Tuesday, January 21, 1997

Thomas M. Maddock Designated Interim Director of Corrections

Youth and Adult Correctional Agency Secretary Joe Sandoval today announced that the governor has, effective immediately, designated Thomas M. Maddock interim Director of the Department of Corrections. Maddock also will continue as undersecretary at YACA as he serves in the interim position.

"Tom has shown outstanding leadership and management skills in his position as undersecretary for the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, and I am confident that he will do a fine job in this extremely sensitive and important position," Sandoval said.

"It is the intent of the Wilson Administration to fill this critical position as quickly as a suitable permanent replacement can be found," said Sandoval. When appointed, the new director will replace former Director James Gomez who resigned to take a job as Deputy Executive Officer at the Public Employees Retiremen System.

Maddock was appointed undersecretary of YACA in September 1995 by Governor Wilson. Since 1986, he has held a variety of management roles in state government, including Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Deputy Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Public Advisor for the California Energy Commission and Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Automotive Repair at the Department of Consumer Affairs. Prior to his state service he was a prosecutor for Contra Costa and El Dorado Counties and a private practice litigation attorney.

He is a veteran and retired from the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve with the rank of Captain. His designation does not require Senate confirmation.

CORRECTIONS INMATES AND STAFF PLAYED KEY ROLE IN FLOOD FIGHT

When flood waters erupted over large parts of Northern and Central California on January 2, 1997, inmates and staff with the California Department of Corrections (CDC) formed the backbone of Californiaís flood-fighting forces. Between January 2 and January 10, more than 2,000 inmates and 164 staff lent their labor to flooded communities throughout the State.

Inmates provided an estimated 251,856 hours of assistance during the height of the floods and continue to labor in those areas where flood waters are still high or debris clogs and litters the landscape. CDC staff worked more than 17,250 hours supervising the inmates.

  • 129 inmate crews filled and stacked millions of sandbags in at least 20 counties.
  • Inmates from Wasco State Prison filled and stacked sandbags to shore up Poso Creek, while other crews were on alert to protect the town of Wasco.
  • Eight crews from Deuel Vocational Institution laid sandbags around the perimeter of the institution while others worked shoring up nearby levees.
  • As flooding receded in some areas, crumbling and weakened levees further south gave way and the
  • San Joaquin River and its tributaries covered new ground. Inmates dropped sandbags around the levee boils (where water was leaking through the levee) to protect walnut groves and subdivisions.
  • Two inmates crews from California Rehabilitation Center traveled to San Joaquin County to lend their help to sandbagging efforts.
  • Eighteen crews--274 inmates--worked throughout the Delta sandbagging and shoring up hundreds of miles of levees protecting the five different counties. Millions of sandbags were filled and distributed throughout the area.
  • In Sutter County, 31 crews--453 inmates and 36 staff--worked around the clock for days building a 4,700 foot make-shift berm to protect the small community of Meridian. Their work contributed significantly to the success of the protection effort as the levee held. Their hard work also won praise from Vice President Al Gore and U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein who visited the area and took a turn on the inmate sandbag line.
  • Community inmate crews from the California Correctional Center worked under the direction of the Lassen County Office of Emergency Services filling sandbags to protect Susanville homes andbusinesses.
  • Throughout Sutter County, inmate crews staffed mobile kitchens which fed over 100,000 meals to evacuees and rescue workers. Another dozen crews staffed mobile kitchens in Humboldt, Colusa, Yuba, Solano, and San Joaquin counties.
  • When a fish hatchery along the San Joaquin River was inundated with flood waters, many vehicles were submerged. When the waters receded, Fish and Games officials delivered the vehicles to Central California Women's Facility where inmates checked them for damage.
  • In the Butte County community of Orland, crews helped set up 300 beds at an evacuation center.
  • When the banks of Sutter Creek threatened to overflow its banks, 68 inmates were deployed to help contain flooding and evacuate residents. Another crew of 20 inmates helped to clean out the flooded basement of the Sutter Creek auditorium.
  • Inmates from Mule Creek State Prison assisted in evacuating a mobile home park and helping with flood-related problems in Ione.
  • As flood waters receded, inmate crews cleared out debris left behind by the raging waters.
In addition to the work performed by inmate crews and correctional staff, other CDC employees participated in life-saving efforts. Correctional officers from Folsom State Prison, California State Prison-Sacramento, and other institutions were activated by the California National Guard. Two of the officers performed courageous life-saving acts piloting a rescue helicopter and snatching victims from the raging flood waters. Others are still volunteering with the Red Cross and other emergency response agencies.

All told, flood fighting efforts by CDC staff and inmates contributed significantly to life and property saving measures throughout the state. CDC officials estimate that staff and inmate labor amounted to over $2 million in value.

Tuesday, January 14, 1997

GOMEZ TO SEE MCCLATCHY COMPUTER LABS IN ACTION CORRECTIONS DONATED 91 COMPUTERS; UPGRADED 24 Media Invited

McClatchy High School students are learning advanced computer skills at four computer labs recently donated by the California Department of Corrections through the Computers for Schools Program.

