Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Inmate Death at High Desert State Prison Under Investigation

Cellmate moved to segregation pending investigation

Susanville – Officials with the Investigative Services Unit at High Desert State Prison (HDSP), the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office, the Susanville Police Department and the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the February 24 death of an inmate as a homicide.

A 26-year-old HDSP inmate was found unresponsive in his cell at 7:05 a.m. Sunday. He was pronounced
dead at 8 a.m. The name of the inmate, which is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was admitted to HDSP from Yolo County on April 10, 2012, with a 22-year sentence for sodomy with a child under 14.

His cellmate, who has been identified as the suspect, was retained in the Administrative Segregation Unit pending investigation of the incident. The 40-year-old cellmate was admitted to HDSP from Los Angeles County on November 15, 2010, with a 110-year to life sentence for first-degree murder and unlawful sex with a victim under 16.

The Office of Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review was notified.

High Desert State Prison in Lassen County opened in 1995 and houses 3,479 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates. The institution provides academic classes and vocational instruction and employs approximately 1,275 people.


February 26, 2013
Contact: Lt. Nick Albonico
(530) 251-5100 ext. 5501

Friday, February 22, 2013

Statement from CDCR Secretary Beard

SACRAMENTO – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeffrey Beard issued the following statement today regarding the announcement that CDCR Undersecretary Terri McDonald has accepted the position of Assistant Sheriff in Los Angeles County.

“Terri McDonald has provided leadership to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in many areas and through many challenges, especially in the last few years as the department grappled with overcrowding, court orders and reform.  She approached each challenge as an opportunity to innovate and make the department smarter, better and more efficient. She has worked with our leadership team to help improve how we manage inmates and supervise parolees, make prisons and communities safer, and create a roadmap to ensure CDCR regains its place as a national leader. This department – juvenile justice, parole and prisons – has been under great pressure for years, and I couldn’t be prouder of Ms. McDonald’s contributions to make a correctional system that all Californians can be proud of. I am confident that her extensive experience, passion for staff, and commitment to public safety will serve her well in her new position.”

FEBRUARY 22, 2013
(916) 445-4950


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

High Rock Conservation Camp Walkaway Apprehended

Weott, CA – Minimum security inmate James Robert Prinz, walked away from the High Rock Conservation Camp CC# 32 in Weott, California on February 18, 2013.  Inmate Prinz was apprehended in Fortuna, California by the Fortuna Police Department at approximately 3:15 p.m. on February 19, 2013, without incident.

Special agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation transported Inmate Prinz to the California Correctional Center in Susanville, California.

Inmate Prinz was committed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from Placer County for making criminal threats to cause great bodily injury, resisting an officer with force and violence and battery on a peace officer.  He was scheduled to be paroled in April 2013.  This matter will be referred to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Of all offenders who have escaped from an adult institution, camp or community-based program since 1977, 99.1 percent have been apprehended. 




February 19, 2013
Margaret Pieper (Media requests)
(530) 257-2181 extension 4110

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Inmate Walkaway from High Rock Conservation Camp in Humboldt County

On February 18, 2013, a minimum-security inmate walked away from High Rock Conservation Camp, located just outside Weott, California, in Humboldt County.

The walkaway, 43-year old James Robert Prinz, is described as a white male, 200 pounds, blue eyes, short brown hair and medium complexion. He stands approximately 6’2” tall with a medium build.  He was last seen wearing orange pants with “CDCR Prisoner” written on them.

Prinz was committed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on April 21, 2011, from Placer County for making criminal threats to cause great bodily injury, resisting an officer with force and violence and battery on a peace officer. He was scheduled to be paroled in April 2013.

He was last seen at approximately 3:30 p.m. on February 18.

Escape apprehension efforts are continuing. Anyone having information about or knowledge of the location of James Robert Prinz should contact the California Correctional Center Watch Commander at (530) 257-2181 extension 4173 or call 911. 

