Thursday, March 29, 2012

Attempted Murder at California State Prison-Sacramento

REPRESA –On March 28, 2012, just before 2 p.m., Inmate Melvin Kibbee V-47082 was discovered unresponsive on his cell floor, minutes after yard recall of B Facility’s Main Exercise Yard at California State Prison-Sacramento (SAC). Inmate Kibbee was transported to an area hospital via Code III ambulance following the discovery of three puncture-type wounds to the left side of his chest.

The prison’s Investigative Services Unit (ISU) initiated an immediate investigation but there are no suspects at this time. Inmates assigned to the housing unit where Kibbee was discovered are being searched for evidence and investigative staff is currently interviewing possible witnesses.

Melvin Kibbee is a 30-year old male who was received into CDCR on February 24, 2004, serving a sentence of 15 years for Second-Degree Murder out of Contra Costa County.

B Facility, one of the prison’s general population maximum security yards, has been placed on partial modified program pending further investigation.

CSP-Sacramento is a multi-mission institution that houses approximately 2,800 inmates and employs more than 1,700 staff. Opened in 1986, the institution primarily houses maximum-security inmates serving long sentences and those who have proved to be management problems at other institutions


March 28, 2012
Contact: LeVance Quinn
(916) 294-3012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ready to Rumble

UPDATE: CDCR Correctional Officer James "Doin' Damage" Davis defeated Los Angeles Police Department Officer Juan "Bad Blood" Bustamente for the light heavyweight state championship on Saturday, March 31.
Folsom State Prison Correctional Officer to Fight in "Battle of the Badges"
By Siera Lopez, Student Intern | OPEC
Battle of the Badges
James "Doin' Damage" Davis
James “Doin’ Damage” Davis, a Correctional Officer at Folsom State Prison, will box for the light heavyweight state championship in the "Battle of the Badges" on March 31.
The event is sponsored by the United Combat Association (UCA), the ranking organization for amateur fighters from law enforcement, firefighting and the military.

Davis, UCA's top-ranked light heavyweight boxer in Northern California, will face Juan "Bad Blood" Bustamante, 28, with the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill Division.
Opponents describe Davis as a tireless fighter with a nearly impenetrable defense who has never been knocked out.

The 30-year-old husband and father attended Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento. Davis began boxing as a hobby about two years ago, but his roots in the sport go much deeper. His father was a boxer in the U.S. Army. Davis’ biography can be found on the UCA website:

Battle of the Badges Sacramento is an organization of amateur boxers in public safety or the military. It promotes the fundamental principles of ethics, pride, loyalty, honor, sportsmanship and good faith. As the number of matches increases each year, more money is raised for charitable organizations and given back to the community.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 31, for the Battle of the Badges at the Power Gym USA, 11327 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Inmate Tutors Help Inmate Students to Read

By Lt. Gregory Bergersen, Public Information Officer, Valley State Prison for Women

Two dozen inmates at Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) meet every Monday morning with Ms. Cindy Greer, Literacy Coordinator, to get their work assignments for the week.  In a way, they are teachers, too.

The 24 inmates are literacy tutors for 300 other VSPW inmates who are voluntarily taking classes to become better readers and successfully complete General Education Degree (GED) requirements and tests. 

Ms. Cindy Greer, Literacy Coordinator (front row, right of center and wearing red) sits with inmates volunteers
Beginning in July 2010, Greer created a successful literacy program using inmate tutors to make the most efficient use of her classroom time as the ranks of full time professional teachers were being reduced. The inmate candidates must file a written application for the tutoring positions, which is followed by an interview to determine their ability to do the job.  Selected inmates complete 15 hours of specialized training that leads to certification in the Laubach reading method, a 60 year old, phonics based curriculum developed primarily for adults with little or no reading ability. 

Each inmate tutor works one on one with inmates who have TABE scores of 0.0 to 9.0 or with groups of inmate who have TABE scores higher than 9.0 and those studying to complete the GED test.  Each housing unit at VSPW converted a game room into a miniature classroom for tutoring and the tutors must maintain a full caseload by recruiting other inmate students for the program. 
“This program gives students who have never been successful in reading an opportunity to succeed,” said Greer. “Furthermore, the program has continuity because if an inmate moves from one facility to another, the program follows her by way of another tutor”.  

“This is a great program,” added VSPW Warden Walter Miller.  “Ms. Greer has done so much to lift the confidence of the tutors and the inmate students.  We have seen great success with this volunteer program.”  

