Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Judge rejects immediate end to prison oversight

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A federal judge on Wednesday rejected California's call for an immediate end to federal oversight of medical care in state prisons, ruling that the state has yet to prove that it's ready to retake control.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, of San Francisco, instead proposed a gradual transition back to state control. He set no deadline in the four-page ruling, which comes six years after he appointed a receiver to run inmate health care operations.

The transition could take at least a year, said Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office, which filed the lawsuit.

Henderson's order came after Gov. Jerry Brown's administration and attorneys representing inmates could not agree on ending a receivership that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars and forced a shift of lower-level criminals from state prisons to county jails.

Instead, the two sides submitted conflicting recommendations to Henderson earlier this month. Their recommendations show that the receiver "has made significant progress in improving the delivery of medical care in California's prisons," the judge wrote.

But they also reveal lingering problems over stalled construction projects and over how to measure when prisons are providing adequate health care.

Henderson concluded that while Brown's administration said it is ready to retake control of inmate medical care within 30 days, "the record does not contain sufficient evidence to support that assertion."

Read More: Sacbee

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Inmate facing execution in O.C. case commits suicide in San Quentin

n inmate sentenced to death hung himself in his cell at San Quentin State Prison over the weekend, officials announced on Tuesday.

The inmate, James Lee Crummel, 68, is the 20th death row inmate to take his own life since California reinstated capital punishment in 1978.

That’s seven more inmates than the 13 who have been executed, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. An additional 57 inmates have died of natural causes while awaiting execution.

Crummel was sentenced to death for killing 13-year-old James Wilfred Trotter in 1979. Law enforcement officials said Crummel kidnapped the boy on his way to school in Costa Mesa, then sexually abused and killed him.

The boy's body wasn't found for years, and Crummel wasn't sentenced for the crime until 2004. By then, he was already in prison for molesting other boys.

Crummel was one of the first child molesters in Orange County targeted by the sex offender registry created by Megan's Law.

[Updated 3:00 p.m.: Crummel, who was not on suicide watch, used an extension cord to hang himself from a locker in his cell, said Sam Robinson, a spokesman at San Quentin. Inmates are allowed to have extension cords in certain circumstances to plug in electronics like televisions, Robinson said.

Prison staff found Crummel dead shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday when they were bringing him his meal, Robinson said. They had last spotted him alive 15 minutes earlier when passing by his cell.

Source: LA Times

Saturday, 26 May 2012

California refuses to return execution drug to FDA

(05-25) 18:33 PDT SAN FRANCISCO --California prison officials are defying a U.S. Food and Drug Administration order to return supplies of a foreign-made drug used in executions, saying they disagree with a federal judge's ruling that the drug was imported illegally without an FDA safety review.

The FDA, which also disagreed with the judge and argued that no such review is required, said Friday that it will appeal the ruling.

The dispute adds further uncertainty to the resumption of executions in California, blocked since 2006 by an order by another federal judge who found numerous flaws in the state's procedures for lethal injections.

The drug, sodium thiopental, is an anesthetic used by California and most other states to render a prisoner unconscious at the start of the execution process. After the sole U.S. manufacturer stopped production in 2009, California and several other states got new supplies from a British distributor of Austrian-made sodium thiopental.

The FDA, which tests foreign-made medications for safety and effectiveness before allowing their distribution, approved the drug's shipments without inspection, saying a review of execution drugs was not part of its "public health role." A judge in Washington, D.C., disagreed in March and told the agency to halt the imports and to tell states to return their supplies to the FDA.

Read more: SF Gate

Friday, 25 May 2012

Inmate who escaped 30 years ago is captured in Azusa

An inmate who escaped nearly 30 years ago was captured Thursday in Azusa, authorities said.

Carlos Campos, 50, was convicted of second-degree burglary in Los Angeles County. He escaped in August 1983 while on a work furlough program, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

While on the run, Campos lived as Carlos Hererra, an identity he purchased, authorities said.

Special agents from the department of corrections tracked Campos down after discovering that he had been arrested in 1993 for assault with a deadly weapon. He was placed on probation, but state corrections authorities were not notified, the department said in a statement.

Agents finally found Campos comparing fingerprints on law enforcement databases.

Campos was taken to the state prison in Chino for processing.

Source: LA Times

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Slain Calif. man who shot at police dog was on early release : AB109

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Chico man who shot a Sacramento police dog Friday and was then killed by an officer would likely still be alive if he was not released from the Butte County Jail because of overcrowding.

Sacramento police identified the man as Lucus Webb, 33, according to the Sacramento Bee. The Sacramento Police Department did not return calls for information by deadline Monday.

Webb was facing nine years in prison for the charge of carrying a dirk or dagger along with prior prison sentences and a strike, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said Monday.

The Butte County Jail released him twice because of overcrowding and Webb failed to appear in court twice. A warrant was out for Webb's arrest when he was killed.

"When you have overcrowded jails, they are making the best choices," Ramsey said of jail staff. "Do we release a rapist, a murderer, a serial burglar or release this guy who had a knife down his pants?"

About 9:50 a.m. Friday, Sacramento police tried to stop a car stolen from Chico near Broadway and 24th Street in the capital city, but the driver led them on a chase, police reported. The car almost hit a group of children.

Officers soon found a man and woman on foot near Riverside Boulevard and Robertson Way.

Police arrested the woman, Leslie McCulley, 28, also of Chico, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The man ran into a backyard and fired multiple rounds at an officer, hitting police dog Bodie in the face and paw, police reported. The officer returned fire, killing the man.