Media are invited to tour the labs with CDC Director James H. Gomez tomorrow, January 15 at 1:30 p.m. at C. K. McClatchy High School, 3066 Freeport Blvd. Gomez will meet McClatchy Principal Kathleen Whalen, talk with computer instructors, and look over the shoulder of students using the state-of-the-art computer equipment.

Corrections uses inmate labor to refurbish computers donated to the Detwiler Foundationís Computers For Schools Program. The department gives away 20 percent of the upgraded computers to its prison neighbors. The balance are distributed statewide by the Foundation.

CDC's contributions to McClatchy included:

  • 29 Pentium 133 MHz computers (chips donated by Intel)
  • 62 486 DX/33 systems with new monitor, LAN card, keyboard and mouse
  • Added memory and multimedia capacity for 24 existing Pentium computers
Volunteer help by four CDC staff to install the computers over a weekend

Corrections used $40,000 from a $10 million Legislative authorization (AB 835) which allows the department to buy parts to augment the donated computer equipment.

To date, Corrections has refurbished about 20,500 computer systems. With 14 institutions now involved in the program, CDC is turning out about 3,000 refurbished systems per month.

Monday, January 6, 1997

UPDATE: INMATE CREWS BUILD BERM AROUND MERIDIAN

More than 300 inmates and 20 staff from the California Department of Corrections are continuing their around-the-clock battle against the latest flood threat as they put the finishing touches on the 3,500 foot berm protecting the community of Meridian in Sutter County.

Twenty inmate crews have labored since early Sunday morning to build a wall to protect the town from advancing flood waters. A levee break late Saturday allowed flood waters from the Sutter Bypass to pour into the surrounding agricultural land on a path to Meridian. Latest reports indicate the berm is doing its job.

Since the flooding began nearly a week ago, Corrections has dispatched over 1,000 inmates and 100 staff to fight the flood in 11 counties. They have been joined by inmates and staff from the California Youth Authority.

Flood fighting efforts have included:

  • Filling sandbags, shoring up levees, and clearing debris from drainage ditches
  • Cooking for evacuees and rescue workers at six mobile kitchens
  • Providing assistance to other agencies where needed
The inmates are normally assigned to the conservation camps, or minimum security prisons, located in rural areas. The camps house almost 4,000 inmates.

Inmates serve their sentences at conservation camps after passing a highly selective screening process and rigorous training. A typical inmate was convicted of a nonviolent offense, has an average sentence of two years and will spend about eight months in camp before parole.

When not fighting floods, inmates are dispatched to other emergencies and non-emergencies including fires, earthquakes, wildlife habitat preservation and graffiti removal.

It is estimated that by using inmates state and local governments save millions of dollars each year that otherwise would be paid to accomplish the work inmates perform.

Thursday, January 2, 1997

STATE PRISON INMATES JOIN BATTLE AGAINST FLOODS

More than 500 inmate crew members and staff from the California Department of Corrections have been dispatched to help battle flooding in eight northern and central California counties.

About 520 inmates are filling and loading sandbags, cooking for evacuees at the emergency shelter at Marysville Community College, and providing assistance to other agencies where needed. Crews are being supervised by 31 correctional officers.

On Wednesday, crews helped set up 300 beds at the evacuation center in Orland in Butte County.

Crews sandbagged all night at Hamilton City where flood waters are threatening the town. Residents have been evacuated but the crews remain on standby.

Inmates at the Marysville Community College expect to cook for more than 450 rescue workers and other involved in fighting the floods.

The inmates are normally assigned to the conservation camps, or minimum security prisons, located in rural areas. The camps house almost 4,000 inmates.

Inmates serve their sentences at conservation camps after passing a highly selective screening process and rigorous training. A typical inmate was convicted of a nonviolent offense, has an average sentence of two years and will spend about eight months in camp before parole.

When not fighting floods, inmates are dispatched to other emergencies and non-emergencies including fires, earthquakes, wildlife habitat preservation and graffiti removal.

It is estimated that by using inmates state and local governments save millions of dollars that otherwise would be paid to accomplish the work inmates perform.

UPDATE: MORE INMATE CREWS JOIN FLOOD FIGHTING EFFORT

As of 4:30 pm today, nearly 900 inmate crew members and 46 staff from the California Department of Corrections are at work battling floods throughout northern and central California.

About 864 inmates are at work:

  • >Sandbagging tributaries of the Sacramento and Trinity rivers;
  • Cooking for evacuees and rescue workers at the emergency shelters at Colusa fairgrounds, Yuba and Marysville Community Colleges;
  • Filling and loading sandbags in 12 counties; and
  • Providing assistance to other agencies where needed.
Additional inmate crews are expected to begin work Friday sandbagging levies in the Sacramento Delta near Isleton.

The inmates are normally assigned to the conservation camps, or minimum security prisons, located in rural areas. The camps house almost 4,000 inmates.

Inmates serve their sentences at conservation camps after passing a highly selective screening process and rigorous training. A typical inmate was convicted of a nonviolent offense, has an average sentence of two years and will spend about eight months in camp before parole.

When not fighting floods, inmates are dispatched to other emergencies and non-emergencies including fires, earthquakes, wildlife habitat preservation and graffiti removal.

It is estimated that by using inmates state and local governments save millions of dollars each year that otherwise would be paid to accomplish the work inmates perform.