Monday, August 22, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Erin Tracy, The Modesto Bee

A man shot by an off-duty correctional officer at the Modesto Costco last month is scheduled to return to court next week on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

Gary Harlan Scott, 61, is accused of taking a knife that was being sold at the Costco on Pelandale Avenue and threatening employees and patrons with it July 28.

Scott was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of robbery upon his release from the hospital Aug. 8.

Off-duty correctional officer Kevin Machado, who was shopping at the store, shot Scott after he lunged at him several times with the knife, according to court documents.

DEATH PENTALTY

The Press Democrat

One of the most notorious criminals in North Coast history sits at the back of a darkened prison cell, his broad silhouette illuminated by the light of a TV screen.

Richard Allen Davis is on San Quentin’s death row, his home for the last 20 years. He’s in cell No. 54 in the infamous East Block, a crumbling granite edifice on San Francisco Bay where a majority of the state’s 747 condemned prisoners live.

Davis, who kidnapped, raped and murdered 12-year-old Petaluma girl Polly Klaas in 1993, doesn’t leave his closet-sized space except to shower or see a doctor.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

The Tribune

A welcome coastal marine layer and little wind gave firefighters some traction Sunday in their continued assault of the Chimney Fire near Lake Nacimiento, with the flames stymied 3 miles from the famed Hearst Castle and no new homes damaged or destroyed.

Still, the fire continued to spread north toward Monterey County and grew by about 3,500 acres during the day to total 27,546 acres by nightfall. Containment also grew, however, to 35 percent. Cal Fire spokeswoman Amber Anderson declared Sunday a good day without the changeable winds that had plagued firefighting efforts over the past nine days.

“Today has been a very successful day,” she said. “There have been no major changes. It’s just a matter of continuing fighting the fire.”

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Don Crothers, INQUISITR

California saw its overall arrests plunge to a record-breaking low last year following the adoption of Proposition 47, a voter-approved initiative to reduce penalties for drug and property crimes, changing them from felonies to misdemeanors. According to CBS, California saw 52,000 fewer arrests overall in 2015 compared to the previous year – the lowest arrest rate in the state since 1960 when they began keeping arrest records.

“I think it’s quite clear that Prop. 47 is the major contributor to the changes we’ve seen,” said Public Policy Institute of California researcher Magnus Lofstrom. “It’s really driven by changes in drug and property arrests.”

OPINION

Foon Rhee, The Sacramento Bee

In a major reversal, the feds announced Thursday they plan to phase out the use of private prisons. Good thing, too, after reports of abuses and safety problems.

California is also pulling back and hopes to eventually end contracts with private prisons outside the state once overcrowding eases enough.

“Our strong preference is to end the use of out-of-state prisons,” Jeffrey Callison, assistant secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, told me Friday.

The department is contracting for 4,835 private beds out of state, plus 1,978 private beds in California as of last week, according to the department. That’s about 5 percent of all inmates in its custody.

Dan Morain, The Sacramento Bee

Lawrence Bittaker flipped on the light, got off his cot and came to the steel mesh door of his cell, at the end of a tier on San Quentin’s death row.

“Surprisingly good, really,” he said, when I asked how his health was. “The new medical program pretty well takes care of folks.”

At 75, his thinning hair is gray, as is his scraggly mustache. He is slight, not very tall, and wore a white T-shirt and shorts. He talked softly with a slight twang, while others around him, the murderers and the officers, called out in the cacophony that is the sound of death row.