Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hollywood Executive Produces More than Comedies

Producer Scott Budnick changes the lives of hundreds of troubled youth
By Dana Toyama, Information Officer I

In 1996, Scott Budnick was an intern in Los Angeles whose passion for troubled youth was about to get a big push in an altruistic direction. After reading a Rolling Stones article about the murder of a Los Angeles Police Department officer’s son, and the resulting trial of six teenagers, Budnick grew interested in the criminal justice system and its treatment of juveniles.

For the past 10 years Scott Budnick, now a Hollywood producer, has volunteered his time to give opportunity and choice to hundreds of troubled youth. Many of these youth have traded a seemingly hopeless path of crime that landed them in the criminal justice system for a path of opportunity.

In 2002 Budnick was introduced to a program called InsideOUT Writers, which conducts weekly writing classes within the Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall System.  The classes -- taught by writers, poets, screenwriters, journalists and educators -- give students the opportunity to tell their stories, reflect on the past, and decide how they will write the next chapter in their lives.

From InsideOUT, to outside in

After volunteering with the InsideOUT program for several years, Budnick turned his attention to young adults in the state prison system.  He noticed that young adults moving from the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to one of the 33 adult institutions were not classified any differently than hardened career criminals. In 2008, Budnick approached CDCR Undersecretary Scott Kernan with the argument that the system was turning kids into worse criminals and it was time to try something new.

Budnick, along with Undersecretary Kernan and Tanya Rothchild of the Classification Services Unit, developed a pilot for the Youth Offender Classification Program at California Institution for Men (CIM) in Chino.  The program created a system that classified youth entering the adult prison system based on behavior, wants and needs rather than by age and offense. 

The program was a success, with hundreds of young adults enrolled in college courses at several CDCR adult institutions in Southern California. The programs included mentoring and a college-dormitory environment more conducive to learning than a typical prison environment.

Due to CDCR’s inmate population reduction, CIM’s East Facility was converted from a reception yard to a Level III Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) that includes inmates who have denounced gang affiliation and want to turn their lives around.  Budnick and CDCR officials envisioned the conversion as the perfect spot for a special program in which all of the inmates are enrolled in college courses.  Within a month of the conversion and the program start-up, there were 225 inmates enrolled in college courses.

To enhance the program further, Budnick contacted Professor Renford Reese of the political science department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.  Reese engaged students at Cal Poly Pomona campus and now has about 80 students coming into the CIM yard on a weekly basis for tutoring, mentoring, life-skills presentations, presentations about their majors and inter-disciplinary studies.

Dealing with a different kind of inmate, a better kind of inmate

Budnick’s innovative and unique ideas, along with his nose-to-the-grindstone tenacity, helped initiate a new approach within CDCR.  He helped create relationships with local resources and even helped change the dynamic between CDCR and its own inmates.  His ideas and commitment have helped create a different kind of inmate by offering a better path for young adults who may have felt were destined for lives shuttling in and out of prison.

Budnick’s dedication has changed the lives of hundreds of young adults with some attending Loyola Marymount University, Morehouse College in Atlanta, and University California, Los Angeles, after their incarceration. He’s even taken a few with him on his movie sets for “The Hangover,” “Due Date,” and “The Hangover II.”

Asked what he envisions for the future of rehabilitation, Budnick said:

“Cal Poly Pomona has already offered to put cameras in some of their classrooms and let the lectures stream live into CIM, with prisoners watching the lecture in real-time.  This is where we need to go, and it will take someone being very innovative to get us there.”

Friday, January 27, 2012

CDCR’s Youngest Inmates Go to College

Step toward rehab taken on their first day

By Bill Sessa, Information Officer I

For 26 of the state’s youngest inmates, the trip to Ironwood State Prison (ISP) represented more than a bus ride toward their first day in an adult facility.  It also was a bus ride to college.

The 18-year-old inmates, each convicted as an adult, were the most recent to enroll in college classes offered at the prison by the Youthful Offender Program administered by the CDCR. 