Bodie was rushed to an animal hospital and is now recovering, police reported. He is a 4-year-old German Shepherd and has been with the Sacramento Police Department for a year.

Chico police records indicate Webb stole a burgundy 2000 Toyota Camry from a residence

Read more: Correction One

CBS13 Exclusive: Death Row Interview With Wesley Shermantine

SAN QUENTIN (CBS13) –After 14 years of denying responsibility for the murders, convicted serial killer Wesley Shermantine is now admitting to his involvement.

Shermantine sat down with CBS13′s Koula Gianulias at San Quentin State Prison in an exclusive interview from death row.

Since February, Shermantine has sent five letters from his cell on death row to CBS13. The most recent to Gianulias said he was ready to sit down and meet face to face.

“He just sat a few feet away from me,” Gianulias said. “He wasn’t cuffed. We were in a cage.”

“When I would ask him those difficult questions, he would look down. His face would change,” she said.

All along, since his arrest in 1999, he’s blamed all of the murders on childhood friend Loren Herzog. Now, for the first time, he’s taking some responsibility for horrific crimes spanning two decades.

“I’m sorry for the murders,” he said. “My intention is not to cause all this pain.”

Gianulias said “I asked him repeatedly if he will ever confess to the murders. At the very end of our two-hour interview, he admitted ‘I had an active role.’”

Read more: CBS 13 Sacramento

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

To heal society the first step is to ‘destigmatize’ rape

(WNN) GLOBAL: Although convicted of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries, serial killer and rapist Richard Ramirez receives hundreds of letters every year from adoring women at San Quentin State Prison. Some arrive with lipsticked kisses and others with photographs. The state of California allows this “fan club” to exist due to the inmate’s bill of rights, a provision in the California Penal Code. Ramirez also receives free healthcare and gets his meals hand delivered to him daily. Could one consider Ramirez to really be paying for his heinous crimes of rape and murder despite being incarcerated on death row?

Women rape victims ultimately pay for the crimes committed by their perpetrators. The violence of rape produces lifelong emotional and psychological scars. Across the world there is little justice for the crime of rape due to shame, humiliation, religion and law.

On May 11, 2012 the Nebraska Supreme Court said a woman can be sent to jail for refusing to testify against the man she accused of sexual assault. The case of a Kansas woman found in contempt after refusing to testify against a 63-year-old Nebraska man charged with sexually assaulting her when she was 7 years old sparked the ruling. In attempt to avoid public humiliation and shame commonly endured by rape victims, the woman refused to take the stand and was ordered by a judge to testify or face 90 days in jail in April 2011. The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the judge’s decision, saying a state law that allows witnesses to decline to testify when they would be publicly disgraced does not apply in criminal cases. Yet the shame and humiliation of public testimony will forever haunt this victim as it does all victims who cringe on the witness stand through the horrific details of bodily defilement.

Read more: WNN

US prison inmates returning to society: How will they be received?

(AXcess News) Los Angeles - Jason Corralez donned a freshly pressed collared shirt. He had shaved neatly around his salt-and-pepper goatee. He looked like a man about to go on a job interview, which he was. It was a job he desperately wanted, but one question gnawed at him: Would they be willing to hire a convicted murderer?

Mr. Corralez had one advantage as he applied for the position at Trader Joe's in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Both his brother-in-law and nephew worked at the grocery store. But as his wife drove him to the interview, Corralez was worried about that question on the application that asked if he had ever been convicted of a felony. He had written: "Will discuss during interview." When he arrived at the store, the manager queried him about his résumé.

Corralez went through his work experience, which all happened to be from his time in prison, where he had been since he was 17: upholstery work, yard maintenance, small engine repair, clerical tasks. "I explained my job experience," he says. "All the courses I took - anger management, morals and values." Corralez didn't leave out why he went to prison, either. "I'm an ex-felon for the offense of second-degree murder," he told the manager.

A former member of The Mob Crew, an East Los Angeles gang, he served 24 years for killing a member of the rival MS-13 gang in a drive-by shooting. "This is the person I was," he said, "and this is the person I am now." According to Corralez, the manager stepped back, stunned. "Thank you for being honest," Corralez recalls him saying. As the ex-prisoner walked to the bus stop, he knew what it meant. "I took everything that I had accomplished, everything that I had to do to get a second chance," he says. "But I could see it in his reaction. It was like the nail

Read more: AXcess News

Sex offender confesses to masturbating in laundry mat

Sex offender confesses to masturbating in laundry mat By THE RECORDER Police arrested a high-risk sex offender Saturday night after a woman reported she saw him masturbating at a local laundry mat.

The suspect, identified as 31-year-old Robert Castaneda, was booked into the custody of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of indecent exposure.

The Porterville Police Department reports that at approximately 9:10 p.m., officers responded to the laundry mat in the sub-100 block of North D Street where the woman reported that an Hispanic man entered the business and was acting strange. She said a that a short time later, she saw the man masturbating in the corner of the building, the PPD reports. When she told him she was calling the police, he fled from the business on foot.

Officers located Castaneda hiding in some nearby bushes. They later learned he was on active parole with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and that he was listed as a high-risk sex offender on a GPS monitor.

Police say Castaneda later confessed to the act.

Source: Recorder Online

Man arrested in case of missing Calif. teen Sierra LaMar

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (AP) —Authorities have arrested a man in the kidnapping and death of a Northern California teenager whose disappearance more than two months ago has prompted hundreds of volunteers to turn out for organized searches

Antolin Garcia-Torres was arrested Monday evening at a Safeway store in Morgan Hill, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said at a late Monday news conference.

