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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 27, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
A minimum-security inmate has escaped from the Acton Conservation Camp in Los Angeles County, a fire camp that houses some inmates who help battle brush fires across the state. Miguel Velasquez, 22, was last seen Thursday just before midnight during an inmate count, according to a news release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Authorities did not describe how he escaped and simply said he "walked away. " Velasquez was serving a sentence for vandalism and criminal gang activity and was due to be released in March 2016.
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BUSINESS
December 27, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN QUENTIN - North of Silicon Valley on a rocky promontory overlooking San Francisco Bay stands California's oldest prison. Inmates here are cut off from the innovation the nearby high-tech industry produces. They are not permitted on the Internet, and most have never touched a smartphone or a tablet. But two technology veterans - Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti - are bringing the promise of Silicon Valley to San Quentin State Prison by creating a high-tech incubator here called the Last Mile.
BUSINESS
December 27, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- How do new inmates cope with the lack of privacy in prison? What advice would an inmate give someone facing a long prison sentence? What are the effects of incarceration on inmates' families? All good questions, none of which had good answers online -- until recently. Through a partnership with the Last Mile, a high-tech incubator at San Quentin , question-and-answer service Quora has made it possible for inmates to make their voices heard on social media.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2013 | By Paloma Esquivel
On a barren stretch of road on the edge of Irvine, a tasteful brown sign topped with a whimsical orange bicycle announces that a long-anticipated addition to the city is finally underway: the thousands of elegant new homes around the perimeter of the city's planned Great Park. The park itself will also soon grow, now that a plan to build 688 acres has been approved. And a long-awaited high school nearby is expected to open in 2016. Just down the road, another long-stalled project is also finally underway - the addition of hundreds of jail beds to a county lockup once so rustic it was known as "The Farm.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 18, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
An oven exploded at a jail in Northern California this week, critically hurting one inmate and injuring 10 others, including a guard. The natural-gas explosion occurred at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. The oven's door, which measures 7 by 3 feet and weighs several hundred pounds, flew off in the explosion and hit an inmate kitchen worker in the head, Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson  told the San Francisco Chronicle . "You could see a very heavy stainless steel door that is on the ground and, obviously, it knocked a few things down along its path," Nelson said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 2013 | By Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi
Two Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeants accused of lying to federal investigators secretly recorded a confrontation with an FBI agent outside the agent's home, a federal prosecutor said in court Monday. Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox said Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Craig also left a voicemail for the agent's supervisor, saying the agent was named in a criminal complaint. Craig and Sgt. Maricella Long later went to the agent's home and told her she was going to be arrested as a result of the complaint, Fox said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 2013 | By Jack Leonard, Victoria Kim and Robert Faturechi
Federal authorities are seeking to expand their jail misconduct investigation by convincing sheriff's deputies to provide evidence against colleagues and higher-level officials in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, according to interviews. Some sheriff's officials are already cooperating with federal investigators, including at least one who agreed to become a confidential informant earlier in the inquiry. Legal experts who reviewed the indictments unsealed this week said some deputies mentioned but not identified by name are also likely to be cooperating.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - Federal judges have extended until April 18 the deadline for Gov. Jerry Brown's administration to ease prison crowding, after asking the state to limit the time some mentally ill prisoners spend in solitary confinement. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton announced that he had accepted the state's offer of a 30-day isolation maximum for severely mentally ill inmates who have committed no rule violations. He then joined two other jurists in pushing back the overcrowding deadline and also in extending negotiations between the state and prisoners' lawyers until Jan. 10. In September, the judges ordered the state and the inmates' attorneys to negotiate long-term solutions to the crowding problem, including the early release of frail or elderly prisoners.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 10, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- A policy group says it has found "robust evidence" that increased property crimes in California, and auto thefts in particular, are tied to the state's shifted prison population. The conclusion is contained in a report published Tuesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, attempting to measure the effects of a 2011 law that made parole violators and nonviolent felons wards of counties instead of state prisons. Designed to reduce crowding and costs in the state's prison system, it also exacerbated overcrowding in county jails, and led to increases in the number of jail inmates released early or sentenced to community programs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 10, 2013 | By Seema Mehta
Only hours after FBI agents swept up 18 deputies and supervisors in a jail abuse and corruption case, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was being lauded at a $1,500-a-head downtown campaign fundraiser co-hosted by a former governor and a former L.A. city attorney. The contrasting images Monday - Baca somberly telling a crowded news conference it was a "sad day" for the agency he's led for 15 years and later celebrating his chances of winning a fifth term - captured both the increased vulnerability and time-tested resiliency of the county's top lawman at the threshold of another run for office.
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