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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

California sets inmate sex reassignment rules

APCalifornia prison officials are setting the first standards for which transgender inmates should receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery after spending years in court fighting to block the operations.

In a policy that took effect Tuesday and was reviewed by The Associated Press, prison mental health professionals would refer the inmates for the surgery. To qualify for the surgery, inmates must be diagnosed with what is formally known as gender dysphoria; have expressed a desire for sex-reassignment surgery for at least two years; and have lived as a member of the preferred gender for at least 12 months.

The announcement comes after California became the first state to agree to pay for one inmate's surgery and refused to provide the surgery to a second inmate who has since been paroled.

The guidelines are believed to be the first in the nation by a prison system, said Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for the federal court-appointed official who controls California's prison medical care. They were developed in cooperation with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which oversees inmates' mental health care.

"We understood there needed to be some uniform protocols in place that focused on the need for surgery when it was medically necessary, when there weren't any alternatives that were feasible," she said. The standards are similar to those used by medical providers outside the prison system, she said. continue reading...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Union: Guard taken hostage was left alone with Ohio inmates

Parkersburg NewsA female prison guard was taken hostage by a male inmate after she was left alone in the library of a central Ohio prison, according to the union representing state corrections officers.

The guard was by herself after a second officer was pulled off for duties at the Mansfield Correctional Institution chapel, said Doug Mosier, a Mansfield guard and president of the facility's Ohio Civil Service Employees Association chapter.

Once the second officer was pulled away, the library should have been closed and inmates returned to their cells, he said. The room was a legal library where inmates are allowed to do research on their cases.

"Obviously, the inmate saw an opportunity and took it," Mosier said Monday. The union didn't know how many total inmates were in the library.

It was unclear exactly how the guard was taken hostage. Most inmates were heading back to their cells for a daily headcount at the time, Mosier said.

The guard, an experienced officer, was released safely and is doing well, Mosier said. The situation started at 10:30 a.m. and ended about 9 p.m. Sunday, but the prison remained on lockdown Monday, said JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

She wouldn't release the name of the guard or inmate citing the ongoing investigation.

The union previously filed a grievance over the practice of leaving areas understaffed when guards are pulled away for other duties. Current policies prevent non-guards such as social workers and teachers from being left alone with inmates. The union wants that expanded to include corrections officers. continue reading...


EIN NewsDouble digit increases in crime may be an early warning sign of what’s to come as a result of California’s sweeping justice realignment system and the passage of Proposition 47. Riverside County District Attorney Michael A. Hestrin discussed what’s behind the recent uptick in crime as part of the continuing Randall Lewis Seminar Series presented by the UC Riverside School of Public Policy’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development.

Violent crime jumped more than 10-percent in Riverside County between January and June this year compared to 2014. The County’s top prosecutor suspects that double digit increase may be an early warning sign of what’s to come as a result of California’s sweeping justice realignment system and the passage of Proposition 47.

Riverside County District Attorney Michael A. Hestrin talked about he believes is behind the uptick in crime as part of the continuing Randall Lewis Seminar Series presented by the UC Riverside School of Public Policy’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development.

Hestrin explained to Ron Loveridge, director of the CSSD and former Riverside Mayor, that Riverside County communities saw significant increases in almost every category of crime in the first half of this year.

Normally when crime goes up during times of recession or economic downturn, it’s focused in “hot spots.” “What you’re seeing here is different,” Hestrin said.

Riverside County’s 10.63 percent jump in violent crime, however, pales in comparison to the 26.92-percent increase in violent crime in Cathedral City. Robberies jumped 150-percent there as well. Even the city of Riverside, the most populous municipality in the Inland Empire, was stunned to see robberies climb almost 14.48-percent.

There’s more than a suspicion, Hestrin said, that the increases are due to the justice system realignment mandated by Assembly Bill 109 in 2011 and voter approve Prop 47 last year. continue reading...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Legionnaires' disease case at San Quentin prison prompts shutoff of water

LA TimesWater service at California's San Quentin State Prison has been shut off after one inmate was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease and dozens of others showed symptoms of the severe form of pneumonia.