"We believe we have probable cause that he committed the kidnapping and murder of Sierra LaMar," she said.

Smith told reporters that investigators have gathered "a lot of physical evidence" that ties the 21-year-old Garcia-Torres to the case, the San Jose Mercury News ( ) reported.

Garcia-Torres was arrested on suspicion of murder and kidnapping. Additional information was not immediately available, but a Tuesday morning news conference was scheduled.

Sierra hasn't been seen or heard from since she left her home in Morgan Hill to go to school on the morning of March 16. Authorities believe she was kidnapped while walking to a school bus stop.

Read More: Times Union

Monday, 21 May 2012

Prison locked down after riot; 1 dead, 19 hurt

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) —A privately run prison in Mississippi for illegal immigrants remained on lockdown Monday after a riot that began a day earlier left one guard dead and at least 19 people injured, officials said.

All of the roughly 2,500 inmates were secured in their housing units at the Adams County Correctional Facility by 2:45 a.m., nearly 12 hours after the riot began, Mike Machak, a spokesman for the company that owns the facility, said in a statement.

The prison remained on lockdown, and officials were assessing damage at the southwest Mississippi prison owned by Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corp. of America, the statement said.

The 2,567-bed prison near Natchez houses adult male illegal immigrants, most of whom re-entered the U.S. after being deported, said Emilee Beach, a prison spokeswoman.

Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said the facility holds low-security inmates.

The statement from Machak early Monday said prison employees would work closely with law enforcement to investigate the riot.

"CCA will support full prosecution under the law for all inmates identified as having committed criminal acts during the disturbance," the statement said.

Read More: AP

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Questions swirl around Jerry Brown's plan to cut state workers' hours

One day after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed sweeping changes to state government work schedules, many employees were still deciphering what it means for them.
Brown wants to move most of California's 214,000 workers to four-day workweeks and 9.5-hour shifts starting July 1. The change would reduce state workers' hours and pay by 5 percent each month and cut state payroll by about $839 million, $401 million of it from the deficit-ridden general fund. Many departments would be closed on Fridays, some on Mondays.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from reader emails and comments on
>So now what?
Marty Morgenstern, the Brown administration's Labor and Economic Development Agency secretary, said the state will meet with departments and labor union officials to hammer out the particulars.
Look for those talks to heat up immediately, because Brown wants the new arrangements in place in time for the July 1 start of the 2012-13 fiscal year.
>Are the unions going for it?
It's difficult to make a blanket characterization: A dozen unions represent 181,000 state workers divided into 21 bargaining units who perform thousands of different jobs.
But it's clear that labor had a hand in shaping the proposal. For example, Brown's budget also calls for cutting back on outside contracts for services such as janitorial and security work and computer technology consultants.
By giving SEIU what it wants, it raises the likelihood that the 95,000-member union will go along with Brown's furlough plan and make it harder for the other smaller unions to resist.
>State workers are all under contract right now. Doesn't this violate those agreements?
Brown says he wants to honor the bargaining process, but that doesn't mean that the contracts would need to be reopened. The changes could be enacted through short side-letter agreements that focus on the scheduling changes and nothing else.
Read More: Sacbee
Read more here:

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mom of Ohio inmate killed in prison lightning strike alleges negligence; State denies claim

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The mother of an inmate who was struck by lightning while jogging in a recreation yard is accusing the Ohio prisons department of negligence that contributed to his death. The state is denying the claim.

Linda Bickerstaff, of Akron, filed the case in the Ohio Court of Claims over the death of 33-year-old Dalin Anderson. He died and several other inmates were hurt in the May 2010 lightning strike at the Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville in eastern Ohio.

Bickerstaff alleges the prison failed to protect the inmates’ safety because no corrections officers were in the exercise yard and they didn’t close it as storms approached. She seeks at least $75,000 in damages.

The state says Anderson’s death was the result of acts beyond the prison department’s control.

Source: Washington Post

Jerry Brown's plea to voters: 'Please increase taxes temporarily'

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown released a plan to close California's rapidly growing deficit by switching state offices to a four-day week, slashing welfare benefits and healthcare for the poor and relying on a variety of short-term fixes — all in the hopes that voters will give the state some breathing room by raising taxes in November.

The governor, who unveiled his revised budget proposal in the Capitol on Monday, is facing a nearly $16-billion budget gap, far larger than the $9.2 billion he predicted in January. He warned that the deficit could grow significantly if voters reject his proposed ballot measure to raise the state sales tax and income levies on the wealthy.

That would trigger additional cuts, including reductions in public education equivalent to lopping three weeks off the school year, he said.

"I'm linking these serious budget reductions … with a plea to the voters: Please increase taxes temporarily," Brown said at a morning news conference.

His $91.4-billion spending plan sets up confrontations with interests that are supporting his tax campaign. To save $400 million, he's negotiating with public labor unions to reduce the state workweek to 38 hours, worked over four days — a 5% cut in payroll costs. And he's pushing fellow Democrats in the Legislature to accept steep cuts in social services, which they have so far resisted. Brown acknowledged that budget negotiations will be especially challenging.

Read More: LA Times

Monday, 14 May 2012

“Title 15″ Rules for Prisoners, San Quentin, CA 1891

Bold slayings on rise in Stockton (Thanks to AB109)

STOCKTON - A woman whose body was left on the pavement by Dumpsters in a north Stockton apartment complex and a man shot on a downtown street in broad daylight are the city's latest homicide victims.