Although CDCR offers college courses in many of its 33 facilities, Ironwood and the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in San Bernardino County have created a unique learning environment specifically for some of its youngest inmates. It offers them an opportunity to make a constructive change in their lives beginning their first day in prison. 

“An adult prison can be a harsh place for an 18-year-old,” noted CDCR Secretary Mathew Cate. “With this program, we have created an environment where our youngest inmates can focus on their education without some of the distractions that prison offers, so they have a better chance at a constructive life when they are released.” 

The program is open to young inmates being transferred from CDCR’s Division of Juvenile Justice or from juvenile detention in Los Angeles County.  Inmates approved for the program are screened through CDCR’s reception center in Chino and must show a true commitment to education during a personal interview with a committee chaired by the warden at the California Institute for Men (CIM).

At Ironwood and CRC, the young inmates join older inmates in a dormitory set aside exclusively for those enrolled in college.  With photos and murals of Albert Einstein and astronaut Neil Armstrong for inspiration, it is a setting that puts the focus on studying.

“It’s an environment that gives these inmates a chance to shift their identities,” said Scott Budnick, a Los Angeles film producer whose volunteer efforts helped create the Youthful Offender Program. 

“When they were in high school, these guys identified themselves as a criminal or a gang member,” said Budnick.  “When they are in this program, they can identify themselves as college students.”

The inmates can earn a two-year associate degree in arts or business management through online classes offered by Coastline College and Palo Verde Community College.  Inmates, or their families, pay the same fees and tuition as students attending classes on campus.  Only those inmates who meet the same financial criteria as on-campus students receive a fee waiver.

“Some individuals might question why we invest so much effort into educating an inmate, but the reality is that most inmates eventually are released into our communities,” said CDCR Undersecretary Terri McDonald.

“The better educated and better prepared they are, the better chance they have of being successful and staying away from crime after release. That is an overall benefit to the public since success upon parole reduces victims in our communities and reduces costs associated with recidivism.”

In addition to the young inmates who enroll the day they arrive at an adult prison, approximately 600 CDCR inmates under the age of 35 and within seven years of parole are taking college courses at Ironwood, CRC in Norco and CIM in Chino.  Financed by federal funds, the CDCR college courses are heavily supported by volunteers from local community colleges.

Counselors from Palo Verde Community College in Blythe voluntarily travel to Norco to test inmate aptitude in math and English to help inmates enroll in the appropriate courses at CRC. About 50 students from nearby California State Polytechnic University Pomona visit CIM nearly every day, volunteering to proctor exams, mentor or tutor inmates or to give inmates a broader appreciation for college by talking about their majors and daily life on campus.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What They're Saying About Realignment

Public officials and advocates talk about the 2011 Public Safety Realignment, here's what they're saying...

"If California took the resources made available for prison expansion or realignment, and invested them in re-entry services, affordable housing and jobs and all of the programs that are being cut ... that's going to have much more impact on public safety than building law enforcement.”

Emily Harris, Statewide Coordinator for Californians United for a Responsible Budget

Daily Breeze, Christina Villacorte, January 25, 2012

“We’re going to make some adjustments, and sometimes they will be some fairly large adjustments. With sufficient resources, I do believe counties can and do already perform some of these services.”

Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli

Elk Grove Citizen, Brian M. Gold, January 25, 2012

“As for prison realignment, we are just at the beginning. The cooperation of sheriffs, police chiefs, probation officers, district attorneys and local officials has been remarkable. But we have much to do to protect public safety and reduce recidivism.”

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. 2012 State of the State Address

January 18, 2012
“Gov. Jerry Brown's realignment already is having a positive impact on the statewide prison system.”

Merced Sun Star and Sacramento Bee Editorial Boards

Sacramento Bee, January 20, 2012

Merced Sun Star, January 23, 2012

"What it's doing is giving us control of the offenders who are committing crimes and living in our community. If we manage it correctly, manage it in the right way, it gives us a chance to do it better. It's in our power now. We are looking at it as an opportunity."

