Author Archives: Kevin D. Sawyer

William J. Drummond receives prestigious journalism award

By Kevin D. Sawyer Associate Editor The University of California, Berkeley awarded Professor William J. Drummond, an adviser to San Quentin News, the prestigious Leon A. Henkin Citation for Distinguished Service in February for his work as a journalist and academic. In a speech, Edward Wasserman, the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism, cited […]

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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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Securus stalls efforts to reduce inmate telephone rates

By Kevin D. Sawyer Regulatory efforts to reduce the price of in-state telephone calls made by inmates were stalled by Securus Technologies, Inc. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) attempt to cap the rates at no more than $0.31 per minute was stayed by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after Securus […]

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Gov. Brown veto of SB 1157 allows jails to ban visits

By Kevin D. Sawyer Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited exclusive use of video visits at local correctional facilities. Brown said in his September veto message of SB 1157 that he is concerned by the recent trend in cutting back in-person jail visits. But he said the bill lacks flexibility […]

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Inmates preview job opportunities thanks to an Employment Readiness Seminar

By Kevin D. Sawyer A group of San Quentin prisoners got a preview of job opportunities when they are released, thanks to an Employment Readiness Seminar. Thirty-six inmates and 33 outside guests attended the December event, the latest of four job seminars held in the past two years. “We prepare men for jobs,” said Diana […]

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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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SQ Mission: Learning to earn a living wage

By Kevin D. Sawyer In prison, education is all about public safety. Shannon Swain, Deputy Superintendent for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Office of Correctional Education (OCE) understands this well. “If someone’s going to do time, then they should learn something to better their community,” said Swain. “If someone learns a skill […]

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Melissa Davis keeping the community safe on both sides of the law

By Kevin D. Sawyer There is a growing number of individuals working in law enforcement who labor freely, beyond what their profession requires of them, to increase public safety. Meet Melissa Davis, who has been working as one of Marin County’s probation officers for a little more than 12 years. She has a Bachelor 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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Police Harassment of Blacks Higher Than for Other Minorities

By Kevin D. Sawyer In a recent poll, Blacks reported being harassed by police at a higher percentage than reported by Asians, Hispanics and Whites, according to The Associated Press (AP). “Two-thirds of young African-Americans and 4 in 10 Hispanics say that they or someone they know has experienced violence or harassment at the hands […]

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