Thursday, October 10, 2013

Daily Corrections Clips


The media and the SHU
Anthony Skeens, The Del Norte Triplicate

Pelican Bay State Prison once again opened its gates to the media Thursday following the largest of three hunger strikes in two years led by inmates held in its Security Housing Unit.

Valley State Prison waterworks fixes underway
Marina Gaytan, Los Banos Enterprise

The lawns at Valley State Prison are brown, and a problem with their main water source is to blame.

“Over the years of wear and tear, our water wells needed to be upgraded and retrofitted,” said Greg Bergersen, public information officer for Valley State Prison in Chowchilla. 

California lawmakers consider curtailing solitary confinement in state prisons
Jessica Calefati, San Jose Mercury News

SACRAMENTO -- A few days stood between Steven Czifra being freed from Corcoran State Prison on parole when he threw a punch at another inmate. 

Prison guards accused Czifra of inciting a race riot and ordered him to spend one year in the remote prison's secure housing unit. There, he would be confined to a cement cell with little natural light for most of the day. 

Legislators hear testimony on California prison conditions in isolation
Rina Palta, KPCC

Update 5:38 p.m. California legislators heard testimony on a controversial California prison practice Wednesday. In a joint hearing of the state Assembly and state Senate public safety committees, lawmakers heard from prison officials, civil liberties advocates and a former California inmate who'd spent time in one of the state's Security Housing Units (SHUs).

Lawmakers seek changes to isolation policies in California prisons after inmate hunger strike
Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, California — Democratic lawmakers on key policy committees said Wednesday that they want to limit California's practice of keeping hundreds of inmates in solitary confinement for years, sometimes decades, as a way of controlling violent prison gangs.

California lawmakers examine solitary confinement
Jeremy B. White, The Sacramento Bee

With California inmates still recuperating from weeks of self-imposed starvation, California lawmakers pressed prison officials on Wednesday for more information about the solitary confinement policies that prompted prisoners to refuse nourishment.


Prisoners’ cry: ‘We are human beings, too’
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Catholic San Francisco

Editor’s note: Archbishop Cordileone wrote the following reflection for the California Catholic Conference on his Sept. 30 pastoral visit to San Quentin State Prison with a delegation from the conference.

My first impression is: Abandon all stereotypes! The personalities and levels of intellectual and spiritual maturity of inmates are as diverse as any other collection of human beings. Many of the inmates we briefly visited with on death row showed a religious sensitivity. One of them remembered the exact date and occasion of his confirmation two years ago; another proudly showed us a picture he treasures of Cardinal Levada that the cardinal gave him when he was the archbishop of San Francisco; still another was happy to show us the collection of crosses he had put up on the wall of his cell. Of course, the inmates we met in the chapel, who sing in the Catholic choir, were a cut apart. One of them even shared with me that he and his wife used to teach natural family planning. They were all men of deep faith and spiritual maturity.


Sheriff Asks For More New Jail Money
Brown Given Approval To Apply For $38.9 Million From State
Lyz Hoffman, Santa Barbara Independent

The proposed North County Jail could expand to include additional beds and space for reentry programs if the county is awarded approximately $38.9 million in state funds. The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to allow Sheriff Bill Brown to submit an application for the award — recipients will be announced in January — but stipulated that amendments need to be made to the jail contract’s language and that discussions still need to be had on how to finance the new facility.

County OKs pursuit of funding for new jail facility
Beverly Barela, Merced County Times

Up to $40 million in State bond funds may be available to Merced County for the construction of a new, safer and more up-to-date 432-bed housing unit at John Latorraca Correctional Facility on Sandy Mush Road in Merced.

Of course, that's up to the success of a grant application the Board of Supervisors approved during Tuesday’s regular meeting.


Sex Offender Arrested
Tony Botti,

49-year old Fidel Tafoya was taken into custody Tuesday evening on Fulton Street in downtown Fresno.

Investigators say Tafoya had cut off the GPS ankle monitoring bracelet he was wearing as part of his parole for a previous sex offense.  Ever since the tamper sensor went off, law enforcement officers searched tirelessly for Tafoya.

Man Convicted in San Mateo Jewelry Store Heist, Murder Found Suitable for Parole
Larry Ray Williams, now 60, has been found suitable for parole after killing his accomplice in a jewelry store heist in San Mateo in 1985.
Laura Dudnick, San Mateo Patch

A convicted bank robber who killed his accomplice while struggling with a San Mateo jewelry storeowner during an armed robbery in 1985 was found suitable for parole on Tuesday, his fifth attempt at freedom.


Decrying Death
The 74-year-old nun who fights capital punishment — and stands with men when they die
Leah Sottile, Inlander

She's a 74-year-old Catholic nun who stands by electric chairs and prays with men during their last days.

When I ask Sister Helen Prejean whether this is what she envisioned her life would be like, she starts laughing into the phone. "What do you think?!" she says.

Texas, Pharmacies Clash over Execution Drugs
Ramy Srour, Inter Press Service News Agency

WASHINGTON, Oct 9 2013 (IPS) - Authorities in the southern state of Texas are refusing to return lethal injection drugs purchased from two compounding pharmacies, despite calls from the firms not to use their substances for executions.


Cops to take on firefighters in Modesto football game
The Modesto Bee

MODESTO — It will be the cops vs. the firefighters Oct. 19 when local law enforcement, fire, medical and rescue personnel hold a full-contact football game at the Downey High School Stadium, 1000 Coffee Road in Modesto. 

The State Worker: California prison officials lose fight with union over outsourcing
Jon Ortiz, The Sacramento Bee

A $6 million contract between California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and a private law firm broke the law last year, according to a ruling released this week by the state’s civil service system watchdog.