Monday, October 12, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials are considering allowing inmates with violent backgrounds to work outside prison walls fighting wildfires, and the idea is generating concerns about public safety.

The state has the nation's largest and oldest inmate firefighting unit, with about 3,800 members who provide critical assistance to professional firefighters. That's down from about 4,400 in previous years, however, and so prison officials are looking for ways to add inmates.

Now, only minimum-security inmates with no history of violent crimes can participate. Starting next year, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is proposing adding inmates convicted of violent offenses such as assaults and robberies, if their security classification level has been reduced after years of good behavior.


Jessica Rogness, The Reporter

Three correctional officers and a nurse from California State Prison, Solano, as well as one correctional officer at the California Medical Facility (CMF) in Vacaville, were awarded the Bronze Star Corrections medal during an annual Medal of Valor ceremony last month.

Correctional Officer Walter Moorer, who is currently employed at CMF, was enjoying time with his family when a medical emergency unfolded in front of him

On Labor Day, Moorer was at the Disney Live Mickey Mouse Music festival at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

Lacey Peterson, The Union Democrat    

By next spring, inmates at Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown will have access to condoms as part of a statewide effort to reduce sexually transmitted diseases in prisons.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 966 in 2014 that required the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to come up with a plan to implement a program to provide condoms to inmates in state prisons.

While sexual activity among inmates is prohibited in California, it still happens, and the state wants to stem the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.


The Washington Post

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California corrections officials say two inmates already serving life sentences are suspects in the slaying of a notorious killer who spent 45 years in segregation after a bloody 1971 escape attempt at San Quentin State Prison.

Seventy-one-year-old Hugo Pinell, one of the “San Quentin 6,” was killed in August, days after he was released to the general prison population at a maximum security prison east of Sacramento.

Paige St. John, The Los Angeles Times

Suspects identified by California officials in connection with the August stabbing death of infamous inmate Hugo Pinell had histories of prison assaults, including one case still pending, court records show.

The lethal attack on Pinell sparked a large and violent riot at a high-security state prison near Folsom. One of the five inmates who were injured in the melee remains hospitalized in serious condition, said corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

The Salinas Californian‎

In homes far away from prison walls, children will soon hear the voices of their fathers who are serving time behind bars.

The Messages Project is a nonprofit organization that helps children maintain relationships with their incarcerated parents by recording DVDs of inmates reading a book to their children.

For the first time Friday, volunteers with The Messages Project helped around 35 inmates at Salinas Valley State Prison create their own recordings,
With a video camera rolling, inmate David Garcia, 52, smiled kindly as he began reading the children's book, “Never Take a Shark to the Dentist,” to the camera for his 16 grandchildren, since his own children are already grown up.
"It's great," he said. "I’ve taken so much away from them, I should give something back to them that I couldn’t give to my kids."

Seth Hemmelgarn, Lavender

A new book chronicling the lives of nine transgender women across the country who have been incarcerated comes amid historic progress for such prisoners.

“The Women of San Quentin: Soul Murder of Transgender Women in Male Prisons,” by Kristin Schreier Lyseggen, was released in September.

Schreier Lyseggen, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., traveled around the United States to speak with incarcerated trans women about their experiences with rape, assault and trying to get access to hormones.

The Daily News

Red Bluff - The Tehama County Superior Court Wednesday overturned the conviction of Larry Pohlschneider in a child molestation case dating back to 2000.

Attorneys for Pohlschneider, 46, and the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office agreed that his 2000 conviction should be vacated and the charges dismissed due to the ineffective assistance of Pohlschneider’s trial counsel.

Albert Harris has pleaded guilty to molesting the victims and been imprisoned.


Bob Egelko, The San Francisco Chronicle

California will soon allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill, mentally competent patients who request them. At the same time, the state lacks drugs to put condemned prisoners to death, if the courts were to lift a nearly decade-old moratorium on executions in California.

The drugs used for both purposes are powerful barbiturate sedatives, but they’re not the same drugs. They are also administered differently — voluntarily in pills for the terminally ill and involuntarily in injections for the condemned.


Jeffrey Hess, National Public Radio

Two Central Valley Counties are among the first in the state to take an aggressive evidence based approach to California’s prison re-alignment. This is the first time the so-called Results First initiative has been used in California.

Kern and Fresno Counties are two of the four California counties to apply the Results First Initiative in their jails.


A new California law to reduce prison crowding keeps one addict out of jail, but not out of trouble
The Washington Post

They gathered outside the courthouse in November for a celebration on Election Day, dozens of people wearing fake handcuffs and carrying handwritten signs. “End mass incarceration!” read one. “Justice not jail,” read another. California voters had just approved a historic measure that would reduce punishments for more than 1 million nonviolent offenders, most of whom had been arrested on drug ­charges. “No more drug war,” people chanted that night, as the vote became official.

The new law, called Proposition 47, was intended to reduce crowding in the state’s overwhelmed prisons, save money and treat low-level criminals with more compassion, and inside the courthouse that day was one of its first tests: James Lewis Rabenberg, 36, a homeless resident of San Diego. He had been found in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine at a local park, a crime that had been considered a felony on the morning of his Nov. 4 sentencing hearing but by nightfall would be reclassified to a misdemeanor. Instead of facing more than a year in jail or in a residential drug treatment program, Rabenberg delayed his sentencing so he would be looking at the prospect of a small fine, some probation and his immediate release.