Monday, August 29, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


Imperial Valley News

Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments:

Albert Rivas, 42, of Elk Grove, has been appointed chief of external affairs at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he has been acting chief of external affairs since 2015. Rivas held several positions at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2012 to 2015 and from 2007 to 2011, including deputy chief, staff services manager and small business and disabled veterans business enterprise advocate. Rivas was an operations and maintenance personnel analyst at the California Department of Water Resources from 2011 to 2012, a member of the Sacramento County Human Rights and Fair Housing Commission from 2009 to 2013 and president and founder of Capitol Consulting from 2005 to 2007. He was a member of the First 5 Sacramento Commission from 2004 to 2009 and a district representative in the Office of California State Senator Deborah Ortiz from 2001 to 2007. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $102,000. Rivas is a Democrat.


Gary Klien, The Marin Independent Journal

A Los Angeles teacher has been charged with smuggling heroin and cellphones to a San Quentin inmate on death row for eight murders.

Teri Orina Nichols, 47, of Bellflower, is free on bail and scheduled to return for arraignment Sept. 13. She could face up to four years in jail under the charges, said Deputy District Attorney Kevin O'Hara.

Nichols was arrested at the prison on Thursday during a visit with Bruce Millsap, a member of the East Coast Crips gang. Millsap, 50, was condemned in 2000 for a series of murders and robberies in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.


Sarah Larimer, The Washington Post

Some of the details are hard to remember.

After all, Don Gladish said, he hasn’t worked at Florida State Prison for years.

But yes, he does remember Mark DeFriest.

“Mark DeFriest,” Gladish said. “Yes, know him well.”

DeFriest is known as the “prison Houdini,” a man who has spent years confounding and frustrating corrections officials — and has famously spent years paying for it, too. He’s the subject of a documentary. You might have seen his name in news reports before.

Kristine Guerra, The Washington Post

Jeffrey Hall was unequivocal about what he wanted.

“I want a white nation,” he once told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t hide what I am, and I don’t water that down.”

An unemployed plumber who used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border looking for illegal immigrants, Hall was a rising star among white supremacists.

He would often speak at rallies, promoting the goals of the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi organization in the country, with 46 chapters in 20 states. In a YouTube video of a 2009 anti-immigration rally in Southern California, Hall, the National Socialist Movement’s regional director there, is seen holding a megaphone with a smiling Hitler emoji sticker on it as he proclaims the need for “white immigration” and a “pro-white” America.

Jose Gaspar, Eyewitness News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The number of California inmates who return to prison continues to drop. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation annual recidivism report, the total three-year return-to-prison rate for all offenders released during fiscal year 2010-11 stands at 44.6 percent. Last year the rate was 54.3 percent.

"It's very encouraging," said Terry Thornton, spokesperson with CDCR. "It's also the first time that more people released in one year stay out of prison than actually return to prison."

Rebekah Kearn, Courthouse News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (CN) — In a lawsuit against California's North Kern State Prison, an inmate claims a prison doctor gave him toenail medication as eyedrops, nearly blinding him, and guards said he would be "locked in a cage" if he kept complaining about the pain.

In his Aug. 25 lawsuit in Kern County Court, James Fernandez claims the prison doctor prescribed clotomozole for him on Aug. 8, 2015, for inflammation in his eyes. Four days later a prison nurse gave him the medicine and told him to put it in his eyes. He immediately felt "an intense burning sensation," and says the nurse "expressed no surprise at this result, despite knowing what clotomozole was for and observing plaintiff's distress."


Proposition 62 would eliminate the death penalty, while Proposition 66 aims to speed the process.
Michael J. Williams, The Press Enterprise

Proponents of the Nov. 8 ballot propositions 62 and 66 agree on one thing -- California’s death penalty system is an unequivocal mess.

They completely disagree on what to do about it.

Prop. 62 would get rid of the death penalty altogether while making life in prison without parole the state’s maximum penalty.

