Author Archives: John Lam

New adolescent research could impact juvenile justice

By John Lam City leaders are urged to adopt juvenile justice reform practices that are based on recent adolescent development research. In a memo addressed to city leaders, the Institute for Youth Education and Families (IYEF) outlined the following three key aspects for city officials to focus on. A. Youth crime stems more from adolescence […]

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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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After years locked in a SHU, it’s still a struggle

By John Lam Debrief, parole or die were the only ways an inmate placed in California’s supermax facilities for gang validation could come out. It has changed, thanks to a class-action lawsuit. “I was placed in the SHU (Security Housing Unit) based on the words of a confidential informant,” said Librado Fortanel. “All they need […]

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Prop. 57 opens a door for juvenile offenders

By John Lam With the passage of Proposition 57, Kid CAT will strive to build upon the positive changes in the law and community attitudes and rehabilitation initiatives which are giving juvenile offenders hope for freedom in the future. “The passage of Proposition 57 on Nov. 8 represented a big step toward a more restorative […]

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Finding roots of criminal thinking

Twenty-seven San Quentin prisoners have graduated from a 26-week program designed to help them address the root causes of criminal thinking, childhood trauma and violent behavior. “Through The First Step curriculum, I learned where my criminal identity came from. I also learned how to deal with my emotions,” said Toalepai Falao, a November graduate of […]

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Is solitary confinement for juveniles on the way out in California?

By John Lam The use of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities in the state of California may be coming to an end. Recent reforms of practices in juvenile detention facilities represent a growing consensus that the use of solitary confinement is harmful for children, said California Democratic State Sen. Mark Leno, who is sponsoring a […]

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D.C. tries new program to fight crime

By John Lam The Washington D.C., City Council has taken steps to approve an innovative new program called Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR), to combat violent crimes through diversion programs that provide potential offenders with public services. “The NEAR Act would create two new D.C. government offices. The first would be the Office of Neighborhood […]

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‘Artistic talented artists to a packed house

By John Lam Nineteen San Quentin men shared stories, music, dance and acting with a packed chapel audience to demonstrate how art has inspired transformative change and growth in their lives. Packed into wooden pews in the Catholic Chapel were over 200 San Quentin men and 70 outside guests for the event, entitled Artistic Rebirth. […]

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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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Farewell to Cherished Kid CAT Volunteer Hera Chan

By John Lam More than 50 San Quentin inmates gathered in a rustic trailer to honor and bid farewell to a cherished volunteer, Hera Chan. “There are no words to describe the impact that she has had in our Kid CAT curriculum,” said Cleo Cloman, lead Kid CAT facilitator. “Hera always shows up with a […]

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