Brazil prisoners ride bikes toward prison reform: The alternative energy program lights a boardwalk and benefits inmates, while becoming the focal point of a movement to improve Brazil’s troubled prison system.
Must-read:

The bikes are hooked up to portable batteries, which light up the humble boardwalk along this small country town’s river each night. For every three days of doing stints on the bike, the men shave one day off their sentences. In its first months, the program has proved so popular that guards have reported a jump in good behavior, which moves candidates to the top of the waiting list.

Photo: Inmates gather in the area where bicycles are hooked up to generate electricity at the prison in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Brazil. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Brazil prisoners ride bikes toward prison reform: The alternative energy program lights a boardwalk and benefits inmates, while becoming the focal point of a movement to improve Brazil’s troubled prison system.

Must-read:

The bikes are hooked up to portable batteries, which light up the humble boardwalk along this small country town’s river each night. For every three days of doing stints on the bike, the men shave one day off their sentences. In its first months, the program has proved so popular that guards have reported a jump in good behavior, which moves candidates to the top of the waiting list.

Photo: Inmates gather in the area where bicycles are hooked up to generate electricity at the prison in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Brazil. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Where’s the tough talk on crime in D.A. race? In a conspicuous shift from previous district attorney elections, this campaign has been marked by serious discussions — and unusual agreement — on the need for crime prevention programs and rehabilitation of more nonviolent offenders.
Photo: Inmates bide their time at the L.A. County Men’s Central Jail. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Where’s the tough talk on crime in D.A. race? In a conspicuous shift from previous district attorney elections, this campaign has been marked by serious discussions — and unusual agreement — on the need for crime prevention programs and rehabilitation of more nonviolent offenders.

Photo: Inmates bide their time at the L.A. County Men’s Central Jail. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Behind the barbed wire of California's prisons

Since 1996, the media have not been allowed to interview inmates — and conditions have deteriorated. AB 1270 would allow the media back in.

Sheriff’s captain took inmate on golf outing, deputy says: A pro golfer turned jewel thief was escorted from the Catalina Island jail to a golf course, where he gave the captain pointers, the deputy and the former inmate say. The captain is under investigation. Hope those golf lessons were worth it.
Photo: A hillside overlooking Avalon Harbor in Catalina. Credit: Christina House / For The Times

Sheriff’s captain took inmate on golf outing, deputy says: A pro golfer turned jewel thief was escorted from the Catalina Island jail to a golf course, where he gave the captain pointers, the deputy and the former inmate say. The captain is under investigation. Hope those golf lessons were worth it.

Photo: A hillside overlooking Avalon Harbor in Catalina. Credit: Christina House / For The Times

Hieroglyphics turn prisoner away from a life of crime

The high school dropout became fascinated after reading a prestigious archaeology magazine in a prison waiting room. The rest may be history.

In 1996, Fenstermacher, then 24, was sentenced to 16 years for felony assault, a period extended by three years after an altercation with a guard in prison.

The prison confrontation landed him in solitary confinement, where he thrived because he could focus on Egyptology. When time came to return to the general prison population, he sought and won permission to remain in solitary.

Using the cartons from his allotment of morning milk, Fenstermacher would make flashcards, each bearing a single hieroglyph — four a day for a decade. He read the cards while he worked out, forcing himself to get five right before switching exercises.

Archbishop, bearing Christmas gifts, visits Men’s Central Jail: Each inmate is given a copy of a book by Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, and about 200 attend Mass.
Photo: Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez celebrates Mass for inmates, some of whom receive Communion, on Christmas morning. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Archbishop, bearing Christmas gifts, visits Men’s Central Jail: Each inmate is given a copy of a book by Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, and about 200 attend Mass.

Photo: Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez celebrates Mass for inmates, some of whom receive Communion, on Christmas morning. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

'Knitting Behind Bars' weaves an unlikely fraternity:  A Maryland woman’s weekly prison class for men is in high demand. She says knitting has a calming effect.
Photo:   Lynn Zwerling helps an inmate during her weekly “Knitting Behind Bars” program at the Maryland prison system’s Pre-Release Unit in Jessup. Credit: Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun

'Knitting Behind Bars' weaves an unlikely fraternity: A Maryland woman’s weekly prison class for men is in high demand. She says knitting has a calming effect.

