‘Debtors’ Prison’ policy scrapped

Due to a lawsuit filed last fall by the ACLU on behalf of Jayne Fuentes, the Benton County Commissioners of Richland, Wash., decided to end their “debtors’ prison” policy, reports Rick Anderson for the Los Angeles Times. The lawsuit was based on a U.S. Supreme Court precedent that bans the jailing of defendants for being […]

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Re-imagining new uses for shuttered prisons

By John Lam Shuttered prisons across the nation are given new life by private developers, non-profits and community leaders as economic development and social benefit centers. “In recent years, entrepreneurs, elected officials and community leaders in a handful of states have re-imagined sites that once incarcerated prisoners for new uses,” The Sentencing Project reported in […]

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Probe finds officers create a culture of racism at HDSP

By Noel Scott At High Desert State Prison (HDSP) the correctional officers see the inmates as “little more than wild animals” reports Don Thompson for The Associated Press. “Black inmates were disproportionately likely to face discipline and use of force,” according to the AP. In 2015, the Inspectors General’s Office found there was a “culture […]

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PPI advocates for inmates’ well-being

By Marcus Henderson When it comes to jail and prison procedures, the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI), an advocacy organization in Northampton, MA, has led the way in fighting for real changes in policies that affect the well-being of inmates. In its 2015-16 annual report, PPI celebrated successes. The organization led a campaign for legislation that […]

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SQ inmates raised over $30,000 for charities in 2016

By Marcus Henderson By the end of 2016, San Quentin prisoners and their respective activities groups raised $32,629 in donations for many charitable nonprofit organizations through food sales. Project Avary, a Bay Area organization that provides numerous programs such as summer camps, teen leadership and family unity programs for children of incarcerated parents, was one […]

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Flood of SQ media attention draws back Van Jones

By Rahsaan Thomas Incarcerated men at San Quentin are getting a lot of press for their accomplishments. The media work produced by and featuring incarcerated men attracted a visit from a CNN anchor and the mayor of Mill Valley. Van Jones, host of CNN’s “The Messy Truth,” and Jessica Sloan, mayor of Mill Valley, came […]

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California tries once again to stamp out prison cell phones

By Kevin D. Sawyer After years of failure, California’s state prison system is taking a new approach to stamp out contraband cellphones. According to The Associated Press (AP), the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is equipping its prisons with close to 1,000 scanners, metal detectors and “hidden” security cameras to curb the use […]

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Four leaders honored for juvenile justice reforms

By John Lam Four individuals have been honored for their work in reforming the Tennessee juvenile justice system. “We wanted to honor these leaders because they understand that Tennessee’s youth justice system is like a maze, with too many entrances and lots of dead ends,” said Sarah Bryer, who directs the National Juvenile Justice Network […]

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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor, I read in a December issue of Newsweek magazine that approximately 3,000 American inmates currently in solitary confinement have been there for six or more years. There are a significantly higher total number of prisoners living in solitary confinement throughout the country. Now I am disappointed to learn that there are men here […]

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Survey finds crime victims want more say in convictions

By Marcus Henderson In the past 10 years, one in four people in the U.S. has been a victim of a crime. A recent survey found crime victims wished for prosecutors to consider their opinion about what it takes to recover from the criminal acts committed against them, even if it resulted in fewer convictions. […]

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LA hosts juvenile justice summit: ‘Smart on Safety’

Setting an agenda for the next steps in California By John Lam A panel of California’s criminal justice reform leaders recently held a summit to discuss what’s next on the agenda. “A ballroom full of lawmakers, academics and criminal justice reform advocates, with a sprinkling of state and local officials…gathered in LA’s Millennium Biltmore Hotel” […]

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Kid CAT’s new chair seeks to build meaningful relationships

By Charlie Spence Over the years, I have come to believe that life only matters in the influence and meaning it has on other lives. This is because of the crime I committed nearly 20 years ago, which left nothing but hurt and devastation in the lives of others. It is the idea of constructive […]

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SQ hosts national conference on incarcerated veterans

By Juan Haines Corrections officials from around the nation, who are working on veterans’ issues, came to San Quentin, where they found new ways to serve ex-military. The visitors also discovered that it is no easy task to get the job done. “San Quentin is different than any other prison in the state,” Warden Ron […]

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Oak Glen firecamp reopens to house long-term jail inmates

By Mike Little Storied San Bernardino fire camp Oak Glen has signed a contract with the state to provide minimum-security beds for long-term jail inmates at the state’s 160-bed camp. Bill Sessa, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) spokesperson, said the plan is part of new legislation aimed at reducing the prison population, […]

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Inmates are 20 percent of California fire crews

By Thomas Gardner Many California prisoners find gratifying work fighting wildfires. Roughly 20 percent of the state’s fire crews are inmates, according to a CBS News report. “They’re among the first to hit the front lines of California’s dangerous wildfires. The orange uniforms let people know – these firefighters are inmates,” according to Chris Martinez […]

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Looking back on 42 years of service at San Quentin

