cdcr

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

When news of the pandemic first reached the men incarcerated at Avenal State Prison in central California, inmate Ed Welker said the prevailing mood was panic. “We were like, ‘Yeah, it’s going to come in here and it’s going to spread like wildfire and we’re all going to get it,’” he said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Ed Welker is relatively new to Avenal State Prison. He’s been incarcerated there only since March. But when he was recently moved to a new dorm in a different yard, he saw a familiar face. “One of the officers that are working right now in the building that I’m in, in the 2 yard, is the regular building officer over on the 5 yard, where I just came from,” he says.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

More than 3,300 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Avenal, which is the highest total of any prison in California and possibly in the entire country. So far, the virus has killed eight of the prison’s incarcerated men.

Families United to End Life Without Parole

Although businesses are reopening, reports of new cases of COVID-19 are still on the rise throughout the San Joaquin Valley. You can find up-to-date information for your county here. Below is an update for the week of June 15-19, 2020.

The outlook

Audit Finds That California Prisoners Were Illegally Sterilized

Jun 21, 2014
CDCR

A California State Audit has found that dozens of women in state prisons were sterilized illegally. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone says prison medical officials are faulted for not following consent laws.  

Lawmakers called for the audit after coverage from the Center for Investigative Reporting last year. The Center found more than 100 incarcerated women had tubal ligations without proper approvals since 2006.

Max Pringle / Capital Public Radio

Supporters of California prisoners on a weeks-long hunger strike against the prison system’s gang isolation program are urging Governor Jerry Brown to end practices they say are inhumane. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

Dozens of family members and supporters of the hunger strikers delivered more than 60,000 signatures to the Capitol. They’re calling for a halt to harsh conditions in the Security Housing Units, or SHU’s. Ronald Ahnen is a Politics Professor at St. Mary’s and member of California Prison Focus. 

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The California Corrections and Rehabilitation Department offered a glimpse today of how realignment is working. The program diverts low-level offenders to county jails in an effort to reduce state prison overcrowding.

A study done by the department compares inmates released pre- and post- realignment. It found post-realignment offenders were re-arrested at a lower rate than pre-realignment offenders. Both groups were convicted of new crimes at nearly the same rate. The department’s Jeffrey Callison stresses this is just a snapshot.