November 6th, 2012
Election Day brings out the love of data and numbers in all of us. As reporters around the state and country dig into voter returns and look for clues to the final tally, we thought we’d highlight these interesting California voter facts [PDF] recently released by Debra Bowen, California’s secretary of state.
October 1st, 2012

Majority of third-strike inmates are addicts, records show

Convicts imprisoned under California’s three strikes law are no more inclined to high-risk “criminal thinking” than other inmates, but are far more likely to be addicted to drugs and alcohol, according to data from the state prisons department.

Our new data analysis, conduced with the San Francisco Chronicle, reveals that in all, nearly 70% of convicts with a third strike show a high need for substance abuse treatment, compared with 48% of all inmates tested. Currently, only 15-20% of inmates receive any education, therapy or drug treatment.

Read the full story here.

Photo: Inmate counselor Vincent Russo talks about healthy relationships at an Addiction Recovery Counseling meeting at San Quentin State Prison in August. Credit: Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle

October 1st, 2012


30 Issues in 30 Days looks at foreclosure in America. Check out the map of foreclosures by county, over the last five years. Here.

-Jody, BL Show-

Although foreclosures in California hit a five-year low in the second quarter of 2012, experts say millions of Californians who owe more on their homes than they are worth might not see their situation improve for years. Read more from The Bay Citizen’s Aaron Glantz here

Reblogged from WNYC's Transmitter
September 10th, 2012

California Border Patrol apprehensions hit a new low

via Sacramento Bee:

With the economy still down, sneaking across the California border just isn’t as tempting as it once was for illegal immigrants.

The number of apprehensions by the California Border Patrol fell from about 101,000 in 2010 to 73,000 during 2011, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The number of immigrants apprehended at the California border has fallen 65 percent since the start of the recession and nearly 90 percent since 1992. Apprehensions have also plummeted nationwide.

Read the full report from the Department of Homeland Security here

September 6th, 2012

How to track West Nile virus in your county

There have been more reported cases of West Nile virus in the U.S. so far this year than at any time since 1999, when the disease was first detected in the country. Nearly 2,000 people have been infected, and 87 have died as a result. 

California has had 69 human cases of the virus this year to date, including three fatalities. Have there been cases in your county? Here’s how you can find out: 

August 31st, 2012

Average number of days that a veteran who goes to the Los Angeles, California waits for the government to respond to his or her disability claim as of 07/2012. Increased by +39.0% in the prior 1.3 years.

See how long veterans in your area are waiting to hear on their disability claims in this interactive map from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

August 24th, 2012

Get an inside look at California’s forgotten prison population.

Under federal court order to reduce overcrowding in state prisons, California is now releasing thousands of prisoners or transferring them to county jails. But the rapidly aging and dying prisoners confined to state prison hospices are often left behind. As many as 3,300 inmates in the U.S. die in prison every year.

August 21st, 2012
A gram of heroin is the price of one pill. A gram of heroin could last you three or four days. One pill could last you a couple of hours. So the calculation is simple. Sell the pills you get, make money and get free dope.
Evan, 23, a resident of Orange County, Calif., who spoke to us about moving from using prescription pain killers to heroin. Read our story and learn more about Evan in our online video. (via centerforinvestigativereporting)
August 20th, 2012

Man who armed Black Panthers was FBI informant, records show

The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.

One of the Bay Area’s most prominent radical activists of the era, Richard Masato Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities. He was a member of several radical groups before joining and arming the Panthers, whose members received international notoriety for brandishing weapons during patrols of the Oakland police and a protest at the state Legislature.

Get the full story and watch the exclusive video for more information.

Photo: A young Richard Aoki is involved in a 1969 protest at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way near the UC Berkeley campus. CREDIT: Courtesy of the Oakland Tribune

August 15th, 2012

Young painkiller abusers increasingly turning to heroin

With the steady rise of prescription drug abuse across the state, young pill addicts are succumbing in increasing numbers to another vice: heroin.

For 22-year-old Anna Taylor from Dana Point (pictured), the path to heroin addiction began by pilfering a family member’s medicine cabinet. More than 70% of first-time abusers of prescription pain relievers obtain the drugs from friends or relatives for free, according to a recent federal analysis.

“I don’t want to be the 90 percent that relapse,” said Taylor, who said she’s been sober for nearly three months. “I want to be the 10 percent where I make it. I want to remember my life,” she said.

Read the powerful story, produced in collaboration with KQED News, on the rise in heroin-related overdoses among California’s youth here.

Do you know a loved one dealing with heroin or painkiller addiction? Visit our resource guide to learn more and let us know how we might be able to create a more effective toolkit for teachers, families and friends who want to share information on handling opioid and heroin addiction. 

Photo by Daniel A. Anderson/California Watch

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California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process.