The killings, which were reported less than three hours apart Tuesday morning, are unrelated, police said. Both victims are unidentified, and police are in the process of determining motives and potential suspects. The public nature of the downtown shooting and the manner in which the woman's body was discarded by her attackers in north Stockton highlight the theme of local criminals becoming more aggressive and less discreet, a police spokesman said.

"These criminals have become very brazen. We've had several homicides now that have happened during daylight hours, and this one, early in the morning, in a business district," said Detective Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department. "Definitely, they're getting very brazen."

The first homicide of the day was logged about 7 a.m., when police received a report of the discovery of the body of a woman at an apartment complex on Rosemarie Lane near Pershing Avenue. Silva said police were interviewing a man in connection with the woman's death but have made no arrests.

The second occurred at 9:35 a.m., when multiple shots were fired at Sutter and Washington streets, next to the Human Services Agency building by the Crosstown Freeway. A man hit by the gunfire collapsed in the street and later died at a hospital, police said.

Read More:

Jerry Brown's budget proposes longer days, shorter weeks for state workers

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGState employees would work longer shifts but fewer of them under the revised budget plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown this morning, saving the government more than $800 million.
Brown's budget envisions putting a four-day, 38-hour workweek for "the majority of state employees." If broken into four equal shifts, that translates into four 9.5-hour workdays and a reduction of hours and pay of eight hours over four weeks.
Brown's plan doesn't spare prisons or state hospitals: "The Administration will pursue commensurate reductions in work hours and pay for employees of entities that operate 24 hour a day, 7 days a week when implementation of the four-day workweek is not feasible."
The plan also cuts the state's operating costs by cutting energy usage at state-occupied buildings.
In sum, the workweek reconfiguration plan would save an estimated $839.1 million in fiscal 2012-13. Of that, $401.7 million would be savings for the general fund, which Brown says is confronting a $16 billion deficit.
The budget plan also anticipates more savings through cutting outside contracts, particularly in information technology services, eliminating "non essential" hiring of retired annuitants and cutting 11,000 state positions on top of the 15,000 eliminated in the 2011-12 budget.

Source: Sacbee

Gov. Jerry Brown's May budget revision summary 2012-2013Gov. Jerry Brown's May budget revision summary 2012-2013
Read more here:
Gov. Jerry Brown's May budget revision summary 2012-2013

Bump California death penalty measure from November ballot, group says

A law-and-order organization on Monday asked a state appeals court to bump a measure off the November ballot that would repeal California's death penalty, arguing that it violates the so-called "single subject" rule because it proposes multiple reforms.
The ballot language is "deceptive" and conflicts with state rules that limit voter initiatives to a single subject the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation argues in a petition filed with the Sacramento-based 3rd District Court of Appeal.
The foundation brought the lawsuit on behalf of Phyllis Loya, the mother of a Pittsburg police officer fatally shot in 2005 whose killer was sent to death row by a Contra Costa County jury.
The SAFE California Act would abolish the death penalty, clear the state's death row and replace capital punishment with life in prison without the possibility of parole. But the measure also provides for shifting as much as $100 million used for death penalty costs to a fund that would pay for solving murder and rape cases.
The lawsuit argues that the measure contains conflicting proposals that combine unrelated reforms into a single ballot argument. "This kind of manipulation ... is exactly what the single-subject rule was put in the constitution to prevent," said Kent Scheidegger, the foundation's legal director.
Read More: Mercury News

California ballot measure on death penalty faces legal challenge

The Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation petitioned the 3rd District Court of Appeals today to remove from the November ballot a proposal to abolish the death penalty in California, arguing it violates the state's "single-subject rule" for initiatives.

The foundation said abolishing the death penalty while also authorizing the distribution of $100 million to local law enforcement agencies to help solve murder and rape cases violates a requirement that ballot measures address only one subject.

"This kind of manipulation, forcing the people to vote on two different measures as an all-or-nothing choice, is exactly what the single-subject rule was put in the Constitution to prevent," the foundation's Kent Scheidegger said in a prepared statement.

Supporters of abolishing the death penalty said the litigation is baseless. Former San Quentin Warden Jeanne Woodford said in a prepared statement that the ballot measure is "about one thing and one thing only: ensuring that those who commit the most serious crimes in our state are caught and held accountable. Every aspect of the initiative is connected to that goal."

Source: Sacbee

Gov. Jerry Brown: Cut state workers, health and welfare to solve budget

Gov. Jerry Brown called Monday for additional spending cuts to health and welfare programs, as well as a 5 percent furlough for state workers, to help erase a budget deficit that has grown to $15.7 billion.
PHOTO GALLERY: Gov. Jerry Brown May Revise
The Democratic governor relies on a patchwork of solutions to bridge the gap in a $91.4 billion general fund spending plan, including deeper cuts, his November tax initiative and taking money from a multi-state mortgage abuse settlement with banks.

Among the most unusual ideas: asking state employees to work four days a week for a total of 38 hours instead of 40, or 9.5-hour shifts. Brown suggested in the budget that the proposal would save operational costs by shutting down offices once a week in addition to 5 percent of salary. The proposal would likely have to be bargained with labor unions since Democratic lawmakers will not impose the cuts unilaterally.

The governor also proposed giving UC $38 million less than he did earlier this year. Both proposals make it more likely that UC will raise tuition in 2012-13 after UC officials said last week they needed an additional $125 million to avoid a 6 percent hike on students.

