Inmate Death at Wasco State Prison- Reception Center Under Investigation
WASCO – Officials from Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) and the Kern County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide. The inmate, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, was found dead in his cell about 5:50 p.m. October 10, 2011. The 50-year-old inmate was received at WSP-RC from San Luis Obispo County on June 23, 2011, as a parole violator with a new term for failure to register as a sex offender. He received a 2-year sentence. Joseph Son, 40, has been identified as a suspect in the case. Son was received at WSP-RC from Orange County on September 16, 2011, on a life sentence with the possibility of parole for torture.
CDCR: SLO Co. man murdered while incarcerated at Wasco State Prison
By Bethany Tucker, KSBY News-- A San Luis Obispo County man who was sentenced to an additional two years in prison after failing to register as a sex offender, is killed at Wasco State Prison. The Kern County District Attorney's Office is calling his death a homicide. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says the man is 50 years old and is from San Luis Obispo County. They have not released his name yet, as the man's family hasn't been notified.
Death of Calif. inmate investigated as homicide
The Associated Press-- California corrections officials say they are treating the death of an inmate at a Central Valley prison as a homicide. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported Tuesday that the 50-year-old inmate was found dead in his cell Monday evening. Henry Cervantez, a spokesman for Wasco State Prison near Bakersfield, would not say how the inmate died or why officials believe the death is suspicious. The Kern County District Attorney's office also is investigating.
Joseph Hyungmin Son, 'Austin Powers' Actor, Suspected Of Prison Killing
The Huffington Post-- What's worse than following up a bit-acting career with a conviction for gang rape? Killing your cellmate while in prison -- and that's exactly what actor Joseph Hyungmin Son seems to have done. Son is a suspect in the death of his cellmate, who was found dead in their cell on Monday evening, reports CBS Los Angeles. The inmate's name is being withheld as authorities notify his next of kin, according to a statement released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He had entered Wasco State Prison on June 23 of this year because he failed to register as a sex offender, which was a violation of his parole. The inmate was 50 years old at the time of his death.
Autopsy set for sex offender allegedly killed by 'Austin Powers' actor
The Los Angeles Times-- An autopsy is expected to be performed this week on a prison inmate allegedly killed by his cellmate, an "Austin Powers" actor convicted of torturing a woman in Orange County. Joseph Hyungmin Son, 40, allegedly killed his 50-year-old cell mate, who was found dead Monday afternoon at Wasco State Prison Reception Center in Kern County. The cell mate was a parole violator who had been sentenced to two years in prison for failing to register as a sex offender, according to a prison report. A cause of death was pending.
"Austin Powers" henchman accused of killing cellmate
By Tim Kenneally, Reuters-- Joseph Son, the actor who played Dr. Evil's knuckle-cracking sidekick Random Task in the 1997 comedy "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," is suspected of killing his cellmate at Wasco State Prison in California, prison officials announced Tuesday. Son's 50-year-old cellmate was sent to Wasco in June for failing to register as a sex offender. The victim, whose name is being withheld pending his next of kin's notification, was serving a two-year sentence. He was found dead in his cell at approximately 5:50 p.m. Monday. Son, 40, has been incarcerated at Wasco since September 16. He's serving a life sentence on a torture conviction, stemming from a Huntington Beach, Calif. gang rape that Son participated in on Christmas Eve 1990. DNA evidence did not tie Son to the crime until 2008.
'Austin Powers' actor suspected of killing cellmate
By Greg Hardesty and Vik Jolly, The Orange County Register-- A former movie actor sentenced less than a month ago to life in prison for torturing a woman who he kidnapped and sexually assaulted is under investigation in the death of his cellmate, prison authorities said Tuesday. Joseph Hyungmon Son, 40, was being housed at the short-term Wasco State Prison-Reception Center in Kern County when his cellmate was found dead about 5:50 p.m. Monday, according to a news release from the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. Officials did not release the name of the victim or details about what they have labeled a homicide but said Son is the suspect.
'Austin Powers' Actor Suspected of Killing Cellmate
KMPH-- An "Austin Powers" actor convicted of torturing a woman in Southern California is suspected of killing his cellmate at Wasco State Prison in Kern County, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Tuesday. Authorities say they're investigating the possibility that 40-year-old Joseph Son, who played Dr. Evil's henchman Random Task in the first "Austin Powers" movie, killed the 50-year-old San Luis Obispo County man. The CDCR says the inmate was found dead Monday afternoon. He had been serving a two-year sentence for not registering as a sex offender.
"Austin Powers" actor Joe Son suspected of killing prison cellmate
By Casey Glynn, CBS-- An actor who had a small part in the movie "Austin Powers" and was convicted of gang rape, is now suspected of murdering his cellmate at a California prison. Officials say Joseph Son, 40, has been identified as a suspect in the death of an inmate at Wasco State Prison, reports CBS station KCBS. The 50-year-old inmate, who has not been publicly identified, was found dead in his cell on the evening of Oct. 10. The victim had reportedly been serving a 2-year sentence at the time of his death. Prison officials have not released the circumstances surrounding murder, reports KCBS. A spokesman for the sheriff-coroner's office, Ray Pruitt, said an autopsy would likely be performed Wednesday. Son was convicted in September of torture in connection with the 1990 Christmas Eve gang rape of a woman in Orange County.
