Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


A field trip to California’s oldest prison.
Bill Keller and Neil Barsky

What if, instead of building prisons in remote locations, we put them near cities, accessible to family members and to the resources -- educational, vocational, therapeutic, recreational, cultural -- that are scarce in most prison towns?

What if, instead of walling out the world, we invited in volunteers by the hundreds to help prepare inmates for life outside - to put the correction in “corrections?” What if we offered public tours, during which visitors could chat with prisoners beyond the earshot of guards?


Savings From Prop 47 Means New Funds For Fresno
Brian Johnson, abc

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An agency tasked with spending millions of dollars in savings from a controversial voter-approved initiative came to Fresno to seek community input on how it should be spent.

The Board of State and Community Corrections is in charge of allocating a little more than $19 million dollars in state savings freed up from Proposition 47-the voter-approved initiative that changed the landscape of criminal justice in California by reducing certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

Daily Republic

VACAVILLE — A sweep of suspected local gang members resulted in the arrest of four adults and one juvenile, police announced Monday.

A variety of law enforcement agencies took part in Thursday’s action, which police described as a large-scale sweep that involved 18 searches in Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun City and Dixon.

The targets of the sweep were gang members who were released on parole and probation with search-and-seizure status, police said.

The Los Angeles Times

The escape from Orange County's largest jail probably took only a few minutes.
But it took 16 hours for jailers to realize that three dangerous inmates had broken out of the Santa Ana lockup. This gap gave the men a huge head start on their pursuers, who on Monday continued a sweeping but unsuccessful dragnet.
The length of time it took for authorities at the Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana to detect the escape was one of several issues detention experts and others were dissecting Monday amid the manhunt. Some also questioned why inmates accused of violent crimes were housed in dormitories rather than individual cells, which is the practice at other jails and prisons in the state.

The last time jail personnel saw Hossein Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu or Bac Duong was during a 5 a.m. Friday prisoner count. Orange County jail staff only conduct two physical inspections of inmates each day. The second check Friday was delayed until 9 p.m. by a jailhouse brawl that some investigators believe was designed to cover the initial escape, officials said.

Jonathan Tieu, 20, Bac Duong, 43, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, were awaiting trials for unrelated violent crimes when they escaped Friday from a jail in Santa Ana
Vikki Vargas and Jason Kandel,

A woman who witnessed a violent crime allegedly committed by one of the inmates on the run after an elaborate jail break in Orange County said she thinks the man chose the devil over God, had drug problems and sometimes thought he heard voices.

Lanei Nguyen thinks Bac Duong must have snapped last November when there was a commotion at her home that nearly turned deadly.

The president has announced new measures to reduce the use of restrictive housing in federal prisons.
Marina Koren, The Atlantic

President Obama has issued executive actions to ban the use of solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in federal prisons across the country.

Obama wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that ran in the Tuesday edition of the newspaper that solitary confinement is overused and can lead to dangerous psychological consequences.

“How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people?” the president wrote. “It doesn’t make us safer. It’s an affront to our common humanity.”


Robert D. Atkinson, Capitol Weekly

Information technology has been a key driver of productivity growth in the private sector, as evidenced by the fact that companies that have invested the most in computers, software, and communications grew their employees’ output per hour three times faster than other companies. Unfortunately, it appears that most state governments, including California, lag behind and are more like those companies that have invested less in IT.

In part due to budget constraints, state governments tend to invest less than what is optimal to drive productivity. This is a significant missed opportunity. For example, if California made a stronger commitment to exploit the productivity-enhancing power of IT in government operations, it could achieve approximately $1.3 billion in savings over the next five years.

To be sure, California has made some noteworthy investments that boost productivity, such as when the state incorporated IT into its prison system. Correction officials used to maintain inmates’ health information and other records in paper files. In some cases, these files were quite large, which forced the state to pay for storage and shipping whenever an inmate transferred from one prison to another. With more than 137,000 inmates in the state’s care and thousands of transfers a year, this system was complicated and costly. But by digitizing these files so officials all over the state can access them with the right credentials, the state saved more than $1.5 million annually on storage and shipping. In addition, the state eliminated unnecessary staff tasks and reduced errors associated with the old paper system—a clear example of successfully boosting internal productivity.