Saturday, December 30, 2006

Major Prison Disturbance at the California Institution for Men in Chino

A major inmate disturbance occurred today at the California Institution for Men at Chino where about 800 inmates housed at the Reception Center West Facility began fighting in the exercise yard. Inmates began sporadic fighting about 9:30 a.m. in five of the eight dorms units.

Correctional staff pulled back to staging areas, formed into tactical units, and systematically regained control of the housing areas stopping the inmates from rioting by using batons, O.C. pepper spray, and wooden and foam projectiles. Staff secured the housing units by 1:30 p.m.

Medical staff sent twenty-seven inmates to local hospitals for an evaluation of their injuries, and Institution hospital staff treated twenty-four inmates for minor injuries. One inmate suffered a head injury and stab wounds.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary James E. Tilton praised all who assisted today. "I want to thank Warden Michael E. Poulos and the staff at CIM for their quick action and professional conduct in ending this major disturbance. Staff quickly stopped the fighting from escalating which reflects their dedication to duty." He also praised staff from nearby prison institutions along with police departments from the cities of Chino, Ontario, and Chino Hills, and the Chino Valley Fire Department for their assistance.

CIM medical staff treated one officer for heat exhaustion at the scene. There were no other staff injuries. Responding staff contained the inmate fighting to the RC-West Facility. There is extensive damage to the buildings, and an evaluation is underway.

CDCR Administration is suspending intake of new inmates to CIM until the staff complete the investigation and evaluation of the incident.

The Administration placed the institution on lock-down and staff are interviewing inmates to try to learn what caused today's fighting.

The California Institution for Men currently houses 6,396 inmates. It serves as a reception center for incoming inmates from surrounding counties and houses minimum and medium security level inmates.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

CDCR TRANSFERS SECOND GROUP OF INMATES OUT-OF-STATE

More than 500 Scheduled to Be Sent to Arizona to Ease Overcrowding in California

In another step toward reducing overcrowding in California prisons, a second group of inmates has been moved out of state to a correctional facility in Arizona.

A busload of 38 volunteer inmates from a variety of prisons left the San Joaquin Valley early this morning for the Florence Detention Center near Phoenix, Ariz. The facility is operated by the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, Tenn.

The group will be followed to Florence, Ariz., by more volunteer inmates over the next six weeks, eventually resulting in approximately 560 California inmates housed there.

The inmate transfers are the result of an emergency proclamation in October by Governor Schwarzenegger to help relieve severe inmate overcrowding in 29 of the state's 33 prisons. The Governor's emergency proclamation authorized the CDCR to temporarily move inmates to privately operated correctional facilities in other states to ease the overcrowding. The moves also help CDCR avoid the crisis of running out of beds for inmates, which was estimated to occur by the summer 2007, unless inmates could be sent to other states.

California currently houses an historic high of nearly 174,000 inmates, far more than current prisons are designed to house. The severe overcrowding has forced CDCR to house more than 17,000 inmates in areas not designed for living space, including gymnasiums, dayrooms, and program rooms.

Inmates being transferred over the next six weeks join an original group of 80 California inmates that were moved on November 3 to the West Tennessee Detention Facility near Mason, Tenn. That facility is also operated by CCA.

The CCA has contracted to house up to 1,000 medium-custody level inmates in double cells at four of their facilities. The total annual cost of the CCA contract is approximately $22.9 million. Although CCA operates private institutions, they are required by contract to operate them consistent with all CDCR procedures and California law.

More information regarding prison overcrowding and inmate transfers out-of-state is available on CDCR's web site at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ventura Youth Correctional Facility Juvenile Firefighters to be Honored

Former CYA wards - Now CDF employees - To Speak to Juvenile Firefighters

5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 14
Ventura Youth Correctional Facility
3100 Wright Road, Camarillo

The Sylvester Carraway Ventura Fire Camp, adjacent to the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility will be hosting their 6th Annual Firefighter Appreciation Dinner on Dec. 14. The ceremony honors the female and male juvenile firefighters for their hard work and community service for the prior calendar year while stationed at the camp.

