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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Homeless teens forced to choose jail just to get a square meal

By Marcus Henderson Jail or starvation are the hard choices some American teens have to make when facing uncertainty of where their next meal is coming from, the Urban Institute reported in September. Teens spoke about going to jail or failing school, so they could attend summer classes to receive lunches as another means for […]

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Protesters’ vigil at CIW for women who took their own lives

By Marcus Henderson Alarmed by high suicides rates and other alleged abuses at the California Institution for Women (CIW), about 80 people gathered in front of the prison to protest and remember loved ones who took their lives while incarcerated there. Protesters came holding signs, some shaped like coffins, and wearing T-shirts proclaiming the memory […]

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Straight talk from women at SQ’s ‘Sister, I’m Sorry’ event

Dozens of San Quentin prisoners listened intently as seven women described their own experiences surviving horrific crimes including rape, incest, abandonment and domestic violence. During the panel discussion Nov. 12 in the Protestant Garden Chapel, the men received a dose of straight talk and a reality check on the hidden pains of women. Darell “Obadiah” […]

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‘The way she treats us makes us want to do well’

By Rahsaan Thomas There’s a teacher who walks around a prison classroom engaging students and encouraging them in a way they say most teachers in the public school system din’t. Behind San Quentin educator D. Searle is a testament — copies of more than two dozen High School Equivalent diplomas earned since late 2015 by […]

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Delivering a message of hope for thousands with HIV

By Emile DeWeaver One of the country’s major problems is that 161,000 people in the United States have HIV but don’t know it, Andrew Reynolds told a gathering at San Quentin’s World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 An expert in HIV prevention, Reynolds brought a message of hope: Although there are 50,000 new infections a […]

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Volunteers’ caroling brings joy to SQ inmates

By John C. Eagan About 75 volunteers braved frigid weather to bring an evening of Christmas caroling to thousands of inmates in their cells and dorms at San Quentin State Prison. “I saw a lot of joy,” said volunteer Steve Howell, music director at Tiburon Baptist Church. He led a group of about a dozen […]

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Christmas banquet shows appreciation for the volunteers

By Marcus Henderson More than 250 prisoners filled the San Quentin Garden Chapel to show appreciation for the tireless work of it volunteers at its 2016 Annual Christmas Banquet. The theme of the event was “I was in prison and you visited me,” quoting Jesus Christ from the Bible, Matthew 25:36. The chapel was decorated […]

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Discovering what it means to be human

By Juan Haines A diverse troupe of men, dressed as usual in prison blue, broke away from the everyday constraints of incarceration through the artistic expression of dance and dialogue. San Quentin’s Artistic Ensemble put on its latest performance in the prison’s Protestant Chapel on Nov. 18 for an audience of about 150 that included […]

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Albergues de apoyo para ex-convictos repatriados

Por Marco Villa y Taré Beltranchuc Los presidiarios de nacio-nalidad mexicana, al cumplir sus condenas y ser deporta-dos a México, serán recibidos por el Instituto Nacional de Migración de la frontera. Es-tas autoridades procesaran su ingreso a territorio nacional y les ofrecerán un albergue y una llamada telefónica. Así mismo, se les ofrecerá un descuento […]

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Trump crea pánico en los dreamers

Por David Eugene Archer Sr. El Presidente electo Trump, esta causando preocupacion en los “Dreamers” (estudiantes indocumentados) de ser deportados, comento un periódico de Texas. En el 2012 el Presidente Barack Obama concedió un permiso de no deportación a   jóvenes inmigrantes indocumentados. Estos estudiantes “están asustados” con la elección de Donald Trump como presidente […]

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San Joaquin offers free tattoo removal for a better future

By Harry Goodall Jr. “People say it’s like bacon, hot greasy bacon touching your skin” said nurse Chris Bendinelli. He was describing the pain of tattoo removal. Dozens of people stood in line for a free tattoo removal program at El Concilio clinic a few months ago. The program is sponsored by the San Joaquin […]

