LA Libraries to Issue High School Diplomas, Life as a Kid in a GPS Ankle Monitor, LA’s Potential Sheriffs…and MoreJanuary 10th, 2014 by Taylor Walker
LA PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM TO PILOT A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA PROGRAM
The Los Angeles Public Library announced Thursday that it will be teaming up with Career Online High School to offer an adult high school diploma program. LAPL aims to grant 150 diplomas in the first year, and if the program is successful in LA, it may be expanded to other libraries across the country.
The Associated Press has the story. Here are some clips:
It is the latest step in the transformation of public libraries in the digital age as they move to establish themselves beyond just being a repository of books to a full educational institution, said the library’s director, John Szabo.
Since taking over the helm in 2012, Szabo has pledged to reconnect the library system to the community and has introduced a number of new initiatives to that end, including offering 850 online courses for continuing education and running a program that helps immigrants complete the requirements for U.S. citizenship.
Szabo believes this is the first time a public library will be offering an accredited high school diploma to adult students, who will take courses online but will meet at the library for assistance and to interact with fellow adult learners.
High school course work is not required for a GED diploma, which can be obtained by passing an extensive test. The online high school program, however, will require its students to take courses to earn high school credits. The program is slated to begin this month.
Unlike traditional high school students, the online adult learners must choose a career path so their education can be geared toward their future job. Library staff will be trained to help the adult learners and the library system is looking at making available spaces for the students so they can meet their fellow pupils. Szabo said the library will target about a dozen areas with high percentages of high school dropouts to offer the program at those neighborhood branches initially. The Los Angeles public library system has 72 branch libraries and 22 literacy centers.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE LIVES OF KIDS WITH ELECTRONIC ANKLE MONITORS
Zora Murff, a monitor of youths on probation who have to wear ankle bracelets in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has published a series of photos depicting daily life of the kids he tracks. Murff includes portraits of the kids, their environments, essays written by the kids, and other snapshots of a young population stigmatized by youthful wrongdoing.
Wired’s Jakob Schiller has the story. Here’s a clip:
“When people think about kids on probation they often negatively stereotype them,” he says. “In this project I’m trying to remind viewers that they’re still just kids who sometimes can’t make the best decision for themselves.”
According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, in 2010 “an estimated 491,100 delinquency cases resulted in a term of probation” nationwide. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation there are more than 60,000 youth confined in juvenile correctional facilities or other residential programs on any given night in the United States. Murff, who works for the Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services in Cedar Rapids, says his office normally monitors anywhere from 100-120 kids at a time.
Nationally, the majority of children on probation are there because of property offenses. The same is true for the kids Murff works with.
Along with portraits, Murff has also included shots that show the locations (or areas that resemble the locations) where the kids committed their crimes.
(You can view more of Murff’s “Corrections” collection, here.)
A QUICK INTRODUCTION TO THE SHERIFF CANDIDATES (AND POTENTIAL CANDIDATES)
KPCC’s Kristen Lepore has assembled an overview of current contenders for the sheriff’s seat, in addition to those that are yet undeclared, but may join in. Here are the first two (but do go and get familiar with the others):
Patrick Gomez: Former Sheriff’s lieutenant
A former L.A. County Sheriff’s lieutenant, Gomez retired after 31 years in the department.
In 2010, Gomez received a nearly $1 million settlement from the Sheriff’s Department after claiming he faced retaliation for criticizing Lee Baca when he ran against him for sheriff in 2002.
Gomez says he believes the Sheriff’s Department needs major reform. Under his leadership, Gomez says each department member will be held accountable and responsible for their actions and/or inaction.
Gomez was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. He currently lives in La Cañada Flintridge with his wife.
Bob Olmsted: Former Sheriff’s Dept. commander
A retired Sheriff’s commander who was with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for more than three decades, Olmsted threw his hat into the race early on.
During his tenure, he commissioned internal audits that concluded some deputies used unnecessary force against inmates in the nation’s largest jail system and testified before the Los Angeles Citizens Commission on Jail Violence in May 2012.
Olmsted, a former member of Baca’s senior staff, says the department needs major changes and is running on a promise to create greater transparency. He has heavily criticized Tanaka as being part of the leadership that lead to the department’s many problems.
Olmsted has taught criminal justice at El Camino College and his father previously served as a Lieutenant in the L.A. Sheriff’s Department.
Today (Friday), sheriff-hopeful Patrick Gomez will be interviewed by Doug McIntyre on 790 KABC Radio at 7:15AM. If you can’t tune in, you can still listen to the interview once it is posted on Gomez’ campaign website.
SHERIFF BACA WANTS TO STAY ON AS A RESERVE OFFICER
Although Sheriff Lee Baca will be stepping down at the end of this month, he may not be going very far. According to LASD Spokesman Steve Whitmore, Baca has plans to become a reserve deputy.
The LA Times’ Robert Faturechi has this story.
FEDERAL SENTENCING COMMISSION PUBLISHES PROPOSED CHANGES TO DRUG TRAFFICKING SENTENCING GUIDELINES
On Thursday, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to issue proposed amendments to sentencing guidelines for federal drug trafficking offenses. The proposed guideline amendments would reduce drug trafficking sentences by about 11 months and lower the federal prison population by about 6,550 inmates by the end of five years.
Here’s a clip from the commission’s important announcement:
“The Commission’s proposal reflects its priority of reducing costs of incarceration and overcapacity of prisons, without endangering public safety,” said Judge Patti B. Saris, Chair of the Commission.
A Commission study of offenders who received a reduced sentence pursuant to a similar two-level decrease in guideline levels for crack cocaine offenders in 2007 found no difference in recidivism rates for those offenders released early compared to those who served their full sentence.
“Like many in Congress and in the executive and judicial branches, the Commission is concerned about the growing crisis in federal prison populations and budgets, and believes it is appropriate at this time to carefully consider the sentences for drug traffickers, who make up about half of the federal prison population,” Saris said. “Our proposed approach is modest,” Saris said. “The real solution rests with Congress, and we continue to support efforts there to reduce mandatory minimum penalties, consistent with our recent report finding that mandatory minimum penalties are often too severe and sweep too broadly in the drug context, often capturing lower-level players.”