Southern California breaking news and trends

Prison system looking to reinvest in rehabilitation

What happens in prison doesn't stay in prison. The vast majority of California's prison inmates return to their home counties once released.

When the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation decided it was time to start beefing up rehabilitation programs behind bars, the agency sent administrators to L.A. That's because half of state prisoners come from Los Angeles and its surrounding counties. 

"Our goal is to give them the skills so they think differently, behave differently, so when they go back to Los Angeles County, or any of the surrounding areas where they came from, they'll lead more constructive lives and the recidivism rate will be reduced," said CDCR Spokesman Bill Sessa. 

The department plans on taking proposals in the next year or so, and with that in mind, met with local providers in L.A. on Thursday. They'll also be in Oakland next week. The move reflects a shift in direction for the department, where rehabilitation programs have been cut significantly for the past few years. This year, by contrast, they've been given $190 million to go towards starting new programs. Sessa explained the opportunity for change arose from prison realigment, shifting lower level offenders to county supervision. Realignment, started in fall of 2011, has helped the system reduce the population by about 30,000 inmates so far.


LA Sheriff seeing uptick in crime in department's patrol area

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca in 2010.

LAPD is expected to release crime data for the City of Los Angeles later today. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is seeing a slight uptick in violent and property crimes in the unincorporated areas of LA County and contract cities that they patrol. 

Part I crimes (meaning violent crime and property crimes) are up 6.2 percent overall compared to last year at this time. The larger spectrum still shows a vast decrease in all types of crimes in the past five years. Since 2007, part I crimes have gone down 16.21 percent. 

Looking at more specific stats, a few things stand out:

  • The unincorporated area of Palmdale has seen a 43.2 percent jump in part I crimes so far this year;
  • Parts of Lomita, Avalon, Pico Rivera, and Lancaster have also seen a major uptick
  • Homicide is rising in the unincorporated area of Compton, while falling in Compton itself;


Shooting in southwest LA leaves one dead, others injured

Rina Palta / KPCC

The scene of a multiple victim shooting in Southwestern L.A. Wednesday night.

A shooting in Southwestern Los Angeles Wednesday night left at least three victims. One victim, who rescue workers tried to recussitate as they loaded the stretcher onto the ambulance, was later pronounced dead.

According to police at the scene, on the 4800 block of 2nd Avenue, a group of Rollin 40s Crips were having a party and shooting fireworks off in the street when a white van rolled by and someone inside the van opened fire. 

Partygoers waited to be questioned, some wearing costumes, like one man, who had on an orange clown wig.

As of yet, there has been no word of arrests.

This story has been updated.


Sheriff's deputy sentenced in drug burrito jailhouse sting

henry marin

Screenshot of 'The Academy' via Hulu

Henry Marin on the the Fox reality show 'The Academy.'

Henry Marin, a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, was sentenced Monday to two years in jail for trying to smuggle heroin into jail in a burrito. The heroin was apparently destined for a Mexican Mafia associate behind bars.

Marin was caught through a sting operation by the sheriff's department, targeting corrupt deputies — reportedly in response to a string of incidents involving deputies selling or transporting drugs behind bars, where they're worth up to 10 times their street value

This particular case caught a lot of media attention partially because Marin was featured on a reality show about sheriff's department recruits. On the 2007 show, "The Academy," Marin is shown failing out of his class. Apparently, he was allowed to reenroll at the academy later and eventually graduated.


LA Sheriff's department looking for a few good women

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department women career

Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department will host their annual Women in Law Enforcement Career Day. Sheriff's Deputy Armore Smith said the event is aimed at recruiting more women to the ranks of the country's largest sheriff's department.

The goal is to reach 20 percent female, Smith said. Current female staffing levels were not immediately available. 

In 1987, the department entered a consent decree after Susan Bouman Palomino sued, claiming gender discrimination in promotion practices. That decree came to an end this year, but Smith said the department is continuing its drive to hire more women.

The event is open to all: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 23 at the Sheriff’s Training Academy in Whittier, 11515 S. Colima Road.