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Dreamers fearful of deportation with President Trump

President-elect Trump causes immigrant “dreamers” to be fearful of deportation, according to a Texas newspaper. The young, undocumented immigrants, granted relief from deportation under President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order, are “freaking out” because of Donald Trump, the Texas Tribune reported. During “his smash-talking presidential run,” Trump promised to wipe away the order with a […]

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Inmate veterans deliver a message to the young

By Juan Haines In the early hours of Nov. 11, several dozen military veterans from all branches of service gathered on a prison yard. Free veterans and people from the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area joined them to pay tribute to this national holiday. Before the guests arrived, incarcerated veterans worked with military precision to […]

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Christmas comes early with VGSQ’s Toys for Tots

By Charles David Henry The 2016 San Quentin’s Toys for Tots program came earlier this year. On Dec. 16 chairman Gary Cooper and members of the Veterans Group of San Quentin (VGSQ) decorated the Christmas tree in the main visiting room and received nearly 400 gifts from the United States Marine Corps Recruitment Center in […]

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Government worker’s job to destroy millions of lives

By Juan Haines Senior Editor Adolf Eichmann was a regular guy who found his calling by being an efficient government worker. A deeper look into his life reveals a not-so-average guy who had failed in many things, including academically and at several jobs. Nevertheless, he was a dedicated public servant and a pretty good community […]

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Study explores how lifers get better deal from parole boards

By Wayne Boatwright For decades, lifers were rarely found suitable for parole. Now more than 20 percent are being paroled. Why? Thanks to changes at the legal, executive, as well as an initiative petition and administrative levels. Many more prisoners will now have access to parole because of the passage of Proposition 57 in November […]

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‘My mother’ and ‘the Pope’ top list of best persons to visit

By Angelo Falcone A visit from family or friend is the most valued and anticipated occurrence in San Quentin. According to prison regulations, it is recognized as “a means of increasing safety in prisons, maintaining family and community connections, and preparing inmates for successful release and rehabilitation.” “Asked on the Line” asked the men in […]

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SHU inmates down 65 percent since 2012

By Salvador Solorio The use of Security Housing Unit (SHU) cells in California has reportedly dropped 65 percent. As of December 2012, the state had 9,870 prisoners in SHU, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented the prisoners. This August there were 3,471. Of the 1,557 prisoners kept in SHU for 10 or […]

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Correctional Officers honored for rescuing citizens

By Marcus Henderson Three California correctional officers have been honored for using their emergency training to rescue injured citizens. One motorist layed unconscious in an overturned car on a 100-yard steep embankment. Avenal State Prison Lts. Mike Tuntakit and John Mendiboure broke out a window and used life-saving tactics to resuscitate her, reported the Hanford […]

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Centinela helps incarcerated veterans with ‘The Fight Club’

By Forrest Lee Jones The Fight Club, a Biblically-based program designed to help veterans suffering from PTSD and other psychiatric disorders, came to Centinela State Prison in June. The goal of the program is to see how it can impact prisoner reform, Wayne Hughes wrote in an op-ed for the OC Register. The Fight Club’s […]

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Chowchilla’s cosmetology program for men enhances job prospects

By Noel Scott Valley State Prison in Chowchilla is the only prison in California that offers a cosmetology program for men. It has a 100 percent graduation rate, which is one of the highest rates of any prison education programs in the nation, according to Wash, Rinse, Redeem: A look inside a beauty school — […]

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North Block wins basketball trophy named Becky, 28-21

By Rahsaan Thomas The Asian/Pacific Islanders formed teams by housing units for a Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament where the prizes were promoting unity and a trophy called Becky with the Good Hair. North Block defeated H-Unit in the finals, 28-21. “They played a good game; we played a good game. They came out on top,” said […]

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SQ Kings end losing season with victory

The San Quentin Kings ended their last game of a losing season with an 87-83 overtime win over the visiting Bittermen basketball team. “We salvaged the season,” joked Kings Coach Orlando Harris. “Even though they won the season series, they have to go home and sit with this loss for the entire off season. I’m […]

