April 2017 News Briefs

Vermont — Disability Rights Vermont filed a lawsuit in federal court in February, alleging that some state prisons are holding inmates in segregation even when it puts the inmate in danger. The lawsuit claims a man is in solitary confinement despite extensive and significant histories of self-harming behavior, particularly when put in segregation, reports Elizabeth […]

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Unconstitutional policing conducted by US police departments

By Charles David Henry The country is engaged in a critically important conversation about community-police relations, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report. Some of the more than 18,000 police departments across the United States are engaging in unconstitutional policing, according to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Pattern and Practice Police Reform […]

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FDA impounds approximately 1000 vials of Texas execution drugs

State’s supply runs out after nine executions, it sues to have feds release impounded drugs The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has detained a shipment of approximately 1,000 vials of drugs intended for executions in Texas. After waiting for nearly a year and a half, Texas officials demanded an end to the delays, filing […]

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Prisoners strike to end ‘prison slavery’

By David Le Inmates at dozens of prisons across the county were on strike calling for reform to end the practice of slavery in prison, The Intercept reported. “There are probably 20,000 prisoners on strike right now, at least, which is the biggest prison strike in history, but the information is really sketchy and spotty,” […]

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Governor Brown pardons more than 850 since taking office

By Salvador Solorio Gov. Jerry Brown has given more than 850 pardons since 2011. This trend contrasts with the three prior governors, who granted a total of 28 pardons, reported Laurel Rosenhall of CAL Matters. Clemency applications sent to the governor describe youth indiscretions, lives of poverty, drug addiction, drug deals, accidental shootings and drunken […]

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California’s first Latino AG leads fight against presidential policies

By David Eugene Archer Sr. California Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Congressman Xavier Becerra to be the new California attorney general, reported The Guardian. Becerra is leading the state’s court battles with President Donald Trump over climate change, immigration and more, the newspaper story reported. Becerra is a 24-year veteran of Congress. He graduated from […]

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Over $180 billion a year spent on mass incarceration

Half the money spent on running the correctional system goes to pay staff By Charles David Henry The system of mass incarceration costs the government and families at least $182 billion every year, according to a report by the Prison Policy Institute. “Our goal with this report is to give a hint as to how […]

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Trump’s victory means private prison growth

By Salvador Solorio Donald Trump’s presidential victory has breathed new life into the for-profit prison industry. After the Department of Justice announced phasing out privately run jails in August, shares in CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), and GEO Group dropped, but the day after the election CoreCivic traded as much as […]

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President’s deportation policy could increase prison population

America’s prison population is likely to rise for the first time in nearly a decade if President Donald Trump keeps his promise to detain and deport millions of immigrants, The Associated Press reports. Such a policy would benefit private for-profit prison companies, the story added. After Trump commented on immigrantion policies, their stock prices jumped, […]

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Mayors and police chiefs push back against deportation policies

By John Lam Mayors and police chiefs are pushing back against President Donald Trump’s proposed deportation policies. “I don’t intend on doing anything different,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “We are not going to engage in law enforcement activities solely based on somebody’s immigration status. […]

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Father and son bond over experiences of San Quentin

By Marcus Henderson Anthony Ammons Sr. and Jr. not only share the same name. They also share the experience of being prisoners in San Quentin State Prison. One in eight African American children has an incarcerated parent. In addition, before the age of 18, one in 10 children who has an incarcerated parent will be […]

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Letters To The Editor

Editor: The January 2017 book review of Hannah Arendt’s book regarding Adolf Eichmann was going well until the senior editor began spouting off about the president of the United States of America. This leads us to believe that the senior editor is a member of the third and unofficial national political party, “The Mediacratic Party.” […]

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Prisons trying to help fathers re-establish relationships

By Harry C. Goodall Jr. There are 24 million children in America, and one out of three lives without their biological father in the home, the U.S. Census Bureau calculated. When the father is absent it can lead to the following: behavioral problems, abuse and neglect, infant mortality, substance abuse, dropping out of high school, […]

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Youth Offender Program gains traction at San Quentin

By John Lam Youth Offender Program (YOP) inmates between the ages of 18 and 23 are embracing a program specially created for them at San Quentin. “We started a support group specifically for YOPs originally with three guys, and in three months the attendance exploded. The YOPs have been recruiting and are spreading the word […]

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They Call Us Monsters sheds light on juvenile reform

Aiming to de-stigmatize California’s incarcerated juveniles, a documentary entitled They Call Us Monsters sheds light on the lives of those incarcerated and the state’s legislative debate over juvenile sentencing reform.    “Juan Gamez, Antonio Hernandez and Jara Nava are the youthful offenders at the heart of…a new documentary that follows their lives in a Los […]

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Inmates find opportunity at Folsom’s Braille program

