Monday, October 24, 2011

CDCR Expands “Operation Boo” Halloween Children Safety Project

Online empowerment brochure launched to spur discussion about dangerous adults

Sacramento – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Adult Parole Operations – aided by the Attorney General’s Office, SAFE Officers and law enforcement partners statewide – is expanding the Halloween children safety project “Operation Boo.”

This year, the project includes the October 24, online launch of a parent empowerment brochure. The media is being invited to partner with CDCR in spreading the word to help keep kids safe. Visits to transient sex-offender round-up centers also will be added to the traditional sex-offender compliance checks on Halloween night. Additional information at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Parole/operation-boo-public-component.html

The Tradition

CDCR has been conducting and gradually expanding the Operation Boo Project since 1994. Now, in its 18th year, Operation Boo is conducted in each of the four California regions on Halloween night. State supervised sex-offenders* are monitored closely to ensure that they don’t attempt to attract children to their homes. Among the special conditions of parole imposed on sex offenders for Halloween night are:

• A 5 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew during which parolees must remain indoors;

• No exterior lights on at their homes, so that it looks as if no one is home and children are discouraged from approaching;

• No offering of Halloween candy and no Halloween decorations;

• During the curfew, sex-offender parolees can open the door only to respond to law enforcement, such as parole agents who are checking compliance.

What’s New with BOO 2011

In addition to the traditional compliance checks, this year Operation Boo will promote two new features:

• Parent Empowerment: Since only 11 percent of sex-offenders are under CDCR supervision, parental empowerment is the key to further protecting California children from sexual predators, not just during Halloween, but all year. That’s why on October 24, CDCR launched a free downloadable brochure with helpful information and links on the Internet for parents:

o Share a fun and non-threatening Halloween activity with their children to allow discussion of dangerous behavior in adults.

o Choose from among several tips by well-known organizations and experts for discussing personal safety for children.

o Use easy Internet links to survey the community and learn where sex-offenders may live in the area so they can steer clear and report any illegal activity observed.

o Create Operation Boo Parent Patrol badges for the parents to wear Halloween night to send a message to predators that they’re being watched, and to let everyone on the trick-or-treat trail know that parent awareness is key to keeping children safe on Halloween night and anytime.

The Operation Boo Information Guide for Parents is available here:
http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Parole/_pdf/Operation-Boo-Parents-Guide.pdf

• Transient Sex Offender Monitoring: Since a significant number of sex-offenders are homeless, special centers will be set up in most parole regions on Halloween night. Transient sex-offenders will be ordered to report to a center to spend the curfew under supervision. The centers will be part of the Halloween night media tours. (The deadline for media registration is October 24, for more info click here: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/operation-boo-media-component.html)

*(There are almost 92,000 sex-offenders in California. CDCR is responsible for supervising about 11 percent of them. For more information, please visit: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Parole/Sex Offender_Facts/index.html )


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 24, 2011, 2011
CONTACT: LUIS PATINO
(916) 445-4950

CDCR Announces Statewide Electronic Notification for Crime Victims

SACRAMENTO– The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) today announced that victims of crime will be able to receive automated electronic notification of an offender’s release or scheduled parole board hearing.

Senate Bill 852, passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in September 2011, amended the victim’s notification law to allow for electronic notification. Previously, the law required such notices to be sent by mail. The Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) service will allow victims, family members of victims, or witnesses who have testified against an offender to register for notification by phone or e-mail.

As part of the enhancement of the system, counties and the state will now be offering access and services to Spanish-speaking victims. The system will soon also send electronic notifications of an offender’s escape, death, or scheduled execution.

“This new, automated system brings victim notification in line with modern technology and with how most people receive their information,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said. “It’s essential that victims are kept informed of their rights and, if they choose, aware of their offender’s custody status on a real-time basis.”

Currently, OVSRS delivers more than 20,000 paper-based notifications annually to victims of CDCR inmates. CDCR has approximately 143,000 inmates in its 33 institutions and another 16,000 inmates in its out-of-state correctional facilities, community correctional facilities and conservation camps.

The statewide automated 24-hour VINE service will send a 90-day advance notice of release to victims for offenders sentenced under the Determinate Sentencing Law. For offenders sentenced under the Indeterminate Sentencing Law who have a parole consideration hearing with the Board of Parole Hearings, a 90-day advance notice will be sent, followed by a 14-day confirmation notice of the hearing.

