California officials say that 30,000 inmates at prisons in the state and out-of-state private prisons refused meals today. Paige St. John reports on The Times’ PolitiCal blog:
The protest, announced for months, is organized by a small group of inmates held in segregation at Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border. Their list of demands, reiterated Monday, center on state policies that allow inmates to be held in isolation indefinitely, in some cases for decades, for ties to prison gangs.
Earlier today, the leaders of the protest provided The Times with a statement that included a list of demands.
Photo: Gray Fisher, left, of the California Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Network, and Oscar Romero of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network demonstrate outside the Ronald Reagan State Building in L.A. on July 8 in support of the hunger strikers. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times
Dorothy Gambrell illustrates everything you wanted to know about California’s prison labor program, but were afraid to ask. They can only sell inmate-made goods to the state, and if the state cuts back, those prisoners lose their jobs. Jeez, in jail AND laid off? Can this prison sentence get any worse????
Prison labor, once best known for making license plates, has grown to 57 factories doing such work as modular building construction, toner cartridge recycling, shoemaking and juice packaging. Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek
test reblogged from pacificstand
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.
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
Since 1996, the media have not been allowed to interview inmates — and conditions have deteriorated. AB 1270 would allow the media back in.
Officials announce sweeping overhaul of California prisons: The plan would cut spending by billions of dollars, cancel some construction projects, close one lockup and bring back 9,500 inmates housed in other states — all while meeting court orders to reduce crowding and improve medical care.
Photo: Inmates watch TV in the reception area at the state prison in Lancaster. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles 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
'Horrific' fire kills trapped prisoners: At least 272 Honduran inmates died in their cells. The death toll is expected to pass 300 as rescue workers pick through charred cells at the prison in the town of Comayagua, where inmates were asphyxiated or burned alive.
This is just unimaginably awful.
Photo: Relatives of inmates on Wednesday throw stones at soldiers on guard at the federal prison compound in Comayagua, Honduras, where a fire killed scores of prisoners. Credit: Orlando Sierra / AFP / Getty Images
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
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
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
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