Prop. 66 would reform the criminal justice system’s handling of death penalty cases with the goal of speeding them up.


Bob Egelko, The San Francisco Chronicle

The Obama administration said Aug. 18 that it would scale back or decline to renew contracts with for-profit companies that hold 22,600 inmates sentenced to prison by federal courts, about 12 percent of all inmates held by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. A recent report by the Justice Department’s inspector general found more safety and security problems at the private institutions than at federal prisons, including higher rates of assaults on both inmates and guards.

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources,” nor do they save substantially on costs, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said in a department memo announcing the phaseout.

The same corporations, however, will still have contracts to run detention centers for nearly 25,000 immigrants, 62 percent of the total locked up by federal immigration officials for possible deportation. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she will eliminate those contracts if elected. The companies also hold inmates for prison systems in many states, including California.

Brian Blueskye, CV Independent

Kimberly Long was the subject of the Independent’s June 2015 cover story, “Guilty Until Proven Innocent”; she was in prison after being convicted of murdering her boyfriend.

Long insisted she was innocent—and her case caught the attention of the California Innocence Project.

“I know I’m going home,” Long told the Independent last year. “It’s just a matter of time. … I know I’m coming home, and I have the utmost faith in the California Innocence Project—and faith in God.”

Almendra Carpizo, Record

STOCKTON — In a matter of seconds, the four dots on Andrew Bird’s middle finger began fading.

“That one hurts; bad,” the 24-year-old said.

Bird, despite being in pain, looked unfazed as a nurse used a laser to zap away remnants of a past life.

He said he decided to remove the tattoos on his fingers, neck and wrists because he’s “changing.”

On Friday, Bird and dozens of people waited in line at a free tattoo removal clinic hosted by El Concilio with the San Joaquin County Probation Department and other community based organizations that help AB109 clients.

Cy Musiker, KQED

KQED’s Cy Musiker and David Wiegand share their picks for great events around the Bay Area this week.

Aug. 26-Sept. 25 & Sept. 14-Oct. 9: In a time of heightened racial tension, we’re highlighting two productions of Othello, one of Shakespeare’s most enduring tragic heroes. Othello was the Moor, the other, the black man in a white society, who had to be better than everyone else to fit in, and yet was still plotted against and driven mad to the point of homicide.

Actor Dameion Brown, a former Solano State Prison inmate, plays Othello at the Marin Shakespeare Company, and Brown told me he feels a lot in common with the character. “I know the feeling of being viewed as not good enough,” Brown said in a phone interview.

“These things Othello went through, the racism, even though he was the greatest general they had. He was still looked upon as the Moor, and back in the Elizabethan era, it was not much different than the n-word is used by others toward African-Americans today.” Detailshere.

Chris Hambrick, KALW

Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Chris Treggiari, visual artist and co-curator of the exhibit Oakland, I want you to know... now on view at the Oakland Museum of California, told KALW’s Jen Chien about three cool arts events happening around the Bay this weekend:

Spaces from Yesterday, a project by Amy Ho, is at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary gallery in Oakland. Ho collaborated with artists in San Quentin State Prison to create spaces based on the artists’ meaningful memories. The first of five installations is on view now until Thursday, 9/29.

Recidivism is a term used to describe repeat offenders.
Jim Holt, Signal SCV

NOTE: CDCR’s most recent recidivism report released on August 25, 2016, documents the recidivism rate as 44.6 percent. Also, CDCR studies recidivism by tracking arrests, convictions and returns to prison and uses returns to prison as its primary measure. An offender is counted as a recidivist if he or she has returned to state prison for a new crime or for a parole violation within a three-year period.

Almost two years after California Attorney General Kamala Harris brought police, prosecutors and probation officers together in a bid to define recidivism, agencies still use a different barometer to define criminals who re-offend.

In November 2015, Harris launched an initiative aimed at reducing one of the nation’s highest rates of recidivism among people convicted of crimes. As many as two-thirds of those who are freed in California, she said, end up committing another crime within three years.