The system also will notify victims of the escape, scheduled execution, or death of the offender, if applicable.

VINE also provides access to information about inmates in county correctional facilities through the California State Sheriff’s Association (CSSA). After receiving a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant for $500,000 in July 2009, CDCR and CSSA jointly developed a cohesive tool to assist victims from the trial/conviction phase at the county level, to the incarceration phase – whether county jail or state prison -- and then to the final re-entry phase of parole or probation.

“The VINE system is cost-effective and provides easy access for victims who have been through enough adversity already,” said Jean Scott, Acting Chief of the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services. “This automated system will allow victims to obtain access to information 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, thereby expanding CDCR’s outreach to crime victims.”

If you are a victim of an offender who is serving time in a CDCR facility, you can contact the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services at (877) 256-6877 for assistance in registering for VINE service.

The VINE service operator is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist and can be reached at (877) 411-5588; TTY: (866) 847-1298.

VINE service is also available online at http://www.vinelink.com/.

For all other non-victim-related services, you can contact CDCR Inmate Locator at (916) 445-6713 or access the online service at: http://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov/

For more information about CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services, visit CDCR’s website here: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/index.html


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday October 24, 2011
CONTACT: Dana Toyama
(916) 445-4950

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CDCR, SunEdison Begin Construction of Solar Power Plants at Four Prisons

Projects will offset nearly 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide over 20 years

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced that construction has begun on four solar power plants on prison grounds.

SunEdison construction crews have begun installing solar power panels at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison and Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, North Kern State Prison in Delano, and California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi. All four projects are expected to be completed and generating clean solar power by late December. A fifth site, at California State Prison, Los Angeles County is scheduled to be completed next summer, along with a second phase construction project at Tehachapi.

“This expansion of CDCR’s renewable energy portfolio reduces our reliance on the utility companies and demonstrates the department’s ongoing commitment in meeting Governor Brown’s renewable energy goals,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate.

The new projects will add more than 83,000 solar panels on the grounds of the prisons —providing 25 megawatts of clean solar energy annually. The projects are anticipated to save taxpayers more than $57 million over the 20-year life of the contracts. Additionally, the environmental attributes of the systems will offset nearly 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide. That is the equivalent of taking nearly 90,000 vehicles off the road for a year.

Construction and maintenance will be arranged and paid for by SunEdison, using no state General Fund tax dollars. The costs of the projects are further reduced by incentive dollars from California Investor Owned Utilities, through the California Solar Initiative Program administered by the California Public Utilities Commission.

“With our agreement, we are able to lock in a low electricity rate for the next 20 years and avoid paying utility demand charges during peak demand hours in the summer,” said Chris Meyer, Director of CDCR’s Facility Planning, Construction and Management Division. “These projects not only help the state save money during these lean economic times but will help stimulate the economy with new construction.”

Chuckawalla Valley State Prison and Ironwood State Prison near Blythe were the first CDCR facilities to receive solar photovoltaic systems, with each currently operating a 1-megawatt array with a total of approximately 6,400 solar panels. The systems were constructed in 2006 and 2008 respectively and, when brought on line, were the largest solar installations at any prison system in the United States, providing nearly 25 percent of the prisons’ total electrical demand.

The new projects under construction at North Kern, Ironwood, Chuckawalla and the first phase at California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi are expected to be operational by December 31, 2011, and will total more than 56,000 solar panels on the grounds of the prisons, providing 15.5 megawatts of clean solar energy. The phase II expansion at California Correctional Institution and a new plant at California State Prison, Los Angeles County in Lancaster are scheduled to be operational in 2012, providing an additional 26,000 solar panels and 7.5 megawatts of renewable energy.

These projects are managed by CDCR’s Energy, Sustainability and Infrastructure Section, part of the Facility Planning, Construction and Management Division.

Link to photographs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37381942@N04/6261070035/

CDCR Solar Power: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/CDCR_Going_Green/Solar_Power.html

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2011
CONTACT: Paul Verke
(916) 445-4950

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Inmate Death in High Desert State Prison Is Under Investigation

SUSANVILLE – High Desert State Prison (HDSP) officials are investigating the death of inmate Ivan Mejia, who died at 6:10 p.m. October 18, 2011, as a homicide.

Mejia, 26, was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from Los Angeles County on January 16, 2009, and was serving a 60-years-to-life sentence for first-degree murder. He arrived at HDSP on March 9, 2009.