'Austin Powers' actor suspected in prison death
By Don Thompson, Associated Press-- A bit actor who appeared in the first "Austin Powers" movie is suspected in the death of his cellmate at the California prison where he is serving a life sentence, corrections officials said Tuesday. Joseph Son , 40, wore a bowler hat and played one of Dr. Evil's henchmen, named Random Task, in 1997's "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." He also was a mixed martial arts fighter who appeared in several other movies or videos in the 1990s, according to his Hollywood biography. He arrived at Wasco State Prison in the state's Central Valley on Sept. 16 after he was sentenced in Orange County for the 1990 gang rape of a Southern California woman. The dead inmate was a parole violator serving a new two-year sentence from San Luis Obispo County for failing to register as a sex offender. He was found dead Monday in the cell he shared with Son.
California cities warn of 'public safety crisis'
The Sacramento Bee-- As California begins redirecting new inmates and parolees to counties this month, nine big-city mayors are asking the cash-strapped state for money to address a "brewing public safety crisis." The mayors, including Sacramento's Kevin Johnson and Los Angeles' Antonio Villaraigosa, contend in a letter they sent Thursday to Gov. Jerry Brown that his "realignment" plan will result in higher police costs. Villaraigosa led the charge earlier last week by calling the program "political malpractice" and saying his city needed to move 150 police officers to help the probation department supervise offenders.
O.C. officially supervising more parolees
By Sean Emery, The Orange County Register -- A newly created division of the Orange County Probation Department has officially begun taking over supervision of released convicts who previously would have answered to state parole agents, part of an effort to ease pressure on California's overcrowded prison system. In the first week after the state's inmate relocation plan went into effect Oct. 1, 29 parolees affected by the prison system overhaul reported to local probation officers, said Robert Rangel, a spokesman for the Orange County Probation Department. The number of former parolees now answering to the county probation department is expected to grow to 182 by the end of October, Rangel said. So far, everyone required to contact local probation officers after their release from the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation has done so, Rangel said.
Riverside County divides jail realignment pot
By Dave Downey, The North County Times-- The Sheriff's Department will get about half of $21.8 million in state funding being spread among Riverside County departments so they can deal with an anticipated influx of hundreds of state prisoners and parolees, a county public safety panel decided Tuesday. Under a new Sacramento policy that shifts responsibility for criminals convicted of nonviolent crimes from the state to counties, Riverside County officials predict their jails will fill up by January. And the county expects to be given the responsibility to supervise 1,600 parolees between now and June 30, the end of the county's fiscal year.
Prison to Jail Realignment Takes Effect in Riverside County
By Maggie Avants, The Murrieta Patch-- A executive committee will be formed to tackle the mandated statewide shift of prison terms to jail terms for those convicted of nonviolent, nonsexual and nonserious crimes, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department announced. California Penal Code 1230--brought about by Assembly Bill 109, which went into effect Oct. 1--requires that each county form a Community Correction Partnership. The CCP will develop will develop and recommend to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors an implementation plan for the 2011 Public Safety Realignment. When Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 109, at least $6.7 billion was set aside for the counties to fund Public Safety Realignment in 2011-2012. Of that, Riverside County has been allotted $21.4 million.
46 inmates injured in Oklahoma prison riot
CNN-- A total of 46 inmates were injured during a prison riot at the North Fork Correctional Facility in western Oklahoma, but there were no fatalities, prison officials said Wednesday. Multiple fights had broken out in the 2,500-bed facility on Tuesday, but order was restored and the facility was completely locked down, according to a statement by Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the prison. As of Wednesday there were no reports of staff injuries, CCA said. Regarding the injuries, 16 inmates were transported to facilities outside the prison for treatment, including one who has already returned to the facility. Another 30 inmates were treated on-site by medical staff, CCA said. While the riot was taking place, a morgue was set up in a tent outside the prison, though there were no fatalities.
Oklahoma prison riot quelled, dozens hurt
By Steve Olafson, Reuters-- Inmates from California held in a private prison in western Oklahoma rioted on Tuesday in a melee that injured dozens of prisoners, some of them critically, authorities said. Fights broke out in several parts of the North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Oklahoma, shortly before noon, authorities said. The company that owns the prison said 46 inmates had been hurt, including 16 who were sent to hospitals. By evening, guards were securing the last portions of the facility, Beckham County Sheriff Scott Jay said.
Prison Riot Injures Dozens At North Fork Facility In Sayre
KOCO-- At least two dozen people were injured Tuesday afternoon in a prison riot in western Oklahoma. The incident happened at the North Fork Corrections Facility in Sayre, according to the Beckham County Sheriff's office. Officials with the Great Plains Regional Medical Center in Elk City confirmed the injuries. A spokeswoman with Sayre Memorial Hospital said there were inmates admitted there, too. About 8 p.m., prison officials said the facility was locked down and that all inmates were confined to their quarters. Officials said 16 inmates were taken to off-site hospitals for treatment. One of those has already been returned to the prison.
