Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CDCR Investigators Track Down Escapee From 1977

SACRAMENTO – Michael R. Morrow, 70, who escaped from a California state prison in 1977, was apprehended on September 23 in Garland County, Arkansas, said the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

CDCR’s Special Service Unit, assisted by the department’s Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Unit, developed new leads in the 36-year-old case. Morrow had been using the alias Carl Frank Wilson and agents located his whereabouts in Arkansas.

CDCR agents requested an Unlawful Flight to Avoid Confinement warrant from federal authorities. The FBI in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Garland County Sheriff’s Department arrested Morrow without incident at a residence in Jessieville, Arkansas.

Morrow had escaped from California Institution for Men in Chino on August 27, 1977. He was four years into a five-years-to-life sentence from Los Angeles County for two counts of first-degree robbery with the use of a firearm.

Morrow is currently in the Garland County Jail. CDCR has begun the process to extradite Morrow back to its custody to finish serving his sentence. CDCR will also refer the case to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

Between 1977 and 2012, 98.5 percent of all CDCR escapees have been apprehended.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2013
Contact: Terry Thornton
(916) 445-4950



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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Walkaways from California State Prison-Corcoran Captured in Oxnard


Minimum-security inmates arrested without incident

Oxnard, CA - Special Service Unit agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) in cooperation with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department apprehended minimum-security walkaways Alejandro Flores and Isidro Sanchez on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 3:15 a.m. Both were later returned to California State Prison (CSP)-Corcoran.

Flores and Sanchez had walked away from the minimum-security Prison Industry Authority dairy at CSP-Corcoran Sunday, September 15, 2013 at approximately 9:30 p.m. Institutional staff immediately notified local law enforcement and OCS. A search was initiated and continued until the inmates' capture on Saturday.

Since 1977, 98.7 percent of all CDCR escapees and walkaways have been apprehended.

CSP-Corcoran opened in 1988 and houses nearly 4,400 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. The Kings County prison offers academic classes and vocational programs as well as community programs and work crews. The prison employs approximately 2,100 people.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2013
Contact: Lt. Anthony Baer
(559) 992-6104

Thursday, September 19, 2013

CDCR, Caltrans Expand Parolee Work Program

Roadside clean-up crews learn work skills, save tax dollars

FRESNO - A joint program between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and Caltrans that helps parolees cultivate job skills is expanding to Los Angeles, Fresno, Stockton and San Bernardino.

This year, the Caltrans Work Crew program will give 136 parolees an opportunity to earn a wage cleaning up roadside litter and to learn basic skills that will help them make a successful return to their communities. The work crew program has been running in Sacramento and the Bay Area for the last five years.

“This program is about a lot more than picking up trash,” said Colleen Curtin, CDCR Chief of Reentry and Community Services.  “Many parolees have never had a regular job, and they learn skills that many of us take for granted, such as the reward of earning a wage, the discipline of being on time, the teamwork to get a job done working with other people, and the motivation to come back at 6 a.m. the next day and do it all over again.”

Curtin noted that parolees on the work crews, who are paid $10 per hour, save taxpayers money that Caltrans can use for highway maintenance or construction.  The program also reduces recidivism, breaking the cycle of repeat crime, which also saves tax dollars. 

Parolees are selected for the program only after a review of their criminal history and an assessment of their willingness to do the job.  Those who are chosen receive safety training to prepare them for working adjacent to traffic, and to avoid injury and roadside hazards that can range from toxic material to wasp nests.

The litter-abatement program began as a pilot in Sacramento in 2009. Since then, 697 parolees have worked there, 70 percent of them going on to get part- or full-time employment, or to attend college or vocational programs full time. The City of Oakland’s Golden State Works Program, which has operated since 2011, has enrolled 302 parolees, 87 of whom have moved on to full time employment.

Statewide, Caltrans spends $52 million a year on litter removal. Enough trash is collected from roadsides to fill more than 10,000 garbage trucks. Parked end-to-end, those trucks would stretch more than 50 miles.