His cellmate, Angel Gomez, 27, is the main suspect and has been placed in the Administrative Segregation Unit pending investigation. Gomez was received by CDCR from Los Angeles County on November 9, 2006, and is serving a 120-years-to-life sentence for attempted first-degree murder. He arrived at HDSP on November 18, 2009.

The case is under investigation by the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, and the CDCR Investigative Services Unit at HDSP. The Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Independent Review, was notified.

HDSP houses 4,600 minimum-, medium- and maximum-custody inmates. Opened in 1995, the Lassen County institution provides numerous inmates services, including academic classes and vocational instruction. The facility employs more than 1,500 people.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 19, 2011
CONTACT: Lt. C. Hahn
(530) 251-5100 ext. 5501

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

State Corrections Officials Join Stanislaus County in Breaking Ground for Juvenile Detention Facility

Expands capacity by 60 beds as county houses, treats more juvenile offenders

SACRAMENTO -- Officials of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) joined Stanislaus County officials in a ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday for the first local facility in California to house juvenile offenders who previously would have been in state custody.

Stanislaus County was awarded more than $16 million of the $22.7 million total construction costs for the 60-bed, medium-security facility from the Local Youthful Offender Rehabilitation Facility Construction Program of 2007 (Senate Bill 81). The legislation was part of a major policy change that made counties, rather than the state Division of Juvenile Justice, responsible for housing and rehabilitating all but the most serious juvenile offenders.

“Research shows that most juvenile offenders are more successful in their rehabilitation when they remain in their local communities where they have more contact with their families and local social services,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “Over the last five years, we have shifted responsibility for most juvenile offenders to the counties. Construction of this facility, and others that will follow, ensures that counties have the space they need to address the problems of these youth in a safe and secure environment.”

The Stanislaus County Juvenile Justice Commitment Facility, which took 10 years to plan and design, will add to the county’s existing 158 beds and will provide separate housing for those juveniles who are serving longer sentences because of the severity of their crimes.

As a result of changing policy and financial incentives for counties, the number of juvenile offenders housed by the state Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), formerly known as the California Youth Authority, has been dramatically reduced from a peak of 10,000 in 1996 to approximately 1,100. In addition to providing funding for county juvenile detention facilities, SB 81 also more narrowly defined the crimes for which a youth is committed to DJJ, limiting those commitments to youth adjudicated for sex offenses or serious and violent felonies as defined by the Penal Code.

That realignment of responsibility between the state and counties over the last 15 years, similar to the policy realignment recently enacted for adult inmates, has resulted in less than 2 percent of all juvenile offenders remaining in state custody and treatment programs.

For more information, including a schedule of awards to local jurisdictions for future construction projects, visit the Corrections Standard Authority’s website at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/CSA/CFC/Docs/SB81_Project_Status_Update.pdf

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 18, 2011
CONTACT: BILL SESSA
(916) 445-4950

All Inmates Have Resumed Eating Following October 13 Conclusion of Mass Hunger Strike Disturbance

SACRAMENTO – All California inmates have resumed eating meals following the conclusion of the inmate-initiated hunger strike that ended October 13, 2011, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said today.

The hunger strike ended after inmates and their representatives agreed that the Department’s review and changes to its policies regarding housing criteria in its Security Housing Units (SHU) would take several months to finalize. The Department maintained the commitment to review the policies that it had begun in May 2011 and discussed with inmates during a 19-day hunger strike in July 2011.

This most recent hunger strike began September 26, and after three days, 4,252 inmates in eight state prisons had missed nine consecutive meals – the point at which CDCR considers an inmate to be on a hunger strike. By October 13, the number of inmates participating had dropped to 580 in three state prisons. Although most inmates, including all of those who identified themselves as leaders of the strike, resumed eating on October 13, all remaining inmates had resumed eating by Sunday, October 16.

CDCR is continuing its investigation into allegations of threats or retaliation that inmates made against other inmates for not participating in the hunger strike.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 18, 2011
CONTACT: TERRY THORNTON
(916) 445-4950

Sunday, October 16, 2011

INMATE DEATH AT CORCORAN STATE PRISON UNDER INVESTIGATION

CORCORAN – A Los Angeles County inmate was pronounced dead about 5:10 a.m. Sunday, October 16, 2011, in Corcoran State Prison’s (CSP-C) John D. Klarich Memorial Hospital.

