Joint venture provides opportunity for SQ

By Charles David Henry A new opportunity for paying jobs for San Quentin inmates has been approved by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The job source is a joint venture operated by a company calling itself “Big Dawg” Manufacturing, LLC. The company manufactures refrigeration products. The company will choose from a pool of inmates […]

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Racial disparities persist when Black judges’ rulings are appealed

By Charles David Henry Racial disparities appear to persist in the American legal system, despite the attempts to make the judiciary more reflective of the general population, a Harvard study reports. The 2015 study examined how higher-court judges evaluated opinions written by approximately 1,500 federal district minority judges between 2000 and 2012. The study shows […]

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Jailing of mentally ill is a growing problem in California

By Tommy Bryant              Locking up the mentally ill in jails and prisons is a growing problem in California, a Los Angeles Times story reports. About 37 percent of the state’s inmates are mentally ill, said a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The spokesman noted that […]

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California’s crime rate up after two-year decrease

By Charles David Henry After two years of decreases, the murder rate in California rose from 4.4 to 4.8 per 100,000 in 2015. There were 1,861 homicides in a year. This number represents a 9.7 percent increase from the 1,697 homicides in 2014. This still is a 25.1 percent decrease from 2,483 reported in 2006, […]

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My son the warrior

By Laura Murray My 36-year old son is an Army Special Forces Medic. He has numerous campaign medals and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. He has fought for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan and is currently in Israel, awaiting his next assignment in Africa. As a boy, he was reckless, jumping from […]

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Kid CAT symposium highlights value of rehabilitation

By Juan Haines The day after Yom Kippur, a prison chapel served as a safe place for survivors of crime, men who committed violent crimes and concerned citizens to hold a conversation about the importance of rehabilitation and atonement for community healing. “I think that this day is important because we have two voices that […]

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Hygiene drive to focus on Homeless Youth Month

By John Lam For the past four years in December, Kid CAT members have walked the tiers of San Quentin asking inmates to donate unused hygienic products or to make monetary donations to benefit homeless children in the Bay Area. “The inspiration for the Hygiene Drive came from our former chairman, Michael Nelson, who was […]

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‘Homestretch’ documents homeless youth on the streets

There’s a hidden epidemic of homeless teens in America, and the documentary Homestretch sheds light on the problems of homeless youth on the streets, such as housing, education and sexual abuse and the government’s efforts to solve this problem. “We were searching for subjects that hit us in the heart,” Kirsten Kelly, co-creator of Homestretch, […]

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Feds ask governors to issue ID cards to newly released

By Salvador Solorio Every year many of the 600,000 people released from federal and state prisons are without government-issued ID cards. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked all state governors to provide state-issued IDs for newly released federal inmates reported the Atlantic magazine. The Department of Justice cannot legally require states to do so, but it […]

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Study reveals how ‘Ban the Box’ can do more harm than good

By Rudy Moralez “‘Ban the Box’ Does More Harm than Good,” an op-ed by Jennifer L. Doleac and published by the Brookings Institution, says that the policy that’s supposed to help ex-offenders find jobs doesn’t really help many. It actually winds up hurting the employment chances for Black and Hispanic men who don’t have criminal […]

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Virtual reality and the solitary prison experience

By Noel Scott Solitary confinement can now be experienced by non-prisoners in a “virtual reality (VR)” setting, reports Chloe Veltman of KQED. 6X9: A Virtual Reality Experience of Solitary Confinement was spearheaded by the U.K.’s Guardian Media Group. “You can be mentally damaged by being placed in isolation,” says Francesca Panetta, the project’s executive producer. […]

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Nov 2016 News Briefs

Seattle, Wash. — City officials are planning two facilities — one in Seattle, another in the suburbs — where heroin addicts can legally take injections while supervised by medical personnel who can administer aid or call 911 if needed, reports The Los Angeles Times. It would be the first facility of its kind in the […]

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Conmemoración del Día de los Muertos

Por Taré Beltranchuc y Marco Villa Una de las fiestas más populares en México es el Día de los Muertos. El origen de esta festividad puede ser encontrado en la época de los Aztecas, Mayas, Nahuas, y Totonacas. Nuestros ancestros celebraban el Día de los Muertos por todo un mes. El 1 de Agosto, de  […]

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Juan Gabriel, emblema de tenacidad

El 7 de Enero de 1950 nace en Páscuaro, Michoacán México, Alberto Aguilera Valadez, mejor conocido en el medio artístico como Juan Gabriel quien llego a ser el compositor, cantautor más afamado y talentoso en la música popular de América Latina. Sus contribuciones a la música en diferentes géneros como las baladas, rancheras, boleros, pop, […]

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How Restorative Justice transforms offenders

By Rahsaan Thomas Taking 62 violent prisoners, putting them in the same dorm, and requiring them to participate in a Restorative Justice program sounded to Sunny Schwartz like a good way to stem their criminal thinking and recidivism. “‘You don’t put 62 violent men in a open dorm,’” Schwartz said deputies told her. “They thought […]

