Monday, October 10, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CDCR NEWS

The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. California is regaining responsibility for providing medical care at an eighth state prison after 10 years of oversight.

The federal court-appointed receiver who runs the inmate health care system on Friday gave the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation control over care at the California Institution for Men.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Chelcey Adami , The Californian

A 27-year-old inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison has been convicted of strangling his cellmate.

On Oct. 11, 2010, Andre Combs assaulted and then strangled 36-year-old Quincey Adams, according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office. He then tried to hide the body with a blanket and clean Adams’ blood out of the cell.

Combs had already been convicted for 2006 second-degree murder out of  San Mateo County and also pleaded to assaulting and inflicting great bodily injury on another inmate at the prison in 2014.

Marisa Gerber, The Los Angeles Times

For a while earlier in the year, it seemed Leslie Van Houten might get what she wanted: Release from prison on parole. But the youngest disciple of the murderous Manson cult hit another roadblock Thursday in her bid for freedom.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan issued an 18-page ruling upholding the governor’s reversal earlier in the year of a parole board’s decision to release Van Houten.

There is “some evidence” that Van Houten still presents an unreasonable threat to society, Ryan wrote, adding that he respects Gov. Jerry Brown’s broad discretion in such decisions.

CALIFORNIA PAROLE

Veronica Rocha and Nicole Santa Cruz, The Los Angeles Times

Dave Young waited in the Antelope Valley courthouse hallway on Friday for more than an hour to see the man accused of killing Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen.

Young, 54, wore a black Sheriff's Department bomb squad shirt, given to him as a gift by Owen and the sergeant’s wife, who is a detective in the department’s Arson Explosive Unit.

DEATH PENALTY

Saul Gonzalez, KCRW

In the November election, California voters will face two very different ballot propositions focused on the future of the death penalty in the state. These propositions have increased public and media interest in capital punishment, and in response, California prison authorities have given journalists rare access to the state’s death row at San Quentin Prison.

Perched scenically on the north side of San Francisco Bay, not far from multi-million dollar homes, San Quentin has the largest death row in the country, with nearly 750 men awaiting execution. Women sentenced to death are held at Chowchilla Prison in California’s Central Valley.

To better understand day-to-day life on death row, KCRW joined a tour of San Quentin. We were allowed to speak to any prisoner we wanted, provided the inmates signed a release. But we were required to wear knife-resistant vests meant meant to protect a person from makeshift blades that could be wielded by a death row inmate.

Saul Gonzalez, KCRW

Although their solutions are starkly different, supporters of Proposition 62 and Proposition 66, the competing death penalty measures on California’s November ballot, agree that the state’s capital punishment system is broken. And they even agree on how it’s broken.

First, capital punishment is expensive. It costs the state about $150 million annually to handle complex death penalty trials and appeals and to operate death row at San Quentin Prison, with its population of nearly 750 condemned men.

Second, capital punishment in California is slow. It takes death penalty cases years and even decades to work their way through the state’s overburdened court system, with every death sentence required to be reviewed by the seven-member California Supreme Court.

Brian Melley, The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California's dysfunctional death penalty faces a fate in November that seems fitting: voters can put it out of its misery, or fix it so it does what it promises. The state is among three where voters will make decisions on capital punishment.

California's ballot initiatives — one would repeal capital punishment, the other would speed up appeals so convicted murderers are actually executed — are fueled by those who agree only that the current system is broken, leaving murder victims' kin grieving and the condemned languishing on death row.

Meanwhile, voters in Nebraska will be asked whether they want to reinstate the death penalty and Oklahoma residents will decide whether to make it harder to abolish it.

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Manny Araujo, Times Standard

Authorities in California arrested fewer juveniles for violent crimes over the past 25 years, according to a study released by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice this week.

The total number of juveniles between the ages of 12 and 17 arrested for violent felonies dropped by 14,000 and could continue to decline in the next four years while the number of juveniles in prison also declines, according to the study.

About 3,500 fewer juveniles were admitted into the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Juvenile Justice between 1995 and 2015. The rate of violent crimes by juveniles, which can be a better indicator of crime trends because they are less affected by shifts in policy, were also down according to the study.

Tracey Kaplan, The Mercury News

For the third time in four years, California voters are being asked to approve an initiative that would soften the state’s tough-on-crime laws — this time by allowing prison inmates to seek parole earlier.

Gov. Jerry Brown and other proponents, including the Democratic Party, say Proposition 57 is necessary to keep the prison population permanently below a cap imposed in 2011 after a panel of federal judges found that appalling health care services in the overcrowded lockups constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

“Californians clearly understand that it makes sense to give people incentives to turn their lives around so we can focus our law enforcement resources on dangerous criminals and avoid the potential of an arbitrary court-ordered release of prisoners,” said Dan Newman, a spokesman for the Yes on 57 campaign.

Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown dramatically altered California's criminal sentencing system when he was first governor a generation ago.

Now he is asking voters to partly change it back by giving corrections officials more say in when criminals are released and stripping prosecutors of the power to decide when juveniles should be tried as adults. He says both would help rein in a legal code that he believes has tilted too far in favor of get-tough policies.

His Proposition 57 on the Nov. 8 ballot alarms many law enforcement officials, coming after a jump in crime last year and major policy shifts in the last five years that have put California on the national forefront of reducing mass incarceration.

KPCC

Will felons convicted of drive-by shootings, giving guns to gangs or firing a weapon on a school yard "get out of jail free" if California’s Proposition 57 passes?

That’s the provocative claim Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez made this week during a U.S. Senate campaign debate in Los Angeles.

Sanchez is competing against fellow Democrat and front runner Attorney General Kamala Harris to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer.

"If you give guns to gangs, you can get out of jail free, if (Prop 57) passes. If you do a driveby shooting, you can get out of jail free, if this proposition passes. If you discharge guns on a school yard, you can get out of jail free," Sanchez claimed.