For Immediate Release
September 19, 2013
Contact:  Bill Sessa
(916) 445-4950



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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CDCR and L.A. County Sign Contract to Allow County Jail to House Inmates in State Fire Camps

Utilizing inmates in camps will ease L.A.County’s jail population and improve prospects for inmate rehabilitation

LOS ANGELES – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors finalized a contract Tuesday that allows the county to house more than 500 jail inmates in CDCR firefighting camps.

“This agreement is a great example of the state working with counties to protect public safety,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard said. “This partnership will continue to allow us to provide fire protection during what has been one of the most destructive fire seasons in state history while at the same time rehabilitating lower level offenders.”

The contract allows Los Angeles County to ease its jail population and ensures enough able-bodied inmates are available to help with fire suppression and in other emergencies, such as floods and earthquakes. Only low-level offenders may participate in such programs.  Under the law, offenders convicted after October 1, 2011 of non-serious, non-violent, and non-sex crimes stay in county jail to serve their sentence.  The low-level inmates that will be housed in the camps will be trained to work with state firefighters.

The $27-million, three-year deal will send 528 county inmates serving long-term sentences to five fire camps throughout the county.  The camps are jointly operated with the state prison system and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CALFIRE).  This cost covers housing/supervision costs by CDCR as well as the inmate training costs by CAL FIRE.

CDCR jointly manages 39 adult and juvenile camps with CAL FIRE and five adult camps with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Approximately 3,800 offenders currently participate in the Conservation Camps Program. In an average year, the fire crews provide more than 2.5 million hours of emergency response work and save the state more than $100 million annually. The crews are available year-round, and have helped to contain and mitigate all of California’s major disasters since 1946, including wildfires, floods, heavy snows, search and rescue operations, and earthquakes.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2013    
Contact: Jonathan Parsley 
(916) 445-4950

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Inmate Death at Kern Valley State Prison Being Investigated as a Homicide

DELANO – Officials at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide after he was found unresponsive in his cell.

Inmate Steven Brenneman, 40, was pronounced dead at 2:14 p.m. Preliminary reports indicate inmate Brenneman died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Prison officials have named inmate Brenneman’s cellmate, Inmate Walter Tamayo, 40, as a suspect in the case. Inmate Tamayo has been placed in Administrative Segregation pending an investigation by KVSP investigators, the Kern County Coroner and the Kern County District Attorney.

Inmate Brenneman, was serving an 18-year sentence from Riverside County for rape with force and violence and penetration with a foreign object.

Inmate Tamayo, is currently serving a life sentence from Los Angeles County for first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

KVSP opened in 2005 and houses 3,782 minimum-, medium-, maximum-, and high-security custody inmates.  KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,800 people.

For more information about KVSP, visit CDCR’s website at www.cdcr.ca.gov.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2013
CONTACT: Jeff Smith
(661) 721-6314

Monday, September 16, 2013

Minimum Security Inmates Missing from CSP-Corcoran


CORCORAN, CA - On Sunday, September 15, 2013 at approximately 9:30 p.m. two Level I (Minimum Custody) inmates assigned to work at the Dairy (which is outside of the electrical fence perimeter) were discovered missing.  Inmates Alejandro Flores and Isidro Sanchez were last seen at approximately 7:30 p.m. during an informal count at their job site.

Inmate Flores is a Hispanic inmate with a medium build, dark complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.  He was last seen wearing a white jumpsuit with “CDCR Prisoner” printed on the clothing.  Flores is 27 years old, 5’ 6” and weighs 138 pounds.  He is serving a five-year sentence for Second-degree Robbery.  He was scheduled to parole in July 2016.

Inmate Sanchez is a Hispanic inmate with medium build, light complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.  He was last seen wearing a white jumpsuit with “CDCR Prisoner” printed on the clothing.  Sanchez is 36 years old, 5’ 6” and weighs 172 pounds.  He is serving a two-year sentence for Possession of Marijuana for Sale. Sanchez was scheduled to parole in November 2013.

Prison officials are continuing the search for inmates Flores and Sanchez, and local law-enforcement agencies have been notified.  If anyone sees the inmates, or knows of their whereabouts, please notify local law enforcement officials and California State Prison Corcoran at (559) 992-6120, or call 9-1-1.

CSP-Corcoran opened in 1988 and currently houses approximately 4,300 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates.  The Kings County prison offers academic classes and vocational programs as well as community programs and work crews.  The prison employs approximately 2,100 people.




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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2013
Contact: Lt. Anthony Baer
(559) 992-6104

Senate Confirms Two Top CDCR Executive Appointments

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced that the California State Senate has confirmed Dan Stone as the Director of Adult Parole Operations and Jay Virbel as Associate Director of Female Offender Programs, Services and Special Housing.

“During these times of unprecedented public safety changes, both within our prisons and out, CDCR must have strong leadership,” CDCR Secretary Beard said. “Both men have shown great dedication and I am looking forward to working together to make California’s prison system a model for the country.” 

Stone, 49, of Folsom, has served as Director of the Division of Adult Parole Operations since being appointed by Governor Brown on November 13, 2012.  Since being appointed, Stone has continued to implement public safety realignment.  He has overseen the transition of the revocation process to the county courts, and has worked to expand offender reentry programs.  Stone was confirmed by the California Senate with a bipartisan vote 36-0.  He has served in multiple positions within CDCR since 1987, including Regional Parole Administrator, Associate Director, Parole Administrator, Parole Agent I, II and III, at the Division of Adult Parole Operations, and Correctional Counselor, Correction Sergeant, and Correctional Officer within the Division of Adult Institutions.  

Virbel, 46, of Sacramento has served as Associate Director of Female Offender Programs, Services and Special Housing since being appointed by Governor Brown on September 26, 2012. He has served in multiple positions within CDCR since 1993, including chief deputy of program operations and chief of investigations at the Board of Parole Hearings and senior special agent and special agent in the Office of Internal Affairs. He also served as assistant deputy director, correctional lieutenant, sergeant and officer for the Division of Adult Institutions. Virbel was confirmed by the State Senate with a bipartisan vote 38-0.

CDCR is California's correctional agency, consisting of the Division of Adult Operations, the Division of Adult Programs and the Division of Juvenile Justice. Additionally, CDCR oversees the functions of the Board of Parole Hearings, the Commission on Juvenile Justice, the Council on Mentally Ill Offenders, the Prison Industry Authority Board, the Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision, and the Joint Venture Policy Advisory Board.

CDCR consists of 34 adult prisons, 45 conservation camps, and three youth facilities, as well as various boards and commissions. CDCR has approximately 41,500 employees, houses 119,837 inmates, and supervises 51,267 parolees.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2013
Contact: (916) 445-4950

Friday, September 13, 2013

Inmate Walkaway Apprehended, Returned to North Kern Prison

KERN – On September 12, 2013, at approximately 1:30 am, officials at North Kern State Prison (NKSP) received information that inmate Michael Valdez, 27, who had walked away from the institution’s minimum support facility on September 1, was apprehended and in police custody.

Valdez was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in Lynwood, California. He was later transferred to NKSP.

Inmate Valdez was serving a two-year sentence for Possession of a Controlled Substance from Los Angeles in January 2013. 

NKSP opened in April 1993, houses approximately 4600 inmates and is located in Delano Ca. NKSP has a two-fold mission. First, it functions as a reception center for the processing of incoming inmates from southern and northern counties. Secondly, it functions as the Central California Transportation Hub for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.



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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2013
Contact: Lt. George Becerra
(661)721-2345 x5006     

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Governor, Legislative Leaders Reach Agreement on Prison Plan

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and legislative leaders today agreed on amendments to SB 105 that allow the state to comply with a federal court order to limit the prison population to 137.5 percent of capacity, avoid the early release of thousands of prisoners and protect public safety.

While the legislation provides an immediate path to compliance, it reflects the state’s preference that the court modify its order to provide the state additional time to continue to develop and implement a more balanced and cost-effective prison policy.

As amended, SB 105:

• Authorizes up to $315 million in immediate in-state and out-of-state capacity.
• Lays the foundation for longer-term changes to the criminal justice system, in collaboration with the Legislature and stakeholders.
• Strengthens existing local efforts (SB 678) to manage offenders by increasing the amount of funding that county probation departments receive if they can serve felony probationers locally and keep them from coming to prison.
• Requires that if the court modifies the order in a way that reduces the cost of compliance, the first $75 million in savings will go to reducing recidivism.

The audio of today’s media availability with Governor Brown and Senate President Pro tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway is here. The bill language submitted today to the Office of Legislative Counsel is here.

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FOR ADVISORY PURPOSES ONLY
September 9, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CDCR Inmate Firefighter Hospitalized During Mt. Diablo Blaze

SACRAMENTO – A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmate was hospitalized yesterday due to heat exhaustion suffered while fighting the Mount Diablo wildfire.

 “Because of the rough terrain, the inmate had to be airlifted by helicopter to an ambulance for transport to a local hospital for treatment,” said Lt. Lawrence Rodriguez of the Salt Creek Conservation Camp where the inmate is based. 

The inmate was treated for heat exhaustion and severe dehydration. Fortunately, due to the quick reactions of the inmate fighting crew, the victim was able to recover quickly and was returned to the camp by 9:30 p.m.

CDCR has deployed nearly 450 youth and adult firefighters and department staff to help combat the wildfire burning in the Mount Diablo canyons. Another 1,215 inmates are currently battling blazes elsewhere in the state.

Since 1946, CDCR’s Conservation Camp Program has provided California with a well-trained, well-equipped work force for fire suppression.  More than 4,000 male and female inmates (200 fire crews) participate in the program annually.  The crews respond to nearly every type of emergency, including wildfires, floods, search-and-rescue operations and earthquakes.  They also log millions of hours annually on fire-reduction and conservation projects and provide forest, range and watershed enhancement on public lands. Their work saves the state hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

CDCR jointly manages 38 adult and juvenile camps with CAL FIRE and five adult camps with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.  Only minimum-custody inmates may participate in the program.  They must be physically fit and have no history of sex offenses, kidnapping, arson or escape.  Offenders earn their way into camp placement and must be free of major rules infractions.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 10, 2013
CONTACT: Lt. Lawrence Rodriguez (916) 806-0660
OR Jonathan Parsley (916) 445-4950





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Thursday, September 5, 2013

CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard Issues Statement on End of Hunger Strike

SACRAMENTO— As of this morning, all participants of the prison hunger strike have started taking state-issued meals or have otherwise begun the process of re-feeding. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeff Beard issued the following statement today regarding the end of the strike:

“We are pleased this dangerous strike has been called off before any inmates became seriously ill. I’d like to commend my staff and the staff with the federal Receiver’s Office for working together to ensure the health and safety of all employees and inmates was a top priority. CDCR will continue to implement the substantive reforms in California’s Security Housing Units that we initiated two years ago.”

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

North Kern State Prison Escapee

DELANO – An inmate assigned to North Kern State Prison (NKSP) Minimum Support Facility was discovered missing by custody staff on September 1, 2013, at approximately 5:00 p.m.  Inmate Michael Valdez, a minimum-custody inmate, could not be located by custody staff during an Institutional Count.  Escape procedures were immediately activated.

Inmate Valdez was serving a two-year sentence for Possession of a Controlled Substance from Los Angeles in January 2013.  Valdez is described as a 27-year-old Hispanic male with a bald head, brown eyes and weighing approximately 160 pounds. 

Kern County law enforcement agencies and surrounding residents have been notified.

Anyone with information on Valdez’s whereabouts or who sees him is urged to notify local authorities or North Kern State Prison, or call 911.

NKSP opened in April 1993, houses approximately 4600 inmates and is located in Delano Ca. NKSP has a two-fold mission. First, it functions as a reception center for the processing of incoming inmates from southern and northern counties. Secondly, it functions as the Central California Transportation Hub for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 2, 2013
CONTACT:  LT. GEORGE BECERRA
(661)721-2345