Posts Tagged: San Quentin
The watchtower at a California state prison (Photo: Joseph Sohm, via Shutterstock)
OPINION: Fifteen years into a 41 years-to-life sentence, I arrived at San Quentin — the home of Death Row. I immediately noticed the difference between the treatment of condemned people and of general population people, like myself. Anytime condemned people left their cell they were shackled at the waist and feet. As they moved through the corridors and walkways, all general population people were told to face the wall.
Chuck Pattillo, former general manager of the California Prison Industry Authority. (Photo: CalPIA)
The head of the California Prison Industry Authority, an internationally known agency that trains inmates for such diverse occupations as carpentry, deep-sea diving, computer coding and farming, is retiring after more than a decade on the job.
Federal Judge Thelton Henderson in his chambers shortly before retiring. (Photo: Screen capture, Capitol Weekly)
As the judge climbed the watchtower stairs in Pelican Bay prison, he heard muffled gunshots below. When he reached the top, he looked into the prison yard and saw bodies lying in the dirt. One was his law clerk, spreadeagled on the ground in his suit, alongside dozens of inmates. Guards stood over them, guns aimed. “My clerk was thinking he’s gonna die and this is his last day on earth,” Judge Thelton Henderson recalled.
San Quentin prison, as seen from San Francisco Bay. (Photo: San Quentin News, prison newspaper)
ANALYSIS: What if, instead of building prisons in remote locations, we put them near cities, accessible to family members and to the resources — educational, vocational, therapeutic, recreational, cultural — that are scarce in most prison towns?