The tutors are so successful that 40% of VSPW’s most recent graduates earned their GED certificates with the help of Greer’s inmate tutors.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hiding Contraband Gets "Ruff"

He struts along without a care in the world, but when it comes down to the business of keeping bad guys from committing more crimes and keeping staff members and other inmates safe, he’s one of the best.

He instills fear in those that are up to no good and has found thousands of dollars worth of contraband that might have gone undiscovered.  He leads the pack, literally, and he does all this without saying a single word.

Sergeant Wayne Conrad and his K-9 Caesar
He is Caesar, a Belgian Malinois who joined CDCR on April 14, 2009. He belongs to Correctional Sergeant Wayne Conrad, the statewide coordinator for CDCR’s K-9 Program. Under their leadership, the program has 30 trained contraband-detection dogs that have proven to be an invaluable asset to the department by detecting weapons, narcotics, and cell phones.
In October 2008, CDCR had four narcotic-detection dogs, two assigned to the California Training Facility in Soledad and the other two assigned to California State Prison, Solano.

More and more cell phones were making their way into the hands of inmates and threatening the safety of staff, other inmates, and the outside community. Tasked with finding a dog that could sniff out cell phones at little or no cost to the department, Conrad obtained Caesar from the California Belgian Malinois Rescue. Based on Caesar’s success as the department’s first cell phone-detection dog, a second dog and handler team were approved to begin training. Drako, donated at no cost by a San Diego-area Belgian Malinois breeder, started training and began service in September 2009.

After the tremendous success of these dog/handler pairs, CDCR officials decided to expand the number K-9 teams. Teams were strategically stationed at institutions. The goal was for a team to be able to travel to an institution, conduct a search, and make it back to their home institution within an eight-hour shift.  Each one of CDCR’s 30 dogs was donated through various breeders and shelters. The price tag for one of these specially trained dogs can run as high as $7,000. All K-9 teams attend an initial 160-hour course, as well as mandatory three-times-a-month training administered by Conrad.

On March 6, 2012, for the first time ever, all 30 dogs and their handlers assembled at the Galt Training Facility for additional training, awards presentations and contraband searches at two CDCR institutions the following day. As all of the dogs gathered in the auditorium, it was panting and barking aplenty with the dogs anxiously waiting to start working or intently searching for their toys.

K-9 contraband teams search cells at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California

Since May 2010, the K-9 teams have found more than 2,300 cell phones,  1,100 cell phone chargers, 64 blue tooth devices, 14 SIM cards, 18 cell phone chargers, 20 pounds of narcotics, 540 pounds of tobacco, and almost 200 pieces of drug paraphernalia.

On March 7, 2012, the 30 teams split up, some going to Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy and others to Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) in Jamestown.  At DVI, the dogs found a weapon, inmate-manufactured wine, and narcotics. During the search at SCC and two nearby conservation camps, the dogs located five cell phones, six cell phone chargers, six SIM cards, seven pounds of tobacco, and five grams of marijuana.

All the dogs ask for in exchange for their efforts are a chew toy and lots of love. Just another day in the life of a CDCR contraband search canine.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pleasant Valley State Prison Inmate Riot

COALINGAOn Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at 10:22 a.m., a riot involving approximately 30 inmates occurred on the Facility C, medium-security general population yard of Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP).

Correctional officers used pepper spray to quell the disturbance.  After the riot, officers recovered three inmate-manufactured stabbing weapons from the immediate area of the incident.

Three inmates suffered serious injuries requiring transportation to an outside hospital for treatment.  Preliminary evaluation revealed the injuries were not life-threatening.

There were no staff injuries as a result of the incident.

The PVSP Investigative Services Unit will investigate the cause of the riot.

Facility C was placed on lockdown pending further investigation.

PVSP, which opened in 1994, houses nearly 4,000 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates.


March 13, 2012
Contact: Lt. Doug Roberts
(559) 935-4972 

Condemned Inmate Dennis H. Lawley Found Unresponsive in Cell

SAN QUENTIN – On March 11, 2012 at approximately 3:50 p.m. condemned inmate Dennis Lawley, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell at San Quentin State Prison. Lawley was pronounced dead of natural causes at approximately 4:20 p.m. He was single-celled.

Lawley was sentenced to death by a Stanislaus County jury for first-degree murder with special circumstances on February 26, 1989 for the murder-for-hire of Kenneth Lawton Stewart on January 28, 1998.

Lawley was received onto California’s death row at San Quentin on March 1, 1990.

Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 56 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 19 committed suicide, 13 were executed in California, one was executed in Missouri and six died from other causes.  As of March 12, 2012, there are 722 offenders on California’s death row.


