Monday, March 29, 2010

Inmate Escape from Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp CC#41

VALYERMO, CA - On Sunday, March 28, 2010, at approximately 11:06 P.M., Inmate Carl Smith was confirmed to have escaped from Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp, located in Valyermo, California. Escape procedures were immediately initiated, to include notifying local law enforcement agencies.

Inmate Smith, 30, is a minimum-custody inmate from San Bernardino County, who was serving a four-year sentence for receiving a stolen vehicle. He is a Black male with short black hair, brown eves and medium build. He is 5’9” and weighs 210 pounds. He was last seen at 10:15 PM. possibly wearing grey sweats or orange clothing. If anyone sees an individual matching this description, contact Lt. W. Mock at Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp at (661) 944-0173 or dial 911.

Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp, CC #41, is located in Los Angeles County and houses 136 inmates. It is jointly operated by CAL-FIRE and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and is under the jurisdiction of Sierra Conservation Center. The purpose of the camp is to respond to emergencies and wild land fires.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Significant Progress Being Made on Juvenile Justice Reforms

DJJ Releases Annual Report to Court

SACRAMENTO – Over the last three years the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has successfully completed 82 percent of approximately 8,052 policy and program changes required by a court settlement to improve the rehabilitation of youthful offenders. These reforms have resulted in a dramatic decrease in violence and an increase in academic achievement among DJJ youth.

DJJ’s reform efforts are outlined in an annual progress report filed today with the Alameda Superior Court, which oversees the progress on six remedial plans that encompass Safety & Welfare, Mental Health, Education, Health Care, Sexual Behavior Treatment, and the Wards with Disabilities Program and charts progress through the first quarter of 2010.

These plans are a result of a settlement reached in the Farrell v. Cate lawsuit. Compliance ratings, based on audits by court-appointed, independent subject experts in each of these areas, reflect a 23 percent jump in compliance over the last 12 months and the biggest single year improvement in DJJ’s performance since the overhaul of the juvenile justice system began in 2005.

“Over the last four years, we have instituted policies for staff that emphasize intervention and counseling over the use of force, reinforced our education curriculum and created programs to encourage more family participation with out youth,” noted Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice. “Because of reforms advancing evidence-based practices, our youth are spending more time in classrooms and are receiving better treatment and counseling services than ever before.”

Among the more noteworthy policy and program changes documented in the report:
  • A revised disciplinary system that encourages staff to use counseling and intervention methods to curb inappropriate behaviors among the youth. As a result, time added to sentences for inappropriate behavior was reduced by 72.5 percent while credit for good behavior increased 134 percent.
  • DJJ’s hiring of a veteran Superintendent to lead its accredited network of schools was one significant accomplishment in an educational program that has seen a dramatic improvement in academic achievement. In the last few years, more than 5,000 youth have earned GED’s, high school diplomas or attended vocational or college classes, a 300 percent increase despite a decline in the number of youth committed to DJJ.
  • Program Service Day, a newly implemented coordinated schedule that makes counseling and treatment services available during most of the youths’ waking hours, has reduced interruptions during the day and resulted in students spending more time in the classroom.
  • Counseling and treatment programs, such as “Girls Moving On”, also were developed to address the unique behavior and treatment needs of female offenders housed in Ventura, which often stem from their involvement in dysfunctional relationships.
  • New assessments are conducted to readily identify youth who have a high risk of suicide or self-injurious behavior, one of the most vulnerable segments of the juvenile population. New policies have been instituted to address their mental health needs while integrating them into the main population of each facility as much as possible. In addition, pilot programs are testing new treatment options for youth with highly volatile emotions who pose the greatest risk.
  • All five DJJ facilities and two fire camps established quarterly family events to give parents and other family members opportunities to spend time with the youth in the facilities and to discuss the youth’s progress and needs with DJJ staff, including counselors and teachers as well as medical and mental health professionals.
  • Inreased training of nurses, peer review practices among medical professionals, computerized record-keeping, and stronger management controls have improved the quality of health care and reduced pharmacology costs.
  • By the end of 2009, every physical plant modification required by the Wards with Disabilities Remedial Plan was completed in all five DJJ institutions and both of its fire camps.
A copy of the report is available on the CDCR website at:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inmate Death At Kern Valley State Prison Under Investigation

Delano – Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) investigators are cooperating with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office in the investigation of an inmate death.

