Thursday, April 20, 2017

Daily Corrections Clips


Don Thompson, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif.- A federal judge said Wednesday that she will fine California $1,000 a day if state officials don't start providing swifter care for mentally ill inmates.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller said she is fed up with the treatment delays that have plagued the prison mental health system despite two decades of federal oversight.

She gave the state until May 15 to end a chronic backlog in sending inmates to state mental facilities. The $1,000-a-day fines for each inmate whose treatment is delayed would start accumulating May 16, but wouldn't be collected until she holds a hearing in November to decide if the state complied.

Sam Stanton, The Sacramento Bee

A federal judge in Sacramento is threatening to fine the state $1,000 per day starting next month for every inmate whose transfer to mental health care facilities is delayed beyond the state’s own deadlines for providing such care.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller issued her 15-page order Wednesday in a long-running dispute between the state and advocates for mentally ill inmates, who contend the state still is not in compliance with its own rules for how quickly inmates must be transferred to mental health care programs.

In her order, Mueller wrote that the state has fallen out of compliance repeatedly with its own deadline for providing care and that “this cycle must be broken.”


Oculus and entrepreneurship program Defy Ventures are using motivational exercises and groundbreaking VR films to change lives on both sides of the prison wall.
Daniel Terdiman, Fast Company

I’m standing in the gym in B Yard at Pelican Bay State Prison, just outside Crescent City, the small, isolated, coastal town close to the Oregon border, where California sends the worst of the worst of its criminals. Traditionally, violence here has been off the charts and inmates frequently battle each other in racial gang fights.

But today, 37 Pelican Bay inmates–men of all races, many serving long terms for murder–are together in the gym, working side by side, laughing and even bear-hugging, and sometimes crying. Clark Ducart, the prison’s warden since 2014, is very impressed.


Brianna Calix, The Merced Sun-Star

Chowchilla- Once a week, inmates at Valley State Prison who typically might not interact come together to make Native American jewelry from thousands of tiny beads that come in all colors.

They work from patterns on homemade looms to make all sorts of designs – NFL logos, cartoon characters, names of family members and traditional designs. Once their patterns are finished, they sew them onto leather

“It gives us a way out for a little while,” said Justin Henson, 28, from Fresno. “It’s something that you’re proud of that you can ship to your family.”

Zak Dahlheimer, KESQ

HEMET, Calif. - As part of continued training and preparing for the upcoming wildfire season, CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire crews are holding their annual Fire Preparedness Exercise Thursday.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmate crews from the CAL FIRE Riverside Unit will take part in the exercise, evaluating their ability to safely put out wildfires.

Crews are observed and rated in drills, including their ability to hike, construct hand line utilizing hand tools, deployment of Fire Shelters in an attempt to prepare for a life-threatening burn over situation.


Foon Rhee, The Sacramento Bee

There’s one item on my reporting bucket list I never did check off – witnessing an execution. I came very close once, even getting a tour of the gas chamber.

The condemned inmate was David Lawson, convicted of shooting Wayne Shinn in the back of the head during a home break-in. I talked to Shinn’s family and covered Lawson’s news conference when he blamed depression for driving him to murder and urged other mentally ill people to get help. “I desperately want my death to have meaning,” he said. “I am no monster.”

Lawson became a national story because he and TV talk show host Phil Donahue wanted his execution to be the first one televised in the United States. So at first, I was disappointed that another reporter was chosen as a witness.