Shasta County Chief Probation Officer Wesley Forman

Redding Record-Searchlight, Ryan Sabalow, January 21, 2012

“It is hard enough to manage a prison population that, at one point, had ballooned to more than 160,000 inmates at 33 prisons. It is harder still when a federal judge and a court-appointed receiver are looking over your shoulder, and enjoy the support of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to back them up. It's next to impossible to do all this in a state that is billions in the hole. Somehow California managed, and that accomplishment should not be overlooked or dismissed.”

Stockton Record Editorial Board

Stockton Record, January 20, 2012

“This is leveraging positive partnerships in keeping the county safe.”

(speaking on Placer County’s AB 109 plan) Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence

Auburn Journal, Gus Thomson, January 11, 2012

“Realignment is an opportunity to re-examine how the justice system treats non-serious offenders. It goes beyond a desire to protect the public, the idea that we have to punish by keeping people in a cage for these low-level offenses is ... an expensive indulgence we can no longer afford."

Allen Hopper, Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union in California,

North County Times, Brandon Lowrey, December 17, 2011

"This is a huge opportunity to take advantage of the many services and organizations in Alameda County"

(speaking on the county’s plan to use AB 109 funds to coordinate services for inmates)

Sumayyah Waheed, of the Ella Baker Center

San Jose Mercury News, Angela Woodall, December 11, 2011

“The local realignment plan – spearheaded by Chief San Joaquin County Probation Officer Patty Mazzilli – is something that will adequately deal with the supervision of released offenders, and covers all of the other needs to make sure that the county will be able to properly address the needs as they arise.”

(Speaking on the county’s AB 109 plan) San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore

Manteca Bulletin, Jason Campbell, December 1, 2011

"We are going to be doing business differently, but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. The reality is that if you look at the way we have incarcerated people and the recidivism rate, we haven't been doing a very good job."

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon

Associated Press, Don Thompson, November 30, 2011

“We as a county can actually manage these programs very well (but) funding is a major issue that has to be dealt with.”

Riverside County Chief Probation Officer Alan M. Crogan

Temecula Patch, Angela Davis, November 29, 2011

"I believe we can achieve the over-arching goal of reducing recidivism while maintaining public safety. This is only the beginning." 
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak
Santa Cruz Sentinel, Stephen Baxter, November 7, 2011

“The hope is that instead of staying in prison, people will be released sooner and put on an alternative program that will give them treatment options that will be better for them in the long run. If Sonoma County is committed to getting people rehabilitated, this is an excellent opportunity to do that.”  
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Mike Toby.
Rohnert Park Patch, Angela Hart, September 28, 2011

"Up and down the state…there’s a lot of planning going on and a lot of discussion with sheriffs, and courts and community-based organizations, and (Realignment is) coming — we will take care of it. And come Oct. 1 we’ll be ready to go."  
Stanislaus County Chief Probation Officer, Jerry Powers.
KPCC, Julie Small, September 22, 2011

"We embraced the concept of realignment in January, and (Governor Brown) made good on his promise to ensure funding for this fiscal year. But there's still anxiety over the revenue stream without a state constitutional amendment to protect those funds, we need those protections and the governor has recommitted to ensuring the funding process will be there in perpetuity." Merced County Sheriff and President of the California State Sheriffs’ Association Mark Pazin.
Sacramento Bee, David Siders, September 22, 2011

“Realignment will be a tall order…but ultimately the counties are up to the task. We believe it can be done better at the local level. Not to be critical or adversarial with our state counterparts, but that’s just the way it is.” Merced County Sheriff and President of the California State Sheriffs’ Association Mark Pazin.
Healthycal.org, Daniel Weintraub, September 21, 2011

"Provided adequate funding, (The counties) have the potential, I believe, to do much good."  
Riverside County Supervisor and President of the California State Association of Counties John Tavaglione
California State Association of Counties Convention, September 21, 2011.

Regarding county concerns over funding for Realignment- "I'm not leaving Sacramento until we get a constitutional guarantee (for funding). There are a lot of groups working on it, it'll come together, but we've got a few months before we have to nail it down."  
California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.   
California State Association of Counties Convention, September 21, 2011.

