Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Daily Corrections Clips


Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Transgender California prison inmates would be allowed to have bras, cosmetics and other personal items corresponding to their gender identities under proposed rules filed with state regulators on Tuesday.

The state corrections department is seeking the changes in response to a federal lawsuit that earlier led California to become the first state to provide taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery to an inmate.

Transgender female inmates housed in men’s facilities could have feminine undergarments, lip gloss and mascara, for instance, while transgender male inmates in women’s prisons could wear aftershave and boxers.

Correctional News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Good behavior and demonstrated efforts at self-improvement could soon earn California prison inmates months off their sentences. Under new criminal sentencing guidelines unveiled by the state on March 24, inmates who successfully complete courses in parenting, anger management, substance abuse and addiction, counseling and similar topics will be able to reduce their sentences by one month per year, while those who earn a high school diploma or college degree can shave up to six months off their sentences. These and other new sentencing initiatives aim to help the state trim its overall prison population by 9,500 inmates, or roughly 7 percent of the state’s overall prison population, over the next four years.

California voters approved the new parole guidelines in November 2016 as part of Proposition 57. The guidelines will apply only to nonviolent offenders; those serving life sentences without the possibility of parole and those on death row will not be eligible, according to Mercury News. Input from state law enforcement officials and prosecutors have also impacted the plan, removing both third-strike career criminals and sex offenders from eligibility as well.


Cathy Locke, The Sacramento Bee

Q: In 2007, James Calvin Gaines was convicted of the 1972 murder of 12-year-old Shannon Ritter as she baby-sat four children in Rancho Cordova. He was sentenced to life but was eligible for parole as early as August 2013. What is his current status?

Clyde, Citrus Heights

A: James Calvin Gaines was sentenced in 2007 to life in prison with possibility of parole for the 1972 murder of 12-year-old Shannon Ritter at a Rancho Cordova apartment.

Gaines, 68, is at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione. Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said a parole hearing for Gaines was held in June 2016. He will be eligible for another parole hearing in November 2021.

Sarah Elliott, The Kaweah Commonwealth

He’s been in prison for 14 years. And he has never wavered on the fact that he is innocent and was wrongly accused and convicted.

In February 2002, Gary Tomlin was living and working in Three Rivers when a chance sexual encounter at Lake Kaweah sent his life into a downward spiral from which he would never recover. During the subsequent trial, Gary was found guilty on charges that included a gun enhancement even though a weapon was never produced. In a case that was based on he-said/he-said testimony, circumstantial evidence, and no physical proof, Judge Joseph Kalashian sentenced Gary to 51-years-to-life and, on April 3, 2003, he was sent to state prison.

And now, for the past almost four years, Gary, 54, has been battling cancer. He has been diagnosed with Stage 4 gastroesophageal cancer.

Sabra Stafford, The Turlock Journal

Two Turlock men are facing a litany of theft related charges after they allegedly targeted multiple stores in Sonora while driving a stolen vehicle.

Adrian Eugene Hernandez, 26, and Paul James Howard, 33, both of Turlock were taken into custody on the evening of March 23 after being stopped by the California Highway Patrol and arrests by officers from the Sonora Police Department. They each were charged with felony theft, shoplifting, and conspiracy, according to the Sonora Police Department.


Jazmine Ulloa, The Los Angeles Times

Vonya Quarles grew up in South Los Angeles and describes herself as a third-generation convicted felon. But by the time she took the microphone at a Highland town hall meeting in January 2016, she was a lawyer and executive director of a Riverside County nonprofit that helps connect the homeless, formerly incarcerated and mentally ill to transitional housing.

With applause from the audience, she urged state officials not to create “an additional funding stream for the sheriff,” but to pour new funds into community groups, the kind that had helped her kick a drug addiction and get off the streets. That was the fundamental promise of Proposition 47, the sweeping, controversial 2014 ballot measure that downgraded six drug and theft crimes to misdemeanors and allowed defendants to renegotiate their punishments. This spring, the state will begin the process of awarding $103 million in grants, all funded by the ballot initiative’s cost savings from keeping fewer nonviolent offenders in prison.