I call, prison pornography. I'm not saying that America loves adult films set in prison. Well, at least I'm not saying that exclusively. I'm saying that America "gets off" on seeing people in prison. And our country really "gets off" on seeing people in prison living like freaks and feral animals. We love watching it on the news and in narrative film and television. We especially love those "real" cable documentaries about how gross and punitive prison is and how crazy and twisted and criminal the inmates are.

Well, this week, on my new CNN docu-series "United Shades of America," I'm headed to prison. And I abso-double-F-bombing-lutely did not want to make one of those prison porn documentaries. I didn't want to make a show exotifying prison while at the same time it creating the impression that we, as a nation, are doing a good job at prison.

Shirlee Smith, Pasadena Now

Maria may never see her children again. They were born in America but she was not. When released from the sentence she is serving in a California State Prison she, according to speculation by folk knowledgeable with these situations, will be deported to her home country.

Celebrating Mother’s Day is pretty much a no-no for her as it is for most of the inmate mothers I spend Saturdays with, presenting successful child-raising practices and understanding that though the women were charged with a crime, the crime most times has nothing to do with their relationship with their children.

Julia Stasch and Rebecca Rimel, Special to The Mercury News

With 2016 already in full swing, legislators across the country are beginning the difficult task of allocating limited taxpayer dollars to programs that will have the greatest benefit for the most people. Our organizations have worked with states for many years, and we know that determining which programs to fund -- and at what level -- is no easy task. Legislators too often lack critical information, such as an inventory of existing state programs, the cost of these initiatives, evidence of their effectiveness and the expected outcomes each would generate if continued. Without this information, lawmakers are handicapped in meeting their primary responsibility to ensure that constituents receive an appropriate return on public dollars.

State and local leaders certainly recognize that their citizens -- and their bottom lines -- would benefit from a focus on maximizing return on investment. To help, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation created the Results First initiative in 2010. Today, legislators and managers from 22 states and four California counties have partnered with Results First to bring evidence-based decision-making to their constituencies. Earlier this year, Pew and MacArthur committed an additional $18 million to continue this important work, bringing our shared investment in Results First to more than $30 million.

Lloyd Billingsley, The Daily Caller

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s last Republican governor, claimed his Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 would set an example for the world. That outcome remains uncertain, but the former governor may have set a new standard in cronyism by reducing the prison sentence of a violent criminal.

In early April, the California Department of Corrections released Esteban Núñez, 27, involved in the fatal stabbing of college student Luis Santos in 2008 and sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. That term was much shorter than the life sentence Núñez would have faced if convicted of murder.