Friday, April 22, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CDCR NEWS

Sam Stanton and Denny Walsh, The Sacramento Bee

A psychologist who spent seven years working inside California’s correctional system filed a federal lawsuit against state prison officials Wednesday, alleging they routinely covered up how inmates died.

The suit, filed in federal court in Sacramento by Dr. Eric Reininga, 63, also alleges that he was fired last year after he leaked information to The Sacramento Bee about an inmate who died after being pepper sprayed in the face and left in his cell.

Joseph Damien Duran, 35, breathed through a tube in his throat. He died Sept. 7, 2013, at Mule Creek State Prison after being pepper sprayed because he would not remove his hands from the food port in his cell door. Guards refused to remove him from his cell and clean him up despite medical staff insisting he receive help, documents state.

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Phyllis Belcher, Tehachapi News

The former women's prison in Tehachapi had its beginning in 1852 explained Del Troy, Tehachapi's well-known historian, when she spoke to the Kiwanis Club. In those early days there was a ship at San Quentin Point that held 50 convicts, some of whom were women. A prison was built for them, and the women were housed in the same facility as the men until 1928 when the legislature approved separate prisons for women.

The state of California purchased 1,700 acres in Cummings Valley from Lucas Brite and construction began. The building was completed by 1933 and the 30 women prisoners were moved from San Quentin to the new facility in Tehachapi. It was the first women's prison in California and only the third prison to be built in the state.

John Ramos, CBS

FOLSOM (KPIX 5) — If you’ve ever heard of the town of Folsom, or the state prison there, you probably have one man to thank for it – Johnny Cash.  And now, a nature trail will pay tribute to the singer on the grounds of the prison that helped make him famous.

In 1968, singer Johnny Cash resurrected a stalled music career when he released a live album recorded in the Folsom State Prison cafeteria.  Cash’s iconic song “Folsom Prison Blues” put the prison, and the town on the map.

People in the area have loved “the man in black” ever since.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Will Help Determine How to Spend Money Saved by Prop 47
Nick Welsh, The Santa Barbara Independent

Retired Santa Barbara judge George Eskin was just appointed to an executive steering committee established to direct the expenditure of money saved by releasing inmates convicted of nonviolent, nonserious crimes from state prisons in accordance with Proposition 47, the California ballot initiative passed in November 2014. Since going into effect, Prop. 47 has released 4,598 inmates. It currently costs $63,800 a year to keep an inmate in prison. According to the initiative, a portion of the savings generated by reducing prison populations is to be spent on various programs designed to keep those released from reoffending.

The committee Eskin has joined was organized by the Board of State and Community Corrections and is charged with drafting the criteria by which grant applications for such efforts will be judged; it will also evaluate grant proposals once they start rolling in. “It’s an intensive amount of work,” said Tracie Cone, spokesperson for the committee. Cone noted that five of Eskin’s committee members served time behind bars themselves and will bring that firsthand experience to the table. Eskin has worked as a prosecuting attorney, a criminal defense attorney, and judge. In addition, he was an outspoken proponent of Prop. 47 in Santa Barbara County, arguing with the likes of District Attorney Joyce Dudley and Sheriff Bill Brown, who believed it was a bad idea. Cochair of the committee is Leticia Perez ​— ​a UCSB graduate who now serves on the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

OPINION

Prisoners need jobs while still in prison to break America’s epidemic of recidivism.
Emily Galvin, Slate

Most people are at least intuitively aware of the connection between poverty and prison. As Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has said, too often the opposite of poverty is not wealth—it is justice. A 2015 investigation by the Prison Policy Initiative noted that across race, gender, and ethnic groups, incarcerated individuals earned 41 percent less than their peers before they were locked up. Having been incarcerated also makes it much more likely a person will suffer poverty post-incarceration, as having a criminal record makes it harder to find work, get student aid, and access many basic social programs. Prison causes poverty, but poverty also often leads to prison. It’s a devastating cycle.

To make matter worse, many people in prison have never had a job. And once out of prison, prior incarceration is often an absolute barrier to employment. So, making a sustainable income possible for former inmates after their release is crucial to lowering re-incarceration rates, which more Americans are beginning to realize have reached levels indicative of a national crisis. When you consider the fact that 95 percent of the incarcerated will eventually be released, it becomes apparent how urgent it is to break this cycle.