Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Capital Public Radio

The wardens from California's two largest women's prisons stepped down last week. The abrupt departures come amid allegations of rampant inmate abuse at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla and a spike of suicides at the California Institution for Women in Corona.

Many of the cases were uncovered by the Prison Law Office, a non-profit legal aid group based in Berkeley. We're joined by its director Don Specter.

Charges breach of contract over repairs to wastewater plant
Barry Brown, KION

SOLEDAD, Calif. - There is a fight brewing between the City of Soledad and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation over wastewater. The city claims the CDCR has failed to pay its share of a $3.4 million emergency repair project at the city's wastewater treatment plant. Soledad is seeking over $1 million.

City leaders said a claim was filed Tuesday morning on a major improvement project at Soledad State Prison. In 1993, the City and the Department entered into a Joint Powers Agreement in which the city agreed to provide waste water treatment services for the Soledad Prison in return for the Department’s agreement to share the cost of necessary treatment plant improvements. In 2004, the City of Soledad’s waste water treatment plant was performing sluggishly and the city said it was creating a threat to the Salinas River. Soledad mayor Fred Ledesma blames the waste overflow threat on prison overcrowding.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

LA Progressive

In celebration of Father’s Day, dozens of children, many with painted faces, spent the morning of June 17 in a prison visiting room, laughing and playing with their incarcerated fathers. The event, held at San Quentin State Prison, also accommodated 35 adult sons and daughters.

“Children and incarcerated people don’t have a voice. They are some of the least powerful in society,” said co-coordinator of the event, John Kalin. “That’s what draws me to Get on the Bus.”

The Get on the Bus project was founded in 1999 by Sr. Suzanne Jabro, CSJ.

The program does all the paperwork for the visit. It provides chaperones for children who have no adult to accompany them. It charters the buses to and from the prisons, and provides all the meals during the travel.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

Thomas D. Elias, The Salinas Californian

For years, Gov. Jerry Brown could hide behind the fig leaf of a federal court order in turning tens of thousands of convicts loose in a program he called “prison realignment.”

Prisons lost almost one-third of their occupants to county jails and streets all around the state. Most of those released or paroled were so-called “minor” criminals; very few rapists, murderers or armed robbers have won early releases.

This satisfied the courts, which all the way up to the level of the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld an order to reduce prison populations.

Then came the 2014 Proposition 47, which reclassified many previous felonies as misdemeanors carrying far smaller penalties and no “three-strikes” implications. Felony arrests fell to levels unseen in 50 years. One reason: Thefts below the value of $950 are no longer felonies. Because realignment has caused overcrowding in county jails, most thievery at that level goes unpunished; often perpetrators are not even pursued because of police frustration with the changed rules.

DEATH PENALTY

Reuters

An ex-sanitation worker found guilty of committing 10 Los Angeles murders three decades ago as the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer was due in court on Wednesday for a judge to decide whether he should receive the death penalty or life in prison.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury in June recommended the death sentence for Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 63, a month after convicting him on 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

But it is up to Judge Kathleen Kennedy to decide whether to formally uphold the jury's preference or sentence Franklin to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Shane Newell, The Los Angeles Times

Top Los Angeles County officials including Sheriff Jim McDonnell and Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey have joined a November election battle, announcing support for preserving California’s death penalty and reforming the state’s appeals process.

The death penalty should be “for the worst of the worst,” McDonnell said Monday night at an event dubbed, "Mend, Don't End California's Death Penalty."

“We want to be in a position to be able to say that there is a disincentive for the most horrific of murders,” McDonnell said.