Staff shortages nix programming in SF jails; guards warn they can’t take influx



Three decades ago, Sunny Schwartz says San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey reached out to her with a simple message: He didn’t want San Francisco’s jails to be “human warehouses.” 

Schwartz, who served for many years as Hennessey’s director of programming, oversaw the establishment of a vast array of social, educational, and vocational classes for inmates. A longtime jail worker recalled how, 20 years ago, you’d see 60 guys in the Roads to Recovery addiction treatment pod, with “six or seven hours a day” of programming: “You’d have relapse prevention, parenting classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.” 

Nothing like that is happening now. “Now,” the longtime jail worker continues, inmates “get a packet on anger management.” The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department last week confirmed to Mission Local that “most programming at CJ3” — County Jail No. 3 in San Bruno, which houses the overwhelming majority of San Francisco’s nearly 800 inmates — “has stopped due to staff shortages.” 

A generation ago, the city’s jails also moved away from the Cool Hand Lukemodel of a guard in a parapet watching the inmates from afar and adopted “direct supervision.” The deputies were in the pods with the inmates, interacting with them. “They were inside the inmates’ living quarters,” explains Schwartz. “Instead of being in an outside tier reading Mad Magazine while people are beating the shit out of each other. It’s very fundamental but it was pretty novel. It shouldn’t be.”

But, due to staff shortages, direct supervision may once more become a novelty. At County Jail No. 3, a pilot program was initiated on June 29 to, in the department’s own words, “reduce the number of required staffing positions.” Instead of direct supervision — which calls for a deputy to be placed in both of the adjoining “pods” of 48 inmates each — a single deputy would observe all 96 inmates in Pod 5 from the “Crow’s Nest.” 

In other words, back to the parapet. 

A San Bruno jail classroom in a photo from a 2017 Sheriff’s Department newsletter

Because it would be logistically impossible for one deputy locked in the Crow’s Nest to oversee nearly 100 inmates ambling around, the prisoners’ “walk time” outside their cells has been severely curtailed. Based on the literature explaining the pilot program, walk time has been reduced to 45 minutes — 45 minutes for inmates to shower, visit the library, stretch their legs, whatever. 

Deputies working inside tell me that, yes, that’s 45 minutes a day, meaning inmates in this pilot program are in their cells for the other 23 hours and 15 minutes. 

Inmates in other pods are getting more walk time — but, it seems, far less than what was once common. Deputies who worked CJ3 even only a few years back tell me that, even relatively recently, prisoners could walk around for about five to five-and-a-half hours in the afternoons, and perhaps nine hours total during the day. 

To be clear, none of this appears

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Tech staff in Latin The us want to make Spanish the main language of programming

Primitivo Román Montero has normally been drawn to coding. When he attended the Exceptional Technological Institute of Tepeaca in Mexico, although, he struggled to study programming languages for the reason that of their reliance on English. The logic of most well known programming languages, these as Python, is based on English vocabulary and syntax — using terms like “while” or “if not” to induce sure actions — which can make it that significantly far more tricky to study for non-native speakers. Additionally, many of the most preferred instructional sources for finding out to code, like Stack Exchange, are also in English. 

“When I began, all the things was in English,” he instructed Rest of Globe. “It was extremely difficult to have to continually translate and realize it in my language.”

Román graduated in 2007 and worked in various programming work for purchasers which include the governing administration of the state of Puebla. He also took on careers in which he had to converse in English. But he under no circumstances felt relaxed, even though he had some command of the English language. 

In 2015, Román determined to start a job that would enable long term programmers. He began to function on what would grow to be Lenguaje Latino, an open up-source programming language primarily based on Spanish alternatively than English. The strategy was straightforward: make it a lot easier for Spanish speakers to understand the mechanics of coding in advance of relocating on to other languages. “This was one thing that could lead to culture — a tool for learners that are beginning out and want to get hooked on programming,” he claimed.

Even so, the English language stays the predominant basis for coding and an in-need skill expected by tech corporations in the area, making a major barrier to bringing a lot more people today into the market. According to a modern study by the Spain-centered IT expert services company Everis, 55% of firms in Latin The united states reported that discovering the appropriate staff was complicated, whilst experts estimate that the region will see 10 million new IT occupation openings by 2025. 

As the location sees a torrent of venture funding and desire from tech corporations, there is a increasing momentum to deal with the labor scarcity amid the region’s tech community by empowering employees to run in Spanish. Software builders like Román, coding bootcamps, and meetup organizations have commenced their have initiatives, from furnishing translations of instructional products to the creation of a programming language dependent on Spanish.

An instance of Lenguaje Latino in motion.

Currently, the language created by Román is utilized in college courses this sort of as at the Instituto Tecnológico de Zitácuaro in Mexico and the Catholic College of Salta in Argentina, he said, even though it still capabilities as more of a discovering plan than a little something that corporations can truly use. He’s working with volunteers to make it work more rapidly, which he thinks will allow for

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