News Releases

Wasco State Prison Investigating the Death of an Inmate as a Homicide

WASCO – Officials at Wasco State Prison are investigating the July 8, 2020, death of 33-year-old inmate Jose Mendoza as a homicide.

Yesterday at 7:43 p.m., correctional officers responded when inmates Jose Carrera, 23, and Erik Sabaiz, 24, battered Mendoza with their fists. Mendoza fell to the ground during the incident, hitting his head. Other staff immediately responded as Carrera and Sabaiz moved away. Mendoza lost consciousness and required CPR. Responding medical staff arrived, attempted life-saving measures, but Mendoza succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at 8:24 p.m.

The Kern County District Attorney’s Office is investigating this incident with assistance from Wasco State Prison’s Investigative Services Unit.

Mendoza was admitted from Los Angeles County on Feb. 5, 2020. He was serving a one-year, four-month sentence for possessing/owning a firearm by a felon or addict.

Sabaiz was received from Los Angeles County on Jan. 9, 2020. He was sentenced to four years for corporal injury on specific persons resulting in a traumatic condition as a second striker.

Carrera was received from Los Angeles County on Oct. 30, 2019. He was sentenced to four years for assault with a deadly weapon as a second striker.

The primary mission of Wasco State Prison is to provide short-term housing necessary to process, classify and evaluate new inmates physically and mentally, to determine their security level, program requirements, and appropriate institutional placement. A 1,000-bed medium-custody facility houses general population inmates to help support and maintain the reception center. A minimum-custody facility provides institutional maintenance and landscaping services. The prison was activated in 1991 and houses 2,606 inmates and employs approximately 1,500 people.

Contact: CDCR Press Office, (916) 445-4590