"Positive Change Through Public Service" is the theme of this event. Richard Avina, a California Department of Forestry Firefighter, Ve Moua, a California Department of Forestry Fire Captain and Truong Nguyen, an engineer for the California Department of Forestry were all once wards at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation-Division of Juvenile Justice.

Assembly Member Audra Strickland (R-Moorpark) will serve as keynote speaker for this event. Sandra Youngen, the new Director of Facilities for the Division of Juvenile Justice, and other community dignitaries, are scheduled to attend the ceremony.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Corrections Medal of Valor, Gold Star Honorees Featured on Radio Football Broadcast Regarding Hiring Opportunities

Highlights Recruitment Efforts for Officers, Health Care, Teachers

San Francisco - On Sunday, Dec. 3, employees from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) who have received the Department's highest honors for courageous actions above and beyond the call of duty will be interviewed during the Oakland Raiders pre-game show on KSFO-AM Radio 560.

Oakland Raiders radio announcer Rich Walcoff will speak with the honorees briefly at about 11:30 a.m. about career opportunities with the Department. The employees were honored at ceremonies in May in Sacramento for their heroic deeds in responding to prison and/or community incidents.

Parole Agent I Darrell Littleton, who was awarded the Medal of Valor for "conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service," will be joined by six CDCR staff awarded the Gold Star medal during the interview. The Gold Star awardees are Correctional Sergeant Scott Richards, Correctional Officers Jesus Caropreso, Jeffrey Allen Harris, Edward Welch, Medical Technical Assistant Elvie Pulido, and Prison Industry Authority Chief Assistant General Manager Charles Pattillo.

The honorees were asked to the pre-game interview to highlight CDCR's efforts to recruit correctional officers, health care professionals, and teachers for the Department.

The CDCR has an aggressive campaign to recruit employees to fill vacant positions throughout California. During the last legislative session, the CDCR introduced legislation to build a new southern correctional officer academy in the Los Angeles area to draw a larger number of candidates for correctional officer positions from southern California. The Department is also advertising to healthcare providers and teachers.

The CDCR's campaign about the benefits of becoming an employee reaches across several marketing and outreach sectors. They include:

  • Online Advertising: The CDCR is recruiting correctional officers on more than 50 employment websites and has banner advertisements on the jobs pages of 15 newspaper websites.
  • Newspaper Advertising: More than 60 newspapers statewide have run advertisements for CDCR's employment campaign. In July 2006, CDCR began to run correctional officer ads in every major Employment Guide in California.
  • Public Service Announcements (PSA)/Radio Advertising: The CDCR released public service announcements to all media regarding the immediate need to hire correctional officers.
The CDCR encourages anyone interested in being a part of the team to apply today. Visit CDCR Career Opportunities for more information on the CDCR recruitment and employment efforts.

Background on the Medal of Valor/Gold Star awardees:

The Medal of Valor is the Department's highest award, earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service. The employee shall display great courage in the face of immediate life-threatening peril and with full knowledge of the risk involved. The act should show professional judgment and not jeopardize operations or the lives of others.

Parole Agent I Darrell Littleton
Division of Adult Parole Operations

In late February 2005, Agent Littleton was on-duty driving in the city of Vista. He saw a pickup truck ahead lose control and slide off the road into a raging water-filled ravine. The truck was on its side and the woman driver was unable to get out. The truck was already half-filled with icy water, and she was pinned to the driver's side door. Water was quickly overtaking the cab. With little thought of his own safety, Agent Littleton waded into the water. He climbed up on the side of the truck and lifted her out through the passenger door. Another individual had also stopped and held the door open while Agent Littleton waded in to the rescue. A nearby Oceanside Police captain arrived later on the scene to find the woman safe-and Agent Littleton soaking wet and covered in mud!

