News Releases

Inmate Death at Valley State Prison Being Investigated As A Possible Homicide

CHOWCHILLA — Officials at Valley State Prison (VSP) are investigating the death of an inmate as a possible homicide.

On Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, at approximately 9:10 a.m., inmate Efrain Rodriguez, 44, was found unresponsive in a dormitory. Life-saving measures were initiated and an ambulance was called to the scene, but Rodriguez was pronounced dead at 9:45 a.m.

Rodriguez was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from Los Angeles County on June 26, 2015, and was serving a two-year, eight-month sentence for second-degree burglary and possession of a controlled substance. 

The incident is being investigated by VSP’s Investigative Services Unit. The eight-man dormitory has been sealed as a crime scene and the inmates housed there at the time have been transferred to the Administrative Segregation Unit pending the investigation. The Madera County District Attorney’s Office, Madera County Coroner’s Office and CDCR Special Service Unit are assisting with the investigation. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

No staff members were injured as a result of this incident.

VSP was established in 1995 and functions as a Level II, General Population institution housing inmates requiring Sensitive Needs Yard placement. VSP also houses inmates who are assigned to the Enhanced Outpatient Program for inmates requiring a more enhanced treatment plan with mental health staff. The prison houses approximately 3,500 inmates and employs nearly 1,100 people.

CONTACT: Lt. Ronald Ladd
(559) 665-6100 ext. 5509