Condemned Inmate Transfer Pilot Program

In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 66. As part of that ballot measure, the Penal Code was amended and now requires condemned inmates to work consistent with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) rules and regulations so that they can pay restitution to their victims.

The Condemned Inmate Transfer Pilot Program (CITPP) provides additional job placement opportunities for condemned inmates. CDCR adopted a two-year pilot program that will allow eligible condemned inmates at San Quentin State Prison to volunteer to transfer to one of the designated pilot program institutions consistent with their case factors and security level.  

Why is the CITPP being implemented as a pilot program?

The CITPP is being implemented as a pilot program to test and evaluate its overall effectiveness. CDCR researchers and institution administrators will conduct an ongoing evaluation of the pilot program. Some of the elements that will be assessed are CITPP inmates’ participation in programs and job assignments, increases in restitution payments from participating inmates, behavior, safety, and visiting. This ongoing assessment will inform CDCR’s decisions regarding the program in the future.

Can death row inmates be housed at any prison under the CITPP?

Condemned inmates can be transferred to a designated pilot program institution: California Correctional Institution, California Medical Facility, California State Prison-Corcoran, Centinela State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility, Salinas Valley State Prison and Central California Women’s Facility.

Why were these prisons chosen?

These locations have a mixture of higher Level III and IV security facilities and have lethal electrified fences. No participant will be housed in a location lower than Level III and they will be interspersed with other incarcerated people.

Can female condemned inmates participate?

Yes, eligible female condemned inmates may participate in the CITPP and can transfer to alternate housing units at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF). California Institution for Women and Folsom Women’s Facility are not options because they do not have lethal electrified fences and because the Penal Code still requires female condemned inmates be housed at CCWF.

Why should death row inmates be allowed to live in other prisons?

The CITPP will enable condemned inmates to have more work opportunities, which will enhance their ability to pay court-ordered restitution to victims’ families. Proposition 66 also increased the restitution deduction for condemned inmates from 50 to 70 percent. CITPP institutions will ensure appropriate withdrawals for restitution are made from participants’ trust accounts.

What jobs are condemned inmates eligible for?

Condemned inmates have limited opportunities to work. Under the CITPP, participants will be reviewed for work and program assignments and will be classified similar to people serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). Their job assignment eligibility will depend on these limitations and other case factors. LWOP inmates perform a variety of jobs throughout institutions, including maintenance and administrative duties, and participate in rehabilitative programs.

In addition, CITPP participants will be designated close custody. This status is reserved for inmates who require more intensive supervision but do not warrant placement in segregated housing. These inmates are counted more often during the day, and receive constant supervision during activities.

Are all condemned inmates eligible to participate in the CITPP?

All condemned inmates are eligible unless they have pending charges, have been found guilty of certain disciplinary offenses within the last five years, or if they are housed in certain restrictive housing units for disciplinary reasons. All eligible inmates will be carefully screened to determine whether they can safely participate in the program. Participation is voluntary and if they are approved, they will be subject to the same disciplinary process as all incarcerated people, up to and including being housed in an administrative segregation or security housing unit should it be determined they cannot be safely housed with others.

What is the process for placement in the CITPP?

Inmates will be asked if they want to participate at their annual Unit Classification Committee (UCC) hearing. If an inmate volunteers to participate CDCR staff will review their case factors to determine eligibility to include custody level, security, medical, psychiatric, and other program needs and consequently, their appropriate housing in a CITPP-designated institution. Other case factors that will be considered are behavior in prison, safety concerns, location to court proceedings, and notoriety. Eligible inmates will be then be referred to Institution Classification Committee (ICC) review for final determination. This is the same classification process CDCR employs at all inmates’ annual UCC reviews.

How many death row inmates will be transferred?

Because the program is voluntary, it is unknown at this time how many inmates will be interested in and approved for participating.

When will the first death row inmates be transferred?

CDCR provided written notice to the condemned population and recommended they consult with their appellate counsel if they choose to volunteer. CDCR is anticipating the pilot will begin implementation by the end of March 2020.

How can the public determine a condemned inmate has been transferred?

Any member of the public can always confirm an inmate’s location on the inmate locator at https://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov/. Victims of crime and their families can learn more about services CDCR provides, including restitution and victim notification services, by contacting the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services at https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/victim-services/ or by calling (877) 256-6877.

Can condemned inmates earn credits?

Pursuant to state law, participants are not eligible to receive credits.

Will CITPP participants be single-celled like they are on death row at SQ and CCWF?

CITPP participants will leave death row on single-cell status, but upon arrival at a CITPP-designated institution, they will be evaluated just like any other inmate to determine whether they can be safely housed with another person.

At San Quentin and CCWF, condemned inmates visit in a separate room. Will there be any changes or restrictions for visiting?

CITPP participants will participate in visiting pursuant to the procedures at their CITPP-designated institution. Contact visits are generally held in large group visiting rooms with correctional staff supervising, while non-contact are held with glass between the visitor and the inmate. Condemned inmates are prohibited from family overnight visiting.

Will CITPP participants have telephone privileges?

Telephone privileges for CITPP participants will be determined by using the same rules applicable to all inmates.

Will CITPP participants be able to work on their appeals?

CDCR will continue to provide condemned inmates at all CITPP institutions with meaningful access to the courts. They will continue to receive legal visits and consultations from their appellate counsel and access to the law library through Priority Legal User status. Priority Legal User status is granted to inmates with active court cases and means they will receive a higher priority for access to prison law library resources than other inmates as required by state law.

What happens after the two-year pilot is over?

The CITPP is a two-year pilot effective Jan. 29, 2020. It will lapse by operation of law if regulations have not been formally promulgated through the Administrative Procedure Act which provides for public participation in the rulemaking process.

How many people are on California’s death row?

An updated list of condemned inmates can be found at https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/capital-punishment/condemned-inmate-list-secure-request/ .