By Harry C. Goodall Jr. Since 1989, Folsom State Prison’s Braille program has been transforming lives by transcribing books into Braille for the blind through the California Prison Industry Authority. It started when the Folsom Lions Club was creating audio books on tape. Select prisoners would read the books for blind people like Amelia Diaz. […]

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Business owner shares his knowledge and energy at DVI

By J.R. Abernathy Three days a week, you will usually find volunteer and business owner Scott Bohlmann devoting his valuable time, knowledge and positive energy to inmates at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy, Calif. “Prison is my sanctuary,” said Bohlmann, 54, explaining why he volunteers his time to teach three different classes to inmates […]

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Tehachapi gets upgrades with security and medical clinics

Tehachapi State Prison inmates may soon find themselves under new security cameras, according to a Tehachapi News article. “By knowing they (inmates) are on camera, they will generally be less likely to do something inappropriate” stated Lt. Brian Parriott. Due to an inspection of the prison, a Kern County Grand Jury recommended that California Correctional […]

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Perfil de la nueva editora en Español

Por Lucía de la Fuente Mi nombre es Lucía de la Fuente, estudio un doctorado en Antropología y Justicia Social con una visa de estudiante extranjero, soy profesora de un programa para la prevención de la violencia y soy una editora voluntaria del departamento de español en el periódico San Quentin News. También soy hermana, […]

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Más vivir y menos sobrevivir: la justicia que no entiende del perdón humano

La balanza y la espada que sostiene la mujer de los ojos vendados, representando la justicia moderna, simbolizan el equilibrio y la ejecución de las normas de carácter penal. Ésto quiere decir que, en teoría, la ley se aplica a todos por igual; pero en la práctica, no sucede lo mismo. Esta “mujer justiciera” procura […]

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La tasa de concesión de libertad condicional continua incrementando

En California existen aproximadamente 35,000 presos con sentencias indeterminadas. Por Wayne Boatwright California esta experimentando un aumento en el número de presos que reciben su libertad condicional, informó un Reporte de la Universidad de Stanford. La tasa de concesión de libertad condicional incrementó de un 8 a un 25 por ciento entre los años 2008 […]

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Parents awarded $750,000 for wrongful death of prisoner

There was a documented serious mental illness in Duran’s prison records By Tommy Bryant The parents of an inmate were awarded $750,000 for their son’s wrongful death after he was pepper-sprayed by a correctional officer in 2013. When inmate Joseph Damien Duran refused to release the feed port to his cell, Officer Roy C. Chavez […]

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Daughter sues CDCR over father’s negligent death

By Salvador Solorio Hugo “Yogi” Pinell’s daughter is suing the California prison system, claiming her father was murdered because of negligent supervision, according to a Courthouse News article by Nick Cahill. Allegra Casimir-Taylor claims her father was “released into the general population despite the fact that they (prison officials) knew that he was targeted by […]

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Prisons testing new drug to combat opioid addictions

By David Eugene Archer Sr. Some U.S. prisons are testing a monthly injection that could help addicted prisoners stay off opioids, reported The Associated Press (AP). The drug named Vivitrol is injected in the buttocks and lasts for four weeks, the story said. Each shot costs as much as $1,000, the Nov. 20 AP story […]

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Parolees having trouble getting help with treatment programs

By John Lam Drug offenders are having trouble getting services to help with their addictions once they get out of prison, a report by three newspapers concludes. “The state has not yet invested enough money in treatment programs,” according to a seven-month study conducted by the Ventura County Star, the Redding Record Searchlight, and the […]

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Hybrid novel discusses women’s empowerment issues

By Juan Haines When Caits (pronounced cats) Meissner ventured inside San Quentin last summer to meet with inmates taking a creative writing class, she talked about a new kind of writing, at least for me, called “hybrid literature”. I didn’t realize that Rosemary Jenkins previously had written in the same style. When I worked my […]

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What are the most popular ways to eat an egg?

By Angelo Falcone It’s Easter and America’s love affair with eggs has many eating colored eggs. Egg production is a billion-dollar industry. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, during one month in 2016, the United States egg production was 7.51 billion eggs by approximately 305 million hens.  Not only are eggs big business, they […]

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GEO Group to open re-entry center in SF’s Tenderloin District

By Mike Little The Geo Group, one of the largest prison companies in the United States, will open a third re-entry center in the Bay Area, reported SF Weekly. The new San Francisco SoMa facility joins the Male Community Re-entry Program and will house up to 80 inmates who are close to the end of […]

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Victims of sexual abuse speak words of forgiveness

By Rahsaan Thomas Many incarcerated people believe sexual crimes committed against women and children warrant extreme punishments, but two survivors of childhood sexual abuse visited San Quentin State Prison and spoke of therapy as a better solution. Chelsea Miller, who was molested as a child, and Keith DeBlasi, a sex trafficking victim, attended a Restorative […]