March 13, 2012
CONTACT:  Sgt. Gabe Walters
(415) 455-5008

Monday, March 12, 2012

Walk-Away from Conservation Camp Apprehended in Chico

Sacramento -- A minimum-security inmate who walked away from Salt Creek Conservation Camp near Paskenta, west of Willows, on Sunday, March 11, 2012, was apprehended about 4:30 a.m. Monday in Chico by special agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

Tou Yeng Thao, 28, was medically cleared and transported to the California Correctional Center in Susanville without incident.  The incident will be referred to the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Thao was received by CDCR on July 21, 2011, from Butte County for possession of a firearm by an ex-felon. He had been scheduled to be paroled in November.

Of all offenders who have escaped from an adult institution, camp or community-based program since 1977, 99.1 percent have been apprehended.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Health care CEO named for new Stockton medical facility

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Correctional Health Care Services announce the appointment of Nate Elam as health care CEO to head the California Health Care Facility (CHCF) in Stockton. 

The $900 million, 1.2 million square foot facility will provide 750 mental health beds and 750 long-term care services beds for inmates with chronic illnesses who need 24/7 medical care, but not hospitalization.
Serving in the U.S. Navy and Department of Veterans affairs, Elam has extensive experience managing both public and private health care facilities.  Elam joined the California Correctional Health Care Services in August 2010 as the health care CEO at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville where he has led more than 650 medical, mental health and dental professionals.
“I’m looking forward to building the CHCF team and launching the new facility,” said Elam.  “CHCF will play an important role in addressing the needs of mentally ill and aging inmates in California’s correctional system by providing much needed health care beds and reducing expensive outside hospital stays.”
While CHCF is not scheduled to open until 2013, planning for hiring and activation begins with Elam’s appointment, effective March 12.  Elam will lead the entire CHCF team, including clinical professionals, custody officers and administrative staff. 

# # #

Nancy Kincaid, CCHCS
Terry Thornton, CDCR

CDCR Report Outlines New Strategy for Management of Gangs

For decades, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has been managing the most violent and sophisticated prison gangs in the nation. California prison gangs are connected to major criminal activity and have had influences on nearly every prison system within the United States. CDCR’s current strategy, developed more than 25 years ago, emphasized crime prevention through suppression. Although this strategy reduced violence in prisons, it lacked prevention, deterrent and interdiction components.

Since last May, CDCR has been conducting a comprehensive assessment of its existing policies and procedures and evaluated national best practices for gang management and secured housing. This new policy, and other initiatives also under way, are made possible in part by more manageable inmate population levels offered through Realignment.

A report which outlines CDCR’s new strategy for better management of prison gangs and of those who pose the biggest threats to security can be found on CDCR's webite within it's new Statistics, Reports and Cited Works section.

New Study Makes Recommendations for CDCR's Inmate Classification Score System

CDCR commissioned researchers from the University of California to evaluate the department’s Inmate Classification Score System (ICSS). The heart of the issue is whether CDCR’s current ICSS accurately assesses an inmate’s threat to institutional safety and accurately places him in the appropriate security and housing level.

After concluding their study, the researchers made the following recommendations:

  1. An assessment of an inmate’s risk should be based on the Preliminary Classification score and not be overridden by the Mandatory Minimum Score. Older inmates could be given priority in downward housing placements.
  2. Inmates with a score at the lowest threshold of each housing level (19, 28, or 52) can be moved to lower levels with the expectation that such moves will not lead to increases in individual or overall rates of serious misconduct within the levels.
  3. The Custody Designation should not be used as a proxy for the risk of inmate misconduct. It does not accurately capture an inmate’s likelihood of engaging in bad behavior and was not designed for such.
  4. The Custody Designation should be eliminated as an indicator for measuring escape risk.

The researchers’ discussion of the study and the study results may be viewed in the report in its entirety here:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

State Awards $602 million to Counties for Jail Construction

Sacramento – In a major action to ease overcrowding and effectively implement Governor Brown’s Realignment program, the Corrections Standards Authority (CSA) today awarded $602 million to 11 counties for the expansion or construction of county jails. 

“This provides a major boost for California counties to house local inmates safely and effectively,” said Matthew Cate, CSA Chairman and CDCR Secretary. “These awards, coupled with the ongoing funding to counties, demonstrate California’s commitment to helping our counties successfully implement Realignment.”

Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties were awarded $100 million each. Stanislaus will receive $80 million, and Tulare and Santa Barbara $60 million each. The CSA also awarded $33 million to both Kings and Shasta counties; $23.626 million to Imperial County; $10.255 million to Sutter County; and $3 million to Madera County.

