Friday, November 20, 2015

Fourteen Juvenile Offenders Graduate

                     Pine Grove graduation ceremony’s theme is “Life is what you make it”
PINE GROVE – Fourteen youths at the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (YCC) in Pine Grove received a high school diploma or General Educational Degree (GED) today in a major step toward their rehabilitation.

Nine students – among 60 youth trained to fight fires – received high school diplomas and five earned a GED or a high school equivalency while battling several blazes throughout this busy fire season including the Valley Fire in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties that burned 76,000 acres and took a month to get under control.

Pine Grove YCC is operated jointly by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

“This is priceless,” Tod Dorris, a fire captain working for CAL FIRE at Pine Grove YCC for 13 years, said. “The goal is to change behavior, to learn a skill. You can’t put a price on what goes on here, and what it can mean if these guys take advantage of the opportunities.”

When not working the fire lines, clearing brush or doing other maintenance projects throughout Amador County, the youth offenders are working on their high school degrees and attending classes from 5:30 in the afternoon until 10 o’clock at night.

”We know how busy these guys are, and how committed they need to be,” recently retired teacher Tony Kubiak explained. “This is an honor for them to be here. And as for education, this is a legitimate high school, with all the same requirements as any other California high school.”

Two students, Jose Lopez and Jesus Hernandez, were chosen by school administrators to speak at this year’s graduation ceremony.

Dr. J. Holmes Armstead Jr., retired professor from the United States Naval War College, was the guest speaker.

Pine Grove YCC in Amador County screens and accepts low-risk youth from other DJJ facilities. They range in age from 18 to 24 and typically include between 50 and 80 males at any given time. Fire training is provided by CAL FIRE and youth are certified to engage in wild land firefighting operations. Fire crews from DJJ camps perform approximately 189,000 hours of fire suppression in a normal year for the people of California.

DJJ operates an accredited school district, which provides youth offenders with the same high school curriculum in each of its four institutions they would receive in their home community. Youth attend school Monday through Friday. DJJ considers a diploma or GED a minimum requirement for parole consideration. From 2010-2014, a total of 935 youth earned a high school diploma or GED at DJJ’s four high schools. In addition, 614 students earned Career Technical Education certificates for vocational programs.

November 20, 2015

CONTACT: Mike Roots
(209) 296-7581

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Inmate Death at Kern Valley State Prison Being Investigated as Homicide

DELANO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is investigating as a potential homicide the death of an inmate Wednesday morning at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP).

Inmate Gustavo Vital, 34, was found unresponsive in his cell at 1:50 a.m. Nov. 11. Staff immediately began lifesaving measures, and an ambulance was called. Vital succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at 2:20 a.m. Nov. 11. His next-of-kin has been notified.

Prison officials have named Vital’s cellmate, Jesse Serrano, 37, as a suspect. Serrano was received by CDCR on Feb. 14, 2013, from Los Angeles County to serve a 16-year sentence for using a hostage as a shield, with a firearm involved.

Vital was received by CDCR on March 19, 2012, from Los Angeles County to serve 33 years and four months for second-degree robbery.

Serrano has been placed in the Administrative Segregation Unit pending the investigation by KVSP, Kern County Coroner and Kern County District Attorney. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

KVSP opened in 2005 and houses 3,819 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,800 people. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Lt. Marshall Denning
(661) 721-6314

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Inmate Back In Custody After Walking Away From Work Project

VALYERMO, CA – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials announced today that Kent Lesporavsky, 43, was taken back into custody early Tuesday morning, November 10, 2015, approximately six days after he was discovered missing from a work project in the city of Highlands in San Bernardino County.

Following an investigation led by CDCR’s Special Service Unit and including the department’s Office of Correctional Safety and Fugitive Apprehension Team, as well as the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshal Service, Lesporavsky was taken into custody without incident as he was entering a spa on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Lesparovsky, normally housed at the minimum-security Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp near the community of Valyermo in Los Angeles County, was part of a crew that was clearing a flood channel when he disappeared.

Lesporavsky was serving an eight-year, eight-month sentence, for transport and sale of marijuana, two counts of evading or attempting to evade a peace officer while driving recklessly, and resisting or deterring an officer with a threat of violence.  He was scheduled to be released in 2019, but CDCR will now refer his case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution on escape charges.

In addition, Lesporavsky has been returned to a secure institution and removed from the conservation camp program.

Since 1977, ninety-nine percent of all offenders who have left an adult institution, camp, or community-based program without permission have been apprehended.

November 10, 2015

CONTACT: Lt. Kelsey
(209) 984-5291 extension 5499


Monday, November 9, 2015

Inmate Death Being Investigated As Potential Homicide

                                        Inmate found unresponsive in his cell
CORCORAN – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is investigating as a potential homicide the death of an inmate found unresponsive in his cell this morning at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran (SATF).

Inmate Rufus Hodges, 51, was declared deceased by SATF medical staff at 8:02 a.m. and his cellmate, Christopher Shirley, was detained and placed in a holding cell as a suspect. The cause of death is to be determined.

