Thursday, January 14, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

A day on San Quentin's death row.
Silicon Valley's Metro

We're at the end of the tour, and nobody has the key to get into the lethal-injection chamber. That seems a little ironic in the moment. It has been a long day at San Quentin State Prison for reporters and corrections staff alike. The four-hour media tour of the death row facilities has gone on for six, and along the way, all day, there have been skeleton-type keys opening big metal-and-concrete doors, numerous ID checks, sign-ins and sign-outs at the three facilities that house the nation's largest population of the condemned.

And now here we are, about 20 members of the media and a handful of San Quentin prison officials, including warden Ronald Davis, milling around outside the door to the never-used lethal injection chamber. Waiting.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Don Thompson and Eric Olson, The Associated Press

Lawrence Phillips, a star running back at Nebraska and first-round NFL draft pick whose pro career quickly unraveled amid disciplinary problems, was found unresponsive in his California prison cell on Wednesday, and officials said they suspect suicide.

Guards at Kern Valley State Prison found Phillips, 40, and he was taken to an outside hospital where he died about 1:30 a.m., Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

Phillips went to prison in 2008 on a sentence of more than 31 years after he was convicted of twice choking his girlfriend in 2005 in San Diego and of driving his car into three teens later that year after a pickup football game in Los Angeles.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Joel Rosenblatt, Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. says it’s trying to help people convicted of non-violent felonies in California get jobs as drivers.

The company said Wednesday it’s steering prospective drivers with felony convictions to organizations that can help get their criminal offenses downgraded to misdemeanors through a process created by a voter-approved initiative.

The move comes while Uber fights a lawsuit by elected district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles who claim the company’s criminal background checks for drivers failed to prevent it from hiring registered sex offenders, identity thieves, burglars, a kidnapper and a convicted murderer.

OPINION

The Los Angeles Times

Where is the de-incarceration dividend? With crime up, Californians have a right to ask why the savings from prison realignment haven't materialized and why an expected $100 million to $200 million in Proposition 47 savings has been budgeted by Gov. Jerry Brown at less than $30 million.

After all, the state's prison population has plunged, first from realignment — the 2011 shift in responsibility for many felons from the state to counties — then from inmate releases to meet court-imposed prison population caps and deadlines, and then from Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure to reduce drug possession and some other felonies to misdemeanors and therefore reduce the need for prison and jail space. State prisons house about 30,000 fewer people than they did just four years ago.