Her program designed to thwart recidivism was called Back On Track LA.

The “Back on Track LA” pilot program was expected to deliver critical education and comprehensive re-entry services before and after an individual is released from jail.

Jim Holt, Signal SCV

When California entered the new millennium, it brought with it a growing number of people behind bars.

The burgeoning problem of over-crowding in state prisons ushered in what legislators called an “alternative to incarceration” with the introduction of Proposition 36 in 2000. This enabled sentences served in rehab instead of jail.

But, the issue of over-crowding persisted.

The US Supreme Court, on May 23, 2011, having weighed the impacts of over-crowding on health care awarded to inmates, ordered California to cut its prison population by more than 100 percent in two years. The Public Safety Realignment initiative (AB 109) became law July 1, 2011.

Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – A 12-year-old girl’s lie on the witness stand cost Luther Jones 18 years.

A judge in California’s Lake County ordered Jones released from prison this year after the girl – now 30 – came forward and said her mother told her to falsely testify in 1998 that Jones molested her.

“It’s a horrible injustice,” Jones’ attorney, Angela Carter, said. “Not just for Luther. His kids, his grandkids, the entire family has been affected.”

Perjured testimony such as that of Jones’ accuser is rampant in courts across the country, yet rarely prosecuted, legal observers say. A registry of exonerations in the U.S. by the University of Michigan Law School found perjury or false accusations were factors in more than half of the nearly 1,900 wrongful convictions the registry has tracked since 1989.


Debra J. Saunders, The American Spectator

Those who have made it unworkable intend to keep it that way.

Opponents of California’s death penalty have been highly successful at thwarting executions since the state resumed executions in 1992 after a 20-year hiatus. Their latest ploy is Proposition 62, which would repeal the death penalty and resentence death row inmates to life without parole. Measure sponsors argue that capital punishment presents the risk of executing an innocent person, but also state that California’s death penalty is “simply unworkable.”

That’s a cheeky stand, coming from the corner that has been throwing monkey wrenches into the criminal justice system to subvert death penalty law. Over the years, appellate attorneys have introduced endless time-sucking, frivolous appeals that have jammed the courts, largely on technical grounds that have nothing to do with guilt or innocence, e.g., the trial lawyer wasn’t top-drawer; the defendant’s parents were abusive; lethal injection may not be painless.

Mary C. DeLucco, The Sacramento Bee

I realize that when writing a piece about California’s death row it’s much more interesting to focus on an inmate whose crimes are the stuff of horror movies. But it seems that in a story written by a columnist who describes himself as “ambivalent” about capital punishment, it would be edifying to also look at those on death row whose guilt is questionable, or whose crimes were not horrendous but occurred in the wrong county, or whose conviction was the result of a woefully inadequate defense attorney. (“A macabre and failed system of justice”; Forum, Aug. 21)

Dan Morain writes that, “No doubt, many death row inmates received less than perfect trials. But they are on death row for good reason.” The facts show otherwise. Since 1973, 156 innocent people have been exonerated and freed from death rows around the country. And, as U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski once said, “For every exonerated convict, there may be dozens who are innocent but cannot prove it.”

Sal Rodriguez, The Sun

Crime is on the increase throughout the Inland Empire. In some sense.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department recently released preliminary crime data for the first six months of this year, reporting a 4 percent increase in crime relative to the same period of time last year. The department serves 1.4 million of the county’s 2.3 million residents. Much of the increase can be attributed to an 18 percent increase in vehicle thefts. Similar increases have been noted in San Bernardino County since last year.

Precisely what’s driving the increase is a matter of debate. Some have attempted to pin the blame on criminal justice reforms like Proposition 47, which reduced a handful of felonies to misdemeanors, including petty theft and drug possession, and was approved by voters in 2014. Also blamed for crime increases has been the state’s realignment policy, implemented in 2011, which shifted responsibility for low-level offenders to the county level