Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

CDCR to Close Three Community Correctional Facilities Due to Downward Trend in Low-Security Inmates

Move would save $15.2 million

Sacramento — Due to a significant decrease and anticipated decline in low-security inmates, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is closing three privately run Community Correctional Facilities (CCFs).

“There are a number of factors for the downward trend in lower-level inmates entering the system, including recent parole reforms that authorize minor parole violators to be diverted to community programs instead of prison,” said Undersecretary of Operations Scott Kernan. “Meanwhile, CDCR prisons continue to face overcrowding for medium and maximum security inmates, who serve longer sentences, and due to public safety risks, are not eligible for low-security housing provided by these facilities.”

This past year, the state prison population has dropped by nearly 5,000 inmates, from approximately 172,200 to about 167,350. Approximately half of the drop in population were low-security level inmates.

“In the prison system, population management is extremely complicated with a number of factors that go into determining where inmates can be placed,” added Kernan. “The reality is there is a segment of the inmate population which requires housing in a celled environment and cannot be placed in a lower-level facility due to their time to serve, conviction history or institutional behavior.”

CDCR today issued 60-day notices to Cornell Corrections, which operates the Baker Community Correctional Facility in Baker and the Mesa Verde Correctional Facility in Bakersfield, and to the GEO Group, which operates the McFarland Community Correctional Facility in McFarland. The contracts for the three facilities was set to expire on June 30, 2010 and provided a combined 822 low-custody beds.

The department will issue an Invitation for Bid in early November to use private facilities for an alternative population, such as female inmates.

California law authorizes CDCR to contract with public and private entities to house low-custody inmates in community correctional facilities. There are 5,913 beds in 13 community correctional facilities statewide; however, 1,200 of them are empty. Earlier this year, the department sent a team of inmate classification and custody experts on a statewide evaluation of inmates who may be safely housed in CCF beds. That search confirmed there was not enough who qualified for CCF placement. The department also deactivated more than 1,000 lower-level beds in CDCR’s system to address the changing demographics of the inmate population.

Closing the Baker, Mesa Verde and McFarland community correctional facilities will save $12.7 million in contract dollars and an additional $2.5 million by eliminating 22 state positions by redirection or layoffs of staff assigned to monitor those facilities.

These Community Correctional Facilities cannot house inmates who are sex offenders, inmates serving a life sentence, or inmates who are disabled, need mental health treatment or have a chronic illness.

CDCR houses minimum-security inmates in minimum support facilities at state prisons and conservation camps.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

CDCR Sends Strike Team in Response to Serious Staff Assault in Mississippi Facility

Sacramento — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is sending a strike team made up of Office of Correctional Safety agents and gang investigators to the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, after a staff assault sent two correctional officers to the hospital.

At approximately 5:30 a.m. EDT in the facility’s dining hall, several inmates attacked staff. The inmates, transferred to the facility from California, did not respond to lawful orders to stop their attack. Staff used pepper spray and chemical agents to gain compliance. There were 137 inmates in the dining hall at the time of the incident.

Two employees were taken to the hospital for treatment. One was treated for injuries to his eye and jaw and released. The other is still hospitalized and is being treated for 22 puncture wounds and a collapsed lung.

No inmates were injured. The facility is on lockdown.

The incident is under investigation. CDCR’s strike team will support Corrections Corporation of America staff in its investigation and review, help identify inmates who participated in the incident, conduct threat assessments and interviews, and evaluate housing placement.

To relieve prison overcrowding, California’s Legislature adopted AB 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007. Among its provisions is approval to house up to 8,000 inmates in private correctional facilities outside California.

California's 7,837 out-of-state inmates are housed in Arizona, Mississippi, and Oklahoma in facilities operated by Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, Tennessee. The Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility is a 2,592-bed multi-security prison owned and operated by CCA and houses 2,565 CDCR inmates.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CDCR Asks Crime Victims to Register for New Automated Database to Keep them Better Informed about their Offenders

SACRAMENTO – In its effort to keep crime victims informed, the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is asking crime victims to register for a new automated system that will soon provide real-time information about the custody status of their offenders. The new system was made possible by a federal grant.