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A fútbol battle of the ages on the Lower Yard

By Eddie Herena Prison provides the opportunity for Latinos to seek friendship with their fellow inmates through a shared interest. At San Quentin State Prison, this usually means finding them on a soccer field. On the Lower Yard, incarcerated soccer players recently held a match against the Hermanos Unidos (United Brothers) – a team of […]

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Draymond Green converts a heckler

By Rahsaan Thomas For years Ceasar “C-Money” McDowell has been heckling any team that comes in from the outside to play in San Quentin, especially the Golden State Warriors organization. However, after an epic day of playing dominos inside the prison with Draymond Green, he now calls the NBA All-Star his favorite basketball player. “Draymond […]

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USF tennis team loves its matches at San Quentin

The University of San Francisco Tennis Team, comprising players from around the world, returned to San Quentin to visit and play against the Inside Tennis Team. The S.Q. team is composed of older incarcerated men, most of whom learned how to play tennis inside prison. “I love bringing my guys here,” said USF coach Pablo […]

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10 complete the ninth annual 1000 Mile Club marathon

Despite obstacles, like several alarms requiring all inmates to sit on the ground for momentum-zapping spats, 10 men completed 105 laps around San Quentin’s Lower Yard to finish the ninth annual 1000 Mile Club marathon. The 10 finishers, on Nov. 19, represent a club record. Since 2008, no more than nine men have completed the […]

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Rehabilitation begins with communication

By Scott Kernan Inmate Tyrone Hilton stood in the cell with the heavy porcelain sink in his mammoth hands. He stood 6-foot-7-inches tall, weighed 295 pounds and his muscles bulged from years of pumping iron on the prison yard. A blanket draped the open cell front and deterred direct observation into the cell. The guards […]

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San Quentin podcast wins international contest

By Rahsaan Thomas A podcast, produced inside San Quentin Prison, won an international contest, beating out more than 1,500 other entries from 48 countries. The judges were persuaded by stories about living in solitary confinement for 26 years, taking care of pets in prison and a former gang member talking about misguided loyalty. The podcast […]

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President-Elect Trump’s historical upset shocks nation

By Juan Haines For the fifth time in American history, the presidential candidate who won the popular vote will not be occupying The Oval Office. The populist, Donald J. Trump, astounded nearly every political pundit by breaking down what was perceived by Democrats and mainstream media to be a firewall of secure states for Hillary […]

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Proposition 57 passed … what now?

By Kevin D. Sawyer Mike Romano, director of the Three Strikes Project at Stanford Law School, shared a few thoughts on ballot initiative Proposition 57 before the election. Now that it has passed, many inmates in California are asking what to do next. Romano did not provide specific details on how the law will be […]

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California votes to speed up executions

While state lawmakers complete approval of a one-drug execution method, Californians voted not only to keep the death penalty on the books, but approved speeding up executions by limiting the appeals process. Californians rejected Proposition 62, which would have repealed the death penalty for persons found guilty of murder with special circumstances and replaced it […]

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Prisoners save correctional officer’s life

By Arnulfo T. Garcia A man is choking on a piece of meat in his throat. Three onlookers see him in distress, and they come to his rescue. What makes this scenario unusual is that the stricken man was a San Quentin correctional officer, and the rescuers were three prisoners, each serving life terms for […]

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December 2016 News Briefs

Arizona — After the 2012 decision barring mandatory sentences of life without parole for offenders who were juveniles when they committed their crimes—and making the law retroactive—the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state courts to review the sentences in several cases, SCOTUSblog reports. Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained that the sentencing judges in these cases did […]

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California legalizes recreational use of marijuana for adults

By Emile DeWeaver California’s Proposition 64 passed overwhelmingly, legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults who are at least 21 years old. California residents and visitors may legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants, though users can be fined for smoking in public, reported NBC News. Despite the […]

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