Friday, September 9, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY

SAN QUENTIN, Calif. — Aly Tamboura says when he began serving a 14-year sentence, prison felt like a shadowy world forgotten by the rest of society.

"It was the height of lock 'em up and throw away the key," says Tamboura, 49, who has been in prison for 12 years for assault with a deadly weapon. "There was no light shining on incarceration."

That's changing. This week a senior White House official paid a visit to the prison classroom where Tamboura learned how to write computer code. Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, listened attentively as Tamboura showed off the interactive graphics he and a fellow inmate created out of data sets to help parents compare the effects of diseases, say tetanus or diphtheria, and the vaccines that can prevent them.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Amy Larson, KSBW

SALINAS, Calif. — A man who was convicted in a notorious and shocking triple Salinas homicide case is being removed from death row.

Daniel Sanchez Covarrubias has spent the past two decades as a condemned inmate in San Quentin State Prison. The father of four's sentence was thrown out by the Supreme Court of California this week.

Covarrubias' defense team interpreter, Lisa Sobalvarro, told KSBW, "This reversal could not have happened to a nicer person, who killed no one."

DEATH PENALTY

Paige St. John, The Los Angeles Times

California voters face two capital punishment choices on the November ballot: End the death penalty or speed the way for execution.

On death row, inmates are conflicted on the prospects of one-shot appeals, mandated lawyer assignments and simplified execution rules meant to rekindle a capital punishment system that hasn’t executed anyone in a decade, or the simple alternative, throw out the death penalty in favor of life without parole.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

James Merolla, Newport This Week

During the turbulent 1970s, the Rev. Marsue Harris, not yet a priest, cut her pastoral teeth on the gristle fed to her by inmates at Soledad and San Quentin prisons in California. In 1982, she brought that depth of experience to a similar chaplaincy at the ACI in Cranston.

Harris, now 76, with preaching stops in California, Brazil, Cuba, and 11 Rhode Island Episcopal churches, including the now-closed St. George’s in Newport, is at the Church of the Holy Cross on the corner of West Main Road and Oliphant Lane in Middletown. On Aug. 21, she celebrated the 35th anniversary of her ordination to the priesthood with the small parish that has openly welcomed her lead.

Tim Loc, LAist

From 2010 to 2015, L.A. County courts have seen a 350 percent rise in cases where a defendant was deemed "incompetent to stand trial," reports KPCC. The L.A. County Health Agency studied this trend and wrote in a recently-released report that, if the rate continues, we should expect a total of 4,500 such cases this year.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, director of Community Health and Integrated Programs at the L.A. County Department of Health Services, told KPCC that the sharp rise is likely due to the growing homelessness population, a jump in the use of methamphetamines, and a growing awareness among criminal justice workers on what constitutes mental illness (meaning they're more likely to report mental illness).

Nick Rahaim, Monterey County Weekly

Speaking on a cell phone smuggled into his cell in solitary confinement at an Alabama prison, Melvin Ray is eager to talk about what he sees as a growing national movement that touches Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad.

On Friday, Sept. 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riot in New York that spurred reform nationally, inmates across the country plan to go on strike to protest what they describe as forced labor, draconian drug laws and mass incarceration.

OPINION

Kent Snider Jr., Record Searchlight

In 2014 voters passed Proposition 47, also known as "The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act", which reclassified non-serious, nonviolent crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies unless the defendant has prior convictions for murder, rape, certain sex offenses or certain gun crimes.

Some highlights of the aftereffects of Prop. 47, according to Ballotpedia: State savings would range from $100 million to $200 million beginning in the 2016-17 fiscal year. The governor reduced his proposed annual budget by $73 million and cut the use of private prison beds in half because of earlier-than-expected reductions from Proposition 47. Sheriffs have closed parts of jails in Alameda and Orange counties after reductions. Orange County was able to rent out empty jail beds for immigration detainees. The president of the California Public Defenders Association views Proposition 47 as working because, "It reduced the punishment for many crimes from an excessive punishment to a punishment that's more in line with what the crime is."