“This is a significant step forward in helping victims, and making sure their questions and concerns are addressed,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said. “The VINE system will allow victims to be notified with accurate information so that they can protect themselves and participate in the criminal justice process.”

The new statewide automated Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system will provide a 24-hour service and will give registered victims an instant notice by phone or email about their offender’s whereabouts.

“We are hoping to have the VINE system up and running by next year, but we are putting the call out to the victims of this state so they can register before it’s launched,” said Assistant Secretary Sandi Menefee from the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Service.

The state was awarded federal grant funds from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) within the United States Department of Justice. The state was awarded $500,000 in federal grant money with a $500,000 in-kind match provided in the form of redirected CDCR staff resources to manage the system. The grant award will be in effect for two years.

The automated system will also inform victims and next-of-kin of when their offender is scheduled for a parole board hearing if they are serving a life term.

Currently, the state does not have a unified statewide victim notification system.

CDCR is using a paper-based system for victim notification and the process varies among the 33 institutions.

California Penal Code and the addition of Marsy’s Law requires CDCR to notify witnesses, victims and next of kin if a violent offender is released, escapes, dies, or is up for parole.

The Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Service database documents that more than 20,000 victim notifications are made annually to victims of offenders in CDCR custody.

“The VINE system will be a more cost effective way to keep tabs on the thousands of offenders our office deals with on a daily basis,” said Menefee. “Crime victims have been through enough already, this system will make it easier for them to get the information they need.”

CDCR and the California State Sheriff’s Association (CSSA) manage victim notification systems independent of each other. This federal grant allows for an interface for both systems to come together – a seamless transition of an offender going from county jail to state prison.

CDCR operates and manages California’s 33 institutions, oversees a variety of community correctional facilities, and supervises parolees during their re-entry into society. As part of its responsibilities, CDCR also adheres to the following legislative mandates in support of its vision to protect the public from crime and victimization.

If you are a victim of an offender that is serving time in the California state prison system, please call Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services at (877) 256-6877 to register for the upcoming VINE service.

CDCR Makes 35 Arrests from Sex Offender Compliance Checks at various summer fairs in California

GPS Monitoring Helps to Make Operation a Success

SACRAMENTO - With the use of state-of-the-art technology, parole agents with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) arrested 35 sex offenders during compliance checks at six fairs this summer.

Those compliance checks resulted in the arrest of 14 sex offenders at the Los Angeles County Fair, eight at the Orange County Fair, five at the California State Fair in Sacramento, two each at the Del Mar Fair, San Joaquin County Fair and Strawberry Festival in Garden Grove, and one each at the Placer and Tehama county fairs.

Using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, agents created an exclusion zone around the perimeter of the fairgrounds to alert agents of any parolee sex offender entering the zone.

“We are very pleased with the results and plan to continue such efforts to promote and ensure public safety at these types of venues in the future,” said Robert Ambroselli, the Acting Director for CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations.

California’s parole division utilizes GPS technology to track and monitor sex offenders on parole. California is the nation's leader in using GPS technology to track sex offenders with approximately 7,000 individuals under the direct supervision of CDCR parole agents. In addition, the system is used to ensure parole compliance at events like fair, conventions, and other locations where adults and children congregate.

This year, any sex offender parolee on GPS monitoring who entered the fair, set off an alert notifying agents of their presence. Once the notification was received, on-site agents would track offender movements to determine if any parole conditions specific to that parolee were being violated.

“It’s important for sex offenders on parole to understand that we are intent on keeping close supervision on their movement and actions in the interest of protecting public safety,” added Ambroselli. “It would be in their best interest to stay away from events where families with children may congregate.”

CDCR’s use of current technology such as GPS and working in partnership with local law enforcement is helping improve public safety throughout the state.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CDCR Agents Assist In Search For Escaped Inmate From Arizona State Hospital

**Special Note** This indivdual has been apprehended by US Customs Border Patrol agents. On October 27th, 2009, Murillo was taken into the custody of CDCR by Office of Correctional Safety agents. For more information on the capture, please contact the US Customs Border Patrol @ (619) 216-4052.