“(Solano County is) ready for the changes that this governor and this legislature are ready to put into place and to fund."  
California State Senator Lois Wolk- Solano
The Reporter, Catherine Bowen, September 16, 2011.

"Corrections realignment does not ask counties to do more of what they had been doing. It asks that we do things differently. It's really bringing the right response, (and) the right program to the right problem, rather than a cookie-cutter approach that views each prisoner the same way.”  
Jeanne Woodford, former San Quentin Warden and keynote speaker at Solano County Reentry Council meeting.
The Reporter, Catherine Bowen, September 16, 2011.

“The population of offenders from Merced County is not going to grow. It’s not like this new population from another county or another jurisdiction are going to be in the county’s lap, these are people that are going to live in this county anyway. The increase in ex-inmates will be fairly small.”  
Scott Ball, Merced County Chief Probation Officer.
HealthyCal.org, Minerva Perez, September 14th, 2011

"This isn't a brand new group of offenders coming to L.A. They've been coming here for years, so the fact that they're shipping to (the Probation Department) is not much change other than we hope for a better outcome." 
Donald Blevins, chief probation officer for Los Angeles County.
CorrectionsOne.com, Neil Nisperos, August 31, 2011

“I think we're going to have effective programs when (inmates are) in the jails, we're going to give them the treatment they need to change their behavior."  
Donald Blevins, chief probation officer for Los Angeles County.
CorrectionsOne.com, Neil Nisperos, August 31, 2011

"For too long, the state’s prison system has been a revolving door for lower-level offenders and parole violators who are released within months—often before they are even transferred out of a reception center. Cycling these offenders through state prisons wastes money, aggravates crowded conditions, thwarts rehabilitation, and impedes local law enforcement supervision.”  
California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Press conference, April 2011

“The hope is that instead of staying in prison, people will be released sooner and put on an alternative program that will give them treatment options that will be better for them in the long run. If Sonoma County is committed to getting people rehabilitated, this is an excellent opportunity to do that.” - Sonoma County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mike Toby
Rohnert Park Patch, Karina Ioffee, August 4, 2011

"There aren’t many people who go to prison and come out a better person, so to have fewer go and instead have incentive based programming, we will, unquestioningly, have better outcomes."
Sonoma County Deputy Chief Probation Officer Sheralynn Freitas.
Rohnert Park Patch, Karina Ioffee, August 4, 2011

“These people are from Del Norte (referring to low-level offenders who will now go to county jail instead of state prison). This could be an advantage since the county already has information on them…our goal is to work on alternative sanctions without skipping accountability.”  
Del Norte County Chief Probation Officer Thomas Crowell.
Daily Triplicate, Megan Hansen, July 27, 2011

“I think we can do a better job at the county level…keeping these individuals closer to the community, keeping them closer to their families, and connecting them with community-based resources that they're going to need to be successful when they get out, because they are going to get out.”  
San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks.
PBS Newshour with Spencer Michaels, July 15, 2011

"…from a criminal justice and from a public safety perspective, I can absolutely say it is a very good state policy to do this shift."  
San Francisco County Chief Probation Officer Wendy Still
 San Francisco Chronicle, Rachel Gordon, July 24, 2011

"We feel that we can do a better job at the local level keeping people from going to prison."  
Los Angeles County Chief Probation Officer Donald Blevins.
Wall Street Journal, Bobby White and Vauhini Vara, August 10, 2011

"Quite frankly, I think the sheriff and probation chief will do a much better job with programming than the state does." 
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson
Modesto Bee, Garth Stapley, July 25, 2011

"I really don't believe this population is all that different than those we already supervise."  
San Joaquin County Chief Probation Officer Patty Mazzilli
Stockton Record, Dana Nichols, August 2, 2011

"In October, our justice system will change dramatically. I am confident we will be ready, because the county and its partners already are hard at work developing a comprehensive plan to address the impacts of realignment."
Placer County Chief Probation Officer Marshall Hopper
Public CEO.com, August 1, 2011

”I like challenges. It's forcing everyone to look at what they are doing and to do those things better. It's an opportunity to refine what we're doing and choose what we focus on. We actually get to make decisions for Humboldt that make sense for Humboldt.” 
Humboldt County Chief Probation Officer Bill Damiano
Contra Costa Times, Matt Drange, July 23, 2011

Monday, January 23, 2012

Inmate Death at SATF in Corcoran Being Investigated As A Homicide

CORCORAN-- Officials at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SATF) are investigating an inmate death as a homicide.  

