Bill to crack down on prisoner cell phone possession moves forward
The Desert Sun -- A Riverside County lawmaker's bill to make it a criminal offense for a prisoner to possess a mobile phone -- or for anyone to smuggle a phone into a prison -- cleared its first major hurdle Tuesday. Sen. John J. Benoit's SB 434 was approved by a 6-0 vote of the Senate Public Safety Committee, putting it on track for consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to Benoit's office. Under the bill, a state prison inmate caught possessing a cell phone could be charged with a misdemeanor, and anyone caught trying to sneak one into a penal institution could also be charged.
Committee Approves Bill to Reform Life Sentences for Minors
California Chronicle -- Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) continued his efforts to decrease the number of youth offenders sentenced to life without the possibility parole, which is currently the maximum sentence allowed by law. Last session, Yee introduced SB 999 in an attempt to abolish the sentence and institute 25 years to life as the maximum sentence for juveniles. "Children have a greater capacity for rehabilitation than adults," said Yee, who is also a child psychologist.
CDCR Related and Miscellaneous:
Atascadero man suspected of beastiality, producing child porn
By Karen Velie, Cal Coast News -- A multi-agency task force is investigating a subcontractor with the California Men’s Colony after discovering videos of the man having sexual relations with both a child and his dog, sources said. “He was arrested March 26,” said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Spokesperson Terry Thorton. “It was the result of a joint task force operation that included the San Luis Obispo County Narcotics Task Force, San Luis Obispo County Sheriffs Department, the California Highway Patrol Air Unit, the California Men’s Colony, and the Department of Corrections Office of Internal Affairs.
Decline in Blacks in State Prisons for Drugs
By Solomon Moore, New York Times -- The number of African-American drug offenders in state prisons has declined for the first time since law enforcement agencies started the war on drugs 25 years ago, even as convictions of white drug offenders have increased, according to a new study released Tuesday. The study, by the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit policy research group in Washington, found that the number of blacks in state prisons for drug crimes dropped 21.6 percent from 1999 to 2005, the last year for which data are available. The number of white drug offenders in state prisons grew by 42.6 percent in the same period. Stiffer enforcement of laws against the production and use of methamphetamines, which is generally associated with white drug users, could account for the increase in imprisoned white drug offenders, said Beau Kilmer, a fellow at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif.
Corrections sergeant files suit against state
KGET -- A Wasco State Prison sergeant is fighting to get his job back after the state says he encouraged officers he supervised to lie in a report. The report detailed the slashing on an inmate's throat while he watched television in the prison's dayroom in July 2005. An officer who guarded the inmate failed to sound an alarm and failed to accompany the inmate to the medical unit to get help.
Should prisoners have cell phones?
By Tim Redmond, San Francisco Bay Guardian -- The hottest contraband in prisons these days isn't drugs or weapons. It's cell phones. There's state legislation. There are cell-phone-sniffing dogs (seriously, cell-phone-sniffing dogs). There's a lot of press fuss, and almost all of it has focused on the possibility that crimes can be committed from inside prison wall with cell phones. But let me suggest some other reasons why the CDC might be trying to ban these handy little devices.