The bond funding was authorized as part of the 2011 Public Safety Realignment legislation. The funding supports the fundamental realignment of responsibilities for lower-level offenders and adult parolees from state to local jurisdictions. The jail construction funding decisions are made by the CSA, which operates within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

The $602 million award was made at CSA’s bi-monthly public meeting in Sacramento after evaluating applications from 20 counties. The funds were distributed among three groups of counties: large, medium and small population. The CSA also recommended Kern and San Benito counties receive $100 million and $15 million, respectively, after legislation is enacted to shift more funds from an earlier allocation into the current round.

To date, the CSA has awarded approximately $1.2 billion to 22 counties for jail construction. The bonds were first authorized by Assembly Bill 900 in 2007.

State’s Commitment to Counties Under Realignment

Under Realignment, California’s most significant correctional policy change in decades, state prisons are responsible for housing and rehabilitating serious and violent offenders serving long or life sentences, and counties have the responsibility for lower-level inmates and parole violators. In some counties, this requires more jail space.

To help the counties handle these new responsibilities, a permanent revenue stream has been dedicated to help pay for training, hiring staff, and implementing new rehabilitative programs. Using a portion of both the Vehicle License Fee and the State sales tax, more than $400 million was provided to the counties last year. A further $850 million is being provided this year, and State support is expected to grow to more than $1 billion in 2013-2014. Governor Brown has also committed to seeking constitutional protection for the local Realignment funds.

More information about Realignment is available at:   

Information about the Corrections Standards Authority and Jail Construction funds is available at:

What They're Saying About Realignment

Local and State leaders talk about the Public Safety Realignment

Sacramento Chief Probation Officer Don Meyer
“This is a renaissance in probation. Our reliance on custody in many instances has done more harm than good. People come out of prison different. Not better, different. If you have up-front programs that are effective to get to these folks, you have a pretty good chance of turning some of them around … to change their life. We did not do anything before. Now we are.”

(Regarding predictions of skyrocketing crime due to AB 109) “It was ‘blood in the streets and ain't it awful.’ That has not happened. I think it was an overreaction. These are people who would have come to the community anyway, but they would have been supervised by parole. Now, they're supervised by us.”

“We're getting better results; there's funding available, programs that work. … We have mental health, GED prep, job creation through Pride Industries. … It didn't exist before. There was just mainly a limited supervision, knock on the door, and caseloads that were really high. That was pretty much it.”

(Regarding worries of a high-profile crime being committed by someone under county supervision) “They would have been here anyway; we just supervise all of them (instead of state parole agents). I fully expect there will be a high-profile case. … That's a possibility and that's been discussed. … There is a relatively small percentage of people who will do those types of crimes.”
(Source: Sacramento Bee, Sam Stanton, March 5, 2012)

Legislative Analyst’s Office
“(Realignment) has the potential to create a more efficient and effective statewide criminal justice system."
(Source: “The 2012-2013 Budget: The 2011 Realignment of Adult Offenders Report, Legislative Analyst’s Office, February 22, 2012”. The LAO is a nonpartisan office that provides fiscal and policy information and advice to the Legislature).

 Ventura County Deputy Probation Officer Jim Davis
“Absolutely it’s working. We’re thinking outside the box, in terms of rehab. We’re providing graduated sanctions to keep them out of custody, like substance abuse counseling, increased office visits. … Once these needs are identified, the officer can formulate a case plan around that. What dictated case plans before was the court.”
(Source: VC Reporter, Shane Cohn, February 23, 2012)

Pam Whalen, criminal justice organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union
“We are excited about the potential AB 109 holds for us to make changes to recidivism…and we look forward to pushing forward in the right direction.”
 (Source:, Minerva Perez, February 21, 2012)

Merced County Chief Probation Officer Scott Ball
“If they are receiving better services they are going to be re-offending less.”
(Source:, Minerva Perez, February 21, 2012)

Kevin Keenan, Executive Director of San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union
“(San Diego) County officials ---- including Sheriff Bill Gore, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Chief Probation Officer Mack Jenkins ---- say realignment is philosophically sound because the inmates will have better access to local resources to help smooth their reintegration after their release. Mack Jenkins has been a terrific spokesperson about the positive opportunity that realignment creates. I think there's a lot of misinformation about what realignment will mean, like prisoners running rampant in the streets. The county and Jenkins have done a good job of rejecting those myths.”
(Source: Teri Figueroa, North County Times, February 16, 2012)

San Joaquin County Chief Probation Officer Patty Mazzilli
 "We are doing an excellent job of coordinating resources when the offenders first hit the door.”
(Source: Stockton Record, Zachary K. Johnson, February 15, 2012)

Fresno County Public Defender Ken Taniguchi
“Realignment is a marvelous approach. It's kind of a shake up to the existing system we have right now. This approach will reduce crime…They are our people, these are citizens of our county that in the past were sent off to prison and brought back in worse shape because nothing was done to address their underlying risk needs."
(Source: KFSN-TV Fresno, Gene Haagenson, February 8, 2012)

For more "What They're Saying" quotes, visit CDCR's Realignment webpage:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


On Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at approximately 11:47 a.m., a riot involving seventy inmates occurred on the main yard at Folsom State Prison.