February 19, 2013
Margaret Pieper (Media requests)

(530) 257-2181 extension 4110

Thursday, February 14, 2013

CDCR Unveils Newest Investment in Prison Mental Health Care

$24 million facility highlights state’s commitment to providing quality care and ending
federal oversight of prisons

VACAVILLE – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) opened a new mental health treatment building at California Medical Facility (CMF) in Solano County today that will provide space for intensive outpatient therapy for inmates, and offices for clinical staff.

“This facility reinforces CDCR’s ongoing commitment to provide a constitutional level of mental health treatment in California’s prisons,” CDCR Secretary Dr. Jeff Beard said. “It’s time for the federal courts to recognize the progress the state has made and end costly and unnecessary federal oversight.”

Since 2009, CDCR has spent more than $1.3 billion in construction dollars alone on improvements to inmate mental health care.

The new 44,000- square-foot building at CMF will provide mental health professionals with dedicated space to conduct individual, group, and recreational therapy for inmates assigned to Enhanced Outpatient (EOP) treatment. EOP provides the most intensive level of outpatient mental health care for patients who are not so impaired that they require 24-hour inpatient care.

The building cost $24 million dollars to construct and is one of 15 mental health treatment projects across the state that have been completed or are under construction. The state has spent more than $90 million in mental health treatment improvements at CMF alone.

Funding for these projects came from Assembly Bill 900, passed by the Legislature in May 2007.

AB 900 authorized $3.5 billion in lease revenue bonds to build additional treatment and programming space and inmate-patient housing at existing prisons. These facilities addressed severe shortages in medical beds and treatment space. 

CDCR saved billions of dollars by renovating older housing and building on existing prison sites instead of building new prisons.

All of the projects are being designed for sustainability and energy efficiency and are anticipated to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “Silver” certification.

In September 1995, a federal judge ruled in the class-action lawsuit Coleman v. Brown that the department was deliberately indifferent to the mental health needs of inmates in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In November 1995, the court appointed a Special Master to address the constitutional inadequacies. 

Since the ruling, CDCR has made unprecedented reforms of its inmate mental health care. The department has successfully reduced waiting lists for inmates seeking treatment and implemented a standardized self-monitoring process to ensure that inmates are identified, referred, and transferred to the mental health treatment program that fits their needs in a timely manner.

Due to significant reductions in the state prison inmate population and vast improvements in mental health care, CDCR filed a motion in January 2013 to U.S. District Court to terminate the Coleman case.

“I urge the federal courts to give us credit for all of the capacity upgrades we have implemented,” said Secretary Beard. “Any further court-ordered reduction in our inmate population would pose a threat to public safety.”

For more information on the progress made in mental health care for inmates in California’s prisons, visit CDCR’s Mental Health Treatment website for a fact sheet, photos, legal filings, and the Mental Health Program Guide, which sets out policies and regulations for CDCR’s mental health treatment programs here: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/mental-health-care/index.html


February 14, 2013
Contact: Dana Simas
(916) 445-4950

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mental Health Treatment Building at California Medical Facility Receives Top Honors for Energy Efficiency

Design significantly reduces utility consumption

VACAVILLE – A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) 64-bed inpatient mental health treatment facility at California Medical Facility (CMF) in Vacaville was awarded one of the top certifications for its energy- and environmentally-efficient design.

The new 44,131 square-foot mental health treatment facility and housing unit received “Silver” certification in late January from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a third-party certification program developed by the United States Green Building Council in 2000. The certification program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

“This is the third award CDCR has received for our continued efforts to conserve energy by reducing electricity usage as well as water consumption,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard said. “Our goal is to see all future projects awarded for their efficiency and sustainability.”

LEED criteria for a “Silver” award require building characteristics that promote occupant well-being and lessen the building’s environmental impacts. The most notable achievements for this project are in energy, water conservation and waste management.

The new building design reduced potable water waste by approximately 54 percent. Additionally, its efficient design reduces energy consumption by nearly 18 percent.

