Monday, December 19, 2016

Daily Corrections Clips


Don Thompson,  The Associated Press

California is installing nearly 1,000 sophisticated metal detectors, scanners and secret security cameras at its prisons in its latest attempt to thwart the smuggling of cellphones, thousands of which continue to flood the prisons despite previous efforts.

Officials say the phones can be used to coordinate everything from attacks in prison to crimes on the street, yet they have thus far been unable to prevent even high-security inmates like cult killer Charles Manson from repeatedly getting the devices that are illegal behind bars.


Jess Sullivan, Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — More than three years after being sentenced to 68 years to life in prison, an appellate court moved forward Friday on the efforts of a 20-year-old former Vacaville resident to get his conviction and sentence overturned.

The Court of Appeal scheduled oral arguments for Alexander Cervantes’ challenge of his 2013 conviction and sentence. Cervantes’ attorneys are set to make their case Jan. 17 to a three-justice appellate panel in San Francisco.

Cervantes, then 14, broke into a Vacaville home in December 2010 and attacked a 13-year-old girl and her 1-year-old baby brother. He stabbed them both repeatedly and he raped and sodomized the girl before he passed out. Police found him asleep on a blood-soaked bed after the girl managed to escape and called 911.


Michael Anthony Adams , KXTV

A few weeks ago, ABC10 caught word that a bunch of computers were being donated to an East Sacramento middle school. Cool, right? Students, in need of computers, get computers.

But it turns out those machines were fixed up by kids not much older than the ones receiving them. The only difference? The kids refurbishing those computers are doing so from behind bars.

ABC10 started looking into the program, which is run by the California Prison Industry Authority, and found that they've accomplished something many communities and lawmakers are grappling with: how to improve recidivism rates and slow down repeat offenders.

Susan Hiland, Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — Mission Solano’s Bridge to Life Center got a surprise boost Saturday from an unlikely source.

Robert Fox, warden at California Medical Facility in Vacaville, teamed up with Mission Solano to give the men’s lounge a bit of a facelift with a new floor, furniture and a big screen television. All of this was made possible by the medical facility staff’s donations.

“We started planning a few months ago for this,” said David Maldonado, communication resource manager for CMF.

Kerry Klein,

Richard Nuwintore was barely three weeks into his sentence at Taft Correctional Institution when he began to cough and experience chest pain. Within a few days, it was obvious something was wrong.

“I could touch my skin and I was really hot,” Nuwintore said. “I had the coughing, the night sweat. My appetite was gone. I couldn't eat. I couldn't swallow, and I was losing weight really, really fast.”

A diagnosis arrived after X-rays and blood tests: valley fever, a fungal disease endemic to dusty areas of California and Arizona. Kern County, where Taft is located, has the highest rate of valley fever cases of any county in California. Originally a refugee from the east African country of Burundi, Nuwintore had never heard of the disease before arriving at Taft.

The ‘heartbreaking’ rise in self-inflicted deaths at California Institution for Women has sparked concerns, prevention measures.
David Downey, The Press Enterprise

Freida Rocha was half her sister Erika’s age. But the two had much in common.

Though Erika was 35, and Freida, 18, both were 5 feet 2 inches tall. Their smiles were nearly identical. They loved to catch lizards.

And the half-sisters planned to attend concerts and share a room in stepmother Linda Reza’s La Verne home after Erika Rocha’s release from the California Institution for Women in Chino – which they hoped would come sometime in 2016.

Then the unthinkable happened.


Elizabeth Larson, Lake County News

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A man who as a teenager was convicted of taking part in the murder of the ex-girlfriend of one of his friends has been denied release at his first parole hearing.

The Board of Parole Hearings denied parole to Paul Gordon Hennis, 41, who is serving his sentence at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, according to Deputy District Attorney Ed Borg, who traveled to the prison on Wednesday for the lifer hearing.

Hennis and a friend, Roy Allen Corbett, were convicted in February 1994 of first-degree murder for the killing of 16-year-old Jamie Faris in May 1992 in Lakeport, Borg said.


Ericka Cruz Guevarra, EL Tecoldte

Ask Jared Walker how long he’s served time in prison and he gives you an exact number: 1,005 days.

That number was one he calculated many times in his head while incarcerated; It’s a number that he says stays with him.

“I woke up in prison a thousand times, and you don’t forget that,” he said.

Just two weeks after his 21st birthday, Walker was sent to serve time at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy before later transferring to California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. While in prison, he met a man on the yard named “Blaze” who, in passing, told Walker about a program designed to help matriculate formerly incarcerated people to college. When he was released after serving three years, Walker visited the program known as Project Rebound at its San Francisco State office.

J.W. Burch IV, Tehachapi News

Given the opportunity to spend $100, many kids would buy stuff for themselves. But one kid, given the chance to be a part of the Tehachapi Police Department's fourth annual Shop with a Cop, was thinking of his family.

John Borne, 7, bought gifts for his mother and three sisters Friday night.

"That's what Christmas is all about," the second-grader said. "It's not about presents; it's about time for your family."

A total of 20 children were taken to Kmart and each given a $100 gift card to buy whatever they wanted. The Tehachapi Unified School District asked teachers at each elementary school to nominate students they thought were the most in need, according to TPD Chief Kent Kroeger.


Michael Hestrin, The San Diego Union-Tribune

In the most recent election, Californians reaffirmed their strong support of the death penalty. California voters simultaneously voted to keep the death penalty as a possible punishment (Proposition 62) and enacted a series of reforms (Proposition 66) to ensure that the death penalty actually works, bringing meaningful justice for murder victims whose lives were cut short and some semblance of closure to the victims’ loved ones, while still safeguarding the constitutional due process rights of defendants.

The death penalty is reserved for the very worst of the worst; less than 1 percent of the thousands of murders committed in California each year are prosecuted as death penalty cases. California’s death row inmates, including some serial killers, have murdered over 1,000 victims, including 226 children and 43 police officers; 294 victims were raped and/or tortured, losing their lives in the most horrific ways. Yet, these brutal murderers sit on death row for 25 to 30 years or more, with endless appeals delaying justice for victims and society, all at continued taxpayer expense.

Foon Rhee, The Sacramento Bee

California has been leading the way on prison and sentencing reform, a cause that Barack Obama embraced in the final stretch of his presidency. But it looks like mass incarceration will be another huge policy U-turn from President-elect Donald Trump.

His law-and-order crusade, however, would ignore the reality that locking up a lot of nonviolent and drug offenders costs taxpayers a ton of money without improving public safety very much. A new study estimates that nearly 40 percent of those behind bars don’t need to be there, based on the seriousness of the crime and the risk of committing another.