Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO -- California on Tuesday agreed to end its unlimited isolation of imprisoned gang leaders, restricting a practice that once kept hundreds of inmates in notorious segregation units for a decade or longer.

No other state keeps so many inmates segregated for so long, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. The New York City-based nonprofit center represents inmates in a class-action federal lawsuit settled Tuesday on behalf of nearly 3,000 inmates held in segregation statewide.

Paige St. John, The Los Angeles Times‎

California, which once led the nation in putting prisoners in solitary confinement, is poised to end the practice of decades-long isolation.

Settlement talks took place Monday morning between lawyers for the state and those representing inmates in a federal class-action lawsuit over the broad use of solitary confinement.


Richard Chang, The Sacramento Bee

NOTE: The reporter has been informed that Jonathan Velarde was an inmate at California Correctional Center, not High Desert State Prison.

An inmate at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville died Monday after being attacked by two other inmates, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The incident occurred after 1:30 p.m. in one of the prison’s maximum security yards, when two inmates used an inmate-manufactured weapon to attack the victim, CDCR said in a news release. Prison officials intervened, using chemical agents to subdue the attackers.

San Quentin State Prison is in its second week of battling an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease. Since Friday, six inmates have tested positive for the bacterial pneumonia, with more than 70 other inmates displaying symptoms. Prison officials have turned off water taps and showers and even briefly shut off access to toilets, in an effort to prevent the bacteria, which is spread through water vapor, from spreading. We'll talk about possible causes of the outbreak and efforts to contain it.
Evan Sernoffsky, The San Francisco Chronicle

For nearly a week, Kathleen Reese-Brooks has been anxiously waiting to hear from her husband who is doing time at San Quentin State Prison where an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has occurred.

Prison officials said there were six confirmed cases of inmates infected with the severe bacterial pneumonia and 85 other prisoners who were showing symptoms since the first case was discovered Thursday. Reese-Brooks feared her husband, 53-year-old Ralph Brooks, might be infected.

Marissa Calhoun, CNN

San Bernardino, California (CNN)Kim Carter never had a chance to be a child.

At a very young age, she was exposed to heavy drugs, violence and criminal activity.

"People shooting heroin -- we'd be playing as kids, and there would be needles on the ground," Carter said. "It was rough."


Adam Herbets, Eyewitness News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - The Kern County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against a former professional football player who is accused of killing his cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison.

Now, Lawrence Phillips is charged with the first-degree murder of Damion Soward.

“It’s not as easy to get to the crime scene as it would be had it occurred on the street,” said Andi Bridges, who will be prosecuting the case. “It just takes time, and it takes time to have the autopsy results processed, as well.”


Scott Shafer, KQED

Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George once quipped that “the leading cause of death on California’s death row is old age.” And he’s pretty much right.

It’s been nearly a decade since California executed an inmate. In that time more than 50 condemned inmates died, mostly of natural causes or suicide.

Last year those delays led U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney in Orange County to issue a stunning decision: He said administration of California’s death penalty is so dysfunctional that it no longer has any meaning and that the rare execution is determined not by the severity of the crime but by arbitrary factors like whose appeal process was exhausted first. That, he said, is unconstitutional. Carney’s decision vacated the death sentence for convicted murderer Ernest Dewayne Jones.