The 59-year-old inmate was serving a 25-years-to-life term for petty theft with a third-strike enhancement. He was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on May 7, 1996, and had been housed at CSP-C since August 3, 2011. His name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The cause of death has not yet been determined, but it is being investigated as a homicide by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. The prison’s Investigative Services Unit is cooperating with the investigation, and the Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review has been notified.

A 38-year-old inmate serving a sentence of life without possibility of parole from Los Angeles County for first-degree murder has been named as a suspect. His name is being withheld pending investigation.

CSP-Corcoran opened in 1988. The prison, five miles south of Corcoran, houses nearly 5,000 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security inmates. The Kings County prison offers academic classes and vocational programs. It employs approximately 2,325 people.


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2011
Contact:  M. Theresa Cisneros
(559) 992-6104

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CDCR Announces End to Mass Hunger Strike Disturbance: Inmates agree to discontinue their hunger strike initiated September 26

SACRAMENTO – The mass inmate-initiated hunger strike is over, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today.

CDCR officials in Sacramento were contacted by inmates by letter on October 11. It was the first such contact by inmates or their representatives during the inmate-led action.

Officials agreed to meet with inmate representatives to discuss its ongoing review of and revisions to its Security Housing Unit (SHU) policies that began in May 2011. Similar to its discussions with inmates during a July hunger strike, all agreed the changes to policies would take several months to finalize. The department agreed to continue on its same course.

Inmates initiated a second hunger strike on September 26, and after three days, 4,252 inmates in eight state prisons had missed nine consecutive meals – the point at which CDCR considers an inmate to be on a hunger strike. By October 13, the number of inmates participating had dropped to 580 inmates in three state prisons. There are approximately 160,355 inmates in the state’s 33 prisons, 42 conservation camps, community-based correctional facilities and three out-of-state contract facilities.

CDCR is continuing its investigation into allegations of threats or retaliation against inmates for not participating in the hunger strike.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 13, 2011
CONTACT: TERRY THORNTON
(916) 445-4950





Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CDCR Sends Investigators, Responders to Oklahoma Facility

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) sent a team of special agents and investigators from its California Out-of-State Correctional Facilities and its Office of Correctional Safety to the North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Oklahoma, in response to an incident in which hundreds of CDCR inmates engaged in assaultive behavior.

On October 11 at approximately 11:45 a.m. CDT, several fights among inmates in various locations within the facility broke out. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) staff responded to the disturbances and secured the facility. Forty-six inmates suffered injuries; 30 were treated locally and 16 were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Eight inmates are still hospitalized; three are in critical condition.

There were no staff injuries, no escapes and no fatalities.

The facility is still on lockdown and inmates are confined to their housing units.

The incident is under investigation. CDCR’s team will support CCA staff in its investigation and review, help identify inmates who participated in the incident, conduct threat assessments and interviews, and evaluate housing placement.

To relieve prison overcrowding, California’s Legislature adopted AB 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007. Among its provisions is approval to house up to 9,588 inmates in private correctional facilities outside California.

California's 9,458 out-of-state inmates are housed in Arizona, Mississippi, and Oklahoma in facilities operated by CCA, based in Nashville, Tennessee. The North Fork Correctional Facility is a 2,500-bed medium-security prison owned and operated by CCA and houses 2,381 CDCR inmates.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 12, 2011
CONTACT: RALPH JACKSON
(916) 445-4950

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Inmate Death at Wasco State Prison – Reception Center Under Investigation

WASCO – Officials from Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) and the Kern County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide. The inmate, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, was found dead in his cell about 5:50 p.m. October 10, 2011.

The 50-year-old inmate was received at WSP-RC from San Luis Obispo County on June 23, 2011, as a parole violator with a new term for failure to register as a sex offender. He received a 2-year sentence.

Joseph Son, 40, has been identified as a suspect in the case. Son was received at WSP-RC from Orange County on September 16, 2011, on a life sentence with the possibility of parole for torture.

The Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review was notified.

WSP-RC’s primary mission is to provide short-term housing while new inmates are processed to classify and evaluate new inmates, physically and mentally, and to determine their security level, program requirements and appropriate institutional placement. WSP-RC, which was opened in February 1991, houses approximately 5,800 inmates and employs approximately 1,700 people.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2011
CONTACT: H. Cervantez
(661) 758-8400 ext 5046

Friday, October 7, 2011

Corrections Standards Authority Accepting Requests for Phase II Jail Construction Funding

Almost $603 million available from state for counties to expand jail-bed space

SACRAMENTO – In a special session held on October 6, the Corrections Standards Authority (CSA) Board approved release of the AB 900 – Phase II Request for Applications for the Construction or Expansion of County Jails.

