Monday, March 23, 2015

Condemned inmate Teofilo Medina Jr. dies of natural causes

VACAVILLE – Condemned inmate Teofilo Medina Jr., 70, was pronounced dead of natural causes on Sunday, March 22, 2015, at 7:30 a.m. at California Medical Facility while on hospice care.

Medina was sentenced to death on February 25, 1987, in Orange County and September 7, 1989, in Riverside County for killing three convenience-store and gas-station clerks during a 1984 robbery spree that netted him less than $450. Medina began his robbery and killing spree less than three months after his release from the Arizona Department of Corrections where he had served a term for rape. Medina also received a death sentence in Riverside County for a fourth slaying.  Medina had been on death row since March 7, 1987.

Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 67 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 23 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, six have died from other causes and two are pending the causes of death.  There are 751 people on California’s death row.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 23, 2015
   
CONTACT: LT. ANDRE GONZALES
(707) 449-6509
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Condemned inmate Leon Chauncey Cooper dies of unknown causes

SAN QUENTIN – Condemned inmate Leon Chauncey Cooper, 54, who was on California’s death row from Sacramento County, was pronounced dead Wednesday, March 18, 2015, at 4:40 p.m. at a nearby hospital.  The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy. Cooper was single-celled.

Cooper was sentenced to death on May 25, 2001, by a Sacramento County jury for the March 26, 1998, rape and murder of 15-year-old LaRhonda Johnson, a Florin High School sophomore, who was his stepdaughter.  A convicted sex offender, Cooper had been previously convicted of sexual battery in 1996 upon Johnson's 18-year-old sister. Cooper had been on death row since June 13, 2001.

Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 66 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 23 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, six have died from other causes and two are pending the cause of death. There are 752 people on California’s death row.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2015

CONTACT: LT. SAM ROBINSON
(415) 455-5008
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Female Inmate Who Walked Away from El Monte Residential Treatment Facility Apprehended

EL MONTE— An inmate who walked away from an El Monte Residential Treatment Facility last Friday is now back in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) custody. Breana Armstard, 23, turned herself in Saturday night to the El Segundo Police Department which then booked her into Los Angeles County Jail.

Armstard had been participating in the Alternative Custody Program (ACP) at the El Monte Female Offender Treatment and Employment Program facility since January 5 and was due to parole on April 15. She will now continue her sentence at the California Institution for Women in Corona.

ACP is a voluntary program developed for female non-violent, non-serious and non-registerable sex offense inmates which allows them to serve up to the last 24 months of their sentence in the community in lieu of confinement in state prison. Eligible participants may be housed in a private residence, a transitional care facility or a residential drug or other treatment program.

Armstard was committed to CDCR on December 20, 2013 from Los Angeles County to serve a two-year, eight-month sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, her second strike.

The El Monte FOTEP provides a smooth transition for female offenders from custody to the community, focusing on intensive, gender-responsive counseling services. The goal of the FOTEP is to reduce recidivism through substance abuse treatment services, family reunification, vocational training, and employment services.

Of all offenders who have escaped from an adult institution, camp or community-based program since 1977, 98.7 percent have been apprehended.


**As of September 9, 2015, CDCR is evaluating an expansion of the Alternative Custody Program to male inmates.** 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2015

CONTACT: DANA SIMAS
(916) 445-4950

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CDCR and California Community Colleges Partner to Expand College Opportunities to Inmates

SACRAMENTO –The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) have signed an agreement to expand and increase inmate access to community college courses that will lead to degrees, certificates or will transfer to a four-year university.

The contract was made possible by the September 2014 passage of Senate Bill (SB) 1391, authored by State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley). SB 1391 provides CCCCO up to $2 million to create and support at least four pilot sites, still to be determined, to allow inmate students to earn college credits and access to counseling, placement, and disability support services.

“One of the best accomplishments of SB 1391 is the coalition between CDCR and the Chancellor’s Office,” Superintendent of CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education Brantley Choate said. “We are now inspired to work collaboratively to break down departmental silos to create the best correctional college system in the world.”

The funds will be used from the State’s Recidivism Reduction Fund, created in 2014 by Senate Bill 105 to help CDCR comply with court-ordered inmate population reductions.