The governor said the state deficit had grown well beyond the $9.2 billion he originally estimated in January because of an overly optimistic revenue forecast and federal rejections of cuts in Medi-Cal and in-home care

Brown said the state and the nation has been living beyond its means. "There has to be a balance and a day of reckoning," Brown said. "This is a type of a day of reckoning, and we've got to take the medicine."

Source: Sacbee

Read more here:

Saturday, 12 May 2012

California's budget deficit has ballooned to $16 billion, Gov. Jerry Brown says

SACRAMENTO -- California's projected budget deficit has ballooned to $16 billion, much larger than predicted just four months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday, as he warned of draconian cuts to schools and public safety if voters don't approve his November tax-hike measure.

The governor said the shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January in part because tax collections are sluggish and the economy hasn't recovered as fast as expected. The deficit has also soared because lawsuits and federal requirements have blocked billions of dollars in state cuts to social programs, Brown said.

"This means we will have to go much farther and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year," Brown said in an online video. "But we can't fill this hole with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools. That's why I'm bypassing the gridlock and asking you, the people of California, to approve a plan that avoids cuts to schools and public safety."

Brown on Saturday did not release details of the newly calculated deficit, but he is set to lay out a revised spending plan Monday. The new blueprint for the fiscal year that starts July 1 hinges in large part on voters approving higher taxes in the fall. Under Brown's tax measure, California would temporarily raise the state's sales tax by a quarter-cent and increase the income tax on people who make $250,000 or more.

Read more: Mercury News

Inmates rewarded with doughnuts for good behaviour during prison strike

CONS at one of Scotland’s toughest jails were given double chocolate doughnuts for behaving during a strike by prison officers.

Inmates at Saughton in Edinburgh toasted the wildcat action with thank-you treats of doughnuts, crisps and fruit juice. Last night, one con said: “The prison officers can take strike action every day of the week as far as we are concerned.

“It was some bonus for us and totally unexpected. When the trolleys came round, there was a party atmosphere. We were toasting the unions for the rest of the night.”

Thursday’s walkout by prison officers – from the PCS and the Prison Officers’ Union – came in support of other public service workers protesting over pension cuts.

But it took Scottish Prison Service bosses by surprise and meant cons were locked in their cells all day. Normal meals were still served.

The inmate suggested the “party packs”, which were dished out around 9pm, may have been to calm prisoners who were angryaboutbeencooped upin their cells for longer than normal.

But a Scottish Prison Service spokeswoman said: “This is more likely to have been done as a thank-you because, across the whole estate, there were no problems reported in what were difficult circumstances.

“We are not aware of any reports of heightened tensions in any prison.”

Read more: Daily Record UK

Prison Cell Phones: The High-Tech Plan To Stop The Use Of Cell Phones By Inmates

A deal between Gov. Jerry Brown's administration and a private communications company to deploy special equipment to block the rampant use of contraband cell phones by state prison inmates is based on a technology that is unproven and could undermine public safety, according to a new report.

A study by the nonpartisan California Council on Science and Technology released this week raises “significant concerns” about plans to install “managed access technology” in the state’s 33 adult prisons.

"Managed access as proposed will not do the job that the (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) wants done," said Susan Hackwood, the council's executive director.

In April, corrections officials awarded a contract to build and manage a system to filter electronic communications at state lockups to Global Tel*Link, which already operates the traditional pay phones that inmates are allowed to use.

Department officials said the deal was “risk-free” for taxpayers because Global Tel*Link will pay for all equipment, installation and operating costs. Company officials expect to offset those costs through increased demand for the pay phones, which are available in most prison units and monitored by staff.

Read more: Huffington post

CCPOA member's only website

CCPOA is pleased to announce the launch of the members' only website on Monday, May 14, 12. With the launch of the site, the association will be able to provide information, updates, and analysis on issues that impact our profession. In order to receive the most current information available to the union, members will need to be registered. The site can be accessed at

We have created accounts for all of the members that we have email addresses for in our system. Over 17,000 accounts have been created. These members will simply have to input their first initial and last name as their "username". Using no hyphens or spaces - example: ASMITH. If your last name of record is hyphenated you will need to make it all one word -example: BSMITHJONES. Members would then input the last 4 digits of their social security number as their password to gain access.

The members that we do not have email addresses for will have to send an email to and submit their first and last name, institution, and last 4 digits of their social security number to have an account created. Verification is not an automated process and will take 24 hours to complete. Once verified, the member will receive an email granting access.

Please be patient with the verification process and the new website, as we make modifications and improvements based upon member input. We expect this to be a tremendous resource and an enhancement to our communications efforts.

Thank you

Chuck Alexander

Friday, 11 May 2012

Mother’s Day 2012: Heart-Moving Pictures of Children Visiting Their Moms in California Prison

Seven-year-old Levell Jones listened to his mother calmly as she tied her shoelace. Jones, who had not seen his mother in 17 months, visited her at the California Institute for Women (CIW) state prison in Chino early May, not sure of when he wouldl see her again.

Click here to view the photos

There are many children like Jones, who have been visiting their mothers in prison at an annual Mother's Day event, Get On The Bus, in California for the past 12 years as a part of collaboration between California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Center for Restorative Justice Works.

According to CDCR statistics, about 200,000 California children have an incarcerated parent and live with relatives or in foster care.

The Get on the Bus programme, which is funded by schools, churches and organisations alike, has become a way for such parents to stay connected with their children.

In the 13th year of the programme, 25 buses filled with over a thousand children and their caregivers travelled across San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Central Valley, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Rosa on 5 May, to CIW to let children celebrate Mother’s Day with their mothers in prison.

