Valley State Prison for Women

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Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW)
VSPW 24th Avenue Chowchilla California sign Oct 2004.JPG
LocationChowchilla, California
Coordinates37°06′18″N 120°09′18″W / 37.1050°N 120.1550°W / 37.1050; -120.1550Coordinates: 37°06′18″N 120°09′18″W / 37.1050°N 120.1550°W / 37.1050; -120.1550
StatusOperational
Security classMinimum-maximum
Capacity1,980
Population2,432 (122.8%) (as of 31 March 2012[1])
OpenedApril 1995
Managed byCalifornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
WardenWalter Miller, Warden (A)
 
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Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW)
VSPW 24th Avenue Chowchilla California sign Oct 2004.JPG
LocationChowchilla, California
Coordinates37°06′18″N 120°09′18″W / 37.1050°N 120.1550°W / 37.1050; -120.1550Coordinates: 37°06′18″N 120°09′18″W / 37.1050°N 120.1550°W / 37.1050; -120.1550
StatusOperational
Security classMinimum-maximum
Capacity1,980
Population2,432 (122.8%) (as of 31 March 2012[1])
OpenedApril 1995
Managed byCalifornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
WardenWalter Miller, Warden (A)

Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) is a state prison for women in Chowchilla, California.[2] It is across the road from Central California Women's Facility.

Contents

Facilities

VSPW covers approximately 640 acres (260 ha). As of September 28, 2010, VSPW had a total of 1,222 staff and an annual operating budget of $129.3 million.[3] As of March 2012, it had a design capacity of 1,980 but a total institution population of 2,431.[1]

VSPW holds prisoners at almost all security levels:[4]

The mission of VSPW is multi-fold. VSPW functions as a Reception Center (RC) and as a General Population institution providing education and vocational opportunities for inmates. For inmates requiring a higher level of management care, VSPW has an Administrative Housing Unit (ASU) and Security Housing Unit (SHU). VSPW is also designed as the hub facility for female inmates with mobility impairments, and the ASU and SHU serves as a hub for housing inmates in the Mental Health Services Delivery System (MHSDS) at the Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP) level of care. VSPW also houses pregnant inmates.[3][5]

The Chowchilla Family Express provides transportation for family members from major California cities to visit prisoners at the facility.[6]

History

The prison opened in April 1995.[4] In 1996, the City of Chowchilla was given permission to perform a non-contiguous annexation of VSPW.[7]

Ted Koppel interviewed many staff, including Dr. Anthony DiDomenico, the chief medical officer of VSPW, in October 1999 for series of episodes of Nightline.[8] In the expose, the physician was quoted as saying "I've heard [from a particular female parolee, at CDCR-approved conference] inmates tell me that they would deliberately like to be examined [i.e., receive a pelvic examination ]. It's the only male contact they get."[8] After the airing of the Nightline episode, only DiDomenico was reassigned "to a desk job in Sacramento" for his description.[8][9]

An October 2000 California state legislative committee hearing on female inmates' medical issues was held at VSPW.[10] At the hearing, approximately 15 inmates "described grave medical problems" at VSPW and Central California Women's Facility; however, the physician representing the California Department of Corrections stated that she felt the female inmates "were getting the best care possible."[10]

Starting in April 2007, VSPW received some inmates from California Rehabilitation Center after closure of the women's wing at that prison.[11] The population at VSPW "swelled by 8 percent"; furthermore, "the court-appointed overseer of prison medical care" stated that VSPW's medical system might "collapse entirely" due to the extra prisoners.[11]

Inmate programs

Budget cuts in 2009 "drastically reduced the number of academic, vocational, and SAP assignments" (p. 3).[3] The rate of recidivism at VSPW is approximately 72%.[5] There are numerous Self-Help programs for inmates ranging from 12-step inmate facilitated groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous, Battered Women, Domestic Violence, and Narcotics Anonymous.[12]

In addition to inmate facilitated Self Help programs, outside volunteer groups also conduct classes and workshops, some of which have been featured in national and international media. Crossroads allow at-risk youth to visit VSPW facilities and hear from volunteer inmates about life in prison. This program was featured in an episode on Arts and Entertainment Television Network called "Beyond Scared Straight".[13] Freedom to Choose is an all volunteer service project of the University of Santa Monica [14] that has been teaching decriminogenic [15] life skills and forgiveness workshops at VSPW twice a year since March 2004,[16] and was featured in a documentary that was awarded Best Documentary at the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase, American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.[citation needed]

Notable inmates

References

  1. ^ a b Offender Information Services Branch (3 April 2012). Monthly Report of Population. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. p. 2. http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Reports_Research/Offender_Information_Services_Branch/Monthly/Tpop1a/TPOP1Ad1203.PDF. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Chowchilla city, California." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 10, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) (2011). "Institution Statistics". CDCR, State of California. http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Facilities_Locator/VSPW-Institution_Stats.html. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. California's Correctional Facilities. Accessed 22 Dec 2007.
  5. ^ a b Madera County Board of Supervisors, Madera County, California. (2010). 2009-2010 Madera County Grand Jury Final Report Valley State Prison for Women. Retrieved from http://www.maderagrandjury.org/.../2009.../09-10-Final-Valley-State-Prison-Women.pdf February 4, 2011
  6. ^ "Home." Chowchilla Family Express. Retrieved on May 25, 2010.
  7. ^ City of Chowchilla. General Plan Update, Introduction and Preface. Discussion draft, July 20, 2005.
  8. ^ a b c Delsohn, Gary. Prison Doctor Loses Post Over TV Comment. He Told Newsman Women Inmates Like Pelvic Exams. Sacramento Bee, October 15, 1999.
  9. ^ Bentley, Rick. Series Exposes the Untold Women's Prison Experience. Fresno Bee, October 29, 1999.
  10. ^ a b Davis, Jim. Chowchilla Inmates Criticize Health Care. One Legislator Says the Women's Testimony 'Curdled My Stomach.' Fresno Bee, October 12, 2000.
  11. ^ a b Schultz, E.J. Female inmates: Jammed behind bars? Chowchilla lockups are at more than double their capacity, provoking health concerns. Sacramento Bee, July 9, 2007.
  12. ^ Retrieved from http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Facilities_Locator/VSPW-Inmate_Programs.html February 4, 2011
  13. ^ Retrieved from http://www.aetv.com/beyond-scared-straight/video/?bcpid=712622001001&bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAEK2ejU~,Ai-tVL3JZg3cmQssKh7zIRS8x7AigKgd&bclid=713919091001&bctid=714612029001
  14. ^ http://www.universityofsantamonica.edu
  15. ^ Gendreau P., French S.A., and A. Taylor (2002). What works (What doesn’t work) Revised 2002. Invited Submission to the International Community Corrections Association Monograph Series Project.
  16. ^ Retrieved from http://www.freedomtochoosefoundation.org on February 4, 2011
  17. ^ "KEY Assignment: Javier Angel Murder". KEYT. Jul 11, 2011. http://www.keyt.com/news/local/KEY-Assignment-Angel-Murder-125395783.html. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "KEY Assignment: Parole Denied for Julia Diaz". KEYT. Jul 14, 2011. http://www.keyt.com/news/local/KEY-Assignment-UPDATE-on-Julian-Angel-Murder-125617723.html. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  19. ^ Geringer, Joseph. "Guilty as Sin." Diane Downs: Her Children Got in the Way of Her Love. Crime Library. Retrieved on November 14, 2010.

External links