SACRAMENTO - California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) agents are working with the United States Marshal Service and the Arizona Department of Corrections in their search for missing inmate Jorge Murillo.

Murillo, who had completed a 10-year sentence in Arizona for sexual assault, escaped from the Arizona State Hospital in Phoenix on October 17 at about 11 p.m. Murillo was to begin serving a 16-year consecutive sentence from Los Angeles County in California for forcible oral copulation, rape and attempted sodomy. He was going to be transferred to CDCR's custody after the completion of a psychological evaluation; however, Murillo escaped before the evaluation was completed. The Superior Court in Arizona had found probable cause that Murillo is a sexually violent person.

Murillo, 40, is a Hispanic male, 160 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. He was scheduled to be paroled in 2025.

Escape apprehension efforts are continuing. Anyone seeing Murillo should contact law enforcement authorities immediately.

CDCR's Sacramento Control Office/Western Interstate Corrections Compact supervises the housing of 625 inmates in 21 states.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Substance Abuse Programs Reduce Recidivism – New Report Finds

Strong gains for offenders completing both in-prison and community treatment programs

SACRAMENTO - A newly released report from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) shows a substantial reduction in recidivism for offenders completing in-prison substance abuse programs followed by community-based substance abuse treatment.

“Effective treatment for alcohol and drug addiction is crucial for successful reintegration into the community when inmates are released,” said Matthew Cate, CDCR Secretary. “Our emphasis on encouraging inmates who complete substance abuse programs in prison to continue in community aftercare treatment has proven to be successful,” he said.

“During this time of fiscal crisis and significant budget reductions, our department remains focused on core substance abuse programs that reduce recidivism,” said Elizabeth Siggins, Acting Chief Deputy Secretary of Adult Programs.

The 2009 Annual Report of the Office of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (OSATS), formerly the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services, includes return-to-custody data on offenders who paroled in Fiscal Year 2005-06 for a one-year and a two-year period. The return to custody rate after one year for offenders completing both in-prison and community-based treatment in FY 2005-06 was 21.9 percent compared to 39.9 percent for all offenders. The return to custody rate after two years for offenders completing both in-prison and community-based treatment in FY 2005-06 was 35.3 percent compared to 54.2 percent for all offenders.

For male offenders, the return-to-custody rate after one year for those who completed both in-prison and community-based substance abuse treatment in FY 2005-06 was 25.4 percent compared to 41.2 percent of all male offenders. The return-to-prison rate after two years for male offenders who completed both in-prison and community-based substance abuse treatment in FY 2005-06 was 40.4 percent compared to 55.6 percent of all male offenders.

Female offenders were especially responsive to substance abuse treatment. After one year, only 8.8 percent of female offenders who completed both in-prison and community-based substance abuse treatment in FY 2005-06 were returned to custody compared to 30.1 percent of all female offenders. The return-to-prison rate after two years for female offenders who completed both in-prison and community-based substance abuse treatment in FY 2005-06 was 16.5 percent compared to 43.7 percent of all female offenders.

Because of the importance of combining in-prison programs with community substance abuse treatment in reducing recidivism, OSATS has worked to encourage offenders who complete in-prison substance abuse programs to continue in community aftercare treatment. As of June 2008, more than half (54.6 percent) of offenders who completed in-prison programs continued on to aftercare. The average daily population of parolees receiving community treatment has more than doubled – from more than 2,600 at the end of June 2007 to over 5,800 in July 2009.

In 2008, 28.4 percent of CDCR commitments were for a substance abuse offense. Substance abuse offenses include Possession, Possession for Sale, and Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance; Hashish Possession; and Possession for Sale or Sales of Marijuana, and other Marijuana Offenses.

Despite recent budget reductions, including $250 million for adult offender rehabilitation programs, CDCR remains committed to evidence-based programs that reduce recidivism. To meet the new State budget realities, the department is currently developing a streamlined in-prison substance abuse program that shortens the length of time an offender participates from the current 6-36 months to 3 months, with a strong emphasis on aftercare in the community. Evidence-based practices will be used to target services to inmates who have been assessed as most likely to recidivate and most likely to need substance abuse treatment.

