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.
The Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review was notified.
WSP-RC’s primary mission is to provide short-term housing while new inmates are processed to classify and evaluate new inmates, physically and mentally, and to determine their security level, program requirements and appropriate institutional placement. WSP-RC, which was opened in February 1991, houses approximately 5,800 inmates and employs approximately 1,700 people.