Michael Minor is chief deputy secretary of the Division of Juvenile Justice at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. It’s his job to help shape the future for this department that’s potentially on the budget chopping block. KALW’s Holly Kernan spoke with Minor about what the role of the Division of Juvenile Justice.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
The Federal District Court in Washington D.C. today ruled that execution drugs obtained by U.S. prisons from foreign suppliers are illegal and will have to be returned to the Food and Drug Administration.
A number of states purchased sodium thiopental–an anesthetic used in lethal injections–from a company in the United Kingdom amidst a U.S. shortage of the drug in 2010. California is among those states, having bought 514.5 grams, in theory, enough for 171 executions.
A bunch of animated shorts apparently produced in a workshop at California Men’s Colony in the 1990s just popped up on Youtube, and they’re pretty entertaining.
From the topical…
To the humorous…
By Richard Gilliam
File this in the “shooting yourself in the foot” file.
In years past, convicts performed many of the day-to-day jobs that kept a prison running smoothly. I remember arriving at the Reception Center in Chino, to find inmate clerks and trustees on-hand to take your initial mugshot, ethnicity, gang affiliations, commitment offense, medical concerns, and to assign each man to his housing location. Inmate-clerks typed, filed, and kept track of medical records, classification actions, and disciplinary records. They ordered supplies such as food, clothing, soap, stationary, and a myriad of other items specific to the operation of a small city. They saw to it that other items specific to the operation of a small city. They saw to it that cooks were awakened at the right time, and made sure critical positions were manned. it was said that it was the clerks who really ran each prison.
For the second time in as many years, a drug commonly used in executions will become unavailable.
Word’s come out that pentobarbital, a barbituate several states use in lethal injections, will be much harder to find shortly, as the sole FDA-approved manufacturer of the drug is refusing to sell it to states that use it for executions. Pentobarbital, incidentally, became widely adopted just last year as a replacement for sodium thiopental, which was recently discontinued by its US maker.
By Nicole Jones
A spokesperson with California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has confirmed that an inmate on a hunger strike at Corcoran State Prison died on Feb. 2 after refusing food for four days.
Gomez began fasting to protest conditions in the Administration Segregation Unit at Corcoran. Over thirty inmates housed in the isolation unit at Corcoran had also been refusing food since January for the same reason. On Feb. 13, all inmates resumed eating, according to CDCR’s spokesperson Terry Thornton.
Correctional Healthcare Service spokeswoman Nancy Kincaid said nothing in the preliminary autopsy suggests starvation was the cause of death. Gomez was under medical care prior to hunger strike, suggesting he may have been in poor health which was further complicated by fasting.
Juvenile crime in California has been steadily declining for several decades,reaching an all-time low in 2010. What hasn’t changed much, however, is the disproportionate number of youth of color who are being incarcerated.
This is the focus of organizations like the W. Haywood Burns Institute. The San Francisco-based nonprofit has been working for years to help counties remake their juvenile justice systems so they’re equitable. It’s going to become more and more important as California begins to phase out its statewide youth prison system in favor of county alternatives.
It’s a controversial proposal from Governor Jerry Brown, and one that’s likely to be implemented by 2014. KALW News Director Holly Kernan sat down with Burns Institute Founder and Executive Director James Bell to talk about the closure of the Division of Juvenile Justice.
By Joaquin Palomino
Yesterday, we heard how politics have shaped California’s prison system, and about the push and pull between rehabilitation and punishment. “At the end of the day, corrections was about the bumping of heads of those people that think prison should be for punishment and those people that think that prison should be for rehabilitation,” says JB Wells, who spent almost three decades stuck between the two ideologies.
We know that in that tug of war, rehabilitation has been losing. In the last fiscal year, California spent $9.6 billion on its prison system. Just 4.6% of that went towards rehabilitation programs. In this final part of our series on sentencing in California, KALW’s Joaquin Palomino looks at changes that could reform California’s prison culture.