Thursday, February 20, 2014

CDCR Launches New Rehabilitative Services for Long-Term Offenders

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is launching a pilot program offering targeted rehabilitative services to inmates serving long-term sentences.

The Long-Term Offender Pilot Program (LTOPP) provides evidence-based programming during incarceration and services upon release to allow inmates an easier transition back into society.

“Due to the length of incarceration, long-term offenders are often not prepared for the significant changes in technology and day-to-day living that have occurred since they were first incarcerated,” said Millicent Tidwell, CDCR Division of Rehabilitative Programs Director. “Giving these offenders the tools they need to be successful in their own rehabilitation both inside and outside prison is imperative.”

The program is intended to serve inmates who have been identified as having moderate to high risk of criminal behavior and are serving indeterminate sentences with the possibility of parole. 

The LTOPP is a voluntary program which will include evidence-based treatment for:
•    Substance abuse
•    Criminal thinking
•    Victim impact
•    Anger-management issues
•    Improvement of family relationships

The LTOPP will initially be implemented at the following institutions: California State Prison, Solano in Vacaville; Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla; and California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo.  Inmates who are serving indeterminate sentences at non-pilot institutions may be allowed to temporarily transfer to a pilot location in order to participate in the LTOPP.

Additionally, CDCR is creating Long-Term Offender Reentry Facilities that will help long-term offenders during their transition back into society, including housing, employment and community-based services. Locations for these reentry facilities are still being determined.

The pilot program will be in effect for 24 months, during which the CDCR Division of Rehabilitative Programs will monitor implementation and effectiveness of the program. If proven to be a successful rehabilitative tool, the program will then go through the Administrative Procedures Act process to become a formal policy.

The LTOPP is being implemented in accordance with the 2012 CDCR Blueprint in which the department was tasked with increasing the percentage of inmates served in rehabilitative programs prior to release to 70 percent of the target population.


For Immediate Release
February 20, 2014
Contact: Dana Simas         
(916) 445-4950

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Condemned Inmate Wilbur Jennings Dies of Natural Causes

SACRAMENTO -- Condemned inmate Wilbur Lee Jennings, 73, was pronounced dead yesterday morning, February 11, 2014. He died of natural causes while being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail, where he was awaiting trial for the 1981 murder of 17-year-old Debra Chandler. Chandler’s beaten remains were spotted by a passer-by near a water-filled roadside ditch about 15 miles from her Sacramento home on July 15, 1981. Jenkins was transferred from San Quentin’s Death Row to stand trial in Sacramento County after a suspected DNA match.

Jennings was sentenced to death on November 20, 1986, by a Fresno County jury for the 1984 first-degree murders of Linda Johnson, Olga Cannon and Jacqueline Frazier, and the 1983 second-degree murder of Karen Robinson. He was also convicted of numerous other felonies against these and three other victims, including forcible sexual assaults, robberies, arsons, and kidnapping for robbery.  Jennings had been on Death Row since November 25, 1986. 

Fresno County deputies nicknamed Jennings the “ditch-bank killer” because his victims were often found in canals or stuffed in irrigation pipes.
Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 63 condemned inmates (including Jennings) have died from natural causes, 23 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, six have died from other causes, and one the cause of death is pending. There are 746 offenders on California’s death row. Most of those offenders are housed at San Quentin. Of those 746, 20 are women, 21 condemned male inmates are either out to court, in medical facilities or in custody in other jurisdictions.     

February 12, 2014
CONTACT: Lt. Sam Robinson 
(415) 455-5008


CDPH Approves $250,000 for Willits Water Supply; CDCR and CAL FIRE Provide Additional Resources

SACRAMENTO - As several California communities face severe water shortages due to the drought, CAL FIRE, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are assisting the city of Willits, in Mendocino County, with the installation of an emergency water pipe.

The CDPH Drinking Water Program today approved emergency funding of $250,000 to the city of Willits. This water system has been identified as vulnerable to losing its capacity to deliver safe drinking water due to drought conditions in California.

The emergency funds will be specifically used to assist with the purchase and installation of pipe to transport well water to connect with the city’s existing distribution system, a new well pump, fencing, disinfection of the well and well replacement. This will provide the people of Willits with at least a minimal supply of clean water to maintain emergency water supplies.

“This drought has impacted all of California. This is one example of a coordinated effort bringing resolution to a severely impacted community. CDPH continues to survey water systems statewide for impact of the drought,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, CDPH director and state health officer. “Our Drinking Water Program is offering technical assistance to drinking water systems and is exploring possible solutions for those most vulnerable.”

Since January, CAL FIRE and CDCR have been assisting the city’s water department to install several miles of piping to tie two wells to a proposed emergency water treatment facility. CAL FIRE has supplied the city with several inmate hand crews, each comprised of a CAL FIRE captain and approximately 15 low-level inmates from CDCR to provide the city with a large emergency workforce.

“The drought has not only led to an increase in wildfires, but has left some communities with reduced drinking water supplies,” said Unit Chief Chris Rowney, CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit. “When our inmate firefighting hand crews are not assigned to wildfires, we have them working on brush clearance or other community service projects, so we are glad we can assist the city of Willits in its time of need.”

The hand crews assigned to the project are stationed at the Chamberlain Creek Conservation Camp in Fort Bragg. The camp is one of 39 statewide camps that are operated jointly by CAL FIRE and CDCR. The camp’s primary mission is to provide fire crews for fire suppression. Additionally, the inmates provide a workforce for conservation and community service projects in the local area.

With California facing its driest year on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency last month and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. Governor Brown spoke with President Obama last week about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure a coordinated drought response.

The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts in state facilities, and the Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent. In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations that impact the environment and the economy. Recently the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought. Last month, CAL FIRE hired 125 additional firefighters to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions, the California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and the California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farm workers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought. Also last month, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights.

# # #
Contact: Anita Gore, CDPH
(916) 440-7259
Bill Sessa, CDCR
(916) 445-4950
Daniel Berlant, CAL FIRE
(916) 651-FIRE (3473)