On Friday, 11 May, these buses will travel to Central California Women's Facility and Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, CDCR said in a statement.

Read more: IBTimes.UK

Soledad Prison to honor fallen officers

A memorial ceremony for officers killed in the line of duty is set to take place next week at the state Correctional Training Facility in Soledad.

From Jan. 16, 1970 to May 19, 1971, a string of violent incidents at the prison left four employees dead. Their service and lives will be remembered with a bronze plaque cast in their honor.

At 10:30 a.m. May 17, the prison will hold a dedication ceremony honoring:

> John V. Mills, died Jan. 16, 1970 > William Shull, died July 23, 1970 > Robert McCarthy, died March 4, 1971 > Kenneth Conant, died May 19, 1971

Since 1998, CTF has received enough money through fundraising to build a garden in memory of employees who’ve worked at the 65-year-old institution.

The event is not open to the public.

About 5,600 minimum- to medium-custody inmates are incarcerated at the prison under the watch of about 1,500 employees. As part of its correctional services, CTF offers inmates academic classes and job training.

Source: The Californian

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for California state worker pay cuts

State workers' compensation is back on the budget chopping block.

Brown administration officials met with the state employee union leaders last week, according to sources familiar with the meetings, to warn them that the next version of the governor's budget will include an unspecified cut in employee costs up to 10 percent.

The administration in January estimated that California is confronting a $9.2 billion deficit through 2012-13, but a recent state analysis concluded the actual gap is considerably more.

The sources, who declined to talk on the record because the administration asked all involved to keep the discussions secret, said Brown told the unions he was seeking $750 million in state employee cost savings for fiscal 2012-13.

The sources said the Brown administration asked union leaders to come up with ways to make the reduction -- pay cuts or higher benefit contributions, for instance.

Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said, "The governor has already indicated that more difficult reductions will be required," because the state's budget deficit has grown since Brown issued his first budget proposal in January.

"The details of those reductions will be detailed in the May Revision," Palmer said.

The governor could order wholesale layoffs, but the civil service process usually takes at least six months and the savings often fall short of expectations.

Furloughs are an option only if the Senate and Assembly authorize Brown to execute them, because the courts have ruled the policy falls under the Legislature's authority to set wages and working conditions. That seems unlikely, given the Democratic majority in the statehouse.

Other cost savings such as outright pay cuts, higher employee contributions to pension or health benefits, would need to be bargained.

Read more: Sacbee

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

California officials ask judge to end prison medical oversight in a month

California officials want a federal judge toend oversight of prison medical care in 30 days. That’s the thrust of documents filed late Mondayin the court of a federal judge who seizedcontrol of state prison healthcare nearlya decade ago because one inmate a week was dying of shoddycare.

In a 43-page plan to end federal oversight, Corrections attorneys argued that healthcare is “wholly transformed,” that inmates get good care, from good doctors, in good clinics and that California’s got the “will, capacity, and leadership” tokeep it up. They’ve asked U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson to relinquish control in 30 days.

But the receiver appointed toimprove state prison healthcare thinks oversight shouldlast another year and a half. Receiver Clark Kelso says that’s to ensure the state upgrades medical facilities and complies with a federal court order to reduce the inmate population by 40,000 inmates byJune 2013.

Corrections recently unveiled a planthat wouldstopshort of that number to save money. Attorneys at the Prison Law Office say the plan “intentionallyflouts”the court's reduction order and casts doubt onCalifornia’s commitment “to ensure the receiver’s hard-won improvements to healthcare do not evaporate.”

Theywant to see medical improvements adopted in state regulations before the court bows out.

Read more: KPCC

Taking murder rap like a man: G. Dep’s 15 yrs. for ’fess to ’93 slay

His conscience got him 15 years. Former Bad Boy rapper G. Dep was sent to prison yesterday for a two-decades-old fatal gunpoint mugging — a cold-case murder that was solved only when he walked into a Harlem station house two years ago and turned himself in so he could square himself with God.

“The circumstance of your being before the court now suggests to me a maturity and decency that wouldn’t have been evident at the time,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said of the 15-year sentence, the lowest allowed by law.

“It was the right thing to do, even though it landed you in the position you find yourself in now,” the judge added, calling the rapper by his given name, Trevell Coleman.

DO THE RIGHT THING: Rapper G. Dep (above), who’s been criticized by inmates and even his wife for confessing to the 1993 murder of John Henkel, was given the minimum 15-year sentence yesterday.

DO THE RIGHT THING: Rapper G. Dep (above), who’s been criticized by inmates and even his wife for confessing to the 1993 murder of John Henkel, was given the minimum 15-year sentence yesterday
When he walked into the 25th Precinct two years ago, Coleman — who had enjoyed success as a protege of Sean “Puffy” Combs in the late ’90s — was a married dad of three and in treatment for an addiction to PCP.

As part of turning his life around, he was determined to take responsibility for a crime that continued to gnaw at him, explained his lawyer, Anthony Ricco. And Coleman has never backed down.

“My hope is that Trevell never wavers from his decision,” Ricco said at the poignant sentencing. “Fifteen years is a long time. Fifteen years in the penitentiary for putting yourself there is an even longer time.”

Coleman, 37, has suffered the mockery and insults of his fellow prisoners, the lawyer noted, and in the press as well, for confessing to a shooting that he had essentially gotten away with, only to learn that his victim had died and that he had turned himself in for murder.