Calif. inmates brawl at Okla. prison; 46 injured
The Associated Press-- Inmates were confined to their cells and their movements restricted after widespread fighting at an Oklahoma prison between black and Hispanic California inmates sent at least 46 inmates to the infirmary or hospitals before police and prison guards were able to restore order, authorities said Tuesday. The fighting began shortly before noon at the North Fork Correctional Facility, a privately run medium-security prison in Sayre that houses 2,381 inmates from California. Greg Williams, an official with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, told The Associated Press that the fighting appeared to have been between black and Hispanic inmates, but he didn't know if it was gang-related.
Parole Denied for Man Who Kidnapped and Sexually Assaulted a Child, Molested Two More in Laguna Niguel
By Debbie L. Sklar, The Laguna Niguel Patch-- The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, denied the parole Tuesday for a man convicted of kidnapping and raping a child, molesting two other children in Laguna Niguel, and attempting to molest a fourth. Drew David Lambert, 32, formerly of Irvine, is being held at California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi, CA. Lambert was sentenced Aug. 2, 1996, to 15 years to life in state prison for felonies including one count each of kidnapping for child molest, forcible lewd act upon a child, attempted lewd act upon a child, and two felony counts of lewd act upon a child.
Shackle ban for pregnant prisoners got every vote except Brown’s
The San Francisco Chronicle-- Legislation to prevent prisons and jails in California from shackling pregnant inmates, unless they pose a danger to themselves or others, breezed through both houses without a negative vote. Its supporters included advocates for civil liberties, prisoners and women’s rights, as well as doctors, nurses and even the state prison guards’ union. The only vote that Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner couldn’t get for AB568 was the one that counted the most, from Gov. Jerry Brown. In his veto message Sunday, Brown said he was inclined at first to sign the bill, “because it certaintly seems inappropriate to shackle a pregnant woman unless absolutely necessary.” But AB568 goes too far, he said, “prohibiting not only shackling, but also the use of handcuffs or restraints of any kind except under ill-defined circumstances,” which “will only serve to sow confusion and invite lawsuits.”
Oakland police chief announces his resignation
Los Angeles Times-- Oakland Police Chief Anthony W. Batts, who clashed with Mayor Jean Quan and the City Council over staffing and resources amid a rise in violent crime, announced his resignation Tuesday in a letter to Police Department employees. Batts, who joined the department in 2009 after being recruited away from Long Beach by then-Mayor Ronald V. Dellums, did not say why he was leaving or what he planned to do next. In his resignation letter, the chief said he believed when taking the job that he was answering “the call for a reform-minded chief; a leader with a focus on community policing and high professional standards. “I was told Oakland residents were looking for a strong, visible leader to engage the community and reduce violent crime,” he said. “My goal was to help rebuild a once proud, professional department, geared toward crime reduction and community service.”
L.A.'s prison realignment opportunity
By Jonathan Shapiro, Los Angeles Times-- California's prisons are too full. Indeed, federal courts have found them to be illegally, unconstitutionally overcrowded and have repeatedly ordered the state to address the problem. But even if the courts had not done so, hard economic times and empty state coffers all but demand it. As the largest single consumer of state prison services, Los Angeles County has at least a moral obligation to help come up with solutions. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, about 54,000 offenders, or a third of all state prison inmates, are from Los Angeles County. Last year, about 19,000 offenders from the county were newly admitted to state prison.
Editorial: As prisoner numbers fall, don't enlarge jails
The Sacramento Bee-- Gov. Jerry Brown's bold plan to realign the criminal justice system is the most far-reaching policy initiative he has undertaken in his first 10 months in office, bar none. But if counties deal with it by simply expanding jail capacity, it will become a big, expensive flop. Sacramento County is a case in point. A seven-member Community Corrections Partnership committee faces a decision Thursday whether to reopen a 275-bed jail immediately, or focus on approaches to reduce existing jail population – to make way for offenders who used to be sentenced to state prison.
Viewpoints: Realignment dumps state's responsibility on local governments
By Jim Nielsen, The Sacramento Bee-- Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, a Republican from Gerber, represents the 2nd Assembly District, which includes Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama and Yolo counties. As the vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, I know firsthand that there are always tough choices when setting priorities during state budget negotiations, which lead to winners and losers. Especially during these challenging economic times, it is difficult for the Legislature to protect funding for every single government program or service. It's clear the priority of public safety was ignored when the governor and majority party passed their budget this year, making California families and their safety the biggest losers.
Dangerous criminals coming soon to north state
By Dan Logue, The Union of Grass Valley-- As your Chief Minority Whip in the State Assembly, public safety is one of my most important budget priorities. In my votes on the state budget and critical legislation that comes before me, I always stand alongside my Assembly Republican colleagues in voting to put the safety and security of our communities first, while fighting to give local law enforcement the tools they need to keep dangerous criminals locked up where they belong. Unfortunately, Sacramento liberals have different budget priorities. For them, fully funding local law enforcement and keeping intact our tough-on-crime public safety laws takes a back seat to more welfare and social programs.