California corrections officials said the first case was identified Thursday by doctors at an outside hospital. The stricken inmate remains under treatment. His current condition was not known, said prisons spokeswoman Dana Simas.

"There are currently less than a couple dozen inmates exhibiting symptoms," Simas said Friday. Those prisoners are being tested at outside hospitals to confirm the cause of their illness, she said.

In the meantime, she said, the prison at San Quentin has shut off water within its housing units until the cause of the disease is found. Simas said water is being delivered to the prison by "secondary sources," such as water tanks and bottled water, and portable toilets are being delivered.

The prison was closed Friday to all visitors.

Simas described Legionnaires' disease as a severe form of pneumonia, caused by a bacteria found in water systems.

"Fortunately, Legionnaires is not an infectious disease — it cannot be transmitted person to person. It is transmitted through aerosolized water (such as steam), or inhaling contaminated soil," said Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for the medical receiver's office that runs prison healthcare in California. continue reading...

A decade ago, a new name affirmed mission of CDCR

Inside CDCROne solid decade ago, the state prison system was completely overhauled, creating today’s California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

While the department was massively overhauled 10 years ago, improvements continue to be made, with rehabilitation the focus.

“The addition of the word ‘rehabilitation’ to our department’s name was significant. It is not enough to incarcerate; one of our core public safety missions is to give inmates opportunities to live productive, law-abiding lives through programs that better prepare them for their return to our communities. CDCR’s heavy investments in rehabilitation are paying off,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard. “We now have a network of reentry hubs, and we are rebuilding our training, education and substance abuse programs to make the ‘R’ in CDCR a reality.”

In 2005, under the Governor’s direction, the department was reorganized and the word “rehabilitation” was added to the name. Some of the main goals included streamlining and “flattening” the department and eliminating duplication and inefficiencies.

“This effort consolidated the operations of the various departments and boards within the former Youth and Adult Correctional Agency (YACA) into the new CDCR,” according to “Successes and Challenges: The CDCR Story,” a department report published in May 2007. continue reading...

Riot at Salinas Valley State Prison, 2 inmates sent to hospital

KIONTwo inmates were sent to a hospital following a riot at a maximum-security prison in Soledad Thursday.

The riot happened before 10 a.m. in a yard at Salinas Valley State Prison.

A state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson said 90 inmates were involved, two suffered slash wounds and were taken to a hospital.

One of the inmates has since returned to the prison, but the other remains at the hospital.

Several other inmates were also reported injured.

The cause of the riot is under investigation.

Arizona cuts ties with private-prison operator over Kingman riot

AZ CentralGov. Doug Ducey is terminating a contract with the operator of a private prison near Kingman that he said “failed” to control riots last month that badly damaged the facility and injured 16 people.

Ducey based his decision on an Arizona Department of Corrections investigative report that said Management & Training Corp., operator of the Golden Valley facility, had “a culture of disorganization, disengagement, and disregard” of DOC policies. The scathing report also questioned the company’s inmate-management and security principles.

The Utah-based company said it took full responsibility for the riots from July 1 to July 4 that forced the evacuation of roughly 1,200 inmates. But MTC refuted DOC’s report, saying it was flawed. The company said the state agency did not give MTC an opportunity to respond and that the state’s handling of the disturbance caused confusion and “may have impeded our ability to properly manage and minimize the subsequent disturbance.”

Corrections Director Charles Ryan during a Wednesday afternoon press conference accepted no blame for the riots and said no one in his agency would be disciplined for the melee. He said MTC withheld information from his monitors and that his agency would conduct investigations of the state’s other two private-prison companies to see if they are in compliance. continue reading...

Drug counselor caught allegedly smuggling drugs, cellphones into prison

SacbeeA woman contracted to help inmates overcome addiction was stopped earlier this month as she allegedly tried to enter a state prison in Imperial County with illegal and prescription drugs, booze, tobacco, cough syrup and dozens of cell phones.

It’s not clear whether Angela P. Carr, 43, has been charged with a crime. Telephone messages left with the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office this week were not returned.