Jeffrey Lynn Goodwin, 43, was found on the institution’s recreation yard with an apparent head injury Thursday, January 19. Goodwin succumbed to his injuries at approximately 12:40 p.m. Sunday, January 22.  

Officials from the prison and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office have named inmates Fabian Chevalier Mills, 47, and Charles Morris, 41, as suspects in the case. Both inmates have been placed in administrative segregation while the investigation continues.

Goodwin was received by CDCR on October 1, 2003, from Orange County and was serving a 14-year, eight-month sentence for first-degree robbery.

Mills was received by CDCR on December 26, 2000, from Solano County. He is serving a 70-year term for first-degree burglary and penetration with a foreign object with force/violence.

Morris was received by CDCR on February 8, 1993, from Los Angeles County and is serving a life-sentence for second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, possession of a firearm by an ex-felon, and second-degree robbery.   

CSATF/SP is a multi-mission institution that houses 5,981 inmates and employs more than 1,800 people. Opened in 1997, the institution houses minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security male inmates and provides substance-abuse treatment programs, academic and vocational education, and re-entry and self-help programs to prepare inmates for their reintegration into society.

For more information about SATF, visit CDCR’s website at www.cdcr.ca.gov.

NOTE: Includes correction to fifth paragraph. 

January 23, 2012
Contact: Lupe Cartagena
(559) 992-7154

Friday, January 20, 2012

CDCR to Save $750,000 Per Year with Energy Efficiency Program

New computer management reduces unneeded energy usage

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will save approximately $750,000 per year with a new energy-saving program that shuts down the department’s approximately 34,000 networked personal computers (PC) after a period of inactivity.

As the largest state agency in California, CDCR sought ways to reduce power costs and energy by at least 20 percent as part of the statewide Green Initiative.

To measure its energy use, CDCR hired Verdiem, an Information Technology (IT) energy management and efficiency software company. Verdiem’s Surveyor software determined the department’s baseline annual energy cost at $2.65 million.

CDCR used Surveyor to establish power management policies that would determine when to shift PCs into lower power states. Under the new policy, workstations go to sleep after 7 a.m. following two hours of inactivity. At 5 p.m., workstations go to sleep if inactive for 30 minutes. After 10 p.m., the workstations wake for software patches and a virus scan, and then go to sleep until 7 a.m.

CDCR employees were previously encouraged to shut down computers at night to save energy, but using the Surveyor software to automatically shift PCs into sleep mode, the department was able to achieve and sustain an additional 28 percent reduction in energy use.

In addition to the cost savings, the savings in carbon emissions helped CDCR reduce its carbon footprint and reach its compliance goal with California’s Green Initiative for public agencies.

“Green IT remains a key strategic priority for CDCR,” Director of the Division of Enterprise Information Services for CDCR Joe Panora said. “We will continue to explore IT solutions to reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions and power consumption.”

For more information regarding CDCR’s actions to reduce energy consumption and California’s Green Initiative visit the Department of General Service’s Green California website: http://www.green.ca.gov/default.htm.


January 20, 2012
Contact: Dana Toyama
(916) 445-4950

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Judge Henderson Says “End of Receivership … In Sight”

Cites Progress in Overhaul of Medical Care in California Prisons

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is ready to start planning for the end of federal oversight of prison medical care, said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate today.

U.S. District Court Judge Thelton E. Henderson has ordered the parties to meet as soon as possible. They should report back by April 30, 2012, with recommendations on how the Receivership currently supervising medical care should end, and what monitoring might continue.

Based on the most recent report from the Receiver, Judge Henderson noted that significant progress has been made toward ensuring that medical care in each prison meets Constitutional standards.

