California voters prefer sentencing reform to building more prisons
By Sara Mayeux, KALW-- How should California comply with the Supreme Court’s order to reduce overcrowding in its 33 state prisons? In theory, the state could build additional prisons or transfer more inmates to private facilities, but both of those options would require taxpayer outlays. A new poll of registered California voters suggests that voters would prefer sentencing reform to any option that requires raising taxes.
Californians seeking to spend less on prisons
KPCC--Worried about the economy, Californians do not want to spend more money on prisons even though crime rates across the state have been dropping to historically low levels, a new poll from the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California shows. Are our priorities shifting? The poll of 1,507 registered California voters released Thursday reveals a shift in attitudes about tough sentencing rules in the face of an expensive prison system that has played a part in the state’s perpetual budget deficits.
The Press-Enterprise-- Sloppy oversight of public money is never acceptable. But California particularly should not tolerate lax fiscal practices in a state agency where costs have ballooned. The state's corrections system needs to follow proper accounting procedures and put safeguards in place to protect public funds. A new audit by the state controller's office found lax fiscal practices at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The audit, released this week, said the department's lack of proper financial controls put millions of public dollars at risk of fraud and misappropriation.
Audit: Calif prisons careless with taxpayer money
The Associated Press-- An audit shows the California prison system is careless with taxpayer money, saying sloppy bookkeeping puts millions of dollars at risk of fraud and abuse. State Controller John Chiang, who released the audit on Wednesday, says the prison system lacks focus in handling finances. The prison system accounts for more than 11 percent of California's general fund spending and there's been increasing pressure to cut costs amid the state's fiscal crisis.
Prison hunger strike over, officials say
By Silvio J. Panta, The Imperial Valley Press-- California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials announced Thursday prison security will improv following a hunger strike at Pelican Bay State Prison. Inquiries about whether the hunger strike that began July 1 had carried over to Centinela or Calipatria state prisons were deferred to the CDCR, which did not explain or specify any influence the event may have had elsewhere.
Pelican Bay inmates said to end hunger strike
By Kevin Fagan, The San Francisco Chronicle-- Inmates have ended a three-week hunger strike in the high-security Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County to protest conditions in isolation units at the facility and what they said were oppressive gang-security measures by prison officials, California prison officials say. Advocates for the prisoners said they got confirmation late Thursday from the inmates themselves. Meanwhile, some inmates in three other state prisons who were refusing to eat in solidarity with those in Pelican Bay were continuing their strike until they could also receive confirmation, state officials said.
Pelican Bay inmates agree to end 3-week hunger strike
By Michael Montgomery,, California Watch-- Inmates at California’s highest-security lockup agreed to end a three-week hunger strike that appeared to be gathering momentum despite an apparent lack of concessions from corrections officials. In a statement, Matthew Cate, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, announced that strike leaders in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit agreed to end their action “after they better understood CDCR’s plans, developed since January, to review and change some policies regarding SHU housing and gang management.”
Oregon man accused of killing his family was a convicted child molester
By Sam Stanton, The Sacramento Bee -- Before Jordan Adam Criado allegedly committed the worst mass murder in Medford, Ore., history on Monday, the 51-year-old sex offender left a series of helpless young victims behind in Sacramento two decades ago. Criado, who is suspected of stabbing his 30-year-old wife and four children to death, then setting their house on fire, is in guarded condition in a Medford hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
Killer of Sonoma County father, son denied parole
The Associated Press -- A California prison inmate serving time for the murders of a father and his son in Sonoma in 1975 has been denied parole. Sonoma County prosecutors say members of the Board of Prison Terms on Wednesday turned down a request by William Barton to be released on parole. The 55-year-old Barton was sentenced in 1976 to consecutive sentences of five years to life for the killing of 43-year-old Sabino Sotello and his son, 16-year-old Gregorio.
8 Arrested In Gang Violence Sweep
KSBW-- Police from four jurisdictions arrested eight people Thursday as part of a sweep of six cities targeting gang activity. More than 40 officers from the police departments in Soledad, Gonzales, Greenfield and King City made the arrests in the cities of Soledad, Greenfield, Gonzales, King City, San Argo and Chualar. The Monterey County Sheriff's Office, Monterey County Probation, California State Patrol, California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation and the city of Hollister also assisted.
13 arrested in Yolo County sex offender sweep
By Katherine Jarvis, Daily Democrat-- During a sex offender sweep this week, law enforcement arrested a man on a West Sacramento golf course for violating his parole. Dennis Reynolds, 45, was one of 13 people arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a multi-agency sweep the Yolo County District Attorney's Office calls "Operation Vigilance." He was arrested for possession of sex toys and videos with children after law enforcement found him through a GPS tracking device. Of the 13 arrested, 10 were from West Sacramento, two were Woodland residents and one was from the unincorporated Yolo County area.
High Profile Cases
Two arrested for Dodger Stadium beating, Giovanni Ramirez exonerated
NPR-- The Los Angeles Times is reporting that L.A. police have made two new arrests in the Dodger Stadium beating case, a development that could lead to the original suspect being exonerated. Police arrested Giovanni Ramirez in May for the beating that left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow near death. Stow suffered brain damage in the March 31 beating and is still in serious condition. The Associated Press quoted an unnamed law enforcement official saying that if the district attorney's office files a case against the men, Ramirez will be exonerated. The TImes reports their sources tell them police have already determined that Ramirez was not involved in the attack, and that he will be exonerated.
L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa defends LAPD handling of Bryan Stow case
Los Angeles Times-- Mayor Antonio Villariagosa has defended the way the Los Angeles Police Department handled the case of Bryan Stow, the Dodger Stadium beating victim. Law-enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that police have arrested two men in connection with the Dodger Stadium beating and concluded that the suspect they took into custody in May, Giovanni Ramirez, was not involved in the attack. Villariagosa, speaking to television reporters late Thursday, said the Stow case was highly difficult to prove and that detectives were doing the best with the information they had.
New life for death penalty
By Richard Wiens, The Triplicate-- It’s possible to agree with someone’s description of a problem and completely disagree with that person’s solution. Case in point: State Sen. Loni Hancock has proposed a bill to terminate California’s death penalty. She points to a new report published in the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review that documents the extraordinary price to taxpayers in the Golden State for maintaining the death penalty.