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California State Prison, Corcoran
|Population||3,719 (119.4% capacity) (as of April 30, 2020)|
|Managed by||California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation|
California State Prison, Corcoran (COR) is a male-only state prison located in the city of Corcoran, in Kings County, California. It is also known as Corcoran State Prison, CSP-C, CSP-COR, CSP-Corcoran, and Corcoran I. The facility is just north of the newer California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran (Corcoran II).
As of Fiscal Year 2002/2003, COR had a total of 1,703 staff and an annual institutional budget of US$115 million. As of April 30, 2020, COR was incarcerating people at 119.4% of its design capacity, with 3,719 occupants.
- Individual cells, fenced perimeters and armed coverage
- Level IV housing: Cells, fenced or walled perimeters, electronic security, more staff and armed officers both inside and outside the installation
- Security Housing Units, "the most secure area[s] within a Level IV prison designed to provide maximum coverage".
- The Protective Housing Unit & Death Row which holds up to 47 prisoners who require "extraordinary protection from other prisoners". The unit houses inmates whose safety would be endangered by general population housing. The Protective Housing Unit has been described as "strikingly calm" because inmates "don't want to be moved somewhere less guarded". One violent incident occurred in March 1999 when three inmates attacked inmate Juan Corona, inflicting minor injuries, and smashed Charles Manson's guitar. Three other Protective Housing Unit inmates suffered minor injuries.
- Acute care hospital
- Prison Industry Authority
In March 1993, at Corcoran, prisoner Wayne Jerome Robertson raped Eddie Dillard, a prisoner about half his size, after the latter was reassigned to his cell. Robertson, who had the nickname "Booty Bandit", testified in 1999 that prison guards set up the attack. Dillard testified in the same trial. After Robertson was assigned to general population at Pelican Bay State Prison, California state senator Tom Hayden stated "It is almost certain that he would be targeted for death."
A front-page article by Mark Arax in the August 1996 Los Angeles Times claimed that COR was "the most troubled of the 32 state prisons". At the time, COR officers had shot and killed more inmates "than any prison in the country" in COR's eight years of existence. Seven inmates had been killed, and 50 others seriously wounded. Based on interviews and documents, Arax concluded that many shootings of prisoners were "not justified" and that in some cases "the wrong inmate was killed by mistake". Furthermore, the article alleged that "officers ... and their supervisors staged fights between inmates" during "gladiator days". In November 1996, CBS Evening News broadcast "video footage of an inmate fatally shot by guards" at COR in 1994; this death "spawned a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of alleged inmate abuses by guards".
A March 1997 episode of the CBS News 60 Minutes discussed the 1994 death, "the alleged cover-up and the alarming number of shootings at the prison". The California Department of Corrections issued the results of its own investigation in November 1997, which found "isolated incidents of staff misconduct" but no "'widespread staff conspiracy' to abuse prisoners".
A film titled Maximum Security University, which used prison surveillance tapes showing four 1989–1993 fights "end[ing] when a guard fatally shoots a combatant", was released in February 1998. That month, eight California correctional officers and supervisors were indicted "on federal criminal civil rights charges in connection with inmate fights that occurred at Corcoran State Prison in 1994". After a trial, the eight men were "acquitted of all charges" in June 2000.
As of 1999 California had paid out several large prison brutality settlements for incidents at Corcoran, including $2.2 million to inmate Vincent Tulumis paralyzed for life in a May 1993 shooting, and $825,000 for the killing of Preston Tate in April 1994.
In July of 2013, many inmates at COR participated in a state-wide hunger strike protesting the use of solitary confinement. Billy Michael Sell, an inmate in COR who had been participating in the hunger strike, committed suicide by hanging himself while in a Security Housing Unit (SHU). He had been protesting from July 8 to July 21. Sell's death caused significant controversy, as inmate advocates reported that fellow prisoners had heard Sell asking for medical attention for several days before his eventual suicide. His suicide triggered reviews of the circumstances behind his death at the local, state, and federal level; with Amnesty International calling for an independent inquiry into his death, one without ties to the government.
The prison's most infamous inmates include:
- Rodney Alcala — the "dating game killer." Sentenced to death in 1980, 1986, and 2010.
- Scott Dyleski — Sentenced to 25 years to life for a murder committed at age 16.
- Dana Ewell — a convicted triple murderer, he ordered the murders of his family in 1992. Serving three life sentences and has exhausted his appeals. In protective custody. 
- Phillip Garrido — who kidnapped Jaycee Dugard in 1991. He is serving 431 years to life.
- Mikhail Markhasev — convicted murderer of Ennis Cosby, son of entertainer Bill Cosby. In 1998, he received a sentence of life without parole, plus 10 years.
- John Floyd Thomas, Jr. — serial rapist and killer
- David Turpin — Sentenced to 25 years to life for holding captive and torturing 12 of his 13 children.
- Juan Corona — murdered twenty-five people in 1971. He was transferred to COR from the Correctional Training Facility in 1992. On March 4, 2019, Corona died from natural causes.
- John Albert Gardner III — convicted of the murders of Chelsea King (2010) and Amber Dubois (2009).
- Charles Manson — leader of the Manson family. Transferred from San Quentin State Prison to COR in March 1989. In April 2012, Manson was again denied parole, and was not to be eligible again until 2027. On November 12, 2017, Manson was taken to a Bakersfield hospital on for an unspecified illness. On November 29, 2017, Manson died at the hospital.
- Joe "Pegleg" Morgan — infamous member of the Mexican Mafia. He was at Pelican Bay State Prison prior to being hospitalized at COR from October 1993 until his death in November 1993.
- Yenok Ordoyan — Armenian surgeon who was convicted of welfare fraud. He earned the moniker the "King of Welfare", and was released February 21, 2000.
