CDCR STAR – Daily Corrections Clips
Child Support Obligations Education Begins for California Inmates
A unique partnership of child support organizations has resulted in a comprehensive educational effort to inform state prison inmates of their rights under child support collection laws. Beginning this month, a video entitled, “Working with the Child Support Program: What You Need to Do” will be shown on inmate television at all 30 state male institutions, educating inmates who have active or pending child support orders on how to handle this obligation while incarcerated.
State lawmakers up the stakes in battle over prison cell phones
By Michael Montgomery, California Watch -- State lawmakers are making another push to get rid of contraband cell phones in prisons at a time when corrections officials describe the situation as “untenable” and a major threat to public safety. The Senate Public Safety Committee today will discuss a bill – known as SB 26 – that would impose criminal penalties on inmates who use cell phones, and others, including staff and guards who smuggle the devices into prisons. Despite a ban, some 10,000 smuggled cell phones were confiscated in California prisons last year – either directly from inmates or abandoned. In addition, 271 cell phones were seized from prison staff as part of a program of random, monthly searches known as “Operation Disconnect,” according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Judge ends 21-year-old suit on Calif. inmate abuse
By Don Thompson, Associated Press -- A legal case that has lasted more than two decades and brought systemic changes to California's prison system ended Monday after a federal judge determined the state corrections department had made sufficient reforms to protect inmates from being abused by guards. The lawsuit led to policies limiting guards' use of force and added protection for mentally ill inmates. It also prompted the state to create an independent inspector general in the corrections department and an office to oversee investigations of alleged employee wrongdoing. The reforms were the result of a lawsuit filed in 1990 alleging that inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County were being abused.
Prison Officers, Crime Victims, and the Prospects of Sentencing Reform
By Joshua Page, California Progress Report -- California’s correctional crisis is now the status quo. But the status quo is unsustainable. Nearly $27 billion in the red, the state simply can’t afford business as usual. The annual budget for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is about $10 billion (7% of the state’s total expenditures), up from $3.5 billion in 1998. Along with being prohibitively expensive, the prison system is so overcrowded that a panel of federal judges ruled in 2009 that the state must shed approximately 40,000 inmates (the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide any day now whether the original ruling will stand).
Wrongly convicted face uphill battle to obtain compensation
By Marie C. Baca, California Watch -- Jeffrey Rodriguez was in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles when he was identified as the man who robbed an employee at an auto-parts store the night before. He spent more than five years in a Santa Clara County jail before being released in February 2007 – declared factually innocent of the crime, his arrest and conviction expunged from the record. But when Rodriguez, now 32, applied for compensation from a state fund for the wrongly convicted – $138,100 in his case – a three-person state panel denied his request. As he soon found out, there are degrees of innocence in California. Rodriguez is one of 44 Californians released from prison since 2000 who have been denied money after a hearing before the state’s victim compensation board, which can award $100 a day for each day spent behind bars after a wrongful conviction.
Nelson Proposes Strengthening County Sex Offender Laws
By Tracy Wood, Voice of OC -- Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson is proposing a county law that would make it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter county parks, beaches or harbors without permission from county authorities.Current law bars registered offenders from parks and other areas, like school grounds, where children gather. Those who are on parole risk being returned to prison if they violate the law, but once an offender is off parole, law enforcement officials say there is little they can do.
CDCR Related & Miscellaneous:
Shakespeare's works used to educate, rehabilitate
By Tony Sauro, Stockton Record -- This program is the kind William Shakespeare really could get behind. Even 450 years ago. "He would love this transformational work," said Curt L. Tofteland, who's spent 16 years helping inmates get into Shakespeare and - ideally - out of prison with a more mature and thoughtful attitude toward the world. "He would love these men. He was an artist who was driven to 'hold the mirror up to nature' ('Hamlet'). To reflect the life and times of Elizabethans." "Shakespeare was a lot more subversive than people realize," said Courtney Lehmann, a University of the Pacific English professor whose Pacific Humanities Center brings Tofteland and his "Shakespeare Behind Bars" documentary film back to Stockton on Wednesday. "He played very much to the darker side of political and social class relations. He tried to expose a lot of the shortcomings in his own political environment."
Inmates aren't a health priority
Salinas Californian -- It is a shame that California is in such a financial crisis. The state is now enforcing employee layoffs, pay cuts, closing libraries and schools, cutting low-income programs, etc. The upsetting thing is that our great state continues to provide Californian inmates the best health and dental care available. The benefits inmates receive behind bars are better than those most of us receive from our employers. These inmates never will have to work for these benefits or pay medical bills. It seems backward to me that law-abiding, taxpaying, low-income families and elderly are unable to receive comparable state benefits.
Will Crying Save Killer Stephenson Choi Kim From Death Row?
By R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly -- You can tell from a photograph shown at his murder trial that Stephenson Choi Kim desperately wanted to think of himself as a tough guy. In the picture, Kim is wearing that unmistakable hoodlum glare on his face while he points a handgun at the camera. See? I'm fearless, Kim's image conveys. Yet, today, inside Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley's courtroom, the 31-year-old San Gabriel resident and gang member cried over and over again like a baby as his pals, co-workers and family tried to save him from a one-way trip to San Quentin State Prison and Death Row.