Division of Juvenile Justice Youth Correctional Officer Wins Bronze Medal at World Police and Fire Games
Paul Murrey, Youth Correctional Officer at N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (NACYCF) in Stockton was awarded a bronze medal at the World Police and Fire Games held in early August. Murrey competed in the Northern California Track and Field finals in the shot-put and hammer throw events while in high school and junior college. He enjoyed the sport so much that he set a personal goal this year to train, participate and win a medal in the World Police and Fire Games held in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Crowded Prisons Stress Lawmakers
KCRA -- California prison officials are under the gun as they face a court order to release up to one-fourth of the inmates in the state's stressed prison system. In addition, the thought of federal judges ordering California to cut 40,000 inmates from its overcrowded prisons is tying state leaders in knots. The California Department of Corrections isn't talking specifics. "I think that's part of it," corrections spokesman Gordon Hinkle said. "I think we also definitely want to work to make sure we're doing all we can so we're not getting a turnaround of our parolees, just the recidivism of having a continuing revolving door."
Deadline looms for Calif. plan to free inmates
By Ashley Surdin, The Boston Globe -- California has until the end of the week to submit a plan to reduce by nearly a quarter its population of 154,000 inmates. A federal three-judge court mandated the plan last month after finding that California had not done enough to remedy severe overcrowding, resulting in continued constitutional violations and unnecessary deaths at a rate of one prisoner per week. California has one of the worst state budget shortfalls in the country and the largest correctional system. The state outspends most countries on prisons. It expects to spend $9.5 billion on the system this fiscal year, said Seth Unger, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
High Profile Cases:
$30M bail set for Calif. kidnap suspect
By Juliet Williams, Associated Press -- A judge on Monday set bail at $30 million for a Northern California man accused of kidnapping a girl and holding her captive for 18 years. In setting the high amount, El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister cited the serious nature of the charges, injuries to the girl and the fact that Phillip Garrido was on parole at the time of the alleged abduction. He appeared in court with a bandage on his nose and a newly grown gray beard. Gordon Hinkle, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, would not confirm that Santos was the parole agent. But he said Garrido's most recent parole officer had been assigned to the case only since December.
Judge sets suspect Phillip Garrido's bail at $30 million in Jaycee Lee Dugard kidnapping case
By Nancy Dillon, New York Daily News -- A judge set bail at a whopping $30 million Monday for the convicted rapist accused of kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard and hiding her in a backyard prison for almost two decades. Garrido, 58, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment charges and had been held without bail in an El Dorado County jail. El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister set the high bail citing the serious nature of the charges, injuries to the victim and the fact that Garrido was on parole at the time of the alleged crime.
Huckaby to face the death penalty
By Scott Smith, Stockton Record -- Prosecutors said Thursday that they will seek the death penalty against Tracy's Melissa Huckaby, making her the first San Joaquin County woman in more than 100 years to go on trial for her life. If convicted and sentenced to death, Huckaby, 28, would join 16 condemned inmates housed on the state's death row for women at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. The plea came nearly six months after Tracy police arrested Huckaby, who is charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. Huckaby also faces charges of poisoning two other people, including a 7-year-old girl.
Out of the shadows: the Wesson family
Fresno Bee -- Marcus Wesson is in San Quentin prison, waiting to die. In 2004 he murdered nine of his children, exposing a Fresno family scarred by incest and violence to a horrified world. Wesson created an isolated world in which he sexually abused his daughters and brutally beat his sons. Wesson ordered family members to carry out a murder-suicide pact. An adult daughter and eight of his younger children -- most of whom he had fathered with various daughters -- died.
Thousands honor two fallen firefighters in memorial service at Dodger Stadium
By Scott Gold, Los Angeles Times -- On Saturday, an unlikely chapter was added when the stadium was handed over to the Los Angeles County Fire Department for a memorial to two firefighters killed in a wildfire high in the Angeles National Forest. Though the investigation is unfinished, officials believe Hall and Quinones ordered dozens of people to seek shelter while they fought through flames to search for an escape route from their remote mountain camp. The deaths of Hall and Quinones are considered homicides because the cause of the so-called Station fire has been attributed to arson.