- Sirhan Sirhan — convicted assassin of United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He was transferred to COR from the Correctional Training Facility in 1992 and lived in COR's Protective Housing Unit until he was moved to a harsher lockdown at COR in 2003. He was denied parole in March 2006, and in March 2011. He was moved to Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga as of October 29, 2009. He was subsequently moved back to COR, and, on November 22, 2013, was transferred to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County.
- Joseph Son — South Korean mixed martial arts fighter, manager, and actor. Currently serving life without the possibility of parole for rape and torture. Was transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison in October 2014.
- "California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Monthly Report of Population As of Midnight April 30, 2020" (PDF). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Internal Oversight and Research. April 30, 2020. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 3, 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
- California State Prison, Corcoran (CSP-COR) (2009). "Mission Statement". California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
- Office of the Governor, State of California. Jerry Brown Announces Appointments 08/24/07 Archived 2011-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- City of Corcoran, California. About Corcoran Archived 2007-12-15 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 11 Dec 2007.
- Curtis, Kim. Even in prison Jackson would be 'star'. Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), June 13, 2005.
- "Inmates attack mass murderer Juan Corona, smash Manson's guitar". The Daily Sentinel. Pomeroy and Middleport, Ohio. March 16, 1999. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- Broder, John M. Spun and Unspun Tales of a California Cotton King Archived 2009-01-21 at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times, January 8, 2004.
- Good, Bob. First Inmates Arrive at Corcoran Prison. Fresno Bee, February 23, 1988.
- Diaz, Sam. Corcoran Prison Opens Hospital Doors. It's Like Most Facilities, Except for the Armed Guards, Security Cameras and Grill Gates. The Fresno Bee, October 28, 1993.
- Arax, Mark. "Corcoran Inmate Tells Jury Guards Set Up Rape." Los Angeles Times. October 19, 1999. Retrieved on February 2, 2016.
- Arax, Mark. "Tearful Victim Testifies on Prison Rape." Los Angeles Times. October 20, 1999. Retrieved on February 24, 2016.
- Podger, Pamela J. "Corcoran Rapist Marked for Death at Pelican Bay, Tom Hayden Says / Inmate allegedly was told to attack by prison guards." San Francisco Chronicle. Tuesday August 20, 1998. Retrieved on February 24, 2016.
- Arax, Mark. Tales of Brutality Behind Bars; Five officers claim staging of "gladiator days," other abuses at Corcoran State Prison. FBI is investigating facility, which has most killings of inmates in U.S. Los Angeles Times, August 21, 1996.
- Podger, Pamela J. Video of Fatal Prison Shooting at Corcoran Stirs Controversy. The Fresno Bee, November 20, 1996.
- "60 Minutes" Spotlights Corcoran. "Deadliest Prison" Segment Will Lead Off Sunday's Broadcast. Fresno Bee, March 29, 1997.
- Holding, Reynolds. State Corrections Dept. Clears Itself in Probe of Corcoran Prison. The San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 1997.
- A Film Aims to Expose Prison Deaths. Private Investigator Hopes Corcoran Footage Stirs Debate, Reform. Fresno Bee, February 16, 1998.
- United States Department of Justice. Eight Officers Indicted for Civil Rights Violations at Corcoran State Prison in California. February 26, 1998.
- Bier, Jerry, et al. All 8 Corcoran Guards Acquitted. Applause Rocks the Courtroom After the Verdicts. Fresno Bee, June 10, 2000.
- Primetime mailing list. New Year's Day Programming on America's Newschannel MSNBC. The Mail Archive, January 1, 2003.
- MSNBC - "Lockup: Return to Corcoran" on TV tonight (01/07/06) (discussion thread).
- "Why 30,000 California Prisoners Are On Hunger Strike [INFOGRAPHIC]". Human Rights Now. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
- "Searching for the Truth About California's Prison Hunger Strike". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
- "'Affront to human rights': Amnesty International weighs in on California prisons hunger strike - NBC News". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
- "'Affront to human rights': Amnesty International weighs in on California prisons hunger strike - NBC News". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
- Mullane, Holly Kernan, Martina Castro, Nancy. "A look inside the Security Housing Units in California state prisons". Retrieved 2017-11-28.
- Swinton, Nate. Appealing to God. The Santa Clara, May 23, 2002.
- Siemaszko, Corky. Scott's Fate Still in Limbo Archived 2009-01-22 at the Wayback Machine. New York Daily News, December 11, 2004.
- Berry, Steve. Cosby’s Killer Gets Life in Prison. Los Angeles Times, August 12, 1998
- "Jake Turpin family".
- Juan Corona denied parole for 2nd time. San Diego Union, June 24, 1987.
- Grossi, Mark. Corcoran Prison Home to Who's-Who of Killers. The List of Infamous Murderers at the State Facility has Grown This Week to Include Sirhan Sirhan and Juan Corona. The Fresno Bee, June 5, 1992.
- Lopez, Pablo. Charles Manson Transferred to Corcoran Prison. Fresno Bee, March 16, 1989.
- "Charles Manson Quickly Denied Parole". LA Times. April 11, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
- Katz, Jesse. Reputed Mexican Mafia Leader Dies in Prison at 64. Los Angeles Times, November 10, 1993.
- Wilstein, Steve. Sirhan denied parole for 10th time in RFK killing. Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), May 24, 1989.
- Barbassa, Juliana. Robert Kennedy killer denied parole. Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), March 16, 2006.
- Deutsch, Linda. Robert F. Kennedy's killer is moved to new site. Associated Press, November 2, 2009.
- Monica Garske, RFK killer Sirhan Sirhan moved to another prison — on anniversary of JFK assassination, NBCNews.com (November 22, 2013). Retrieved on November 23, 2013.
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