The project recycled more than 75 percent of the waste generated during demolition and construction. It also used regional content and specified wood products during construction.

The project team included CDCR, program manager Kitchell CEM, construction manager Vanir Construction Management, Nacht & Lewis Architects, CYS Structural Engineers, mechanical engineers from Capital Engineering, electrical engineers from CB Engineering, and general contractor Brown Construction. Green Building Services assisted the project team with establishing the sustainability objectives and the LEED certification process.

The LEED green building rating system was developed and is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington D.C.-based, nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Link to CDCR’s Energy Savings Website: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/CDCR_Going_Green/Energy_Savings.html

# # #

February 11, 2013
Contact: Dana Simas
(916) 445-4950

Friday, February 8, 2013

Madera County Jail Expansion is First Project Completed Using Special State Funds

$30 million is local support for realignment  

MADERA – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials were on hand today for the dedication of the Madera County Jail expansion, which was constructed with state funds granted by AB 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007.

“Over the last 16 months, California has made a historic change in correctional policy.  Under Public Safety Realignment, we have created a stronger partnership between counties and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,” said CDCR Deputy Secretary for External Affairs, Nolice Edwards. “As a result, more low-level offenders are now being housed and rehabilitated in their own communities instead of state prison.”

“This expansion of the Madera County Jail is, quite literally, a concrete example of the state’s commitment to support local law enforcement,” she added.  “The Department of Corrections and county officials share a common goal to reduce repeat crime and help offenders return to constructive and lawful lives,” said Edwards.  “This project is a great example of working together to make our communities more peaceful and safe.”

The project was funded through Assembly Bill 900, known as the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007.  Madera County was the first to apply for such funding and received $30 million to build the jail facility.

While Madera County’s jail expansion, which will add 144 beds, is the first in the state to be completed with AB900 funds, it won’t be the last.  AB 900 provides $1.2 billion for counties to build projects like the one in Madera to reduce overcrowding in local jails.  Currently, 21 counties are expanding jails with state funds from AB 900.      

February 8, 2013
Contact: Bill Sessa
(916) 445-4950

Monday, February 4, 2013

Inmate Attacks Correctional Sergeant with Weapon

Two responding officers injured while subduing inmate

CORCORAN – An inmate at California State Prison-Corcoran attacked a Correctional Sergeant with an inmate-made weapon the afternoon of February 2, inflicting injuries to his head. Two officers who responded were also injured while subduing the inmate, Tavis Ray Thompson, 36.

During the shower program, Thompson slipped his handcuffs and charged the sergeant with a weapon in his right hand. He struck the sergeant several times on the left side of his head.

The unit alarm was sounded, and responding officers used physical force and batons to subdue Thompson.

The sergeant’s injuries were described as a scratch on the left side of his face; a slash on the back of the ear; and abrasions to the lower back of his head, both hands, right elbow and both knees. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The responding officers were also taken to a hospital, one for treatment of a sprained wrist sustained when he was kicked by inmate Thompson, the other for swelling on the back of the hand.

Thompson was treated for abrasions on his head, back and left knee, as well as swelling on the left side of his face, and then returned to his cell.

The weapon was described a piece of aluminum sharpened on one side and attached to a cardboard handle.

The incident is being reviewed by investigators at California State Prison-Corcoran and from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

Thompson was admitted from Imperial County on July 3, 2003 with a 55-years-to-life sentence for assault with a deadly weapon, assault by a life prisoner and possession of a weapon by a prisoner. He also served a prior commitment from Los Angeles County in 1995 for carjacking with the use of a weapon.  His arrest history consists of receiving known stolen property, robbery, assault with a firearm, carjacking, battery by a prisoner, aggravated battery by a prisoner, battery on a custodial officer and assault by a prisoner.

California State Prison-Corcoran opened in 1988 and houses 4,576 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. The Kings County prison offers academic classes and vocational programs as well as community programs and work crews. The prison employs approximately 2,300 people.

February 4, 2013
(559) 992-6104