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Diabetic program saves lives at San Quentin

By Emile DeWeaver “This is the most important program in San Quentin because it saves lives,” said Aaron Martin, a mentor in San Quentin State Prison’s Diabetic Program. He opened the ceremony for 40 graduates with a personal story about how his lack of knowledge about diabetes almost killed him. “When I came to the […]

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Healthcare staff awarded for treatment of Legionnaires outbreak

By CDCR “In September 2015, San Quentin experienced an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. It could have been deadly to the 5,400 inmates and staff if not for the actions of primary-care providers. Less than two hours after noticing a marked increase in pneumonia cases among patients, these staff exchanged their clinical suspicions,” stated Undersecretary of […]

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The hopeful resilient human spirit behind bars

By Juan Haines Zek: An American Prison Story (2016), by Arthur Longworth, captures the tedious and mundane, the miserable and disappointing, the irrational and vicious aspects of doing time behind bars. But it also offers keen assurance that, in spite of these highly toxic dynamics, the resilient human spirit retains the ability to hold on […]

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Remembering favorite foods of past Thanksgivings

By Angelo Falcone Every year, Thanksgiving lands on the fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgiving Day is one of the holidays that most men in blue especially miss celebrating with their families. “Asked on the Line” made random informal inquiries of mainliners and asked: What do you love to eat for Thanksgiving Day? Before you were […]

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The newly released in Alameda face barriers to public housing

By Juan Haines In 2014, nearly 4,800 people returned to Alameda County from state prisons, while on any given day an estimated 3,200 people were in the county jail. Approximately 375,000 (one out of four) people in the county have a criminal record, and about 20,000 of them are at risk of losing the roofs […]

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Justice Department’s new policy would fast track executions

By David Eugene Archer Sr. A contentious Justice Department policy that could speed up death-row executions is closer to taking effect, after a recent federal appeals court ruling. The opinion from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this March tossed a 2013 lawsuit brought by the Habeas Corpus Resource Center in California and the […]

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Policymakers told they neglect prison education

By David Le Policymakers neglect prison education and re-entry programs, former inmate Kevin Ring told a House of Representative committee, according to U.S. News & World Report. Testifying before the committee, Ring, who is currently a criminal justice reform advocate, said, “I saw little to no rehabilitation in prison. There were few useful programs. The […]

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County fines and fees keep defendants in poverty

By David Eugene Archer Sr. States and counties charge legal financial obligations to defendants keeping them in poverty, according to The Atlantic. Alexes Harris, the author of A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions for the Poor, categorized how jurisdictions across the country place court fines and fees called legal financial obligations (LFOs) on defendants that […]

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H-Unit VOEG graduates prepare for survivor panel

By Wayne Boatwright “If you want to change the path of your life, go to VOEG,” said Kevin Thompson, a recent graduate of the Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) from H-Unit. VOEG is one of a myriad of volunteer-organized rehabilitation programs at California’s San Quentin State Prison.  It meets once a week for two hours […]

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Law enforcement group back proposed sentencing guidelines

By Thomas Gardner A coalition of law enforcement officials and civil servants has voiced strong support for legislation that addresses sentencing guidelines at the federal level, says a report by A.J. Vicens of Mother Jones. The coalition is known as Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration and consists of more than 160 police […]

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ROOTS graduation offers multicultural self-discovery

By Juan Haines Animated and rhythmic drumming captivated an audience of about 75 prisoners and a dozen Bay Area community members during a Sept. 18 graduation ceremony for a program designed to guide multicultural prisoners on a path toward self-discovery. Several skits and comedic acts brought lots of laughs at the ceremony for ROOTS (Restoring […]

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Stanford researchers mine racial traffic stop data

By Thomas Gardner Researchers at Stanford University are collecting data to determine whether race plays a part in motor vehicle stops by police, says a recent report by The Marshall Project. This comes at a time of national debate about the way law enforcement responds to minorities. In the past few years there have been […]

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States considering taking guns away from domestic abusers

By Thomas Gardner Many states are now considering laws that would strip gun rights from anyone who has been convicted of a domestic violence-related crime or is under a court-imposed protective order, The Associated Press reports. Driving this are the many instances where women and children have been killed or wounded by known abusers, the […]

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1000-Mile Club members endure three-hour run

By Rahsaan Thomas Incarcerated runners struggled through their cramped legs, aching quads and dizzy spells to complete a three-hour race on the San Quentin Lower Yard. Markelle Taylor and 69-year-old Mike Keyes both broke 1000 Mile Club records while doing so. “Some days just aren’t your days,” said 1000 Mile Club Sponsor Frank Ruona. “You […]

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Bittermen improves record over .500 against SQ Kings

By Marcus Henderson With a ninth inning comeback and a hard-fought second game, the San Quentin All-Stars baseball team swept the Bay Area Barons and the Alameda Baseball Club. It was the final two games of the season. In the first game, the All-Stars erased an eight run deficit to beat the visiting Barons 10-9. […]

