Friday, December 18, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


Jon Ortiz, The Sacramento Bee

The head of California’s correctional officers union contends that his members’ rights have been trampled by an out-of-control state oversight office that has grabbed power to muscle its alleged “burn a cop a week” policy.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association also has filed a Sacramento Superior Court lawsuit seeking money from the state prison department for going along with the state Office of the Inspector General’s allegedly illegal acts.


Mariana Hicks, KION

SALINAS, Calif. - A big change in California involving where paroled sex offenders are allowed to live.

In 2006, California voters passed Prop 83, also known Jessica’s Law. According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, it enhanced the state’s ability to detect, track and arrest sex offenders. It also prohibited newly paroled sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of parks and schools.

This past March, the California State Supreme Court ruled the latter part of the law was “unconstitutional.” The court found in San Diego County, blanket restrictions banned offenders from more than 97 percent of available rental housing, which contributed to homelessness and access to services.


Sam Hananel, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people executed in the United States this year dropped to the lowest level since 1991, as states impose fewer death sentences and defendants in capital cases get access to better legal help.

The Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that opposes capital punishment and tracks the issue, said 28 inmates were executed as of Dec. 15, down from 35 last year and far below the peak of 98 in 1999.

Another 49 criminal defendants received death sentences this year, down 33 percent from 2014 and the lowest number since the early 1970s.


Dana Liebelson, The Huffington Post

George Sumner was the product of a very particular time and place: the California prison system during a notoriously bloody time in its history. Born in Oklahoma in 1932, Sumner was an imposing presence—6-foot-3 and more than 200 pounds, with an incongruously soft voice.

His size made people think he was a “Neanderthal, [but] he was a bright, complicated guy,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, a correctional consultant who once ran a hostage training program with him. In December 1976, Sumner became warden of California’s oldest prison, San Quentin, just as the state embarked on tough criminal justice policies that would increase its prison population by 572 percent over the next three decades.

Christina Cornejo, Lodi News-Sentinel

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY — During the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office’s Operation Safe Holidays on Dec. 9 and 10, law enforcement made 60 arrests and wrote 25 non-misdemeanor citations.

The first day was a parole and probation sweep between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. with law enforcement checking more than 120 locations for evidence of parole and probation violations, according to the Sheriff’s Office. That day saw 11 fresh felony arrests, five fresh misdemeanor arrests, five felony warrant arrests and one misdemeanor warrant arrest, deputies said. There were also 11 parole violations and one vehicle code citation, deputies said.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

The California Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board is considering regulations that would apply to all health care workers in the state, in any setting.

Facilities would have to create violence prevention plans and maintain adequate staffing to implement the plans at all times.

Emergency room nurse Laurel Goodreau was attacked by a patient last year.

"She punched me multiple times in the face, broke my nose, left me with two black eyes and significant facial swelling and a lot of emotional trauma," she says.

Jesse Mckinley, The New York Times 

ALBANY — Of all the punishments meted out upon prisoners in solitary confinement, the most unsavory may well be a misshapen one-pound brick of cuisine.

It goes by several names — Nutraloaf and Disciplinary Loaf among them — and the ingredients can vary. Pennsylvania prison chefs cooked up a chickpea version, while Illinois included ground beef and applesauce in its court-contested recipe, as well as other ingredients that do not usually go together.

The version in New York State prisons used a motley assortment of baking staples and hard-to-overcook vegetables, including shredded carrots and unskinned potatoes. It was served with little more than water, to choke it down, and cabbage as a side.

But under an agreement announced on Wednesday, the loaf’s long reign as the worst food in the worst corners of New York prisons came to an end, a symbolic victory for inmates’ advocates and state officials seeking more humane, and more appetizing, treatment for prisoners.


Valerie Schultz, The Washington Post

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., I’m surprised at you. Didn’t your mother raise you better than to insult whole groups of people?

For those who are wondering, I’m talking about a remark the chief justice made last month during oral arguments in Bruce v. Samuels, a dispute about federal prisoners paying legal fees. Here I quote from Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog: When reminded that prisons maintain libraries, “Roberts then shot back, presumably sarcastically, ‘I’m sure they are very good libraries, too.’ ”

I run a library at a state prison for men in California, and I can attest that it is indeed a “very good library.” My library is tasked with assuring that inmates have access to the courts because, although they are convicted criminals, they retain certain civil and human rights. We provide them with access to legal forms, typewriters, law books and computers that can be used to research case law and the myriad rules of the courts, as well as a daily legal newspaper. We make available typing paper, numbered pleading paper and envelopes for filing court documents. We make the required number of copies of outgoing legal work. We weigh documents to determine the number of stamps needed for mailing. In short, we have everything that an inmate acting as his own lawyer needs to bring his concern to the attention of the appropriate court.

The Record Searchlight

It looks like the Day Reporting Center is doing what it set out to do when it opened in April 2013 in downtown Redding: Turn offenders' lives around.

On Wednesday evening, 18 men celebrated the achievement of successfully completing the center's program, which includes counseling, GED courses and job training. They credit the program with showing them how to get clean and sober, and to land and keep jobs.

"It changes the way you look at life," Albert Cool, a 43-year-old alumni of the program, told reporter Nathan Solis. "Ever since I went through it I have a stable life. That helps you become a better person."