A confidential incident report prepared by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and obtained by The Sacramento Bee states that Carr was attempting to enter Calipatria State Prison on the morning of Aug. 7 when a lieutenant smelled “a strong odor of marijuana” coming from her direction.

The officer approached Carr, identified himself and determined the marijuana smell came from “a large bag of potato chips that Ms. Carr had beside her,” the report states.

Asked if the large bag of chips was hers, Carr said, “Yes,” according to the report. She also said “yes” when asked if it contained contraband.

Then, the document states, “Ms. Carr made a spontaneous statement of, ‘I have marijuana, cellphones and probably more drugs in there,’” pointed to the potato chip bag and “to all the items of property she had with her.” The report does not detail what other items Carr had. continue reading...

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Police chief: 'blood trail' of bad laws led to Santa Maria woman's murder

KSBYLocal law enforcement leaders expressed frustration Friday with federal and state laws they say have hindered their departments and indirectly led to the deadly sexual assault of 64-year-old Santa Maria resident Marilyn Pharis.

At a news conference announcing murder charges against Jose Villagomez and undocumented immigrant Victor Martinez, Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin decried two state laws and also national immigration policy he says have handcuffed local law enforcement.

"I think this is a national issue," said Chief Martin. "I think it starts in Washington D.C. with this administration that we see and their policies. I think you can draw a direct line over to Sacramento with the policies of... I'm going to say this governor and the legislature."

"We've seen AB 109 pass. We've seen Prop 47 pass. And I am not remiss to say that, from Washington D.C. to Sacramento, there is a blood trail into the bedroom of Marilyn Pharis."

AB 109 is a California law that states non-violent, non-serious offenders are to be supervised at the local level after they are released from prison, rather than reporting to state parole officers. California Proposition 47 reduced most non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor.

"There is a frustration," added Chief Martin. "You've got the state of California that passed AB 109. So what happens is, the state prisons have now emptied out and are forcing all the local sheriffs to take their prisoners."

"So two weeks before this murder, Santa Maria police officers arrested (Martinez) for possession of meth. And you know what we had to do? We had to sign him out," said Chief Martin. "That's the problem with this system. And it is not just in Santa Maria. This is all over the state of California and all over the United States." continue reading...

Friday, July 31, 2015

California Prison Academy: Better Than a Harvard Degree

Monday, July 6, 2015

Arizona taxpayers should 'riot' over private prisons

azcentral.comNow that the riot has been quelled at the Arizona State Prison-Kingman it's time for taxpayers to stage an uprising of our own – against private prisons.

The facility in Kingman is run by Utah-based Management & Training Corp.

In 2010 three inmates escaped from that same prison. Two of them were later tied to the murder of a New Mexico couple.

Earlier this year, the family of a 23-year-old inmate who was horribly assaulted and killed inside the prison announced it is seeking $7.5 million from the state and Management & Training Corp.

Now we've had days of rioting, which has left several people injured, including prison employees. It has rendered numerous buildings within the complex "uninhabitable."

It has caused the state to relocate over 1,000 inmates to other jails and prisons, and it has drained money and resources from other agencies by requiring reinforcements from various police departments, the Department of Public Safety, officers at Arizona's public prisons and nearly 100 members of a special tactical support unit.

For too long Arizona taxpayers have been held prisoner by the state's policy of allowing private prisons. continue reading...

Prison's medical care deemed OK despite pressure to close it

APMedical care at a prison east of Los Angeles has been deemed adequate despite claims that the facility is unsafe and should be closed.

The state inspector general on Friday gave the California Rehabilitation Center at Norco a passing grade on health care, allowing federal officials to consider returning control to the state.

An inspection determined that the prison clinics lack sanitation but overall the lockup provides acceptable medical care.

Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock of Berkeley, who heads the Senate Public Safety Committee, has called on Gov. Jerry Brown to close the prison. She says it's so dilapidated that it threatens the health and safety of nearly 2,400 inmates as well as employees.

Brown says no decision will be made until next year.