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SQ All-Stars sweep season finals

By Marcus Henderson With a ninth inning comeback and a hard-fought second game, the San Quentin All-Stars baseball team swept the Bay Area Barons and the Alameda Baseball Club. It was the final two games of the season. In the first game, the All-Stars erased an eight run deficit to beat the visiting Barons 10-9. […]

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Hardtimers’ season ends with win for peace

By Marcus Henderson In a season finale, the San Quentin Hardtimers put on a batting clinic against first-time visitors the Richmond Soulful Sundays’ softball team, blowing them away 21-6. “This was a great way to end the season, to play a group of guys that do so much work in the community,” said Don White, […]

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Looking at what’s behind the national anthem

By Rahsaan Thomas The American national anthem contains language that is said to celebrate the killing of slaves fighting for their freedom, according to research inspired by the attention Colin Kaepernick has drawn for taking a knee during the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In the wake of the recent police shootings of Blacks, the […]

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Chosen Sports Ministry out-pass SQ All-Madden football

In an offensive shoot-out, the San Quentin All-Madden flag football team fell to the visiting Chosen Christian Sports Ministry, 46-39. The All-Madden mounted a fierce comeback, pulling to within one point of the Chosen at 40-39. With 2:30 left in the game, the Chosen did not settle for running out the clock. Quarterback Adam Perez […]

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White House Adviser Visits San Quentin’s Coding Program

By Juan Haines Recently, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, had a conversation with senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett to talk about the public’s benefit from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison. “One of the reasons I came here is to learn directly from you the impact this program is having on your […]

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Lt. Gov. Newsom Supports Repealing Death Penalty

By Miguel Sifuentes In late July, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom voiced his support for the ballot measure that would repeal the death penalty in California. Newsom said the policy did not deter crime and was fundamentally immoral. Proposition 62 would abolish a system “that is administered with troubling racial disparities,” he said. “(I)…believe that […]

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Mock Election Draws Huge Turnout

By Juan Haines The men on San Quentin’s Death Row overwhelmingly favor Hillary Clinton for President over Donald Trump. In a mock election, the former secretary of state won 64 percent of the vote, compared to Trump’s 15 percent, and the remainder divided among Libertarian and Green candidates. The election, which captured votes from 107 of […]

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A Look Back at Aly Tamboura’s Legacy and Accomplishments

By Kevin D. Sawyer Earlier this month, Aly Tamboura regained his freedom after 12 years of incarceration for assault. To say he is rehabilitated would be an understatement because, as it is sometimes said, “all felons are not created equally.” Tamboura, 50, did not serve a life sentence, so he could have sat around, done […]

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How LVN Magnolia Datu Learned That Crying Is Against the Rules

By Emile DeWeaver Courage is many things. Sometimes it’s facing your prejudices to discover there’s nothing to fear; sometimes it’s joking when you are hemmed in by razor wire and regulations; and sometimes it’s finding other ways to cry when crying over the suffering of another human being is against the rules. Magnolia Datu’s job […]

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Trying to Help His Victim’s Family

By David B. Le A drunk driver is raising money for the family of the man he killed, KABC reported. Tyler Thompson, now 26, was driving drunk on the wrong side of Freeway 210 in Asuza when he killed 19-year-old Justin Romo in August 2014. Though Thompson initially pleaded not guilty, he later changed his […]

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Clinton Opposes Death Penalty…With an Exception

By Forrest Lee Jones The Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are holding slightly different positions on abolishing the death penalty as this country heads into the presidential election. Shortly after the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia abolishing the death penalty, the Democratic Party incorporated into its platform a decision to do […]

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Voters to Decide on Two Opposing Death Penalty Measures in November

By Charles David Henry California voters will decide again in November what to do with the death penalty. Two opposing initiatives with strong political and social ramifications will be on the ballot to abolish capital punishment or speed up executions. Details of the measures are listed in an Aug. 12 story by politifact.com. Proposition 62 […]

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Court Rules Parole Board Must Set Base Terms for Lifers Early On

By Chung Kao The state parole board must continue to set base terms at a life prisoner’s first hearing, a California appellate court ruled in a settlement July. The decision was in response to the board’s request earlier this year to be relieved of its obligations to do so because of changes in the state […]

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California’s Death Row Population Tops All Of Western Hemisphere

By Charles David Henry California is “home to the largest Death Row population in the Western Hemisphere,” according to a recent PolitiFact press release. According to public data, California’s Death Row has nearly 750 individuals condemned to die. That’s nearly twice as many as the next closest state, Florida at 388. UC Berkeley law professor Frank […]

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Hunger Strike Aims to Improve Conditions In Re-entry Homes

By Forrest Lee Jones A former guard who worked at an Ocean View re-entry facility (one of two San Diego halfway homes operated by Corrections Corporation of America), is leading a hunger strike to protest the deplorable conditions in those homes, reported Madison Pauly in Mother Jones magazine. Both halfway houses were purchased for $36 […]

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