Friday, January 28, 2011

Chuckwalla Valley State Inmates Donates to Felix J. Appleby Elementary School Playground

Toastmasters group raises funds through food sale

Chuckawalla Valley State Prison’s (CVSP) Inmate Toastmasters Group donated $1,200 on Tuesday to Felix J. Appleby Elementary School to help purchase playground equipment.

The $1,200 was raised through an inmate food sale. Earnings from such sales are donated to a nonprofit organization selected by the inmate group conducting the sale.

The Toastmasters’ check was presented to Jeremy James, principal of Appleby Elementary, and Jennifer Lambert, a school nurse and representative of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

“When the members of CVSP’s Toastmasters Group heard Appleby Elementary School was in need of playground equipment, they remembered how much fun it was to have slides and swings to play on during recess and how important it is to provide the children with healthy recreation activities” said inmate Ernest Glover, Toastmaster president for Complex II.

CVSP’s Cindy Nepusz and Lynette Anderson sponsor the Toastmasters program, which is a learn-by-doing workshop in which the inmates hone their speaking and leadership skills.

January 27, 2011
CONTACT: Richard Smith
(760) 922-9710

Friday, January 21, 2011

Parole Denied for Inmate Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel

Latest “Manson Family” Member Parole Suitability Hearing

CORONA -- The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) today denied parole for convicted killer and former Charles Manson associate Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel during a hearing at the California Institution for Women (CIW). Krenwinkel was convicted in 1971 of first-degree murder for her involvement in the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.

Krenwinkel, 63, was convicted in Los Angeles County of seven counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Sharon Tate-Polanski (who was seven months pregnant), Thomas Jay Sebring, Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Parent, and Leno and Rosemary La Bianca in 1969. She originally received a death sentence, which was converted to life in prison by a California Supreme Court ruling that invalidated all death sentences prior to 1972.
This was her 13th appearance before the BPH panel since her incarceration. She is currently serving her sentence at the California Institution for Women in Corona. Krenwinkel will be up for her next parole review in seven years.

January 20, 2011
Contact: Cassandra Hockenson
(916) 445-4950

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Counties To Assume Supervision of State Youthful Offenders on Parole

Legislation begins three-year shift from state Division of Juvenile Justice

SACRAMENTO – Continuing a trend toward increased local control of youthful offenders, county probation departments across the state will begin supervising youths released from state Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities, according to legislation that takes effect today.

Under the terms of AB 1628, The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2010, counties will gradually assume juvenile supervision over the next three years and courts will establish the conditions for supervision, assuming that responsibility from the Juvenile Parole Board.

“This shift of parole supervision to the counties reinforces a trend that gives local officials more responsibility for the rehabilitation of youth who live in their communities,” DJJ Chief Deputy Secretary Rachel Rios said.

The legislation calls for the Juvenile Parole Board to determine when a youth is sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant release from a DJJ facility, but authorizes local courts to establish supervision conditions and for county probation officers to ensure those conditions have been met. The legislation also authorizes the courts, rather than the Juvenile Parole Board, to conduct hearings to modify those terms, which could include re-confinement, when it is warranted by a youth’s behavior.

The DJJ will continue to supervise approximately 1,500 youthful offenders currently on parole, but all youth will be transferred to county authority no later than July 1, 2014.

The legislation also authorizes counties to establish a Juvenile Reentry Fund that would accept state money to address the costs of local supervision and rehabilitative programs.

The population of youthful offenders in DJJ, formerly known as the California Youth Authority, has declined from a peak of approximately 10,000 in the mid-1990s to approximately 1,200 today, less than 1 percent of all youth arrested each year, as most youth are committed to county facilities through legislative and policy changes.

That population shift began in 1995 as counties were granted an increased financial incentive to house low-level offenders locally. Legislation adopted in 2007 (SB 81 and AB 191) also changed the mission of the DJJ, sending to the state only those youths who have committed serious and violent felonies, including sex offenses. Most such youths have severe treatment needs.

