Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips



CDCR NEWS


San Quentin State Prison began restoring some services Monday after six prisoners tested positive last week for Legionnaires’ disease. At the same time, roughly 20 more inmates were placed under observation for the potentially deadly respiratory illness, officials said.

On top of the six prisoners with confirmed cases of the disease, five inmates were being treated at outside hospitals for pneumonia-like symptoms. Another 73 were under observation at the prison for respiratory illnesses, said Dana Simas, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

CALIFORNIA INMATES


As a record-breaking wildfire season scorches the West, Inmate firefighters are among those on the frontlines of blazes from California to Washington.

An escape attempt this week drew attention to the little-known use of young people from juvenile detention facilities in firefighting crews in Washington state. As The Guardian reports, the 16 year old had been working on the Chelan Complex fire, when he escaped. 

He later tried to commit suicide when he was spotted by police, but survived.

CALIFORNIA PRISONS


LOS ANGELES — California has agreed to an overhaul of its use of solitary confinement in its prisons, including strict limits on the prolonged isolation of inmates, as part of a legal settlement filed in federal court on Tuesday.

The settlement is expected to sharply reduce the number of inmates held in isolation in the state, after several years in which tens of thousands of prisoners took part in hunger strikes to protest the use of solitary confinement, lawyers for the inmates say.


Ending years of litigation, hunger strikes and contentious debate, California has agreed to move thousands of prison inmates out of solitary confinement.

A legal settlement announced Tuesday between the state and a core group of inmates held in isolation for a decade or more at Pelican Bay State Prison calls for the end of the use of solitary confinement to control prison gangs.

Instead, the state agreed to create small, high-security units that keep its most dangerous inmates in a group setting where they are entitled to many of the same privileges as other prisoners: contact visits, phone calls and educational and rehabilitation programs.

DEATH PENALTY


After hearing arguments for about an hour Monday, a federal appeals court is poised to make a decision that could effectively end the death penalty in California or clear the way for the case to be tackled in state court.

Considering whether California’s death penalty is unconstitutional due to years of delays and alleged arbitrariness in executions, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena heard from attorneys representing death row inmate Ernest Jones and the warden of San Quentin State Prison. Jones was convicted of raping and stabbing his girlfriend’s mother to death in Los Angeles in 1992.

OPINION


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors should know putting tens of millions of dollars into converting the unused Mira Loma Immigration Detention Center into a women’s jail stacks the deck even higher against women struggling to overcome substantial barriers in their lives.

Mira Loma in the High Desert is about as far north as you can get in Los Angeles County without crossing the county line. Most of the women who would be incarcerated in the new facility have roots in communities much farther south. If their families do not own a car, a trip to Mira Loma from, say, Lynwood or East Los Angeles, is a four-hour trek by bus and train. That’s four hours each way — the entire day — for a possible 20- or 30-minute visit.