Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CDCR Undersecretary Scott Kernan Statement on OIG Review Confirming Parolee Mixon Handled Appropriately

SACRAMENTO – The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released a review of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) monitoring of Parolee Lovelle Mixon, who caused the deaths of four Oakland Police Officers on March 21, 2009. The OIG concludes that the Parole Division and Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) followed appropriate procedures in supervising and attempting to apprehend Mixon prior to his involvement in the officers’ killings. Following is a statement from CDCR Undersecretary of Operations Scott Kernan on the OIG review:

“The Inspector General’s conclusions confirm the results of our immediate internal review of the handling of Lovelle Mixon’s parolee supervision records. Our parole agents followed all appropriate supervision, drug testing, and even job assistance protocols when dealing with Mixon, who was classified as a high-control parolee. When Mixon absconded from parole supervision, he was promptly listed as a Parolee-at-Large and search procedures were activated. Local law enforcement agencies were notified and engaged in the attempts to arrest him, and our Fuguitive Apprehension Team laid out a plan to search suspected locations – even notifying the U.S. Marshals on a lead that he may have fled the state.

“We agree with the Inspector General that CDCR Parole Agents, Office of Correctional Safety, Fugitive Apprehension Team Members, and other related staff followed appropriate procedures to aggressively protect public safety in this instance. Our peace officers and our brothers and sisters in local law enforcement should be commended for their professionalism in light of this tragedy, and we share in the grief of the Oakland PD and their families.”

The OIG’s review concludes that: “Based on our preliminary inquiry, it appears that CDCR Parole and OCS staff followed department policies and procedures in their supervision of Mixon after his release from custody and in their attempts to locate and apprehend him.”

View the Full OIG Letter Outlining the Results of Their Review
Media interested in a photo of Mr. Kernan, click here to download

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) Announces Best Practices Awards

Two programs receive awards, four recognized as "promising projects"

SEASIDE -- The Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO) announced the recipients of the annual Best Practices awards today at its council meeting. The Integrated Mental Health Assessment and Treatment Continuum for Juvenile Probation and Youth (IMAT), a Sacramento County collaboration, received a Best Practices award in the Juvenile Programs category. In the Adult Programs category, San Bernardino County's Supervised Treatment After Release (STAR) program received an award.

The council also recognized four Promising Projects, which are local efforts that offer exciting potential for the future. The Promising Projects recognized today include the Juvenile Mental Health Court in Los Angeles, and three adult projects: a Mental Health Court in Placer County, a Mental Health Court in Riverside County and a Whatever It Takes (WIT) Court in Orange County.

"Last year the Council broke new ground by establishing the Best Practices Awards for projects designed to serve mentally ill offenders," said Matthew Cate, COMIO Chairperson and Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). "This year, we are very pleased to recognize the achievements of the Sacramento and San Bernardino County projects, and recognize the potential in the four Promising Projects."

The recipients are recognized for successfully managing a program that reflects best practices in California, for treating mentally ill patients to decrease the likelihood of their involvement with law enforcement and to increase the likelihood of an effective transition back into the community. Best Practices award winners will receive special plaques and the Promising Projects certificates at an awards ceremony held tonight in conjunction with the annual statewide conference of the Forensic Mental Health Association of California.

"Recognizing these agencies for their efforts to create successful methods for treating mentally ill patients within California's complex criminal justice system is a key component of the Council," said Secretary Cate. "It is crucial that state and local agencies maintain a coordinated approach to providing programs that serve the needs of mentally ill offenders, and any way that we can help to promote their successes, we will do so."

COMIO was created by the legislature in 2001 to investigate and promote cost-effective approaches to meeting the long-term needs of adults and juveniles with mental disorders who are likely to become offenders or who have a history of offending.

COMIO Website: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/COMIO/index.html
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
COMIO is comprised of an eleven-person panel of experts and practitioners selected to tackle the difficult challenges posed by mentally ill offenders. The legislation designates as permanent members the Secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency (now the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation-CDCR) and the Director of the California Department of Mental Health, with the CDCR Secretary serving as the chair. The other members are appointed as follows: three by the Governor, at least one of whom shall represent mental health; two each by the Senate Rules Committee and the Speaker of the Assembly, each appointing one representative of law enforcement and one representative of mental health; one by the Attorney General; and one superior court judge appointed by the Chief Justice. There is one vacancy, currently. Members include the following individuals:

Chairperson:

Matthew L. Cate, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)

Vice-Chairperson:
Stephen Mayberg, Ph.D., Director, California Department of Mental Health (DMH).

Joel Fay, PsyD., Mental Health Liaison Officer, San Rafael Police Department

David Lehman, Chief Probation Officer (retired), Humboldt County, and former member of the Board of Corrections (now the Corrections Standard Authority)

Wendy Lindley, Judge, Orange County Superior Court

Duane E. McWaine, M.D., Medical Director, Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Los Angeles

David Meyer, J.D., Professor, Institute of Psychiatry, Law and Behavioral Science, Keck School of Medicine, USC, and former Chief Deputy Director, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

Jo Robinson, M.F.T., Program Director, San Francisco Jail Health and Psychiatric Services

James W. Sweeney, J.D., Principal, James W. Sweeney & Associates

Charles L. Walters, Ph.D., Assistant Sheriff, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sara Jane Olson Released to Parole

Request to Serve Parole Supervision in Minnesota Approved

CHOWCHILLA — Central California Women’s Facility inmate Sara Jane Olson, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), was released to parole on Tuesday, March 17, 2009.

Olson, also known as Kathleen Soliah, was convicted in Los Angeles County for a 1975 attempt to explode a destructive device with the intent to commit murder. She also served a Sacramento County conviction for second-degree murder for the 1975 death of Myrna Opsahl, who was shot by an SLA member during a bank robbery.

Olson petitioned to have her parole supervision transferred to Minnesota upon completion of her sentence, so that she could be placed with her husband and family members. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) approved the request. Studies have shown that family reunification is an evidence-based indicator of protecting the public by decreasing recidivism.

Olson’s transfer is consistent with the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision, which permits offenders who meet the mandatory criteria to be supervised on parole in another state. One of the criteria is that the offender must have been a resident of the other state for at least one continuous year and have resident family in the other state that have indicated a willingness and ability to assist in the plan of supervision. There are currently 1,454 out of state parolees under supervision in California, and 1,043 California parolees under supervision in other states under this compact, which has been in place since 1937.

Consistent with applicable state law in effect when she was convicted, Olson will serve one year on parole supervision. During that time she must comply with conditions of parole imposed by both California and Minnesota. Olson’s conditions of parole imposed by CDCR include prohibitions against association with former SLA members or co-defendants, and contact with any victims or their family members.

BACKGROUND: Olson began serving her prison sentence in 2001 after being returned to California following 24 years of living in Minnesota under an assumed name. She served a seven-year prison sentence. She was initially paroled to the Antelope Valley region of Los Angeles County, her last legal residence in California, on March 17, 2008. She was initially approved to be supervised on parole in Minnesota, until legal questions were raised about her sentence calculation. CDCR conducted an analysis of Olson’s records and sentencing transcripts and it was revealed that she was required to serve additional time for her Sacramento County conviction. Olson was taken back into custody on March 22, 2008, and her release date was recalculated for March 17, 2009.

Monday, March 2, 2009