Judge Henderson issued his order on January 17, 2012.


January 17, 2012
Contact: Jeffrey Callison (916) 445-4950

Parolee Loren Herzog’s death investigated as possible suicide

SUSANVILLE – Parolee Loren Herzog, 46, was found dead at his trailer on state property outside the perimeter of High Desert State Prison (HDSP) on January 16, 2012, at approximately 11 p.m.

Herzog’s parole agent had been alerted by the GPS system that Herzog’s monitoring ankle bracelet was indicating a low battery. The agent notified the institution after he attempted to contact Herzog but was unable to make phone contact. HDSP staff responded to the residence and discovered Herzog unresponsive. The scene was secured and the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office was called in to investigate the scene. The death is being investigated as a possible suicide. The exact cause of death is unknown, pending a complete autopsy.

The death is now under review by the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Investigative Services Unit at HDSP. The Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Independent Review, was notified.

Herzog was on parole after serving a 14-year determinate sentence for voluntary manslaughter, three counts of being an accessory to a felony, and one count for transportation of a controlled substance. Herzog and Wesley Shermantine were originally convicted of numerous first-degree murder charges, including the 1998 rape and murder of Cyndi Vanderheiden. Herzog had been sentenced to 78-years-to-life (three consecutive 25-to-life terms plus three years for being an accessory to a felony). In 2004, a state appellate court threw out the three murder convictions and much of the evidence against Herzog. It led to a plea bargain and Herzog pleaded guilty to the voluntary manslaughter charge. Shermantine remains on death row.

Herzog, has been living in a trailer outside HDSP since September 2010, when he was administratively paroled to Lassen County due to victims’ requests. Upon his parole for time served, Herzog was required to follow several strict conditions of parole. Among those was active monitoring by parole agents using a Global Positioning System monitor. He was also required to maintain strict curfews and abide by a strict no-contact list.


JANUARY 17, 2012
CONTACT: LUIS PATINO (916) 445-4950

Friday, January 13, 2012

Setting the Record Straight on Realignment

FACTS About Realignment:
  1. Realignment is NOT an “early release program.” NO state prison inmates have been or will be released early.
  2. There have been NO inmate transfers from state prison to county jails.
  3.  CDCR does NOT decide which are “serious” or “violent” crimes; those are defined by the California Penal Code. See Penal Code 667.5(c)and Penal Code 1192.7(c)
  4. CDCR has dedicated staff at EACH institution to act as a “county liaison” to assist in sending (or transferring) inmate information to the counties.
    • CDCR sends mental health and treatment information to the counties at least 90 days before an inmate’s scheduled release. (Remember: all inmates continue to serve the legally required amount of time in state prison with NO early releases).
    • By law, prison inmates are returned to the county where they lived before incarceration after their sentences are completed. They would be in these communities normally. Realignment does not influence that.
    • Many of these offenders needed and obtained county social services before implementation of the 2011 Public Safety Realignment. Funding has been allocated by the State to the counties to alleviate any increase in demand for services by former inmates.
  5. The State HAS provided funding to the counties to help meet any increased expenses under Realignment -- $400 million in 2011, rising to more than $850 million in 2012, and more than $1 billion in 2013-2014.

What IS Realignment?

Realignment is a big change for everyone. California is legally required by a federal Three-Judge Panel (a decision affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court) to reduce prison overcrowding, and Realignment is the safest, most effective way for avoiding the wholesale early release of 33,000 inmates. Along with reducing overcrowding, Realignment will help reduce recidivism among low-level offenders who will remain closer to local support networks.

Offenders convicted AFTER October 1, 2011, of a non-serious, non-violent (Remember: this is defined by the California Penal Code, not CDCR) or non-sex offense will stay in county jail to serve their court-ordered sentences. After serving their legally required sentences, based on each inmate’s current commitment offense, inmates will report to either county probation or state parole. If the offender’s current commitment offense is for a non-serious, non-violent, or non-sex offense, the offender must report to county probation. All others will continue to report to state parole.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Delano – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today that approximately 300 inmates began rioting at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP). The inmates started the riot at approximately 1:45 p.m. on the Facility A recreation yard, a level IV general population facility. Correctional officers responded and utilized less lethal rounds, chemical agents, and two warning shots fired from rifles to quell the disturbance. Several inmates received stab, puncture, and slashing type wounds, none of which were life threatening and no staff members were injured.

