Monday, October 3, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CALIFORNIA PRISONS

Rachel Martin, NPR

Jacques Verduin knows most of the men in San Quentin by name. And he's trying to make sure that when they leave the California state prison, just across the San Francisco Bay in Marin County, they don't ever come back.
Verduin — a tanned man with silver hair, in his mid-50s — has been running rehabilitation programs inside San Quentin for two decades. All it takes is a visit to one of his classes, offered once a week for an hour, to see he's doing something different.
John M. Blodgett, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
CHINO >> About 80 people gathered Saturday afternoon in front of the California Institution for Women to protest its unusually high suicide rates and remember loved ones who took their lives while incarcerated there.
“I’m here to let them know I didn’t forget,” said Patrice Walker, an inmate at the facility from 2002 to 2015 and a friend of Shaylene Graves, 27, who was reportedly found hanging in her cell on June 1. “We’ve seen the neglect,” she said, pointing to other former inmates in Saturday’s protest, “so we’re out here to support them” still inside.
CALIFORNIA INMATES

Caitlin Gallagher, Bustle

Long before Serial and Making a Murderer, there was Court TV, which according to the Los Angeles Times, had a television sensation on its hands when the channel aired the trial of Erik and Lyle Menendez in 1993. On Sunday, Oct. 2, Oxygen will show a Snapped special about the Menendez brothers, which will focus on the almost 30-year-old crime. According to the Los Angeles Times, the brothers confessed to killing their parents, Jose and Kitty, in 1989, but what made the case so controversial is that Erik and Lyle made unsubstantiated claims that they had been abused by their parents for years. To this day, the Menendez brothers and the murder of their parents have continued to fascinate the public, so where are Erik and Lyle Menendez today?

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Jazmine Ulloa, LA Times

Months after outrage over the six-month sentence for sexual assault given to former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday broadened the power of judges to treat sex crimes as rape at sentencing and agreed that the crime’s punishment must include time in state prison.

The governor’s decision to sign the two bills, AB 701 and AB 2888, comes as heated debate raged this year over what’s been called the mishandling of sexual assault investigations on U.S. college campuses and by police agencies and courts. But strengthening punishment for sex offenders posed a challenge for Brown, as the state undertakes a broader effort to move away from a focus on prison sentences. 

Wes Woods, Los Angeles Daily News

The Los Angeles Fugitive Task Force has arrested 20 people wanted for murder or attempted murder in the past two months, according to the FBI.

The task force, which has been around for more than two decades, specializes in finding fugitives who are suspects in Los Angeles-area crimes or suspects who flee from other locations to the Los Angeles area, according to an FBI news release issued Friday.

Anne Ternus-Bellamy, The Davis Enterprise

WOODLAND — Yolo County supervisors are urging a no vote on Proposition 57, also known as the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016,” because, they said, the November ballot measure will allow violent offenders to be released back into the community and increase the burden on local governments.

Supervisors voted 3-0 to take an “oppose” position on the ballot measure Tuesday with Supervisor Matt Rexroad of Woodland recusing himself and Supervisor Oscar Villegas of West Sacramento abstaining.

OPINION

Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Huffington Post

My name is Mark Borovitz and I am a Rabbi. I am also a recovering alcoholic and recovering criminal, having done two terms in the California State Prison System. I am also a husband, father, brother and son. I am also the Senior Rabbi and Spiritual Leader of—wait for it, it’s a mouthful—Beit T’Shuvah, a Jewish faith-based, non-sectarian residential and intensive outpatient addiction recovery center in Los Angeles.

The Jewish High Holidays are a week away, and this time of year means a little more to me, I venture, than the average Rabbi. I was saved by the theme of the Jewish High Holy Days: T’Shuvah which translates as repentance, return and response. When I was arrested, for the last time, in December of 1986, I had a spiritual experience. I spoke these words, “the man upstairs is trying to tell me something and I have to sit here until I figure it out.” I still, to this day, have no idea why these words came out of my mouth, except that I had an ecstatic experience of God/Spirit that day and I have spent these last almost 30 years honoring this experience and my response to this experience.

By Stephen M. Wagstaffe, SF Chronicle

Dissenting view
Proposition 57 is designed to make thousands of state prison inmates eligible for release years earlier than the term set by the sentencing judge. The rights of victims that were guaranteed over the past 40 years in a raft of public safety initiatives are cast aside in Prop. 57 in order to give prison bureaucrats the power to release violent and nonviolent inmates without listening to the voices of victims, victim’s families, prosecutors, law enforcement and sentencing judges as to how long the felon should serve. Simply stated, Prop. 57 will endanger public safety, not enhance it.

Prop. 57 overturns public safety initiatives such as the Victims’ Bill of Rights (Prop. 8, 1982), Three Strikes Sentencing Law (1994), the Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act (Prop. 21, 1998) and the Victims’ Bill of Rights known as Marsy’s Law (Prop. 9, 2008).

Pete Wilson, The Sacramento Bee

A crucial decision confronts voters deciding Proposition 57 of the Nov. 8 ballot. What is of greater value: money the state might save from prematurely releasing several thousand felons from prison in the questionable hope that they will prove to be nonviolent. Or is it not far more important to prevent the probable and far greater human cost of the criminal violence and suffering and deaths that will result from their release?

The premise of Proposition 57 is that Californians were terribly wrong in the 1980s and 1990s when they voted to keep habitual repeat offenders – career criminals convicted of multiple felonies – in prison where they cannot reach and harm new victims. The three strikes initiative approved in 1994 and other sensible crime control laws prevented millions of Californians from becoming crime victims. It would be gross dereliction of duty to discard laws that have provided us protection of such proven effectiveness.

Marc Steinorth, Redlands Daily Facts

The safety of a community directly impacts its success and the success of its residents. In areas where crime is high, our students suffer, businesses suffer, unemployment rates rise and families are unwilling to invest for the long term, which has a significant impact on our economy.

For many years, California was fortunate to experience a large reduction in crime thanks to stronger public safety laws that supported our officers and mandatory sentencing. However, over the past two years since the implementation of Proposition 47, we have seen an unprecedented increase in both violent and property crimes. The same increase is not being seen nationwide. It is clear that the changes imposed by Prop. 47 have had an detrimental effect on our criminal justice system.