Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Governor Brown Announces Appointments

Announced via Press Release from the Governor's Office today:
Kathleen Allison, 47, of Lemoore, has been appointed warden at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran. Allison has served as acting warden at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility State Prison, Corcoran since 2009, after serving as chief deputy administrator and chief deputy warden from 2007 to 2009, associate warden from 2004 to 2007, and a correctional health services administrator from 2002 to 2004. She was the community resources manager at Avenal State Prison from 1996 to 2002, after working in a number of positions at the prison beginning in 1987. Allison was a senior medical technical assistant at North Kern State Prison from 1993 to 1994. This position does not require Senate confirmation.

Leland Scott McEwen, 59, of Woody, has been appointed warden at the Calipatria State Prison. McEwen has served as acting warden at Calipatria State Prison since 2010. He served as chief deputy warden at Avenal State Prison from 2009 to 2010, after serving as associate warden from 2008 to 2009. He was a facility captain at Wasco State Prison from 2004 to 2008. McEwen was a correctional lieutenant at North Kern State Prison from 1997 to 2004, after serving as a correctional sergeant from 1993 to 1996. He was a correctional lieutenant at Pleasant Valley State Prison from 1996 to 1997. This position does not require Senate confirmation
CONTACT: Governor's Press Office, (916) 445-4571

Last Call!

The CDCR External Stakeholder Communications Survey is still open!

If you have not yet had a chance to participate and provide input on the effectiveness of CDCR's communication with you, please do so now!  The survey will remain open until midnight of October 31, 2011.

Access the survey here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office at (916) 445-4950.  Thanks! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All Inmates Have Resumed Eating Following the October 13 Conclusion of Mass Hunger Strike Disturbance

From a press release just issued by CDCR for immediate release:
SACRAMENTO – All California inmates have resumed eating meals following the conclusion of the inmate-initiated hunger strike that ended October 13, 2011, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said today.

The hunger strike ended after inmates and their representatives agreed that the Department’s review and changes to its policies regarding housing criteria in its Security Housing Units (SHU) would take several months to finalize. The Department maintained the commitment to review the policies that it had begun in May 2011 and discussed with inmates during a 19-day hunger strike in July 2011.

This most recent hunger strike began September 26, and after three days, 4,252 inmates in eight state prisons had missed nine consecutive meals – the point at which CDCR considers an inmate to be on a hunger strike. By October 13, the number of inmates participating had dropped to 580 in three state prisons. Although most inmates, including all of those who identified themselves as leaders of the strike, resumed eating on October 13, all remaining inmates had resumed eating by Sunday, October 16.

CDCR is continuing its investigation into allegations of threats or retaliation that inmates made against other inmates for not participating in the hunger strike.
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OCTOBER 18, 2011
(916) 445-4950

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stopping the Use of Illegal Cell Phones in California's Prisons

SACRAMENTO - To address the problem of cell phones being smuggled into prisons and used by inmates to commit additional crimes, on Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 26. 

The bill, authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D - Los Angeles), makes it a misdemeanor for prison guards or visitors to smuggle cell phones into prisons.  Penalties can include up to six months of prison time and fines of up to $ 5,000 for each illegal device that is in their possession; for inmates, early credits of up to 180 days may be lost. 

The Governor also signed Executive Order B-11-11, which authorizes CDCR officials to take additional preventative steps to resolve the problem of contraband cell phones being smuggled into prisons.  These preventatives steps include increased physical searches of people who enter prisons, the disruption unauthorized cell phone calls, and the use of both canines and state-of-the-art technology to find and confiscate these contraband devices.

Inmates who gain possession of smuggled cell phones have been known to use the devices to continue organizing gang activity, commit or coordinate crimes, and harrass victims.

You can view more details about SB 26 and Executive Order B-11-11 on the Governor's official site or at the CDCR website.  The Sacramento Bee also has more details.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Governor Brown Acts To Protect California Against Criminals and Prison Gangs

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed SB 26 and Executive Order B-11-11, to help deprive criminals and gang leaders in California’s prisons of one of their favorite means of organizing criminal activity: the contraband cellular phone. Brown said these measures would help “break up an expanding criminal network” that uses cellular phones to plan crimes both inside and outside of prison walls.

“Prisons exist to remove individuals from our communities who would otherwise do harm to their fellow citizens,” said Governor Brown. “When criminals in prison get possession of a cell phone, it subverts the very purpose of incarceration. They use these phones to organize gang activity, intimidate witnesses and commit crimes. Today's action will help to break up an expanding criminal network and protect law-abiding Californians.”

Existing law prohibits all unauthorized communication with inmates in state prison and provides for accumulation, loss, or denial of time credits based on inmate behavior. SB 26 by Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) strengthens this by making it a misdemeanor to deliver or attempt to deliver a cell phone to an inmate, punishable by six months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines per device. Furthermore, the bill specifies a loss of time credit for inmates found in possession of phones, and facilitates deployment of technologies to block or disrupt unauthorized cellular transmissions from prisons.

Executive Order B-11-11 complements this legislation by mobilizing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to use existing resources to crack down on the prison cell phone problem. The order calls for an increase in physical searches of people who enter prisons, development of technologies to disrupt unauthorized transmissions and a report on the feasibility of creating “airport-style” security at all prison entrances. The full text of the Executive Order follows:


WHEREAS inmates in prisons throughout the United States have increasingly been able to access contraband cell phones and other cellular devices; and

WHEREAS staff in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) discovered nearly 10,700 contraband cellular devices in 2010, and 7,300 through the first six months of this year; and

WHEREAS inmates’ access to these devices presents a risk to public safety and security, and is contrary to correctional and rehabilitative goals; and

WHEREAS these devices can provide inmates with unrestricted and unmonitored access to the Internet, text messaging, and electronic mail; and

WHEREAS hundreds of incidents across the country have occurred in which inmates have used these devices to conduct criminal or gang activities or to victimize law-abiding people; and

WHEREAS controlling inmates’ access to these devices is challenging because 1) the CDCR lacks airport-style security screening for people who enter prisons and instituting it could be costly at a time when the state is facing severe budget restrictions; 2) the CDCR is one of the largest prison systems in the world, and there are hundreds of entry points through which these devices can be smuggled; and 3) federal law prohibits blocking or jamming all cellular-device transmissions originating inside correctional facilities; and

WHEREAS strong measures must nonetheless be taken immediately to ensure the safety of the public and the secure operations of California prisons; and

WHEREAS these measures should include improving the thoroughness by which people entering prisons are searched, increasing the number of random searches of inmates’ cells, penalizing prisoners who are caught with a contraband device, and increasing the use of canines and state-of-the-art technology to find contraband devices; and

WHEREAS these measures should also include implementing a system to intercept and block prisoners’ unauthorized cellular transmissions in a way that complies with federal law by not interfering with authorized wireless devices, radios, and other emergency response communications.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue the following orders to become effective immediately:

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the CDCR use existing budget resources and pursue all available grants to conduct more thorough searches of people who enter prisons; to increase the number of random searches of inmates’ cells, prison property, and employees; to increase penalties for inmates in possession of contraband devices and anyone who illegally provides contraband devices to inmates; and to increase the use of canines and state-of-the-art technology to find and confiscate contraband cellular devices.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the CDCR develop and deploy a cost-efficient system to interrupt unauthorized cellular transmissions at California’s prisons in a manner consistent with federal law.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Department of General Services (DGS) and the California Technology Agency collaborate and cooperate with the CDCR to accelerate the approval process for the procurement of a system to interrupt unauthorized cellular transmissions, and that the DGS further facilitate the expedited purchase by the CDCR of any other necessary materials, equipment and services to comply with the directives of this Executive Order.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the CDCR immediately review and prepare an analysis of any barriers to implementing airport-style security screening at all points of entry to California’s correctional institutions, and that this analysis be submitted to the Governor’s Office by December 31, 2011.

This Order is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California, its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this Order.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 6th day of October 2011.