Hodges was committed to the CDCR in October, 2013 and was serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for two convictions of murder in Riverside County.

Shirley, 35, is serving a sentence of 46 years, 4 months, his second strike, after being convicted in Shasta County of two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and inflicting great bodily harm on a child under the age of five.

In keeping with CDCR policy, the Office of Inspector General and the Kings County District Attorney have been notified of Hodges’ death.

Opened in August, 1997, SATF provides housing, programs and services for 5,518 minimum- and maximum-custody inmates and employs 1,800 people.

November 9, 2015

CONTACT: Lt. Erick Smith
(559) 992-7154    

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Inmate Riot at Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Under Investigation

CORCORAN – Approximately 20 inmates were involved in a riot in three C-Facility dayrooms at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison-Corcoran (SATF) on Thursday, Nov. 5. The cause of the riot is under investigation.

The incident began at 8:40 p.m., when an inmate was attacked by two other inmates in a dayroom. The physical altercation escalated into a riot within the dayrooms of the maximum-security building.

When staff saw an inmate attacking another with an inmate-manufactured weapon, two Mini-14 rounds were deployed, one striking the inmate in the lower torso. He was transported by helicopter to an outside hospital, where he is reported in stable condition. Officers used nine foam rounds and four pepper spray grenades to quell the incident. The inmate-manufactured weapon was recovered at the scene.

A second inmate was airlifted to an outside hospital, having received multiple stab wounds. He is listed in critical condition. Four additional inmates were transported by ambulance to hospitals for treatment of injuries including lacerations, puncture wounds and head trauma. All have been discharged and are in an Administrative Segregation Unit at SATF.

This incident is being investigated by the Investigative Services Unit at the prison. The Office of the Inspector General was notified. CDCR’s Deadly Force Investigation Team will also review this incident.

Inmate movement is limited throughout the prison and C-Facility is expected to remain on modified program until the investigation into the cause of the riot is complete.

SATF opened in August 1997 on approximately 280 acres in Kings County. The institution provides housing, programs and services for 5,518 minimum- and maximum-custody male inmates and employs 1,800 people.

CONTACT: Stephen Smith
(559) 992-7154

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Inmate Walks Away From Conservation Project

VALYERMO, CA — California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials are looking for a minimum-security inmate who walked away from a work crew near the community of Highlands, in San Bernardino County.

Inmate Kent Lesporavsky, 43, was last seen wearing white and grey thermals underneath an orange jumpsuit marked “CDCR Inmate” while working in the flood control channel near Highland Boulevard and Highway 330, in Highlands, Ca.  Cal Fire and CDCR staff searched the immediate area after Lesporavsky was discovered missing.   All local law enforcement agencies have been notified and are assisting in the search and apprehension efforts.

Lesporavsky is a white male, 6’ 1“ tall, weighing 220 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.  He is serving an eight year, eight month sentence after being convicted of transporting and selling marijuana, two counts of evading a peace officer while driving recklessly and resisting an officer.  He was scheduled to be paroled in September, 2019.

Anyone with information regarding Lesporavsky is asked to contact the Commander of the Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp (661)-944-0173 or the Watch Commander of the Sierra Conservation Center (209) 984-5291, extension 5439.

Of all offenders who have escaped from an adult institution, camp or community-based program since 1977, 98.7 percent have been apprehended.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    Contact: Lt. W. Mock
November 4, 2015                                                                                (661) 944-0173

Monday, November 2, 2015

CDCR Checks on 1255 Sex Offenders during Operation Boo

Statewide sweep results in weapons, drugs and pornography confiscated 

SACRAMENTO – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) parole agents contacted 1255 sex-offender parolees during compliance checks or searches as part of the 22nd annual Operation Boo Child Safety Project on Halloween night. “Our thanks go out to the hundreds of parole agents and local law enforcement personnel, many of whom volunteer their time to help ensure that California’s children can enjoy a safer trick-or-treat experience free from sexual predators,” said Bobby Haase, Deputy Director of the Division of Adult Parole Operations.

Fifty-two parolees were found to be in violation of their conditions of parole. New charges were filed against 4 of the sex-offender parolees contacted. Pornography was confiscated from sixteen of the parolees checked on Halloween night. Seven were found with narcotics.  Five parolees were caught with weapons.

Operation Boo also offered a free downloadable brochure. The Parent’s Guide has information to keep children safe all year.  It features these components:

·                Not Just Stranger Danger: The California Department of Justice‘s Megan’s Law website says 90% of child victims know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member.  Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and up, approximately 80% of the victims know the offender.   CDCR listed several website locations with tips on how to talk to children about dangerous behaviors by any adult, not just strangers.

              Parent Empowerment:  Links to important tools were included to help keep children safe, such as the Megan’s Law website that helps the public pinpoint where sex-offenders live so children can stay clear of them.

For more information about Operation Boo please visit:

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