California counties now can apply to the state for a total of $602,881,000 to construct new jail facilities. The funding was approved through Assembly Bill 900, also known as the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007. Funding is provided through lease revenue bonds.

CSA held a special session to expedite the application process for these funds in response to the October 1 implementation of the 2011 Public Safety Realignment reforms that shifts responsibility for housing and supervising lower-level offenders and adult parolees from the state to local jurisdictions.

“Making funds available for counties builds on the successes we started with Phase I,” CSA Chair and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matthew Cate said. “Increased bed space will assist local jails in implementing much needed reforms called for in the 2011 Public Safety Realignment law.”

By March 2012, CSA expects to announce which counties will be awarded construction funding.

CSA has already awarded $617 million to 11 counties during Phase 1 to add more than 5,000 county jail beds statewide.

Projects currently under construction include Calaveras County’s 240-bed project; 1,368 jail bed expansion in San Bernardino County; and 144 jail beds in Madera County. Projects in other counties are in the final planning stages.

AB 900, which was enacted in 2007, provides $7.7 billion to add up to 53,000 prison and jail beds. The legislation provides funding for treatment and rehabilitation beds and for reduction of prison overcrowding. Of that $7.7 billion, AB 900 provides $1.2 billion to add local jail beds to reduce overcrowding in jails. Each county is required to provide a percentage of matching funds.

For more information, visit the following CDCR web pages:

Corrections Standards Authority Jail Financing Website (and Phase II RFA links): http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/CSA/CFC/AB900_Program.html

Corrections Standard Authority Phase I Conditional Awards: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/CSA/CFC/Docs/AB_900_Phase_I_Funding_111909.pdf

Corrections Standard Authority:

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 7, 2011
CONTACT: PAUL VERKE
(916) 445-4950

Inmate Dies After Being Stabbed at California State Prison-Sacramento

REPRESA — Officials at California State Prison-Sacramento (CSP-Sac) are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide after he was attacked during regularly scheduled recreation time Friday.

The inmate, whose name is not being released pending notification of next of kin, was housed in the Security Housing Unit. He was participating in regularly scheduled recreation time when he was assaulted about 7:45 a.m. Friday, October 7. Medical personnel responded and pronounced the inmate dead about 8 a.m. from multiple stab wounds.

The deceased inmate was received by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on December 22, 1994, and was serving an 18-year sentence for second-degree murder in San Bernardino County.

Prison officials recovered two weapons and have identified two suspects in the homicide. Their names are being withheld at this time.

The case is under investigation by the institution’s Investigative Services Unit. Additionally, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has been notified.

CSP-Sac opened in 1986 and employs more than 1,700 people. The Sacramento County facility near Folsom houses maximum-security inmates serving long sentences or those that have proved to be management problems at other institutions. The institution also serves as a CDCR medical hub for Northern California with a Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU), Enhanced Outpatient (EOP) and EOP Administrative Segregation levels of health care.

For more information about CSP-Sac, visit CDCR’s website at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 7, 2011
CONTACT: LT. LEVANCE QUINN
(916) 985-8610 ext. 3012

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CDCR Updates Information About Inmate-Initiated Hunger Strike

3,441 inmates discontinue their hunger strike since September 29

SACRAMENTO – As of today, 811 inmates in five state prisons are on an inmate initiated hunger strike, down from 4,252 inmates on September 29, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). An inmate is considered to be on a hunger strike after he has missed nine consecutive meals.

Following are the number of inmates still participating at each institution:

• Calipatria State Prison (59)
• California State Prison-Corcoran (361)
• Ironwood State Prison (7)
• Pelican Bay State Prison (141)
• Salinas Valley State Prison (243)

At Pelican Bay State Prison, four of the 11 self-identified hunger strike leaders have resumed eating. A total of 578 inmates at the prison have discontinued their hunger strike this past week and resumed eating.

CDCR is conducting several investigations regarding inmates being threatened or retaliated against by other inmates for not participating in the hunger strike. A preliminary investigation of a riot at Ironwood State Prison on October 4 indicates an inmate was allegedly attacked, in part, for his lack of participation in the hunger strike. The inmate was treated at an outside hospital.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Terry Thornton (916) 445-4950