An investigation will be opened to determine the reason for the riot as the cause is unknown at this time.

Kern Valley State Prison opened in 2005 and houses approximately 4,800 minimum, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,800 people.

# # #

January 11, 2012
CONTACT: Lt. Jeff Smith
(661) 721-6314

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Riot at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran Contained

CORCORAN – A riot involving approximately 60 inmates at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran (CSATF/SP) was contained shortly after it broke out just after 12 p.m. today on a maximum-security yard. Correctional custody staff used pepper spray and less-than-lethal weapons to quell the disturbance.

Numerous inmates suffered cuts and abrasions and were treated at the prison. Five inmates were transported to area hospitals for treatment of stab wounds. Their conditions are unknown at this time.

There were no injuries to staff.

Numerous inmate-made weapons were recovered.

The facility has been placed on a modified program pending further investigation into this matter. The Investigative Services Unit at the prison is conducting an investigation.

CSATF/SP is a multi-mission institution that houses 5,981 inmates and employs more than 1,800 people. Opened in 1997, the institution houses minimum-, medium- and maximum-security male inmates and provides substance abuse treatment programs, academic and vocational education, and re-entry and self-help programs to prepare inmates for their reintegration into society.


JANUARY 10, 2012
CONTACT: Lupe Cartagena
(559) 992-7154

Friday, January 6, 2012

CDCR Meets First Court Benchmark to Reduce Prison Overcrowding

Inmate population drops to less than 133,000

SACRAMENTO – As a result of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s historic Realignment program, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced that they have cut prison overcrowding by more than 11,000 inmates over the last six months. This reduction was announced in a monthly status report filed today with the federal Three-Judge Court. The report demonstrates that CDCR is achieving compliance with the population reduction order affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court to reduce overcrowding by 34,000 inmates over two years.

“Meeting the Three-Judge Court’s six-month benchmark to reduce prison overcrowding was our top priority,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “Reducing overcrowding enhances safety and security for staff, inmates and the public. It also increases inmates’ access to medical and mental health care, and gives us more space to provide rehabilitative programs.”

The reduction of the number of state prisoners was largely accomplished by the passage of Assembly Bill 109, 2011 Public Safety Realignment, historic legislation designed to enable California to close the revolving door of low-level offenders cycling in and out of state prisons.

Implemented October 1, 2011, Realignment shifts responsibilities and funding for non-serious, non-violent, non-sex offenders from the State to the counties, which can more effectively sanction and rehabilitate offenders. It also enables the State to safely reduce the prison population without resorting to a wholesale release of inmates from prison.

On December 28, 2011, the population of California’s 33 prisons was 132,887, or 166.8 percent of design capacity. Under the Three-Judge Court’s prisoner-reduction order, affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2011, the inmate population in California’s 33 prisons must be no more than:

• 167 percent of design capacity by December 27, 2011, (133,016 inmates)

• 155 percent by June 27, 2012,

• 147 percent by December 27, 2012, and

• 137.5 percent by June 27, 2013.

Design capacity is the number of inmates a prison can house based on one inmate per cell, single-level bunks in dormitories, and no beds in places not designed for housing. Current design capacity in CDCR’s 33 institutions is 79,650.

# # #

Copies of monthly status reports (including the documents filed for the six-month benchmark), a graph tracking the prison population and other information are on CDCR’s Three-Judge Court webpage: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/3_judge_panel_decision.html.

January 6, 2012
Contact: Jeffrey Callison
(916) 445-4950

Thursday, January 5, 2012

CPAT Agent Shot in Lakewood Terrace Recovering from Surgery

Agent remains in stable condition and a full recovery is expected

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) agent, who was shot in an apparent gunfight with a parolee at large in the Lakewood Terrace area of Los Angeles on January 4, is recovering from surgery and remains in stable condition.