Inmates mourn firefighters' deaths
By Allen G. Breed, The Associated Press -- As he reached the door of the chow hall, Henry Navarro looked to his right and uttered an expletive. Then he looked to his left and spat out an even stronger one. Many of the inmate firefighters at Mount Gleason Conservation Camp had been training for just this scenario for years. But nothing could have prepared them for the gantlet of fire they must now run. At the Chino camp, the prisoners and their keepers talked about their fallen leaders and prayed for their families. Then they did something that guards and inmates don't normally do — they hugged.
Inmates talk about fighting Station Fire
By Thomas Himes, San Gabriel Valley Tribune -- Alongside firefighters and forestry personnel, inmates from three state prisons battled the Station Fire on Mount Wilson, Tuesday. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation set up camp in the Hanson Dam Recreation Area just after the Station Fire Started, Friday. Since then three strike crews of 34 inmates each have been working 12-hour shifts. "The self confidence it builds lets them go out and contribute to the community" after prison, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Lt. Darvin Diede said.
LAFD: Remembering and Honoring
Los Angeles Downtown News -- There have been three Los Angeles Fire Dept. items in recent days, beginning with a memorial service for the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The prisoners for me were the highlight,” Los Angeles Downtown News photographer Gary Leonard says, “the fact that they were sitting up with me at the top deck. They didn’t let them mingle, but they were there to honor the two firemen.”
Fallen firefighters killed in Station Fire remembered as heroes
By Thomas Himes, Whittier Daily News -- As the county's largest wildfire continued to burn Saturday, two firefighters who died while battling the blaze were lauded during a memorial service at Dodger Stadium that included firefighters from as far as New York and Vice President Joe Biden. The men were trying to find an escape route for dozens of inmate-firefighters at Camp 16, which had become overrun by thick smoke and advancing flames from the Station Fire. The inmate-firefighters eventually made it out safely. Hall, 47, and Quinones, 34, were remembered for their heroic efforts.
CDCR Related & Miscellaneous:
1,150-acre spread feeds Tulare County's 1,700 inmates
By Brett Wilkison, Visalia Times-Delta -- The fields of alfalfa, oats and Sudan grass appear no different from the thousands of surrounding farm acres in Tulare County. Managed by the Tulare County Sheriff's Department, this 450-acre spread, an additional 700 acres of rangeland throughout the county and accompanying cattle and hog herds, vegetable garden and fruit operation help feed the county's population of 1,700 inmates at bargain prices. The farm gives those inmates who want to work during their jail time a chance to get their hands dirty literally.
By T.R. Witcher, Las Vegas Weekly -- They come out with no social security card, no driver’s license. With $20 in their pockets. They come out and return to families that, often, were not very functional when they went in. They come out with no resources but an unrealistic sense of how easy it will be to land a job. Ex-cons looking for work are always going to face an uphill climb, and never more so than now. Employers are concerned about their appearance, lack of work history, poor social skills and the inability to show that they’ve changed their ways.
Calif. Prisoner Firefighters Deserve Respect, Too
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, New America Media -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Tedmund Hall and Arnaldo Quinones “great heroes.” The two firefighters were killed Sunday when their truck went off the road as they fled the raging flames. Moments before, the pair had valiantly shepherded nearly 60 California inmate firefighters to safety. The praise of Hall's and Quinones’s heroism didn’t stop with Schwarzenegger. Nearly every other local political figure paid public homage to the men. A slew of memorials and tributes were planned to honor them. The numbers of California prisoners that brave the fire dangers aren’t small.
Why should Montell Johnson die in prison?
Socialist Worker -- Gloria Johnson-Ester was on her way to church early on November 2, 2008, when she received a phone call telling her that her son's prison sentence had been commuted, and he would be coming home after spending the last 15 years behind bars. Her son, Montell Johnson, is terminally ill, struggling through the advanced stages of chronic progressive Multiple Sclerosis. According to the phone call to his mother, his condition had convinced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to grant him a rare executive clemency order, which commuted his sentence to time served. California officials are pressing forward to take him back--and the state of Illinois is cooperating.