On March 23, 2010 at approximately 8:14 a.m., inmate Angel Ramirez, 30, was pronounced deceased while en route to a local hospital.

Ramirez was serving a seven-year, four-month sentence from Los Angeles County for possession, transportation, and sales of controlled substances. He had been housed at KVSP since September 24, 2007.

The death is being investigated as a possible homicide by the Kern 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.

The suspect in this case is a 30-year-old inmate serving a 50-years-to-life sentence from Los Angeles County for first-degree murder. He has been in state prison since October 12, 1999 and has been housed at KVSP since January 3, 2008.

KVSP opened in 2005 and houses nearly 4,800 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. KVSP offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,800 people.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CDCR Releases Central File of John Albert Gardner

Sacramento - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is making available the Central File of discharged offender John Albert Gardner, a suspect in a San Diego homicide case.

CDCR does not ordinarily release the central file of any offender. In light of the public interest in Gardner, who was incarcerated from Sept. 14, 2000 until his statutory release to parole on Sept. 26, 2005, CDCR has chosen to waive certain provisions of the California Public Records Act, as allowed by law, which could exempt these records from public disclosure.

Federal and state laws limit the disclosure of certain offender records. Some prohibitions of disclosure included in federal and state law cannot be waived by CDCR. Consequently, CDCR has redacted information in accordance with these laws.

John Albert Gardner, Central File:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

North Kern State Prison Correctional Officer Assaulted by Inmate

Delano - This morning, March 13, 2010, at approximately 8:14 a.m., a 43-year-old female correctional officer at North Kern State Prison (NKSP) sustained moderate injuries in an unprovoked attack by a 37-year-old inmate in the reception center part of the prison.

The correctional officer was transported to Delano Regional Medical Center where she remains in stable condition. The inmate was identified as inmate Russ Loc, who has been housed at the prison since March 8, 2010, after being convicted in Los Angeles County for forced oral copulation resulting in great bodily injury.

The incident began this morning at approximately 8 a.m. As inmates were exiting their cells for the morning meal, the inmate approached the officer and reportedly began to assault her by hitting her in the face and knocking her to the ground. The inmate then tried to get on top of the officer to continue assaulting her but responding officers intervened to stop the attack.

The injured officer was immediately transported offsite to the hospital. The inmate was placed in handcuffs and is expected to be placed in confinement away from other inmates, pending the outcome of the investigation. Once the investigation is completed, CDCR plans to refer this case to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

“Staff safety is a serious concern for me,” said acting NKSP Warden Maurice Junious. “I have requested a thorough review of this morning’s incident in an effort to understand how this event occurred so we can make any necessary improvements. My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the department, are with the Officer and her family.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CDCR to Retain Parole Documents Indefinitely for all Sex Offenders

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will make a significant adjustment to its current policies as it relates to its retention of parole files.

The review of the department’s policy is in response to a San Diego homicide case involving suspect John Albert Gardner, a former California inmate and parolee who was discharged from state supervision in 2008.

Effective immediately, CDCR will retain all documents related to the parole supervision of all sex offenders indefinitely after discharge from parole supervision.

“I have worked closely with the Governor on this issue and share his belief that files related to sex offenders be retained for as long as possible,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “I have directed my parole staff to immediately retain all information related to sex offenders. We will continue to support local law enforcement in their investigation into this matter.”

