Parolee Who Died of an Overdose in Ukiah Homeless Encampment Released from Prison Three Months Early Due to COVID-19

[Crop of a stock photo collage from the CDC's page on how to locate a prison inmate]

[Crop of a stock photo collage from the CDC’s page on how to locate a prison inmate]

Two days ago, a 34-year-old male parolee released from Soledad State Prison on August 5 was found in medical distress by California Highway Patrol and Caltrans personnel near Ukiah’s Talmage 101 on-ramp. The man passed away despite life-saving measures. Izen Locatelli, Mendocino County’s Chief Probation Officer, has confirmed that the parolee was released from prison early due to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s early release program. 

As COVID-19 cases have increased within state prisons, the CDCR stated the goal of the early release program is “ensuring the health of our incarcerated population and staff” and commits the plan to “be done in a way that aligns both public health and public safety.”

Homesless encampment where the former inmate was located.

Homeless encampment where the former inmate was located. [Photo by Matt LaFever was taken a day before the man was found in distress]

Locatelli sees the parolee’s death as demonstrative of the State’s obligation to provide support structures to these released inmates. “The State says they don’t want to contribute to the homeless problem, but without direct services, he inevitably ended up on the street without support,” Locatelli said. He fears as prisoners are released, county services will become overwhelmed.

Locatelli said yesterday’s parolee’s death reveals that what officials say “at a very high level versus what happens on the ground is not the same.”

Locatelli explained that the 34-year-old man was not going to be released until November, but because of COVID-19 cases within Soledad State Prison, he was out early.

As to how the parolee ended up in Ukiah, the most likely scenario was the man was released from Soledad State Prison on August 5 and given a bus ticket to the county of his original offense, Locatelli theorized.

Locatelli delineated that the parolee was released under the supervision of California State Parole versus county-led Post-Release Community Supervision. Individuals are released to state parole when the current offense is “deemed violent or serious according to penal code,” Locatelli explained.

According to Locatelli, if the parolee was released under the supervision of PRCS, the county would have provided him transitional housing and required the parolee to quarantine. He explained that state parole’s support structures do not exist yet but aim to fund“sober living environments for parolees.”

Ultimately, Locatelli feels that Governor Newsom’s rush to release prisoners to decrease COVID-19 cases “has outpaced the planning to support them.” He sees the State now trying to “catch up and get contracts in place.” His greatest concern is “rural communities will suffer more as we have less staff and community-based organizations.”

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24 comments

  • “After Being Released Early from Prison, Homeless Man Dies of Overdose” as suggested change to title.
    Current title sounds like he died and then overdosed.
    (I know you’re tired, it’s Sunday!)

  • Govts know how to set refugee camps, tent hospitals, etc. Although far from ideal, at least a manageable infrastructure is created& maintained. I can’t understand why they don’t do this with the homeless. I saw the Govnr saying that the one thing that costs the most money is doing nothing. We were watching a documentary on a Syrian refugee camp, & it was huge, and well run, clean, -more than 5 years old- in an open desert, baking in the sun. But like a dream compared to what our American homeless have to deal with… Now , with imminent evictions on the horizon, we will need organized camps more than ever…. And the 8000 released prisoners? Whew…

    • You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Or in the case of the homeless, you can offer services but you can’t make them stop taking drugs, drinking and fighting, burning down tents, pilfering from the neighborhood and each other, vandalizing their surroundings, or polluting/trashing their own and every one else’s environment or stay in treatment for mental health problems. Or even make different choices than the ones that got them homeless. Mostly you can’t even make them show up. Not if you insist it’s all someone other than themselves that got them there.

      A refugee is mostly in a camp because some one else made hard for them to be elsewhere. Not that they chose to avoid responsibility for themselves. The critical difference.

    • Organized camps, isn’t that going to put them at the risk of getting covid also? Might as well keep them where they belong, in prison.

  • Where is cal fire, cal fish and game, the national guard, and everyone else related to fees and fines? That looks worse more than all other photos provided at marijuana busts. Let’s see those fines $$!

  • City of Ukiah wanted to set up a Homeless Encampment at the beginning of the “P(L)andemic”at Mendocino County Fairgrounds. For some reason, Carmel Angelo the Mendo County CEO was adamantly against the proposal. So Ukiah in return allowed the Encampment at the end of the airport runway until 2 months ago when the homeless were evicted. The County should have provided a safe place for these people as well as at the sametime providing safety for the residents. Bathrooms, showers, homeless resources…. are these basics too much to ask of Mendocino County…. and there are a whole bunch of families getting ready to be out on the streets very soon so get ready, cause when the Stimulus and benefits run out; we will be seeing entire families on the streets and tent cities, people you know will be homeless when this whole lockdown and homogenization is complete. Laugh about the homeless plight today, tomorrow it will be you or your loved one Bah bah bah sheeple

    • Ukiah is a toilet due to the abundance of homeless with multiple issues (mental health, drug abuse, criminal activity). The co-dependency of the community makes it even worse. Finally something I agree with Carmel Angelo on

  • To let people out of prison with no support system in place seems to me to be criminal.