Note: The above data is based on offenders who completed both in-prison and community care treatment. CDCR recognizes that there may be some selection problems by focusing only on offenders that completed the program. Future analyses will attempt to assess all offenders assigned to a substance abuse treatment program, including those who do not complete the program.

The report is available at CDCR’s web site at

Monday, October 5, 2009

National Group Honors CDCR's Director of Juvenile Justice

Warner Named "Outstanding Administrator of the Year"

SACRAMENTO - A nationwide organization dedicated to correctional programs for incarcerated youth has named the Chief Deputy Secretary of California's Division of Juvenile Justice as its "Outstanding Administrator of the Year."

Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), received the award on October 3, during the annual conference for the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) in Chicago.

"This award provides national recognition of California's excellent progress in reforming its juvenile justice program, which now emphasizes rehabilitation through evidence-based treatment and counseling," said Matthew Cate, Secretary for Corrections and Rehabilitation. "This is an acknowledgement of Mr. Warner's steadfast commitment to reforming the DJJ system in a lasting way."

Warner was presented the award "in recognition of his commitment to the council and his leadership of the organization as its president over the last year," said Kim Godfrey, Deputy Director of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.

"He engaged all of the members and improved our agenda for working with troubled youth," said Godfrey, "and there is nothing better than recognition from your peers for that work."

"In addition to his duties with the council, Mr. Warner has made extraordinary progress in reforming California's juvenile justice system, which has become more humane in addressing the individual needs of these troubled youths," said Edward Loughran, Executive Director of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators and former Commissioner of the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts. "There is a collective effort by staff under Mr. Warner's leadership to address those needs first and foremost and on a day-to-day basis."

Warner, a 27-year veteran of administering juvenile justice programs in Florida, Arizona and Washington, was appointed Chief Deputy Secretary of CDCR's Division of Juvenile Justice in 2005. Since that time, he had led a reformation of the state's juvenile justice program, including the development of remedial plans covering safety and welfare, education, mental health services, health care and sexual behavior treatment and accommodating offenders with disabilities. According to the most recent progress report filed with the Alameda Superior Court, which supervises the state's efforts, the Division of Juvenile Justice has completed 79 percent of more than 6,000 mandated policy and program changes and is in partial compliance with another six percent.

Youth committed to the DJJ represent less than one percent of the 225,000 young offenders arrested in California each year, but have the most violent criminal backgrounds and severe treatment needs that cannot be addressed by county programs. Forty percent of DJJ's youth require mental health treatment, 58 percent are in need of substance abuse treatment, 22 percent require treatment for sexual behavior offenses and 28 percent have special education needs. Nonetheless, over the last four years, there has been a 300 percent increase in the number of DJJ youth who have reached some form of educational achievement, including high school diplomas or GED's or vocational and continuing education certificates and enrollment in college courses.

The Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators is a national, non-profit organization formed in 1994 to improve state and local correctional services for youth, and promoting practices that will help them succeed when they return to the community. Based in Braintree, Mass., the organization provides education and research to administrators and policy makers of juvenile justice programs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and in major metropolitan counties.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Education Superintendent Named For DJJ Schools

Will Build Upon Recent Success in Educating Juvenile Offenders

Sacramento -- Furthering a critical priority in reforming the state’s juvenile justice system, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has named veteran educator David Murphy as Superintendent of Education for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Murphy, who has been an education administrator for the last 20 years and is a former remedial English and mathematics teacher, will be responsible for directing staff and developing policies for the DJJ’s network of accredited high schools.

Murphy began his teaching career in Torrance and later was a high school principal before guiding school districts in El Dorado County and Davis, where he significantly increased the number of students meeting University of California admission requirements and steadily decreased the number of students who required remedial classes in math, science, history and English.

“This is a significant step forward for the Division of Juvenile Justice in not only fulfilling an accreditation requirement as a school district but also meeting the education parameters outlined in the Farrell litigation,” said Matthew Cate, Secretary for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “It’s critical that we provide the best education possible for youthful offenders to help them avoid an endless cycle of crime.”