The programs at the pilot sites must provide college-level instruction to both male and female inmates seeking certificates, associate degrees, or for which course credits are transferrable to four-year universities or colleges. Instruction may be delivered through in-class, instructional television, or other methods. The programs will also offer support services such as college orientation, counseling and academic advisement and student education plans.

A recent RAND report found that every dollar invested in inmate education resulted in $5 saved in future prison costs.

Previously, California community colleges did not receive funding for courses taught inside state prisons. This limited many higher education opportunities for inmates to distance learning models and lacked continuity in coursework between prisons.

CDCR will work collaboratively with CCCCO and participating colleges to determine suitable program offerings in each of the selected institutions.

“Expanding access to higher education can have tremendous benefits for incarcerated students and those around them,” said California Community Colleges Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Pam Walker. “Community colleges can provide incarcerated students with new skills and perspectives that can help build better lives and reduce recidivism. We look forward to working with CDCR on this potentially life-changing initiative.”

CDCR will provide the classroom space, furniture, equipment and technology necessary. CDCR will also provide training to participating California community college staff, faculty and volunteers regarding the unique challenges of providing educational services to inmates.

CDCR expects to begin classes by September 2015.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2015   

CONTACT:Dana Simas
(916) 445-4950

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Friday, March 13, 2015

J.C.X. Simon, convicted of ‘Zebra Killings,’ dies in prison

SAN QUENTIN – Inmate J.C.X. Simon, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell late Thursday night. He was pronounced dead at the prison at 11:59 p.m. March 12, 2015. The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy. Simon was single-celled.


Simon, also widely known as one of the “Zebra Killers,” was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on March 30, 1976, to serve a life sentence with the possibility of parole. He was convicted in San Francisco County of two counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.


Simon was convicted along with three other men following a string of killings that took place in San Francisco from October 1973 to April 1974. All were sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. Larry Green, 63, is incarcerated at California State Prison-Solano (Vacaville); Manuel Moore, 70, is at Ironwood State Prison (Blythe); and Jessie Lee Cooks, 70, is at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (San Diego).

For information contact Lt. Sam Robinson at (415) 455-5008.

Female Inmate Walks Away from El Monte Residential Treatment Facility

EL MONTE—The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials are looking for a female state prison inmate who walked away from an El Monte residential treatment facility on Friday, March 13. 

Breana Armstard, 23, had been participating in the Alternative Custody Program (ACP) at the El Monte Female Offender Treatment and Employment Program (FOTEP) facility since January 5 and was due to parole on April 15.

ACP is a voluntary program developed for female non-violent, non-serious and non-registerable sex offense inmates which allows them to serve up to the last 24 months of their sentence in the community in lieu of confinement in state prison. Eligible participants may be housed in a private residence, a transitional care facility or a residential drug or other treatment program.

Armstard was committed to CDCR on December 20, 2013 from Los Angeles County to serve a two-year, eight-month sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, her second strike.

CDCR has sent staff and resources to locate and apprehend the inmate. The California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement have been contacted for assistance.

If anyone has information about or knowledge of the location of this individual they should immediately contact 911.

The El Monte FOTEP provides a smooth transition for female offenders from custody to the community, focusing on intensive, gender-responsive counseling services. The goal of the FOTEP is to reduce recidivism through substance abuse treatment services, family reunification, vocational training, and employment services.



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**As of September 9, 2015, CDCR is evaluating an expansion of the Alternative Custody Program to male inmates.** 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dana Simas
March 13, 2015
(916) 445-4950

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Corcoran Prison Inmate Dies of Injuries

CORCORAN – On February 28, 2015 at 11:05 a.m., a 59-year-old California State Prison-Corcoran inmate was pronounced dead from injuries he suffered from an assault that occurred earlier this month.

The inmate, whose name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification, had been hospitalized in a community medical facility since February 9, 2015, and was in critical condition after being assaulted by his cellmate. He was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole from Los Angeles County for assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats to cause great bodily injury or death, his third strike.

His cellmate, David Pina, 54, has been identified as the suspect. Pina began serving a six-year sentence in 2004 from Tulare County for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. In 2011, he also began serving a four-year sentence from Kern County for making terrorist threats.

This incident is still under investigation by the prison’s Investigative Services Unit and will be referred to the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

CSP-Corcoran opened in 1988 and houses approximately 4,000 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 2,300 people.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   
March 3, 2015

Contact: Lt. Luis Martinez                                     
(559) 992-6104

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