Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA INMATES

LiLi Tan, NBC Southern California

During a time when racist texts and excessive force are sparking investigations into our prison systems, a semblance of hope is coming from the inside. An innovative program is trying to turn offenders into entrepreneurs.

Last week for the first time, a nonprofit called Defy Ventures invited Silicon Valley executives inside Solano State Prison walls, on which the phrase “To Believe One Can Succeed” is painted. The men pitching business ideas have robbed, kidnapped, even killed, and they are asking for a second chance.

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Melinda Meza, KCRA

Some students at Hazleton Elementary School in Stockton got gifts Wednesday from their wish lists thanks to the Department of Corrections. School officials said for the majority of the children, these presents will be the only ones they get this holiday season.

Nicholas Filipas, Record

STOCKTON — Hazelton Elementary School Principal Kathryn Byers smiles as she watched her first-grade and special needs students file into the cafeteria.

They were told they were going to have to sit quietly through a presentation from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

But what they didn’t know was what Byers, her staff and every adult in the room knew: there was a much bigger surprise in store.

KYMA

CALIPATRIA, Calif. – Officials at Calipatria State Prison said two women, a 27-year-old and a 19-year-old from Moreno Valley, Calif., were arrested after allegedly attempting to smuggle marijuana onto institutional grounds.

The Visiting Staff on Facility “C” was alerted to Leticia Lopez and Cynthia Marie Lopez who had not entered the Visiting Room Sunday.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

Rory Appleton, The Fresno Bee

A therapist was in extremely critical condition Monday afternoon after she was stabbed repeatedly by a patient at a southwest Fresno substance abuse recovery center, police said.

Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez said the 55-year-old therapist, whose name was not made public, was stabbed in the neck, upper torso and arms around 1 p.m. while working at the Comprehensive Addiction Programs Inc. facility at 2445 W. Whites Bridge Ave. She was rushed into surgery at Community Regional Medical Center. Her wounds are life-threatening, Gomez said.

OPINION

The Los Angeles Times

It's remarkable — and heartening — that for all the attention paid to the death penalty this year, the country's executioners had less business to tend than they have had since 1991. The final tally was 28 executions, carried out in only six states. Meanwhile, six death row inmates were exonerated this year (for a total of 156 exonerations since 1973), according to the Death Penalty Information Center. That's a ratio of about one “Sorry, our bad” for every five people put to death.

Not only did executions drop in 2015, but the number of people sentenced to death also hit an historic low, the center said. That could be due to a growing skepticism by jurors of a system susceptible to manipulation through coerced testimony or other misconduct (as explored by the Economist recently) — or there could be some other reason for a decline in convictions on capital punishment charges. Or perhaps fewer such cases are being brought in the first place. What is clear is that there's no correcting an execution if later evidence shows the prosecution was wrong. The capital punishment system is expensive too, and that combination — a costly government policy that risks executing innocent people — gives even many conservatives pause, which was partly what drove the Nebraska Legislature to ban the practice in May.

Inspector general sees cultural, union problems as impediments
Steven Greenhut, The San Diego Union Tribune

Sacramento — The state inspector general’s report exposing conditions at the High Desert State Prison in the northern California enclave of Susanville was scathing, as it detailed allegations of abuse and racism by guards at the nearly 3,500-inmate facility. The inmates may be unsympathetic characters, but the allegations should be disturbing to anyone who believes prisons are there to incarcerate, not to abuse and torment prisoners.

The 114-page report, released last week, was prompted by a Senate Rules Committee request to look into allegations that some staff members “are engaged in a practice of using inappropriate and excessive force against inmates and whether there is adequate protection of inmates from harm at the prison.” The report pointed to staff misconduct allegations, some of which were never investigated.