By Charles David Henry In June 1975, Donald Graham left the California Department of Corrections’ training academy after two weeks and took his first job assignment at San Quentin State Prison. An Air Force veteran with college degrees in computer science and mathematics from California State University at Sonoma, Graham came to work for the […]

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DDS Morley’s heartfelt goodbye after 19 years at SQ

‘The dental department is going to lose a wonderful dentist’ By Eddie Herena                        Making people smile is something Jerry Morley is good at; it is something he does for a living. He is not a therapist, and he does not work in a pharmacy. He […]

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Consulado Mexicano visita San Quentin

Por Juan Haines Prisioneros Mexicanos e hispanos de diferentes nacionalidades en California enfrentan grandes retos para rehabilitarse y cambiar sus vidas. Esa fue la impresión que se llevaron los oficiales del Consulado Mexicano de San Francisco quienes recientemente visitaron la Prisión de San Quentin. De acuerdo a Javier issac Delgadillo, quien trabaja en el Departamento […]

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Mas vivir y menos sobrevivir: la Justicia Restaurativa y el perdón humano

Por Lucía de la Fuente, PhD. El Candidato La justicia suele personificarse con la imagen de una mujer con los ojos vendados, sosteniendo una balanza y una espada. La mujer, inspirada en la diosa griega Temis (algunos dicen que proviene de la diosa Maat del antiguo Egipto), representa el orden y la “divina justicia”, y […]

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Two views of how Prop. 47 is working out:

Positive: Barriers to employment were reduced By Salvador Solorio Proposition 47 has allowed many former offenders access to better jobs and opportunities. The voter-approved initiative downgraded drug possession and some thefts from felonies to misdemeanors. “This wave of new workers will inevitably benefit the economy, but it also decreases the likelihood of re-arrest,” USA Today […]

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Negative: Parolees leave prison homeless and jobless

By David Eugene Archer Sr. At least 13,500 low-level drug offenders were freed from prisons and jails by California voters in 2014, reported USA Today. “Did Prop 47 help?” the newspaper asked. The answer appears to be “not much.” Thousands are now homeless, jobless and again committing petty crimes. The Prop 47 releases exposed the […]

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Employment still the biggest obstacle for parolees

By Tommy Bryant One of the biggest obstacle prisoners face upon release is finding a job. This applies to both violent and nonviolent offenders. “Recently the American Bar Association estimated that there are 44,000 different barriers to re-entry at the state and federal level,” said Dominik Taylor, a staff attorney with Root and Rebound, an […]

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Louisiana lacks funding in juvenile LWOP sentencing hearings

‘The state public defender’s budget has been “stagnant” at about $33 million’ By John Lam Louisiana public defenders lack funding to represent life-without-parole (LWOP) juvenile offenders at sentencing hearings, the New Orleans Advocate reported. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against laws mandating LWOP for juveniles as unconstitutional in Miller v. Alabama. Subsequent rulings […]

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The rocky road traveled by Black American athletes

By Juan Haines Professional athletes have always earned higher salaries than the average wage earner. Yet, the lack of African-Americans in sports team ownership is a carefully crafted plan, according to Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete (2006) by William C. Rhoden. To show athletes are in a […]

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45 bikes for Christmas, thanks to DVI inmates

By Harry C. Goodall Jr. Prisoners at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) made sure 45 kids got bikes for Christmas. DVI inmates rebuilt the bikes for the Boys & Girls Club of Tracy, reported the Tracy Press. The bike-refurbishing program has been going for five years now, and has grown steadily each year. About 20 inmates […]

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Women’s History Month prompts answers to ‘Who’s the greatest?’

By Angelo Falcone Among other celebrations and observations, March is Women’s History Month. In honor of women, “Asked On The Line” approached mainliners and inquired, “Who do you think is the greatest woman in history? Name a woman you know whom you admire and respect.” M. Jones: “I think the greatest woman in history is […]

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Folsom prisoners refurbish 200 Christmas bikes for needy children

By John Lam An inmate in Folsom State Prison’s bicycle program has single-handedly refurbished 200 bicycles that were gifted to local youths for Christmas, the Folsom Telegraph reported. “Each morning Argueta Mauricio…heads off to work where he spends his days restoring and repairing bicycles…within the walls of Folsom Prison where inmates, like himself, have been […]

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SQ inmates’ victory lures the biggies of internet podcasting

By Rahsaan Thomas The CEO of a major podcasting network, along with other executives, took an eventful trip from the East Coast to meet with the incarcerated men who defeated more than 1,500 entries from 53 countries in a storytelling contest. PRX CEO Kerri Hoffman and Radiotopia Executive Producer Julie Shapiro entered San Quentin State […]

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Higher age, fewer write-ups boost parole chances

By Wayne Boatwright Recent legal and regulatory changes have vastly improved the likelihood of an inmate being granted parole. During the past decades of California’s “tough on crime” era it seemed like a soccer game. No one ever seemed to score a parole grant. It was not just the parole board “referees” calling it close. […]

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Warriors’ guard turns coach

Cuevas’s new post is ‘Great new beginning’ After five years of leading his team from the point guard position, Rafael Cuevas is now the head coach of the San Quentin Warriors. “Great new beginning,” said Warriors backup center Donte Smith. The former Warriors head coach, Daniel “Bear” Wright, left the yard. Cuevas talked to S.Q. […]