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Schools using Restorative Justice practices as a remedy to prison

By Forrest Lee Jones American schools and criminal justice systems are using Restorative Justice (RJ) more and more as a remedy to keep people from going to prison, reports Rebecca Beitsch of Pew Charitable Trusts. Restorative Justice is a practice that originated in ancient cultures. Schools and courts are using it as an alternative to […]

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CDCR allocates more than $14 million to boost rehab programs

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has awarded funding for more rehabilitation programs, reports Nuala Sawyer of the San Francisco Examiner. The department has allocated $14.5 million to boost innovative programs and increase volunteerism in prisons. Now in its third funding cycle, the Innovative Grants Program will establish 43 programs at 20 adult institutions. The […]

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DVI’s dairy production provides marketable skills

By Harry C. Goodall Jr. Inmates at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) near Tracy handle every aspect of milk production from feeding cows, pasteurization and running the machines in the dairy. The dairy was built in 1953 on 60 acres of dairy land adjacent to 540 acres of farmland at 23500 Kasson Road. It is still […]

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Warriors’ coach institutes no players left behind policy

By Rahsaan Thomas Staff Writer On an chilly overcast day, 33 men tried out for the San Quentin Warriors, and none of them were cut from the team. “I love that a lot of people come to try out,” veteran Warrior Montrell “Mad Defense” Vines said. “I ain’t seen this in three years.” Head Coach […]

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Spring training brings new talent to the diamond

By Marcus Henderson At least 40 men showed up for the San Quentin baseball spring training tryouts. The veteran players were in rare form, demonstrating their batting and fielding skills. They showed the newcomers the proper baseball mechanics while the outside volunteers and coaches scouted the talent for the 17-man roster. “We’re looking to improve […]

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Oliver’s duty to country trumps his childhood dreams

Paul Oliver grew up with dreams of playing in the NBA. When his father, a full-bird colonel, sent him to West Point Military Academy, he ran off. “I didn’t want to go to West Point because I wanted to be in the NBA,” Oliver said. “I had a scholarship to the University of Washington. I […]

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Quarantine staggers 3-Mile Race, changing the results

Skull’s first place was short lived; Taylor gains top spot on second day By Rahsaan Thomas With West Block locked down, this year’s 1000 Mile Club three-mile race happened on two different days. Chris Skull took first place in the initial three-mile race with a time of 19:04. However, Markelle Taylor and Eddie Herena reclaimed […]

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Commissioner’s addiction won’t affect Intramural League season

‘I regret letting a lot of people down who counted on me. Now I’m clean’ Last year’s San Quentin Intramural Basketball League ended in controversy after the commissioner missed several games due to disciplinary issues tied to drug addiction. Commissioner Ishmael Freelon promises the 2017 season, which starts April 23, will be much better. “I […]

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Man found innocent after 19 years

By Rahsaan Thomas While serving 75 years to life for a robbery he didn’t commit, Guy Miles missed seeing his children grow up, the birth of his grandkids and the death of family members. Throughout the whole time, he has professed his innocence to the courts, various innocence projects and fellow prisoners. The courts overturned […]

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Native Americans’ 50 years of struggle

By Marcus Henderson The San Quentin Native American community is celebrating 50 years of campaigning to protect and preserve their culture. Plans are underway to have another of the Native American Spiritual Group’s Pow Wows later this year. The Pow Wow is only one part of a larger set of activities, which includes honoring elders […]

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CALPIA’s Pattillo explains the options of prison job training

By Juan Haines The jobs inmates do in California’s prisons are diverse, and they demand skills that can be used in the outside workforce, according to Charles Pattillo, General Manager of the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA). Over the years, CALPIA has expanded from making license plates to producing a wide variety of different products […]

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Pope Francis supports clemency

By Miguel Sifuentes In early November, Pope Francis appealed to world governments to mark the end of the Year of Mercy by extending clemency to deserving inmates, according to the National Catholic Reporter. “Every time I visit a prison, I ask myself: ‘Why them and not me?’ We can all make mistakes, all of us. […]

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Veterans pay tribute to Mary Donovan

By Tommy Bryant San Quentin paid tribute to Mary Donovan for her dedication to veterans programs. Donovan is an inspirational beacon for many incarcerated veterans who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She has played a critical role in the volunteer team that has helped build the Veterans Healing Veterans from the Inside Out […]

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March 2017 News Briefs

1. Alaska — Lawmakers adopted a measure to limit prison growth and reduce recidivism, The Sentencing Project reports. The legislation expands alternatives to incarceration, reduces jail terms for misdemeanors, reclassifies drug possession as a misdemeanor, reduces felony-sentence ranges, expanded parole eligibility, streamlines releases for persons sentenced for first-time nonviolent offenses, and caps incarceration for technical […]

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‘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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