Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez

Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez

A bill proposed by Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez that would require the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to conduct security inspections and audits of prisons every four years never made it out of committee.

The bill, AB 675, was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee because of cost concerns from the Department, said Sean Connelly, capitol director for the assemblyman, who represents Chino in the 52nd assembly district.

Mr. Connelly said the bill is unable to be moved for the rest of the current legislative session, but the assemblyman will consider trying again after meeting with the community.

Department press secretary Vicky Waters said the agency did not oppose the bill nor take a position on it.

The Department provided a fiscal impact analysis, as does any department or agency that may be impacted by senate or assembly bills, she said.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee did not move it forward because an analysis determined it would cost in the hundreds of thousands to low millions to implement the security audits, as opposed to the Department’s existing process of performing security audits.

The bill would also require the Department to provide a timeline of remedy for each deficiency.

Annual costs to the Office of Inspector General, which would coordinate the inspections and audits, were estimated at $1.2 million for nine new staff positions, according to the analysis.

Inmate escape

Mr. Rodriguez proposed the bill after the escape of an inmate in January 2018 from the California Institution for Men in Chino and agencies from the Chino Valley urged the assemblyman to address the issue.

The bill was also supported by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

The inmate stole a car from a security guard at NFI Industries just south of the prison, led officers on a pursuit in Chino Hills, crashed near the Chino Hills State Park, and got as far as Encinitas before he was captured.

Prison warden Dean Borders told residents at a recent citizens advisory committee that improvements have been made to the fence, including the addition of razor wire, motion detectors, and rocks placed around the perimeter that would impede inmates once they landed on them.

In addition, a 24-hour patrol unit has been added.

Mr. Borders said new LED lights were installed at a cost of $170,000, making the area look as bright as day during the night.

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