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate says,“everyone at CDCR is relieved to hear that our agent should be able to recover fully. Watching video and pictures of this agent sitting up and giving information to his brother law enforcement officers, even after he had been shot in the face, reminded us all of the valor and determination that our agents exhibit out in the field everyday as they work to keep Californians safe. My family and I continue to pray for his speedy recovery and the safety of all our men and women in law enforcement. “

The California Parole Apprehension Team member’s name is being with held pursuant to state law. The wounded agent is 40 years old. He was first hired by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2002. He is currently assigned as a Parole Agent I to Region III (Los Angeles Area) of the California Parole Apprehension Team (CPAT.)

Department of Adult Parole Operations Director, Robert Ambroselli was by the agent’s side this morning. “I visited our parole agent and am happy to say he is recovering, resting comfortably, and in good spirits. We'll continue to look closely at our processes to ensure the safety of our agents and the public remains our top priority.”

Pursuant to state law and departmental policy, all deadly force incidents are subject to administrative review. CDCR has sent a deadly force investigation team to conduct an administrative investigation into the use of force by the parole agents. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office is handling the criminal investigation of the incident.

The CPAT was created as part of parole reforms launched by CDCR in January 2009 to direct more intense focus on parolees who pose the most risk to public safety. CPAT agents receive extensive training in fugitive apprehension, database searches, social networking, field tactics and firearms training. For more information on California parole, visit CDCR’s homepage at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/.


JANUARY 5, 2012
CONTACT: Luis Patino
(916) 445-4950

Inmate Firefighter Dies of Presumed Natural Causes

SAN LUIS OBISPO – A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmate firefighter assigned to Cuesta Fire Camp at the California Men’s Colony died of presumed natural causes Wednesday afternoon during a training exercise with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE).

The inmate, Crisanto Leo Lionell, 54, was participating in a training exercise at the California National Guard’s Camp San Luis when he lost consciousness. Emergency personnel transported him to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 4:45 p.m.

Lionell was received by CDCR on February 10, 2010, to serve an 11-year sentence for transportation and possession for sale of controlled substances in Tulare County.

CDCR and CAL FIRE will conduct a review of the incident.

CDCR currently operates 44 adult and two Division of Juvenile Justice Conservation Camps in California. CDCR jointly manages 39 adult and juvenile camps with CAL FIRE and five adult camps with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Nearly 4,000 offenders participate in the Conservation Camp Program (CCP), which has approximately 200 fire crews.

Since 1946, the CCP has provided the State’s cooperative agencies with an able-bodied, trained workforce for fire suppression and other emergencies, such as floods and earthquakes. Fire crews also work on conservation projects on public lands and provide labor for local community service projects. Only minimum-custody inmates may participate in the CCP.

For more information about CDCR’s Conservation Camps visit CDCR’s webpage: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Conservation_Camps/


January 5, 2012
Contact: Lt. Jack Spears
(805) 547-7900 ext. 7948

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


San Diego, CA – San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies, along with assistance from the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility’s (RJDCF) – Investigative Services Unit and Crisis Response Team and Special Agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) – Office of Correctional Safety (OCS), apprehended Inmate Thomas Francis Kelley on Tuesday, January 3, 2012, at approximately 9:30 a.m. at a location in Lemon Grove, California. Inmate Kelley had escaped from the RJDCF on Sunday, January 1, 2012.

Kelley was taken into custody without incident and transported back to the RJDCF.

On Sunday, January 1, 2012, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Inmate Kelley was confirmed as escaping from the RJDCF by stealing a Fire Engine from the RJDCF’s Fire Department, driving it to the Spring Valley, California area, and then fleeing on foot. The RJDCF immediately implemented its escape procedures, notifying local law enforcement and the OCS. A search was initiated, which continued until Kelley’s capture on Tuesday.

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January 3, 2012
Contact: Lt. Patrick Logan
(619) 661-7802