Wednesday, October 20, 1999

STAFF AND INMATES TO BE TESTED FOR TUBERCULOSIS AT NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WOMEN'S FACILITY IN STOCKTON

Sacramento – The California Department of Corrections (CDC) announced today that staff and inmates at the Northern California Women's Facility (NCWF) in Stockton will be tested for tuberculosis following yesterday's discovery of one possible tuberculosis case.

"This is not a confirmed case of tuberculosis," said Dr. Susann Steinberg, Deputy Director of CDC's Health Care Services Division. "However, as a precaution, we will begin testing staff and inmates, restricting inmate movement, and proceeding with our established protocols in responding to this situation. We do not wait for a confirmed diagnosis before taking vigorous action to protect the health and safety of staff, inmates and the community."

On October 19, one inmate was transferred from NCWF to an approved correctional medical isolation unit for further testing related to possible tuberculosis.

Beginning today, October 20, inmates and staff will be tested for exposure to tuberculosis. NCWF also is:

  • Limiting inmate movement,
  • Suspending visiting today until further notice,
  • Notifying all staff and inmates about the tuberculosis testing process,
  • Performing a contact investigation to identify staff and inmates who may have had close contact with the suspected inmate, and
  • Not receiving any new inmates.
Steinberg said that correctional settings are considered high-risk environments for transmission of tuberculosis infection and disease. "Inmates often have had little or no health care prior to their incarceration. Many have compromised immune systems or suffer from chronic illnesses such as hepatitis or AIDS. CDC is very committed to preventing and controlling tuberculosis infection and disease," she said.

All employees of CDC and all inmates are tested annually for tuberculosis. All new employees, whether they will work in a correctional facility or not, are tested prior to their employment with the Department and are re-tested annually. All incoming inmates also are tested upon arrival to a CDC institution. CDC currently employs 45,726 people and houses 162,040 inmates.

Visiting operations may continue to be impacted. Those with questions about visiting NCWF can call 209-943-1600.

NCWF is a medium security prison located in Stockton and serves as a reception center for female parole violators returned to custody from Northern California counties. The prison opened July 1987, currently houses 700 female inmates, and employs about 260 people.

Monday, October 18, 1999

Staff and Inmates to be Tested for Tuberculosis at California State Prison - Solano

Sacramento – As a precaution, California State Prison-Solano (CSP-Solano) in Vacaville is preparing to test all staff and inmates for tuberculosis following the discovery of two possible cases of tuberculosis, California Department of Corrections (CDC) officials announced today.

On October 8 and 14, two inmates were transferred to an approved correctional medical isolation unit for further testing related to possible tuberculosis. They are currently undergoing tests and have not been confirmed as contagious.

"These two cases have not been confirmed at this time," said Steven Cambra, CDC Chief Deputy Director of Field Operations. "However, because the prison has two possible cases, we are redirecting medical resources and restricting all inmate movement so that the testing can be completed quickly."

Beginning the week of October 18, all staff and inmates will be tested for exposure to tuberculosis which may take up to 10 days. To facilitate the testing, CSP-Solano is:

  • Suspending routine programs during the test period,
  • Suspending visiting immediately until further notice,
  • Notifying all inmates about the tuberculosis testing process on the institution television education channel,
  • Performing contact investigations to identify staff and inmates who may have had close contact with the two suspected inmates,
  • Not receiving any new inmates, and
  • Not transferring any inmates.
"I want to emphasize that there are no confirmed cases of tuberculosis at CSP-Solano," Cambra said. "However, we do not want to wait for a confirmed diagnosis before responding. We are taking proactive precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of staff, inmates and the community."

Cambra said that CDC is committed to preventing and controlling tuberculosis infection. All 45,726 CDC employees and 162,040 inmates are tested annually for tuberculosis.

After the first suspected inmate was discovered on October 8, 286 inmates were tested for tuberculosis exposure. All the tests were negative. No confirmed cases were discovered from the contact investigation either.

Visiting operations may continue to be impacted next week. The CSP-Solano visitor information telephone number is 1-800-374-VISIT.

CSP-Solano is a medium security prison located near Vacaville. The prison opened in August of 1984, currently houses approximately 5,800 inmates and employs about 1,400 people.

California Department of Corrections Takes Positive Actions After Power Outage

Responding to a need for improved response to a loss of electrical power at Wasco State Prison last April, the California Department of Corrections (CDC) has instituted a major program of enhancements to ensure that all state prisons are responsive to emergencies caused by sudden power outages.

"Because we are committed to the safety and security of the public, staff and inmates, we learned a great deal from this situation of last April and even more from some recent findings by the Bureau of State Audits," said CDC Director C.A. "Cal" Terhune. "We began to examine our response to the outage immediately and began to identify some changes we needed to make. However, the audit provided us with more useful information we are in the process of incorporating into our improvements."

On April 12, 1999, a high voltage transformer failed at Wasco State Prison, causing a power outage that lasted, at least in part, for several hours. Full power was restored to the institution by the following day. Failure of the transformer led to an electrical problem that prevented the institution’s backup generator system from functioning properly. However, power to the institution’s electrified fence was was not affected by the outage, maintaining a safe perimeter between the institution and the surrounding community. No inmate injuries were reported and one staff injury was minor.

The Bureau of State Audits review of Wasco State Prison’s response to the power outage was requested by Assemblyman Dean Florez, D-Shafter.

Immediately after the power outage, CDC and Wasco State Prison staff began their own review of this matter and began the process of developing new policies and procedures to ensure a seamless response to any future power outage incidents.

Additionally, a subsequent power outage in the final days of the state audit caused by a lightning strike resulted in a completely appropriate response by all Wasco State Prison backup systems and staff.

In addition, the audit found one instance in which an inmate gained access to confidential information. Wasco State Prison’s response to this finding was to take corrective action with supervisors and managers to address any oversights in their supervision, and then to develop policies and procedures governing the safeguard of confidential information.

Friday, October 8, 1999

CDC Opens Its First Family Foundations Program Facility

The California Department of Corrections (CDC) formally opened its first Family Foundations Program facility today, in Santa Fe Springs, Los Angeles County. The Department hosted a ribbon- cutting ceremony and facility tours. Speakers included Youth and Adult Correctional Agency Secretary Robert Presley, CDC Director C.A. Terhune, and other dignitaries.

The Family Foundations Program is the only alternative sentencing program for women in California administered by CDC who are non-violent offenders with histories of drug abuse. Women must be pregnant or parenting a child under age six. The mother spends 12 months in this highly structured residential treatment program followed by a 12-month aftercare/transition period to help her successfully re-enter society. Currently, there are nine women and their children housed at the facility, which has a capacity of 35 women and 40 children.

As a State Senator, Presley sponsored legislation in 1994 establishing The Pregnant and Parenting Women’s Alternative Sentencing Program Act.

"This alternative sentencing holds women accountable for their criminal behavior while affording parent and child a chance to lead more healthy and productive lives, as the mother completes her sentence," Presley said at today’s dedication.

On-site services include parenting skills development, health services, child development services, and vocational skills training. Residents have the benefit of support groups and assistance to establish and enhance close ties with their young children. Additionally, the mothers share cooking and cleaning chores and learn life skills to help improve their employability.

CDC selected the City of Santa Fe Springs for the first Family Foundations Program residential facility. Two additional facilities in San Diego and Fresno are slated to open next year.