“He’s gotten the scorn of other inmates, who called him stupid — ‘Look what happened when you open your mouth,’ ” the lawyer said. “His wife questioned him — ‘Trevell, what about us?’ ”

Read More: NY Post

RIP Correctional Peace Officer Darren Moore (CMC)

Darren Moore, (Correctional Peace Officer at CMC) was involved in a head on collision while riding his motorcycle. Darren was flown to cottage hospital in Santa Barbara. It's with a heavy heart that we report that Darren Moore did not make it. Darren had 22 years in the department, he worked at the youth authority in paso, then transfered to CMC about three years ago. He has three young children and was married. PLEASE DONATE AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE AS YOU CAN. Keep his wife and family in our thought and prayers. Lets pull together and support our fallen brother.

Client dies in prison, but lawyer still seeks to prove innocence

A convicted killer who died on death row while his appeal languished before the California Supreme Court should have his case decided posthumously, his attorney told the state high court.

Scott F. Kauffman, who represented Dennis Lawley for 19 years, contends that his client was innocent of a 1989 murder for hire that sent him to San Quentin. Lawley, he said, deserves a ruling on his claims, even if the outcome will have no practical consequence.

"Mr. Lawley's death does not erase the injustice of his conviction and sentence," Kauffman told the court in a written motion. "It would be a disservice to justice and to Mr. Lawley, who has always maintained his innocence, for this court to [dismiss the case] as moot."

Lawley was sentenced to death after he was convicted of hiring two men to kill Kenneth Stewart, a recently released prisoner who had been robbing drug dealers. Prosecutors contended that the murder weapon was a gun found in Lawley's cabin in Modesto.

Read More: LA Times

State Prison Guard (Correctional Peace Officer) Rehired, Fired Within Minutes

A state prison sergeant -- who was accused of using excessive force on an inmate and then won his job back following a four-year court battle -- was notified that he will be fired fired within minutes of returning to the job inside California State Prison-Sacramento, his attorney said.

An appeals court ordered the state to reinstate Aaron Ralls' job after finding that his termination was not supported, attorney Daniel Thompson said.

KCRA 3's Mike TeSelle was there as Ralls walked out of the Folsom-area prison late Tuesday morning, just minutes after returning to work. He asked Ralls if he had just been fired.

"I can't comment, but it appears that way," Ralls said. Ralls' attorney said that prison administrators informed his client that the warden is pursuing a series of new allegations against Ralls. "It appears they are moving to terminate him again," Thompson told KCRA 3.

Thompson would not reveal the nature of those allegations. He added that Ralls will fight this latest disciplinary action.

"The amount of money the state is spending on this has to be astronomical," Thompson said.

Read more: KCRA

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

SOMS and Your Personal Data

It has come to my attention and after verifying the information some Officer's personal information is located in SOMS. The common theme is anyone who had entered a Correctional Facility prior to working or maybe during a COSIT visit has been affected. You may find your SSN, home address, telephone number and drivers license number.

I have notified the help desk in Sacramento and waiting for their feedback. The next time you log on to SOMS, please check your personal data under the Support tab and look to the left for the address book, and do a search by name. If your name appears twice, look at both. If you do see your information, let me know ASAP!!!!

State, advocates disagree on future of prison healthcare

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is sharply at odds with inmate advocates and a federal receiver over the future of the prison medical system, a new court filing showed Monday.

The document was submitted after the federal judge overseeing the case asked each side to present its proposals for how to end six years of federal control of inmate healthcare.

State officials said they’re ready to take back control of the medical system in the next 30 days. But the receiver said he should remain in charge until at least early 2014.

In the court filing, the Brown administration argues that healthcare has been “wholly transformed” in recent years. In addition, officials said, the ongoing reduction in the inmate population -- the result of a separate court order -- has made it easier to provide better medical care because prisons are less crowded.

Read more: LA Times

Psychopaths have a different brain structure, study says

Psychopaths may have an abnormal brain structure concluded scientists in a new study.
Researchers at King's College, London scanned the brains of numerous killers and rapists and found evidence that their brains have different structures than regular people.

The scientists said that psychopaths even had different structures than those criminals with others types of known behavioral disorders.

"Using MRI scans we found that psychopaths had structural brain abnormalities in key areas of their 'social brains' compared to those who just had ASPD," said Nigel Blackwood from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College and lead author of the study, reported Medical XPress.

Read more: Global Post

Sunday, 6 May 2012

19-year-old Antelope woman considered voluntarily missing

ANTELOPE, CA - A 19-year-old woman, who was reported missing by her parents Thursday night, is considered a voluntary missing adult by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Haley Tennell was last seen at 10 p.m. Thursday walking to a friend's home from her house on the 4100 block of North Country Drive, Deputy Jason Ramos said.

Tennell's parents searched for several hours for their daughter before calling the sheriff's department.

After the missing person report was filed, Tennell called the sheriff's department. Ramos said information from Tennell leads investigators to believe she is in no danger.

The sheriff's department does not know Tennell's whereabouts.

Haley Tennell, daughter of SQ Correctional Officer Steve Tennell missing.

It is with a very heavy heart that I am reporting the missing daughter of one of our Officers, Haley Tennell the daughter of Steve Tennell went missing on Thursday night around 10:00pm.

The Tennell family is distraught as one could expect and at a loss for answers, I have been in contact with Steve daily for any new information. It is my intention once we have enough information and credible leads, to form search parties as soon as we get the go ahead!

I will ask each and every one of you to say a prayer and open some time in your busy schedules as soon as we are notified that we are needed!

Pictures of Haley are circulating on FB and we will post one here as well. Please make every attempt if you are in the Elk Grove area to keep a special eye out for Haley!!!!!

