Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips

CDCR NEWS

KRON 4 News

VACAVILLE (BCN) — A prison inmate who allegedly walked away from a minimum-security medical facility in Vacaville earlier this week was apprehended Saturday morning at a Richmond home, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials.

Jarvis Brown, 29, was last seen in his bunk at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday but was missing during a head count at 12:30 a.m. Monday, according to corrections officials.

City News Service

LOS ANGELES >> A prisoner who walked away from a community re-entry facility in Los Angeles County on Thursday has been apprehended, a state official said Saturday.

Jesse Hernandez, 38, who escaped from the Male Community Re-entry Program facility, was taken back into custody Friday, said Kristina Khokhobashvili of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

CALIFORNIA INMATES

Chris Martinez, CBS

YUCAIPA, Calif. -- Dozens of large wildfires are burning in the west Sunday, including several in California. Some may be surprised to hear that about 20 percent of California’s fire crews are inmates.

To take part in the program, the prisoners can not be convicted of certain crimes -- including arson. But for the inmates who can participate, the program is changing lives.

They’re among the first to hit the front lines of California’s dangerous wildfires. The orange uniforms let people know -- these firefighters -- are inmates.

DEATH PENALTY

Shirin Rajaee, CBS

SACRAMENTO- On Nov. 8 California voters have a chance to change the course of history when it comes to capital punishment. Is California ready to get rid of the death penalty? Or is the solution to speed up the process leading to executions? Both options are on next month’s ballot.

Supporters of both Proposition 62 and Proposition 66 agree that the system is broken, that it doesn’t bode well for victims families or the state.

CBS13 takes a closer look at Prop 66 and why so many families are fighting to keep the death penalty alive.

Prop. 62, Prop. 66 would change California's death penalty
Mike Luery, KCRA

Voters will decide on two propositions in November that could forever change California’s death penalty -- one would ban it and the other would speed it up.

FAST FACTS

    Prop. 62 would ban death penalty in California
    Prop. 66 would speed up death penalty process
    If both measures win, one with most votes will become law

Proposition 62

If Proposition 62 passes, Robert Rhoades -- convicted of murdering a Yuba City boy in 1996 and now sitting on death row -- would be re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

New opponents see a costly government program that isn’t working or cite religious objections
Zusha Elinson, The Wall Street Journal

NOTE: Author was told that there are 749 people on California’s death row. 

Campaigns fighting to overturn the death penalty at the ballot box are getting unlikely support from some Republicans, who cite a growing concern that it has become a costly and ineffective government program.

In November, voters in Nebraska and California will decide whether to abolish the death penalty, while Oklahomans will vote on a measure that would give the state more leeway in the methods used to kill death-row inmates.

“Republicans are starting to take the lead on this issue, they’re starting to say we’re going to use our conservative principles and get rid of this,” said Colby Coash, a Republican state senator from Nebraska. “Here’s a broken government program, if you want to fix broken government programs.”

CORRECTIONS RELATED

Paul Drexler, SF Examiner

the West Coast in a luxurious schooner, robbing banks along the way. Cultured, brilliant and talented, they were two of the most distinguished men ever executed by the state of California.

Sampsell, born in Missouri in 1900, began his criminal career at an early age. At 18, he escaped from a Missouri reformatory and headed west. He learned his boating skills as a bosun for American President Lines. He hooked up with McNabb, the black sheep of a prominent New England family, and both men were convicted of bank robbery in Los Angeles in 1923.

Cheerfully unrepentant upon their release from jail, they continued their crooked ways, using their intelligence to rise to the top of the criminal fraternity. In 1928, Sampsell and McNabb led a conspiracy to smuggle guns and 1 million rounds of ammunition to rebels in Mexico.

Marcus Crowder, The Sacramento Bee

Joseph Rodota’s cogent new drama “Chessman” might just as easily be called “Brown,” though it would not evoke nearly as much curiosity.

Caryl Chessman was the San Quentin death row inmate controversially sentenced to execution after being convicted of a series of robberies, kidnappings and rapes. Pat Brown was the governor of California at the time, charged with adjudicating Chessman’s clemency appeals, and Brown’s conflicted personal deliberations on enforcing capital punishment in the matter are at the heart of the play.

The case attracted worldwide attention at the time (the crimes were committed in 1948, and Chessman was eventually executed in the San Quentin gas chamber on May 2, 1960). A special limited-run world premiere of the work is now at the B Street Theatre through Saturday, Oct. 22.

OPINION

David Middlecamp, The Tribune

Vote “YES” on Proposition 57.

California Chief Probation Officers agree: Prop. 57 keeps dangerous offenders locked up, while allowing parole consideration for people with nonviolent convictions who complete the full prison term for their primary offense.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow states the proposition is only being proposed “to stop overcrowding” (“Vote ‘no’ on Prop. 57, SLO County law enforcement officials urge,” Oct. 12). Not true, but why is that a bad thing? The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world and has exploded by 500 percent in the past 2 decades.

California Prop 62 would repeal the death penalty. A lifer says it doesn’t go far enough.
Kenneth E. Hartman, The Marshall Project

California Proposition 62, which would abolish the state’s rarely enforced death penalty, effectively condemns the 741 residents of death row to something worse: the grinding, hopeless death of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) inside California's broken, dysfunctional prison system. The plain language of the proposed law is neither ambiguous nor complex: “Violent murderers who are sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole in California are never eligible for parole. They spend the rest of their lives in prison and they die in prison." (emphasis in original)

What's accomplished by this initiative is merely changing the method of execution. No less a moral authority than Pope Francis has called LWOP terms of imprisonment "hidden death sentences."

Proposition 62 goes on to condemn us lifers to serve out the remainder of our sentences in "high security" prisons. These are the same prisons found to constitute cruel and unusual punishment by a conservative-leaning majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Plata. Prisons with extraordinarily high suicide rates, with substandard medical, dental, and mental health care, and with scant rehabilitative programs. Prisons rife with gang violence, racism, and despair. A cruel if not unusual enough death, to be sure.

The Los Angeles Times

California voters are weighing dueling death penalty propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot, one that seeks to repeal the system and another that aims to speed it up.

If both pass with a majority, the initiative with the most "yes" votes would supersede the other. If both fail to garner the votes, then the status quo remains, a frustrating prospect for many as advocates on both sides of the issue say the system is broken.

California has more than 740 inmates awaiting execution, the largest death row population in the country. Their appeals go directly to the state Supreme Court and take 25 years to process.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

The debate over the death penalty usually hinges on this question: Is it ethical to take the life of a person who is found guilty of a heinous crime? If you don’t think so, than obviously you should vote yes on Proposition 62, which would end the death penalty in California, and no on Proposition 66, which aims to streamline the appeals process to end ludicrous delays that have long angered crime-victim groups.

The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board doesn’t share these ethical reservations about capital punishment. We recommend a yes vote on Proposition 62 and no on Proposition 66 for a different reason that is more practical than emotional: The branches of California’s government have for decades shown they don’t like the death penalty and don’t want it to be used. If Proposition 66 were enacted, history suggests its fixes would not be executed with good faith.

Vanguard

In 2012 Californians narrowly voted down a ballot proposition that would have ended the death penalty and commuted current death sentences to life without parole (LWOP).  For many currently on death row, however, they and their families opposed the measure.

One of the reasons for that is that by commuting death sentences to LWOP, it would eliminate automatic appeals.  That means that those on death row who believe there were serious flaws in their conviction, or who are actually innocent, would not be entitled to public assistance for appeals and habeas corpus proceedings.

Below is another view from a group called A Living Chance: “a storytelling project of California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), created with women and transgender people serving Life Without Parole (LWOP) sentences. This statement reflects conversations with our partners inside prison whose voices are too often omitted from public discourse on measures that directly affect them.”

Suzy Israel, The Sun

In November, voters get to decide whether to abolish the death penalty (Proposition 62), or to create a mechanism to try to “speed it up” (Proposition 66).

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos encourages voters to vote for Proposition 66, to get the death train back on track. There is a certain dark elegance to Proposition 66, because it gives the illusion of a streamlined process.

I do not presume to guess what will help the family members of murder victims gain some measure of comfort after their ordeal. I also do not have the hubris to believe that I can change the core beliefs of death penalty supporters.

The Daily Californian

When two death-penalty ballot propositions appear in the November election, it illustrates that the system needs to change. And the fact that the state has put 12 people to death in the past 20 years proves this true.

But speeding up this inhumane, reductive practice — as Proposition 66 asks — is not the right solution.

Instead, voters should approve Proposition 62 and abolish the death penalty.

When juries must decide the fate of their peers’ lives, succumbing to internalized racial and gendered biases poses a huge problem — and that manifests when Black criminals are far likelier to be sentenced to death than white criminals convicted of the same crimes.

Daniel Jewett, Marin

INMATES ON SAN QUENTIN State Prison’s death row undergo very tight security. They must be shackled every time they change locations, and they are confined, one each, to a single cell for the majority of the day. Despite these constraints they are surprisingly aware of what’s going on in the outside world, many getting news from the televisions they are allowed to buy and have in their cells. And during a recent, and rare, tour for the press in August, a big topic of discussion was the upcoming capital punishment measures on the California ballot — two propositions that could decide the prisoners’ fates.

Proposition 62 would repeal the death penalty and retroactively convert death sentences to life without parole, thereby also ending the lengthy appeals process for those sentences; supporters argue this measure could save the state nearly $150 million a year. The competing Proposition 66, which also promises a taxpayer savings, would permit reforming of the appeals process, which would also speed up executions. If both measures pass, the one with the most votes would become law. Court challenges have prevented any executions in the state since 2006, and for many inmates the appeals process can span decades as cases are shuttled between state and federal courts.