“Mr. Murphy will bring the stable executive leadership that is much needed,” said Bernard Warner, DJJ Chief Deputy Secretary, of the position that has been filled by various staff in acting capacities for six years. “His character and expertise will set the tone and the direction to meet our goals that are much like those of any other public school district.

Murphy, who has led the creation of magnet and charter schools as well as reading programs for students who speak little English or who are in the bottom third of the nation’s reading scores, sees no difference in the challenge posed by DJJ youth, despite their violent backgrounds or need for treatment.

“People learn in many different ways and we need to understand how our kids learn,” said Murphy. “We have the responsibility to change how we teach to how they learn.”

Since March, 2005 when DJJ adopted a remedial plan for education, a 300 percent increase in the number of youth who have achieved some level of academic performance, from earning high school diplomas or GEDs to enrollment in vocational or continuing education classes or college courses, despite a 48 percent decrease in population during that time, as youth were diverted to county facilities.

DJJ has completed 77 percent of the policy and program reforms required in the education portion of the Farrell settlement. Murphy’s goals are to sustain that progress and to strengthen vocational education so that youth learn employable job skills to compliment their academic achievement, giving them a foundation for living productively.

Murphy’s approach looks at DJJ students as a whole person and it requires engaging every DJJ staff person who comes in contact with them, including counselors, medical and psychological staff in addition to teachers, he noted.

Murphy earned a Master of Arts degree in educational policy and administration from Stanford University; a Master of Arts degree in education administration from San Jose State University, a teaching credential from Loyola-Marymount University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Santa Clara University.

CDCR Annual Report Now Available Online

“Corrections – Moving Forward” Contains 20 Years of Data, Recidivism Rates,
Summaries of Key Demographics for CDCR Population

SACRAMENTO – Did you know that the three-year recidivism rate in California for adult inmates is about 60 percent? How about the fact that adult and youth offender fire crews save the State of California more than $80 million annually by fighting wildfires? Or that the number of juveniles in state’s Division of Juvenile Justice has declined by nearly 6,500 over the past decade?

A new publication, Corrections – Moving Forward, contains these facts and more as part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) efforts to provide a consistent and comprehensive understanding of today’s corrections challenges. This publication includes a statistical update on everything from inmate population trends to return-to-custody statistics; from the impact of the three strikes inmates to a look at CDCR’s entire budget and a summary of the department’s 2008-09 accomplishments.

“Transparency in government begins with making information available to as many people as possible,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “Through the Internet, our collection of data bases and Office of Research, we have worked hard to keep statistics on offender population and programs current and accessible.

Corrections – Moving Forward collects key facts from our expansive correctional system into one comprehensive report. As we face the challenges ahead, using current data to reflect on our population demographics will be crucial. We hope you find this new resource helpful in learning more about our agency.”

The publicationutilizes 20 years of data in some areas and includes graphic charts to illustrate trends over the years. Information was taken from the expanse of data already available on the CDCR website,, and condensed according to categories, including:

  • Budget – a two-year comparison of CDCR’s allocations;
  • Adult Offenders – 20 years of demographics including age, offenses, releases and admissions;
  • Conservation Camps;
  • Felon New Admissions – 20-year comparison of commitment rate versus population and commitment rates by gender;
  • Three Strikes Population – breakdown by age, types of crimes committed by both second and third strike populations;
  • Adult Parole Population – a comprehensive look at the adult parole population, both male and female, including population rates, when they were first released to parole and parole violator rates;
  • Adult Programs;
  • Division of Juvenile Justice – An overview of the DJJ population demographics and trends; and
  • Recidivism – One, two and three-year follow-up recidivism rates.
The booklet was designed to provide a general overview CDCR statistics and significant trends facing California’s largest state agency. Information is broken down by gender, and age in some cases, so that trends facing specific inmate populations can be examined. Information was provided by the Office of Research, CDCR Budget Office, the Division of Juvenile Justice Research branch, Division of Adult Institutions, and Division of Adult Programs.

To view an electronic (PDF) copy of Corrections – Moving Forward

To download an electronic (PDF) copy of Corrections- Moving Forward