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SQ Kings search for new talent in tryouts

By Rahsaan Thomas Older men made up the new talent trying out for the San Quentin Kings’ 40 and over basketball team. On Jan. 28 and 29, the Kings held tryouts for the 2017 season schedule that begins March 11 against the Bittermen. Bittermen Coach Ted Saltviet assembles players, mostly K-12 school teachers, from the […]

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SQ aims to share fútbol’s worldwide growth

The Federal Internacional Football Association is adding 16 new teams to its international soccer tournament. Meanwhile, soccer players at San Quentin hope their 2017 season expands to playing more than just one outside team. FIFA currently has teams from 32 nations that compete for the world cup every four years. The FIFA governing council approved […]

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Looking back on the history of SQ baseball

Kent Philpott and Earl Smith played leading roles By Marcus Henderson When you talk about San Quentin baseball history, you cannot leave out 75-year-old coach and sponsor of the old San Quentin Pirates, Kent Philpott, who took over the team in 1997. Philpott played semi-pro ball in Los Angeles and four years in the military […]

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Barnes rekindles his sports passion while pursuing coding.

By Rahsaan Thomas In most prisons, you won’t find a tennis court, mini-college campus, Microsoft Certification, coding program or a newspaper written and run by incarcerated men, as you do at San Quentin. Robert Barnes, 54, took a class to learn how to play tennis in college for fun back in the ’80s. A horrible […]

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Mexican consulate in SF pays visit to SQ rehab program

By Juan Haines Mexican nationals and other Spanish-speakers imprisoned in California face particularly high barriers to rehabilitation and getting their lives on the right track. That was the assessment of officials from the Mexican consulate in San Francisco who visited San Quentin Prison recently. According to Xavier Issac Delgadillo, who works in the Department of […]

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SQ inmates surveyed about Trump’s election

In a sample survey taken from San Quentin inmates, more than half think a Donald Trump presidency has the potential to make America worse, while about 20 percent think things would be better under a Trump presidency. About a third of the respondents said that a Trump presidency poses a direct threat to their future. […]

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January 2017 News Briefs

National News – Last November, one of every 40 American adults was not able to vote because of state laws that bar people with past felony convictions from casting ballots, The Sentencing Project reports. The report estimated 6.1 million Americans did not vote because of these state laws. The laws vary widely. Florida, Iowa and […]

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Court OKs ex-warden’s trial for guard’s sex with inmates

By David Eugene Archer Sr. A former California prison warden can face trial in a sex abuse case, a federal appeals court ruled in October, said the Press Enterprise. Guillermo Garcia, former warden of the California Institution for Women (CIW), lost his appeal in a federal appeals court on Oct. 12, Oakland-based Justice First Attorneys […]

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US prison commissary giants are set to merge

By Marcus Henderson  As prisoners across the nation wage protests over what they consider slave labor for low or no pay, two of the country’s biggest prison commissary companies are set to merge. HIG Capital, owner of Trinity Services Group, a commissary and food-service operator, announced that it would be acquiring Keefe Group, one of […]

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New law requires inmate’s consent for federal interviews

By Salvador Solorio A new California law requires law enforcement agencies to have inmates sign a written consent before being interviewed by the federal immigration agency. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure, Assembly Bill 2792, on Sept. 28. It limits interviews by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The governor wrote, “The author and proponents greatly […]

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$473.5 million spent on 17 state ballot measures

By David Eugene Archer Sr. The 17 propositions on the California November ballot set a new state record for donations at $473.5 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Prop. 61, 56 and 52 accounted for more than half of the total contributions, according to the California Secretary of State records. That $473.5 million was […]

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Archbishop of SF unveils mural at Christmas Eve Mass

Scott McKinstry and Bruce Fowler worked thousands of hours over several years on the concept and design of a mural depicting the victory of good over evil. The Archbishop of San Francisco unveiled the mural after he delivered Christmas Eve Mass to a congregation of San Quentin prisoners and dozens of Bay Area community members. […]

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Project Rebound helps formerly incarcerated gain an education

By Forrest Lee Jones A popular program is helping formerly incarcerated inmates obtain a college education. The program called Project Rebound (PR) is based at San Francisco State University. It has a dramatically impressive success rate, reports Emily DeRuy of The Atlantic. It was started in 1967 by a formerly incarcerated inmate and professor of […]

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Are fewer inmates good news? Not if you invest in private prisons

By David B. Le The decline in prison populations is good news unless you happen to be an investor who’s put money into prison bonds.  The 3.8 trillion municipal-securities niche market has investors demanding higher payouts for their risk as prison bonds have been downgraded due to the prison population reduction and private prisons closure, […]

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Stateless…a massacre…a murder…and now free

By John Lam Borey “PJ” Ai may be one of the most accomplished persons you will ever meet. He also happens to be one of the youngest persons to be given a life sentence for murder, at age 14. After spending 20 years in prison, he was found suitable for parole at his first hearing, […]

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