Author Archives: Tommy Bryant

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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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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Employment still the biggest obstacle for parolees

By Tommy Bryant One of the biggest obstacle prisoners face upon release is finding a job. This applies to both violent and nonviolent offenders. “Recently the American Bar Association estimated that there are 44,000 different barriers to re-entry at the state and federal level,” said Dominik Taylor, a staff attorney with Root and Rebound, an […]

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Jailing of mentally ill is a growing problem in California

By Tommy Bryant              Locking up the mentally ill in jails and prisons is a growing problem in California, a Los Angeles Times story reports. About 37 percent of the state’s inmates are mentally ill, said a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The spokesman noted that […]

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Republican National Convention Calls for Criminal Justice Reform

By Tommy Bryant         Criminal justice reform was the subject on the second day of the Republican National Convention (RNC). It featured a three-governor forum sponsored by the U.S. Justice Action Network and the GOPAC Education Fund. These three governors are “leading their states to reform a criminal justice system rife with overly […]

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San Quentin Nurse Heals One Inmate at a Time

By Tommy Bryant Journalism Guild Writer Diabetes is a serious problem at San Quentin and Elina Appleton has made it her mission to help those affected. “Most inmates have no idea what the disease is or how it affects them until they start losing toes, feet, legs, kidneys, go blind, have heart attacks and/or strokes,” […]

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Law Enforcement is Divided Over Prop. 47’s Implementation

By Tommy Bryant Journalism Guild Writer Many law enforcement personnel are resisting implementing Proposition 47, which reduced some drug felonies to misdemeanors, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). There is “a disappointing level of resistance,” the ACLU states in their report, as reported by Ben Poston in a Nov. 11 Los Angeles Times […]

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Soledad’s Veteran Service Office Assists Re-entry Inmates

By Tommy Bryant Journalism Guild Writer The Veteran Service Office at Correctional Training Facility in Soledad is assisting incarcerated vets in obtaining benefits. Ed Munis had worked as a lobbyist for veterans’ issues in Sacramento before his incarceration. He was recruited by originator inmate Michael “Doc” Piper. With the warden’s approval, they started the Veteran […]

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Prop. 47 Results in Lower Recidivism for State

By Tommy Bryant Journalism Guild Writer The effects of Prop. 47, now at the one-year anniversary point, are still being analyzed. Statistics are slowly trickling in about the effects Prop. 47 is having on jail and prison systems. Remarkably, Prop. 47 recidivism has been very low. “A prison return rate below 5 percent indicates that […]

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Prisoners Close to Parole Meeting Employers

By Tommy Bryant and Kevin D. Sawyer Twenty-five prisoners got an up-close look at employment opportunities they might encounter upon release from San Quentin during the prison’s second Employment Readiness Seminar. Thirteen businesses and organizations attended the December event that doubled as a Job Fair. As the evening began, there was a hint of nervousness from […]

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