Thank you for your continued support in this effort

Sacramento News 10
Facebook/CCPOA San Quentin

Friday, 4 May 2012

Federal oversight of California's prisoninmate health care may end

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson’s oversight of California’s prison medical system won’t end tomorrow, andit won’t end all at once. He has tobe satisfied that improvements are complete and that theycan last.

Prison Law Office Attorney Don Spector saidCalifornia’s not there yet.

“There are still problems at manyprisons, withgetting timely access to a physician and timelyaccess to their medications that theyneed.” Spector said.

Spector sued California nearlya decade ago to improve medical care for inmates. He said the lack of computerizedmedical records is still a problem. Missing and incomplete records have contributed to deadly mishaps in the past.

Spector said there have been improvements under the receivership. He said one of the biggest was weeding out incompetent doctors and nurses andbringing in more and better-qualified staff.

But receiver ClarkKelso saidsome of that staff has already quit because of poor working conditions in prison clinics. He worries more will leave unless the state improves things.

“We’ve got doctor’s offices, dentists’ offices inplaces that theyshouldn’t be,” said Kelso. “We have places without hot running water, dirt everywhere.”

Read more: KPCC

Escaped inmate found not far from Corcoran

CORCORAN —A low-security inmate sneaked away from California State Prison Corcoran on Tuesday, wandered outside the city for a while and was finally captured on Wednesday.

Raul Sobalvarro, 22, was outside the facility’s secure perimeter on a dairy work detail when officers last saw him around 9 p.m. An hour later, correctional officers did a head count and noticed the man’s absence.

Officials said Sobalvarro walked away from the site and was last seen still wearing his white “CDCR Prisoner” jumpsuit. Authorities immediately began searching for him with help from local law enforcement.

They did not have to look far. The following day, transportation correctional officers spotted Sobalvarro strolling down the road a few miles from the prison. He was arrested without incident, officials said.

Read more: Hanford Sentinel

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

DA Asks Court to Order Execution of Two Death Row Inmates

LOS ANGELES District Attorney Steve Cooley asked the Los Angeles Superior Court today to order the execution of two long-time Death Row inmates with a court-approved single-drug protocol currently used in other parts of the country.

In motions filed by Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee, the court was asked to order the executions of Mitchell Carleton Sims, 52, and Tiequon Aundray Cox, 46, each of whom have been on San Quentins Death Row for a quarter of a century.

Mitchell Sims and Tiequon Cox were tried and convicted of first-degree murder by juries. The jurors in each case also found the special circumstances alleged against each defendant to be true. The same juries recommended that each die for their crimes. Judges reviewed the jury recommendations and agreed, formally sentencing each man to death. Each killer appealed the conviction and sentence. Every appellate court turned them down, the District Attorney said in a written statement.

It is time Sims and Cox pay for their crimes, he added.

I am joining with the California District Attorneys Association and other District Attorneys throughout California in asking the Superior Courts throughout the state to hold these killers responsible for the innocent lives they took so many years ago.

Read more: KTLA

Corcoran State Prison inmate escapes

A Corcoran State Prison inmate who was on a work detail outside the prison fence is missing and presumed to have escaped, the state Department of Corrections said today.

Raul Antonio Gutierrez Sobalvarro was discovered missing at 10:25 p.m. Tuesday night. He was working at the prison dairy outside the electrical fence perimeter.

He was last seen about 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Sobalvarro, 22, has a medium build, dark complexion, black eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a white jumpsuit with "CDCR Prisoner" printed on the clothing. He is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.

Sobalvarro was serving a three-year sentence from Los Angeles County for second-degree robbery. He had been in state prison since July 1, 2011 and was scheduled to parole in late 2013.

Local law enforcement agencies have been notified. If anyone sees him or knows where he might be, notify local law enforcement officials or California State Prison-Corcoran at (559) 992-6120, or call 911.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6166

Source: Chicago Tribune

Homeless man threw brick at courthouse to get into prison

All Lance Brown wanted was to return to prison when he hurled a brick through the federal courthouse in Columbus.

He got what he wanted on Tuesday when a judge sentenced him to serve another month behind bars and then a six-month stay in a halfway house. Brown said he was hungry and homeless when he threw the brick at the stately building last July.

He had recently finished serving a prison sentence in North Carolina for bank robbery and said he resorted to crime for a safe place to stay.

The case illustrates the dilemma that prosecutors face when dealing with homeless defendants who commit crimes to get shelter and food. U.S. Attorney Michael Moore his office had little choice but to charge Brown with a crime.

Source: AP

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Shuttering Norco prison will move prisoners to other facilities

As California prison officials ready to possibly shutter the state prison in Norco to save $160 million a year, many are left wondering what will happen to the nearly 4,000 inmates housed at the rehabilitation center.

"No inmates would be released early," said Jeffrey Callison, press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in an email. “When the California Rehabilitation Center at Norco closes, its inmates will be transferred to other institutions, including the new Level 2 infill projects that we are also planning to build inside existing institutions.”

The prison system’s plan includes creating new, more efficient level II dorm capacity, such as is planned to take place at the DeWitt Nelson Youth Correctional Facility annex in Stockton and up to three other existing prisons.

The California Health Care Facility in Stockton will house inmates requiring long-term medical care and intensive mental health, according to a reports from the CDCR entitled, “The Future of California Corrections.” It’s slated for completion during the summer of 2013. Its annex will open in the summer of 2014 to create a unified Stockton complex.

Read more: