Friday, November 7, 2014

Twenty Juvenile Offenders Receive High School Diplomas

Pine Grove graduation ceremony’s theme is “Life is what you make it”

PINE GROVE – Twenty youth at the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp in Pine Grove received a high school diploma or GED today in a major step toward their rehabilitation.

Fifteen students received high school diplomas and five earned a GED or a high school equivalency.

“What’s amazing is these young men accomplished all this while battling fires throughout California during one of the busiest fire seasons on record. Remember they work all day and then go to school from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.” Pine Grove Superintendent Mike Roots said, “Getting a high school diploma or GED is vital for them getting a job down the road. To be successful in life, you have to at least get through high school to be employable. They’ve worked hard and have come a long way.”

Most of these youth offenders were involved with the destructive King fire in El Dorado County that started on September 13, and wasn’t 100 percent contained until October 9. Nearly 100,000 acres were burned, and 12 homes were destroyed. 

“Many of these graduates worked extra hard to complete their high school requirements by taking school work with them on the fire lines,” Pine Grove High School Principal Troy Fennel said. “When the students were given “off duty” time on the fires, they would return to their crew trucks, retrieve their school work and begin completing their assignments.”

During the fire season the fire camp crews logged in approximately 55,000 man hours fighting wild land fires, according to Fennel. 

Jahmon “Jay” Gibbs, School Psychologist from N.A. Chaderjian High School and founder of the nonprofit, “The Extraordinary B.E.A.T.” was the guest speaker.

Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp in Amador County screens and accepts low-risk youth from the other Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities. They range in age from 18-24 and typically include between 50 and 80 males at any given time. Fire training is provided by CAL FIRE and youth are certified to engage in wild land firefighting operations. Fire crews from DJJ camps perform approximately 189,000 hours of fire suppression in a normal year for the people of California.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s DJJ operates an accredited school district, which provides youth offenders with the same high- school curriculum in each of its four institutions they would receive in their home community. Youth attend school Monday through Friday. DJJ considers a diploma or GED a minimum requirement for parole consideration. Over a three-year period beginning in 2010-2011, a total of 894 youth have earned a high school diploma or GED at DJJ’s four high schools. In addition, 441 students earned Career Technical Education (CTE) certificates for vocational programs.

NOVEMBER 7, 2014

(209) 296-7581

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Condemned inmate Steven Homick dies of natural causes

SAN QUENTIN – Condemned inmate Steven Michael Homick, 74, from Los Angeles County, was pronounced dead today, November 5, 2014. He died of natural causes at a nearby hospital at 11:26 a.m. 

Homick was sentenced to death on January 13, 1995, by a Los Angeles County jury for the September 25, 1985, murder-for-hire murders of Gerald Woodman, 67, and Vera Woodman, 63, in an underground garage at their Brentwood condominium after a family gathering celebrating the end of Yom Kippur. This case was referred to by the press as the “ninja murders” and the “Yom Kippur murders.” Homick had been on death row since January 25, 1995. He was single-celled.

Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 65 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 23 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri and six have died from other causes. There are 749 people on California’s death row.

Monday, November 3, 2014

CDCR Checks on 1,294 Sex-Offenders during Operation Boo

Sweep results in 62 arrests statewide; weapons, drugs and child porn confiscated

SACRAMENTO – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) parole agents arrested 62 of the 1,294 sex-offender parolees who were contacted during compliance checks or searches as part of the 21st annual Operation Boo Child Safety Project on Halloween night 2014. “The 62 arrests among sex-offender parolees – for possession of child pornography, narcotics, weapons, and other parole violations – prove that our statewide efforts with Operation Boo are well-founded,” said Dan Stone, Director of the Division of Adult Parole Operations.

New charges were filed against 10 of the sex-offender parolees contacted. Six parolees were also found to be out of compliance with their requirements to register as a sex-offender.  “Our thanks go out to the hundreds of parole agents and local law enforcement personnel, many of whom volunteer their time to help ensure that California’s children can enjoy a safer trick-or-treat experience free from sexual predators,” Stone added.

In addition to the traditional compliance checks, Operation Boo features two other components:

•    Parent Empowerment:  CDCR provided a free downloadable brochure with helpful information about ways to talk to children about dangerous behavior in adults, and Internet links to help parents check for sex offenders in their area. 

•    Transient Sex-Offender Curfew Centers:  Since a significant number of sex offenders are homeless, transient sex offenders in most regions were ordered to report to a center to spend the curfew under supervision. Statewide, several special transient sex-offender curfew centers were operated Halloween night.  

For more information about Operation Boo please visit:

NOVEMBER 1, 2014
(916) 207-8085


Walkaway Apprehended, Returned to Wasco State Prison-Reception Center

WASCO – Daniel Joseph Valdivieso, 22, was arrested on Nov. 2, 2014, at approximately 8:15 p.m. by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Special Services Unit in the Norwalk area.

On Oct. 31, 2014, at approximately 3:20 p.m., officials at Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) received information that Valdivieso had walked away from the Minimum Support Facility.

Valdivieso was placed into police custody without any use of force. WSP-RC staff will return him to prison custody today.  

Valdivieso was received at WSP-RC from Los Angeles County on April 8, 2014, for the commitment offense Possession of Controlled Substance, for which he received a two-year, eight-month sentence. 

WSP-RC’s primary mission is to provide short-term housing necessary to process, classify and evaluate new inmates physically and mentally, and determine their security level, program requirements and appropriate institutional placement. WSP-RC was opened February 1991, houses approximately 5,000 inmates and employs approximately 1,700 people.