In addition, CDCR will release any documents related to the parole supervision of John Albert Gardner that may have been retained in this individual’s main Central File. The release of those documents will be in accordance with the law and in coordination with local investigators and court orders to ensure it will not hinder their ongoing investigation.

Monday, March 8, 2010

California Medical Facility Inmate Death Under Investigation

Vacaville – California Medical Facility (CMF) investigators are investigating the death of inmate Michael Ferguson, 44, who was pronounced dead on March 8, 2010 at 8:37 a.m. after suffering massive head injuries. The Solano County District Attorney’s Office is assisting with the ongoing investigation.

Inmate Ferguson was received from Alameda County on March 31, 1997 with a 16-years-to-life sentence for second-degree murder. He had been housed at CMF since April 20, 2005.

CMF is a multi-mission institution that houses more than 3,000 inmates and employs nearly 1,900 medical, custody and support staff. Opened in 1955, the institution houses medium-security inmates and provides inpatient and outpatient medical, psychiatric and hospice services to inmates.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Salinas Valley State Prison Building Becomes First LEED Certified Facility for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Efficient Design in Mental Health Treatment Facility Cuts Water Use in Half, Energy Use by One-Third

SOLEDAD -- The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today that Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), CDCR’s newest high-security facility, has earned a Silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction v2.1 rating system. The SVSP facility earned a score of 33 points, which is above the LEED certified level. The achievement marks the first LEED certification for the State’s Prison system, first called for under Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order #S-20-04, which required the design, construction and operation of all new state-owned facilities to be LEED certified.

“CDCR has shown leadership in conserving energy on a grand scale, through reducing electricity usage to saving water,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. The Salinas Valley State Prison staff and contractors worked hard to make sure this new facility was LEED certified, our first prison to achieve such a designation in California. Our goal is to make all future prisons LEED certified, a standard.”

The 36,500 square-foot, 64-bed mental health treatment facility provides housing and inpatient mental health care for inmates.

LEED Silver criteria demanded that the project obtain points in multiple categories that promote occupant well being and lessen the building’s environmental impacts. The most notable achievements at the SVSP facility are in energy, water conservation and waste management. The project reduced potable water use by a remarkable 56 percent, an important achievement in this arid climate where water is a precious commodity. It improved anticipated energy performance by 37 percent over the baseline standards for a similar facility, and lowered sewage conveyance by nearly 70 percent through a state-of-the-art vacuum plumbing system. The building at Salinas is one of a very few prison facilities in the United States to use vacuum plumbing, and the first in CDCR’s system.

The project team included stakeholders from CDCR, Program Manager Kitchell CEM, Nacht & Lewis Architects, mechanical engineers from Capital Engineering, electrical engineers from CB Engineering and the general contractor, Roebbelen Contracting Incorporated. Green Building Services assisted the project team with establishing the sustainability objectives and the LEED certification process.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building program is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

The LEED green building rating system was developed and is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington D.C.-based, nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders. It is designed to promote design and construction practices that reduce operating costs and the negative environmental impacts of buildings while improving occupant health and well-being. LEED certification, which includes a rigorous third-party commissioning process, offers compelling proof to your organization, your staff, and the public at large that you've achieved your environmental goals and your building is performing as designed. Getting LEED certified illustrates how the CDCR is supporting the State of California goals for reducing energy use and green house gas emissions.

In January, Governor Schwarzenegger announced that the California Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted the first-in-the-nation mandatory Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN) requiring all new buildings in the state to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. Taking effect on January 1, 2011, these comprehensive regulations will achieve major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and water use to create a greener California.

Although CALGREEN was not in place when this project was being designed, the SVSP project team has integrated measures that are compliant with both LEED and CALGREEN. Specific energy performance measures, construction waste management plans, the reduction of water and material resources and building commissioning will link this project with CALGREEN requirements.

For more on this topic, see:

Link to photographs
Link to CDCR’s Energy Savings Website
CALGreen press release