Friday, July 1, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Brian Hickey, KCRA 3 News

KCRA 3’s Brian Hickey got an exclusive look at how California prison guards train for hostage situations, barricades and prisoners.

Don Thompson, KPCC

Drug use behind bars appears to have increased since California started using drug-sniffing dogs and machinery to try to stop smuggling at state prisons, where overdose deaths are nearly five times the national rate, records show.

It's unclear exactly why things haven't gone as officials projected.

Some say the testing can yield artificially high results. Others say it's too soon to draw any long-term conclusions. Still more say the program simply is not working. Prison officials won't divulge details on results of the multimillion-dollar program.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Jesse Hamlin, The San Francisco Chronicle

Marin Shakespeare’s Lesley Currier got a letter some years back from Michael Willis, who’d played Puck in a San Quentin State Prison production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He was writing from his new cell at High Desert State Prison in Susanville (Lassen County) to say how rotten it was at that remote maximum-security facility with no theater program, and urging Currier to bring the Bard to that desolate place.

“He told me he missed Shakespeare,” says Currier, Marin Shakespeare’s managing director, who began working with inmates at San Quentin in 2003.

Salvador Rivera, Fox 5 News

SAN DIEGO -- Bill Richards was released from prison Tuesday after spending 23 years in custody for a crime he did not commit.

Richards was convicted of murdering his wife in 1993 after three separate trials.

Following his conviction, Richards wrote a letter to California Western School of Law's Innocence Project, asking it to look into his case. It did take on the case, and after years of trying to exonerate Richards, an expert witness finally admitted he made a mistake. This admission led to a judge reversing Richards' conviction seven years ago.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Eric Markowitz, International Business Times

Families of prisoners in the U.S. pay as much as $1 a minute to talk to their loved ones behind bars, which is why the Federal Communications Commission stepped in last fall to regulate the industry, which is controlled by a few private firms. And yet families expecting financial relief got a surprise in June: Their rates went up, again.

“It’s salt in the wound,” said Connie Pratt, a 63-year-old woman from Chico, California, whose 33-year-old son is incarcerated in Northern California. Pratt, who lives on a $900 monthly disability check, says she had hoped the FCC action would lower the cost of talking to her son. Instead, she found that on June 20 — the day prices were supposed to go down — the bill for a 15-minute phone call to her son had increased from $7.20 to $9.77.

OPINION

Bill Keller, TIME

In theory, we put criminals in prison to punish them, to incapacitate them (for a time), to deter others from following their bad example and to rehabilitate them. Since well over 90% of offenders are eventually released back into society, you would think the last reason would be a priority: to instill the skills and self-discipline conducive to living within the law. But most prisons–remote from population centers, sequestered from society and often fearful of a political backlash if incarceration seems too “soft”–offer at most high school GED classes and manual-labor training, not exactly a passport to a stable life after prison.