Photo: Lynn Zwerling helps an inmate during her weekly “Knitting Behind Bars” program at the Maryland prison system’s Pre-Release Unit in Jessup. Credit: Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun

In prison hospice, at a loss for the right words: As his “little brother” Freddy Garcia weakens in his battle against cancer, hospice worker John Paul Madrona struggles to craft an apology to the family of the chemist he’d killed in 1993. “Sometimes, honestly, it feels hopeless.”
This is the second part of yesterday’s two-part story.
Photo: Freddy Garcia speaks on the phone with his wife, Marina Luevano, from inside the California Medical Facility. Their relationship had become strained, and he was contemplating a divorce less than two months after his prison wedding. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

In prison hospice, at a loss for the right words: As his “little brother” Freddy Garcia weakens in his battle against cancer, hospice worker John Paul Madrona struggles to craft an apology to the family of the chemist he’d killed in 1993. “Sometimes, honestly, it feels hopeless.”

This is the second part of yesterday’s two-part story.

Photo: Freddy Garcia speaks on the phone with his wife, Marina Luevano, from inside the California Medical Facility. Their relationship had become strained, and he was contemplating a divorce less than two months after his prison wedding. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Amid ill and dying inmates, a search for redemption: Tending to the men in a prison hospice helped John Paul Madrona do penance for a terrible deed in his youth. But perhaps the work was not enough. 
Madrona is serving time for the murder of the brother of a former Times business reporter. Powerful story on our state’s prison hospice. Part two is coming Monday.
Photo: Pastoral Care Worker John Paul Madrona, serving a prison term for a 1993 murder, keeps an eye on Steven Thomas as he bathes in the hospice wing. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Amid ill and dying inmates, a search for redemption: Tending to the men in a prison hospice helped John Paul Madrona do penance for a terrible deed in his youth. But perhaps the work was not enough

Madrona is serving time for the murder of the brother of a former Times business reporter. Powerful story on our state’s prison hospice. Part two is coming Monday.

Photo: Pastoral Care Worker John Paul Madrona, serving a prison term for a 1993 murder, keeps an eye on Steven Thomas as he bathes in the hospice wing. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Sheriff’s staff raised red flags about jail brutality 2 years ago: Reports tell of misconduct and shoddy investigations. One audited more than 100 violent encounters with inmates and found that deputies crafted narratives “dramatized to justify” force.
Photo:   Confidential Sheriff’s Department memos focused on force at Men’s Central Jail, an aging downtown Los Angeles facility that Sheriff Lee Baca has said should be torn down and replaced. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

Sheriff’s staff raised red flags about jail brutality 2 years ago: Reports tell of misconduct and shoddy investigations. One audited more than 100 violent encounters with inmates and found that deputies crafted narratives “dramatized to justify” force.

Photo: Confidential Sheriff’s Department memos focused on force at Men’s Central Jail, an aging downtown Los Angeles facility that Sheriff Lee Baca has said should be torn down and replaced. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

L.A. County deputy says he was forced to beat mentally ill inmate: The rookie, top recruit in his class, resigned after the incident, which he said was covered up. The deputy’s supervisor was allegedly threatened by the young man’s uncle, a sheriff’s detective.
Photo:  The Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles is where a rookie deputy said he was made to beat an inmate. Credit: Phil McCarten / Reuters

L.A. County deputy says he was forced to beat mentally ill inmate: The rookie, top recruit in his class, resigned after the incident, which he said was covered up. The deputy’s supervisor was allegedly threatened by the young man’s uncle, a sheriff’s detective.

Photo: The Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles is where a rookie deputy said he was made to beat an inmate. Credit: Phil McCarten / Reuters

Prison hunger strikers now number 12,000, advocates say:

Advocates for California prison inmates conducting a hunger strike said the number of participants has swelled to 12,000, making it possibly the largest prison strike in recent U.S. history.

Photo: Inmate Timothy Kelly at Pelican Bay State Prison, where inmates waged a hunger strike in July to protest alleged mistreatment. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Prison hunger strikers now number 12,000, advocates say:

Advocates for California prison inmates conducting a hunger strike said the number of participants has swelled to 12,000, making it possibly the largest prison strike in recent U.S. history.

Photo: Inmate Timothy Kelly at Pelican Bay State Prison, where inmates waged a hunger strike in July to protest alleged mistreatment. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Former California prisons leader joins fight against death penalty

reblogged via californiawatch:

“I never was in favor of the death penalty, but my experience at San Quentin allowed me to see it from all points of view. I had a duty to carry out, and I tried to do it with professionalism,” Woodford, 56, said in explaining how she had to put her personal abhorrence of execution aside to do her job. “The death penalty serves no one. It doesn’t serve the victims. It doesn’t serve prevention. It’s truly all about retribution.”

Death penalty: Former California prisons leader joins fight against death penalty - latimes.com

That quote is from Jeanne Woodford, the former director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation who as warden at San Quentin reluctantly oversaw four executions. She will become the executive director of the nonprofit Death Penalty Focus.

test reblogged from californiawatch