The Gold Star is the Department's second-highest award, earned for heroic deeds under extraordinary circumstances. The employee shall display courage in the face of immediate peril in acting to save the life of another person.

Correctional Officer Jeffrey Allen Harris
California State Prison, Solano

In the Prison Industry Authority laundry facility at CSP-Solano in September 2005, an inmate suddenly and without provocation began to assault the PIA laundry supervisor with an inmate-made knife. The inmate was stabbing the man in the face and tried to stab him in his abdomen. Officer Harris, who was assigned to the laundry, saw the attack and immediately responded to the supervisor's aid. Disregarding his own safety, Officer Harris disarmed and physically restrained the inmate. With the aid of additional responding staff, the inmate was placed in restraints. Correctional Officer Jeffrey Harris's actions very likely prevented the supervisor from being seriously injured or even killed.

Correctional Sergeant Scott Richards
Ironwood State Prison

While visiting a friend in July 2005, Correctional Sergeant Scott Richards saw a nearby row of townhouses on fire. He called out to his friend to call 911 and jumped over the fence. Once he got to the homes, he quickly knocked on doors to warn residents. He soon heard a woman screaming that she needed help. He raced towards her and she told him that her husband was a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. The house was nearly engulfed in flames. Without regard for his safety, Sergeant Richards ran inside, called out and searched for the man. He soon found him in the smoke and flames. Thinking quickly, he soaked a blanket in water and covered the man with it. By this time, two neighbors arrived and helped carry the man through the flames and embers to safety. Sergeant Richards provided first aid and comfort to the man until paramedics arrived. The man made a complete recovery.

Correctional Officer Edward W. Welch, Jr.
Wasco State Prison and Reception Center

In early August 2005, Officer Welch and a correctional sergeant were participating in Governor Schwarzenegger's "Flex Your Power.at the Pump" by ridesharing to and from work. When the sergeant was driving the van to work that day, the road conditions appeared calm and normal. Unbeknownst to him, however, down the road a well pump had malfunctioned, causing severe flooding and sending a heavy current of water across the roadway. When the vanpool hit the water, there wasn't enough time to safely stop the vehicle. It went out of control, rolling over on its roof in a flooded ditch. They found themselves underwater and unable to breathe. The sergeant was unable to free himself. Officer Welch freed himself and stayed in the van to assist. Using physical strength, he freed the sergeant from the restraint system and wreckage. They swam through the passenger door and escaped a possible fatal accident. Without regard for his own safety, Officer Welch, demonstrated courage and bravery by remaining in a dangerous situation to save the life of a fellow human being.

Correctional Officer Jesus Caropreso and Medical Technical Assistant Elvie Pulido
Salinas Valley State Prison

During the morning meal in July 2005 in an Administrative Segregation Unit overflow unit at Salinas Valley State Prison, an inmate brutally attacked two correctional officers. The inmate attacked the officers as they were feeding the inmates. They were standing on either side of the inmate when he started to stab them using a homemade weapon made of pieces of steel cut from a locker or sleeping bunk. He stabbed both officers in the neck several times. The officers immediately responded and were threatened by the inmate before they subdued him. They also quickly partnered with Medical Technical Assistant Pulido to provide life-saving medical response. Their timely response and collaboration clearly saved the two officers' lives from a deadly attack by a violent felon.

Charles L. Pattillo, Chief Assistant General Manager
Prison Industry Authority

In early December 2004, Pattillo assisted someone who was bleeding from a stab wound and who had approached him for a ride. He allowed the person, who was apparently fleeing from two suspects, to get in the back of his truck. During the course of helping the person, his truck was damaged when the two suspects rammed it with their vehicle. He continued to assist the stabbing victim at the scene as well as taking the person home and calling police. His heroic actions may have prevented the stabbing victim from even more serious wounds. In a special ceremony in mid-2005, Sacramento Police Chief Albert Najera presented Pattillo with a letter of commendation for his "heroic efforts" in serving his community.