Correctional Officers utilized pepper spray, less-lethal riot control rounds, and three warning rounds from the Mini 14 to quell the riot.

There were no serious injuries to any of the staff or involved inmates.

The incident is under investigation by Folsom Investigative Services Unit in order to determine what sparked the riot. Folsom State Prison will remain on modified program pending the investigation.

In addition to the prison’s investigation, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Deadly Force Investigation Team, the Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office will be reviewing the incident.

Folsom State Prison is a medium security that houses more than 3,100 inmates and employs nearly 1,000 people. FSP opened on July 26, 1880 as the second oldest Prison in California.

CONTACT: Lt. Paul Baker
(916) 351-3016


Soledad – Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) administrators are investigating the death of an inmate as a possible homicide.  On March 6, 2012, custody staff found Inmate Damon Valery unresponsive inside his cell.  Life-saving measures were initiated immediately and Valery was transported to a local hospital.  However, he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at 06:08 a.m.

Valery, 40, was committed from Alameda County in October 1999, with a 25-year-to-life sentence for second-degree murder.  He had been at SVSP since August 2011. 

SVSP staff notified the Office of the Inspector General which has dispatched an investigator to the institution.  Investigators from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department were contacted regarding the suspicious death and are on site. 

Salinas Valley State Prison opened in May 1996 and is located on approximately 300 acres in Monterey County.  The institution’s mission is to provide long-term housing for both minimum- and maximum-custody male inmates.

For immediate release                                                                                     
March 6, 2012
Contact:  Lt. Michael Nilsson
(831) 678-5500, ext 5554                                                                                                     

Friday, March 2, 2012

CDCR Announces Final Deactivation of Non-Traditional Beds

Inmate population reduction eliminates iconic symbol of overcrowding crisis

SACRAMENTO— After more than two decades of using non-traditional beds, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is no longer double- and triple-bunking inmates in areas that were not designed for housing, such as gymnasiums and dayrooms.

On February 23, CDCR removed the last of such beds and has begun renovation projects.

“Non-traditional beds became the iconic symbol of California’s prison overcrowding crisis,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said. “Now, gyms once filled with inmates in triple-bunk beds are open and can be used for their intended purpose. This demonstrates how much progress California has made in improving inmate conditions and employee safety.”

On October 25, 2006, CDCR reached its all-time-high inmate population of 173,479, more than 200 percent of design capacity in its 33 adult institutions. August 2007 marked the peak of CDCR’s use of non-traditional beds at 19,618 in 72 gyms and 125 dayrooms.

On May 23, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed an order from a federal Three-Judge Court that the State of California must reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design capacity within two years.

Last year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bills AB 109 and AB 117, historic legislation to address the Court’s order in a safe, effective way, while providing local governments with funding for Realignment and without early releases of state prison inmates.

California’s prison population has declined rapidly with the implementation of public safety realignment and actions by CDCR to reduce the state inmate population. As of February 15, 2012, CDCR’s inmate population in its 33 adult institutions was 127,770.

B-Roll footage is available from the CDCR website page:

Contact: (916) 445-4950

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Update to Folsom State Prison Homicide Investigation

Two suspects have been identified and removed from the general population at Folsom State Prison (FSP) following a homicide that occurred Saturday in a medium-security Unit.

Inmate Richard Allen Leonard died after being assaulted with a slashing-type weapon. Responding staff began life-saving procedures before he was pronounced dead at 8:01 a.m. February 25, 2012, in Folsom State Prison.

Leonard, 44, was received from Orange County on September, 2, 1998, and was serving a 25-years-to-life term for aggravated sexual assault on a child.

His death is being investigated as a homicide by FSP Investigative Services Unit (ISU) and Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office investigators. The names of the suspects are being withheld pending investigation.

The majority of Folsom State Prison population is back to a normal program. One segment of the population remains on a modified program pending further investigation. 

    # # #

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         
CONTACT: Lt. Paul Baker
DATE: March 1, 2012                                                                     
(916) 351-3016