Thursday, September 10, 2015

California Jail Cell

You would have thought they were progressive, and you would be wrong:

"At Calif. protest, calls for charges in death of jail inmate" by Haven Daley and Kristin Bender Associated Press  September 05, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. — About 50 people marched Friday at the Santa Clara County main jail to demand that inmates be protected from abuse after an inmate was beaten to death last week under the watch of three deputies now facing possible murder charges.

Three jail guards were arrested Thursday, a week after an inmate, later identified as Michael James Pipkin Tyree, 31, was found dead in his cell of multiple blunt trauma, internal bleeding, and lacerations, authorities said.

Tyree, who was homeless, was serving a five-day sentence on a petty theft charge. He was awaiting transfer to a mental-health facility when he died.

And yet bankers get away with stealing billions.

Sergeant James Jensen, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County sheriff, has identified the deputies as Rafael Rodriguez, 27; Jereh Lubrin, 28; and Matthew Farris, 27.

As the district attorney reviews the cases for possible murder charges, activists called for those charges to be filed.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen has until Tuesday to file charges or the three could be released.

Raj Jayadev, an activist with Silicon Valley De-Bug, a civil rights group, said the protest was called in part to let inmates know that people are concerned about their safety. “Our Santa Clara County jail is now officially a murder scene,” he said.

Jayadev said his group wants to make sure inmates know they can come forward about issues they’ve had with correctional officers without fear of retaliation.

He said the group has heard complaints before from people who have been detained.

‘‘The responsibility is now on the sheriff’s office and county officials to prove that it’s not systemic,’’ he said.

On Thursday afternoon after the arrests, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith apologized to Tyree’s family and said ‘‘the disappointment and disgust I feel cannot be overstated.’’

She said the three officers, whom she called ‘‘accused murderers,’’ were treated as anyone else as they were handcuffed, booked, and locked in protective custody in the same jail where Tyree was killed.

They’ve since been transferred to an unnamed facility for their own protection, she said.

Smith said she apologized directly to two of Tyree’s sisters earlier Thursday, and repeated her profound sorrow over his death.

Attorney Paula Canny, representing Tyree’s family, commended the sheriff for an extraordinary response.

Maybe it's me, but this whole thing looks wrong. Negligent if not complicit cops and yet the office is commended, and the apology doesn't bring him back, does it? 

‘‘This could have been dragged out,’’ Canny said.


At least they ended torture for gang leaders:

"California will end isolation of gang leaders in prisons; Almost 3,000 kept in solitary, some for decades" by Don Thompson Associated Press  September 02, 2015

SACRAMENTO — California agreed Tuesday to end its unlimited isolation of imprisoned gang leaders, restricting a practice that once kept hundreds of inmates in notorious segregation units for a decade or longer. 

And yet the national government is out lecturing nations around the Globe about human rights, etc.

No other state keeps so many inmates segregated for so long, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. The New York City-based nonprofit center represents inmates in a class-action federal lawsuit settled on behalf of nearly 3,000 California inmates held in segregation statewide.

The state is agreeing to segregate only inmates who commit new crimes behind bars and will no longer lock gang members in soundproofed, windowless cells solely to keep them from directing illegal activities by gang members.

Given the level of federal involvement in drug smuggling, that seems ridiculous.

‘‘It will move California more into the mainstream of what other states are doing while still allowing us the ability to deal with people who are presenting problems within our system, but do so in a way where we rely less on the use of segregation,’’ said Jeffrey Beard, the state’s corrections and rehabilitation secretary.

They should be ashamed of themselves; however, I'm the wrong messenger. I live in state with a torture center called Bridgewater.

The conditions triggered intermittent hunger strikes by tens of thousands of inmates throughout the prison system in recent years. Yearslong segregation also drew criticism this summer from President Obama and US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

‘‘I think there is a deepening movement away from solitary confinement in the country and I think this settlement will be a spur to that movement,’’ Jules Lobel, the inmates’ lead attorney and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said.

The lawsuit was initially filed in 2009 by two killers serving time in the security housing unit at Pelican Bay. By 2012, Todd Ashker and Danny Troxell were among 78 prisoners confined in Pelican Bay’s isolation unit for more than 20 years, though Troxell has since been moved to another prison.

I know it is hard to believe, but I'm at a loss for words.

More than 500 had been in the unit for more than 10 years, though recent policy changes reduced that to 62 inmates isolated for a decade or longer as of late July.

The suit contended that isolating inmates in 80-square-foot cells for all but about 90 minutes each day amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

About half the nearly 3,000 inmates held in such units are in solitary confinement. Inmates have no physical contact with visitors and are allowed only limited reading materials and communication with the outside world.

Well, it was the home of Alcatraz (before they moved it to Colorado).

The settlement will limit how long inmates can spend in isolation and create restrictive custody units for inmates who refuse to participate in rehabilitation programs or who keep breaking prison rules.

They will also house those who might be in danger if they live with other inmates. For example, 71-year-old Hugo Pinell was killed by fellow inmates in August just days after he was released from isolation, decades after he became infamous for his role in a failed 1971 San Quentin State Prison escape attempt that killed six.

Lobel said the new units, by giving high-security inmates more personal contact and privileges, should be an example to other states to move away from isolation policies that he said have proven counterproductive in California.

Marie Levin, sister of 57-year-old reputed gang leader Ronnie Dewberry, read a statement from her brother, who goes by the name Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, and other plaintiffs hailing the ‘‘monumental victory for prisoners and an important step toward our goal of ending solitary confinement in California.’’

With the pending policy changes, this will be the ‘‘first time Marie will be able to hold her brother, touch her brother, for 31 years,’’ Lobel said on a teleconference call with Levin and other advocates.

Beard said he will work to ease union concerns that guards could face additional danger. He said the settlement expands on recent changes that have reduced the number of segregated inmates statewide from 4,153 in January 2012 to 2,858.


Related: Qaeda Recruits Caged in California

They are on a hunger strike due to the overcrowding. 

Also seeCalifornia's Prison Drug Crisis

Someone who will be in one soon:

"Calif. man guilty in kidnap, rape of LA 10-year-old" Associated Press  September 05, 2015

LOS ANGELES — A California man was found guilty Friday of kidnapping a 10-year-old girl from her Los Angeles bedroom at knifepoint and repeatedly raping her before letting her go and fleeing to Mexico.

A jury found Tobias Summers, 34, guilty of all 32 charges against him, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and burglary. He will face up to life in prison at his sentencing Oct. 22.

As a court clerk read the first guilty verdict, the girl’s family wiped away tears and consoled her. As the rest of the verdicts were read over the course of about an hour, Summers would shake his head, lay it down on the table in front of him, and close his eyes, or even smirk.

Summers was convicted of kidnapping the girl from her bedroom early March 27, 2013. The jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting her in numerous locations in Los Angeles before letting her go. She was found near a Starbucks 12 hours after she was kidnapped.

Summers was arrested a month later in a drug and alcohol treatment facility in a tiny village on the coast of Mexico between Tijuana and Ensenada. Summers checked into the facility under a false name, but police said they identified him from a Superman logo tattooed on his chest.


Related: California Slaughterhouses