In response to the declining population, the DJJ has closed eight facilities since 2002 and has realigned its staff to operate as cost-effectively as possible. The Division recently announced its intention to close the Preston Youth Correctional Facility in Ione by June 2011, a move that is expected to result in a savings of approximately $30 million this fiscal year. Also, in early 2010 the DJJ completed a “right-sizing” of its staff to better reflect both the size and treatment needs of its population, eliminating approximately 425 positions, resulting in a savings of approximately $30 million to $40 million.

The DJJ provides treatment programs for mental health, substance abuse and sexual behavior, and also operates an accredited school district that provides specialized education as well as GED certificates and high school diplomas.

Contact: Bill Sessa (916) 205-9193

Inmate Firefighters and CDCR Staff Save Taxpayers Nearly $80 Million Annually

CDCR Inmate Firefighters Respond To Southern California Winter Flood Emergencies

SACRAMENTO – Officials of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today recognized the efforts of inmate crews and correctional staff who responded to flooding in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, thereby saving homes and property.

“Inmate firefighting crews and the custody staff were a critical component in the state’s response to Southern California floods last month,” said George Giurbino, CDCR’s Director of the Division of Adult Institutions. “Inmate crews and our staff are highly skilled and self-sufficient, enabling them to go where bulldozers and heavy equipment cannot go. In addition to saving lives and property, their work saves California taxpayers nearly $80 million a year.”

On Dec. 21, a state of emergency was issued in Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, and Tulare counties due to heavy rainfall and flooding.

In response, 500 inmates, supervised by 47 correctional staff, were deployed to the Highland and Green Spot, Wrightwood and Colton flood-related incidents from 13 conservation camps: Bautista, Fenner Canyon, La Cima, McCain Valley, Mount Bullion, Mountain Home, Norco, Oak Glen, Owens Valley, Pilot Rock, Prado, Puerta La Cruz, and Rainbow Conservation Camps.

By Dec. 30, more than 37 inmate crews had been deployed to Highland.

“The crews removed mud that was 4- to 5-feet deep that had slipped from the mountainside into the back of homes,” said Lt. D’Arcy, Prado Conservation Camp Commander. “The crews then used the mud to make sandbags to protect the homes from any additional mudslides.”
Crews performed the following tasks:
• filling more than 215,000 sandbags;
• placing approximately 4,000 sandbags around 18 homes on Autumn Chase Drive to direct water and mud flows;
• removing mud from behind residential retaining walls, thereby allowing county officials to remove red tags from most of the homes along one street; and
• removing mud from around vehicles and digging pathways to homes on Merris Drive, one of the hardest hit areas,.

“The community was grateful for the help, and many expressed their new-found respect for the inmate fire crews,” D’Arcy said.

CDCR jointly manages 44 adult and juvenile camps statewide. Thirty-nine are jointly operated with CAL FIRE, and five adult camps are operated with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Only minimum-custody inmates may participate in the Conservation Camp Program. They must be physically fit and have no history of a violent crime, including kidnapping, sex offenses, or arson.

Since 1946, the 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 participate in the program, comprising approximately 200 fire crews. 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. The crews will remain on standby throughout the 2011 rainy season for all of California.


• Slideshow:
• CDCR Conservation Camp Program Website:
• Camp Directory:
• View State of Emergency Proclamation:

Paul Verke
(916) 445-4950
Rae Stewart, Camps Liaison
(916) 324-2758

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Female Escapee from 1979 Caught

Nancy Garces arrested in Santa Barbara

CHINO – An inmate who had escaped in 1979 from the California Institution for Women (CIW) was apprehended Tuesday, January 11, 2011, by Santa Barbara Police Department officers.

“We would like to commend the Santa Barbara Police Department for its prompt and efficient action in apprehending the escaped felon Nancy Garces,” said Michael Ruff, Special Agent in Charge for CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety, Special Service Unit. “This is a message to all at-large felons that California law enforcement agents never give up when searching for fugitives.”

Inmate Nancy Garces was received by CDCR on February 16, 1979, from Butte County with a two-year sentence for forging a credit card (P484F). She escaped May 25, 1979, and remained at-large until her arrest in Santa Barbara. Based on a tip, the Tuesday morning arrest was coordinated by Detective Mark Vierra.

According to CIW records, there was a discrepancy with the evening count at the prison on May 25, 1979. A “frozen” count implemented by the watch commander determined inmate Nancy Garces was not accounted for and presumed missing. A search of the institution and fence line confirmed Garces had escaped.

Garces had been seen in the visiting room, but staff reported that she had left to return to her housing unit. She didn’t return to her housing unit. It was determined that she went directly to her escape point and was able scale a fence in the maintenance compound. Escape teams were deployed, but all area searches were negative.

CDCR officials will escort the 56-year-old Garces back to CIW this week. She may face additional charges, including escape.

Since 1977, more than 99 percent of escapees from California state prisons have been apprehended.

For Immediate Release
Contact Paul Verke (916) 445-4950

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Correctional Officers Attacked by Inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison

Prison on lockdown to ensure staff safety and facilitate investigation

Crescent City – Two Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) inmates attacked three correctional officers today, Jan. 11. The officers, ages 37, 43 and 45, were treated at a local hospital for lacerations and puncture wounds and released.

“Our foremost concern is for the safety and well-being of our dedicated staff,” said PBSP Warden Gregory Lewis. “Our officers’ injuries are not life-threatening and we are glad they were discharged from the hospital today. Our thoughts and prayers are with them for a speedy recovery.”

The attack occurred about 9:25 a.m. when two inmates rushed the officers with prison-made weapons while being released into the exercise yard. Custody staff in the immediate area responded and stopped the attack with physical force and batons. Two weapons were recovered.

At least two inmates have been identified as suspects. One inmate, age 20, is serving a 50-year sentence from Los Angeles County for first-degree murder. He has been in prison since Oct. 26, 2009. The second suspect, age 36, is serving 60 years for carjacking and making terrorist threats. He also was convicted in Los Angeles County and has been in prison since Feb. 7, 1997.

The incident is being investigated by the Investigative Services Unit at PBSP and agents from the Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review. An investigator from the Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office is participating in the investigation.

PBSP remains locked down until further notice. The institution will issue notification if visiting for this weekend needs to be cancelled.

Pelican Bay State Prison houses California’s most serious criminal offenders in a secure, safe, and disciplined institutional setting. The prison houses maximum-security inmates in a general population setting and has a Security Housing Unit (SHU) for inmates with serious management concerns, validated prison gang members and violent maximum-security inmates. The prison, which opened in 1989, provides academic education programs, houses 3,200 inmates and employs 1,500 people.

January 11, 2011
Contact: Terry Thornton
(916) 445-4950

Friday, January 7, 2011

Alcohol and Drug Counselor Program Graduates First Class at Valley State Prison for Women

Inaugural graduating class from the Offender Mentor Certification Program will help fellow inmates recover and turn their lives around.

CHOWCHILLA – The first class of female lifer and other long-term inmates completing rigorous study to become certified alcohol and drug counselors graduated today in a ceremony at Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) in Chowchilla attended by family and community members.  Graduates from the Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP) who attain certification will provide substance abuse counseling services for women incarcerated in California.

“These graduates are the pioneers of a new peer counselor program to bring the message of recovery to women in California’s prisons,” said Matthew Cate, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).  “These women will strengthen our rehabilitation efforts and save taxpayers by utilizing the energy and skills of trained inmates to help each other.”

“With this innovative concept in correctional rehabilitation, we are giving these offenders a role which only they can fulfill – to share their experience of recovery with other women in order to help reduce victimization and recidivism,” said Elizabeth Siggins, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Programs. 

The graduating mentors worked hard during the past nine months to complete their training. In order to qualify for the certification program, they first had to participate in the 90-day Trauma Informed Substance Abuse Treatment Program (TI-SAT), CDCR’s gender-responsive substance abuse program directed to the meet the special challenges and needs of women, administered by Walden House.  After completing TI-SAT, the mentors took 10 weeks of intense training with instructors from the U.S. Navy Drug and Alcohol Counselor School in San Diego; the University of California San Diego, Center for Criminality & Addiction Research, Training & Application; and Options Recovery Services in Berkeley.  The mentors then finished 255 practicum hours, during which inmates worked side-by-side with professional counselors from Walden House in a group setting. 

“This impressive achievement is a tribute to the motivation and hard work of these women and their instructors,” said VSPW Warden Walter Miller. “Our institution is proud to be a part of this historic new program of utilizing mentors who have community credibility to help their fellow inmates begin a new life.” 

On Dec. 3, the 15 graduates took the international exam administered by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium, coordinated by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC), competing with men and women around the country working toward certification to become substance abuse counselors.  They are expected to receive their results toward the end of January.  Once they pass the exam, mentors must complete a 4,000-hour internship and pass an oral exam in order to obtain certification.  Some of the graduates will be transferred to Central California Women’s Facility, also in Chowchilla, and to the California Institution for Women in Corona and work on their certification in substance abuse treatment programs at those facilities.

Attaining certification as drug and alcohol counselors will also assist the graduates to obtain employment upon release. 

California launched its first program to train inmates as certified drug and alcohol counselors in 2005 at San Quentin State Prison.  The program was expanded to California State Prison, Solano in 2008.  California is the first state in the nation to train inmates as certified alcohol and drug counselors to provide services for other inmates.

Click here to view photographs of the graduation ceremony, .

Contact: Peggy Bengs (916) 445-4950 
Gregory Bergersen, VSPW (559) 665-6100 x 5509

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) Provides Economic Benefit of $497 Million for State

CALPIA’s annual demand for materials spurs private sector job growth

(Folsom) California Prison Industry Authority’s (CALPIA) 2008-09 Fiscal Year (FY) sales and in-state expenditures of $282 million had a $497 million multiplying benefit for the California economy, according to a December 2010 economic impact report.

Additionally, CALPIA’s activities for the 2008-09 FY had a total California household income impact of $132 million, and a total California employment impact of 2,394 jobs.

The report concludes that If CALPIA did not exist, total sales activity in California would have declined by $295 million, state household income would have declined by $75 million, and more than one thousand California jobs would have been lost.

The primary economic benefit is from CALPIA’s purchases of services and raw materials (intermediate inputs) from California retailers, who, in turn, add to their payrolls and make additional purchases from other businesses. Capital investments and CALPIA’s civilian payroll add to the multiplication of benefits throughout California’s economy.

CALPIA also provides savings to the State’s General Fund through lower recidivism. Participants in CALPIA work programs are 25 to 30 percent less likely to return to prison than the general prison population, resulting in ongoing savings of $49,000 per year, every year, for each parolee that does not return to prison.

The Economic Impact of the California Prison Industry Authority on the California Economy for FY 2008-09 was produced by Thomas R. Harris, Director of the University Center for Economic Development at the University of Nevada, Reno, George Goldman, of the University of California, Berkeley, and Shannon Price.

CALPIA is a self-financed and self-sufficient state entity that receives all of its revenue from the sale of products it manufactures. The recidivism rate among CALPIA inmates is more than 25 percent lower than the general prison population, a success attributed to the job skills inmates receive by working in CALPIA business enterprises.

January 5, 2011
Contact: Eric Reslock (916) 358-1802

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gift for Kids Program

Citizen's Advisory Committee of Chuckawalla Valley (CVSP) and Ironwood (ISP) Participate

The Citizen's Advisory Committee of Chuckawalla Valley (CVSP) and Ironwood (ISP) state prisons conducted the "Gifts for Kids Program" on Dec. 15 at the Colorado River Fairgrounds in Blythe. More than 100 families from the community had the opportunity to choose from gifts provided in part by the committee, the Chicano Correctional Workers Association and Dollar Tree.

This year, 81 doll cribs were constructed by inmates who are involved with various vocational training such as landscaping, mill and cabinet work, carpentry, welding, sewing, upholstery, roofing, plumbing, and auto body duties at the institutions.

The wood for the cribs was donated by the local ACE Hardware; handmade quilts, which accompanied the cribs and dolls, were quilted by Palo Verde Valley Quilt Guild members.

City Councilman Sam Patel donated all the licensing and registration for each of the 61 bicycles that were among the gifts.