Author Archives: Richard Richardson

Finding Solutions for Today’s Tragedies in the Community

By Richard “Bonaru” Richardson A young Black woman touring San Quentin questioned a group of prisoners with tears in her eyes. “Aren’t you guys mad at what’s going on out there between the police and communities?” I dropped my head in humiliation because I had no answer. I was speechless. I stood staring at the […]

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CDCR Secretary Visits San Quentin

By Richard “Bonaru” Richardson and Arnulfo T. Garcia California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary Scott Kernan visited San Quentin with CDCR Director of Enterprise Information Services Russ Nichols to witness a historic event, the launch of a sophisticated and secure wireless computer server cluster which imitates the internet,. The system allows students in San Quentin’s   […]

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Working Together Towards a Brighter Future

By Richard “Bonaru” Richardson Editor-in-ChiefI arrived at San Quentin State Prison in 2007 from Soledad along with 20 other prisoners. It wasn’t 24 hours before we were called to the lieutenant’s office and warned, “San Quentin is not your average prison, and we don’t need trouble makers like you guys here.” Being a Black man, […]

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Alliance for Change Wonders: ‘What Would You Do?’

By Richard Richardson Design Editor To prepare inmates for release from prison, one of San Quentin’s self-help groups puts them through real-life situations with all sorts of typical complications thrown at them. Known as Alliance for CHANGE (Creating Hope and New Goals Ethically), or AFC, the group’s mission is to facilitate the pre- and post-release […]

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Gov. Brown Signs Senate Bill 1010

By Richard Richardson Legislation to eliminate disparities for certain drug crimes has made its way through the California Legislature. The measure, SB 1010, would “reduce the penalty for possession for sale of cocaine base to be the same as that for powder cocaine” and revises “the guidelines for probation eligibility for both the possession for […]

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Freedom After 15 Years In Prison

By Richard Richardson It’s a new and strange world for Gary Scott, who was arrested for second-degree murder at the age of 15 and recently paroled after spending 15 years in prison. “It’s surreal,” Scott told and Oakland Tribune columnist Tammerlin Drummond. “The first night I couldn’t sleep because I was afraid it was a […]

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Prisons and Public Safety

By Richard Richardson As America’s distinction of having the highest incarceration rate of all industrialized nations begins to take a toll on state and local governments, Republican and Democratic platforms outline plans to keep the public safe from crime while reducing the prison population. GOP PLATFORM The Grand Old Party’s new platform breaks from the […]

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Study Rebuts Theory Behind Longer Prison Sentences

By Richard Richardson Locking up non-violent criminals for lengthy prison terms fails to improve public safety, a public-interest research report concludes. “There is little or no evidence that keeping them [offenders] locked up longer prevents additional crime,” according to The Pew Center on the States. Between 1972 and 2011, the United States enacted numerous laws […]

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The Men’s Advisory Council

By Richard Richardson EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN EXPLAINS ITS FUNCTION When California prisoners have a general problem, the first stop is usually with somebody like Sam W. Johnson Sr., executive chairman of the San Quentin Men’s Advisory Council. MAC’s job is “to advise and communicate with the warden and other staff those matters of common interest and […]

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Prison Investors Back Tough Laws

By Richard Richardson Privately owned prison investors are banking on incarceration instead of rehabilitation by supporting politicians who are “tough on crime,” according to a new report analyzing how corporations affect U.S. prison policy. From 1995 to 2010, the privately owned prison population in the U.S. rose from three percent to eight percent because more […]

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