    • Don’t people usually go to a halfway house before they’re released? Are they waiving that too? As I understand it, a halfway house can help people get established, find work and so on, but I guess with the virus all that’s a pipe dream anyway….what a mess.

  • This is newsomes prison reform. Let em out and hope for the best.

  • Country Bumpkin

    Does this count as a “covid death”

  • Let’s be clear, like ALL of us in #CDCR, we’d much rather be homeless and free than in prison. Don’t use his death as an excuse to slow things down in here. Use it as an excuse to speed things up out there. Stop whining and crying “NIMBY” and open your motels and hotels to ALL during the pandemic. It will take us awhile, but we’ll adjust. In no time at all, we’ll be cleaned up and using actual silverware.

  • HOJ in Training

    Hold on, folks.
    You seem to be missing the obvious.

    Why was Matt taking pictures of the encampment the day BEFORE the ex-prisoner was in distress?

    You have just crossed over into another dimension…..

  • Well while everyone is focused on Covid perhaps that’s not the reason they are letting the prisoners out. It’s expensive to keep & feed them.

    Maybe CA. is running out of money. Could this be the reason Nancy wants a pension bailout in the covid package so bad??

    Meanwhile….
    California’s Public Pension CIO Ben Meng Resigns
    By Mairead McArdle

    August 6, 2020 12:24 PM

    Yu Ben Meng, the chief investment officer of California’s public pension, resigned Thursday after less than two years in the position, during which he came under heavy scrutiny for his ties to China and several investment decisions.

    Meng resigned effective Wednesday, citing a desire to focus on his health and family, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) said in a statement Thursday.

    Since becoming CIO of the nation’s largest public pension fund in January of last year, Meng has come under fire from board members of the $371 billion pension fund for failing to seek approval for his decision to sell off three hedge funds just before the March market crash that was catlayzed by the coronavirus pandemic. The sell off prevented the pension fund from cashing in on a payday of potentially upwards of $1 billion.

    Meng has also come under scrutiny for his alleged ties to China’s Communist Party. He was deputy CIO for China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange before serving as CIO for California’s pension fund.

    In 2017, Meng expressed a willingness to serve Chinese interests, saying in an interview with one of China’s state-sponsored newspapers that, “in human life, if there is an opportunity to serve the motherland, such responsibility and honor cannot be compared to anything.”

    Representative Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican, has repeatedly called out Meng for what the congressman says is his “long and cozy relationship with China.”

    In a February letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, Banks called for an investigation into Meng, saying he was recruited to his position as chief investment officer by the Chinese Communist Party as part of the Thousand Talents Program, which the FBI has labeled “non-traditional espionage” against the U.S.

    California’s pension fund invested $3.1 billion in Chinese companies, some of which have been blacklisted by the U.S. or have ties to China’s military, Banks said.

    “What is unusual is that many of these companies are companies that we’ve blacklisted, that make Chinese military equipment or are responsible for technologies like Hikvision, which is the equipment that’s used by the Chinese for surveillance on the Uighur Muslim population that they’ve been abusing in their own country,” Banks wrote.

    It is unclear, however, whether Meng’s resignation is related to his China ties.

    more
    https://www.nationalreview.com/news/californias-public-pension-cio-ben-meng-resigns/

    OK that’s the money, here’s the food….

    COVID-19 Strike Teams Shut Down Farms – FoodWars Go Hot – Beirut, Aus, China Shortages

    by Ice Age Farmer | Aug 6, 2020 | Podcast | 0 comments

    The global food supply is being destroyed, production dismantled, and farmers put out of business: California is sending in “COVID-19 Strike Teams” to shut down farms that are not “properly distanced.” China bans cellphones in granaries. Australian food shortages. Beirut loses main port and grain stores. Middle East food production & distribution is on fire. Christian breaks down the latest as the #FoodWars go hot.

    http://www.iceagefarmer.com/2020/08/06/covid-19-strike-teams-shut-down-farms-foodwars-go-hot-beirut-aus-china-shortages/

    and a map of shortages….

    Ice Age Farmer:

    Crop Loss Map Modern agriculture is at risk due to cyclical changes in our sun’s output that drive climate change on our planet.

    This page tracks crop losses to the Grand Solar Minimum: hail, storms, flooding, drought, early/late frosts…

    http://iceagefarmer.com/map/

  • Ullr Rover,

    I recall a time when protests were inclined to want to stop the 2020/30 agenda.
    Including the owl parties at the Russian River.

    But then I recall Bill Wattenberg on KGO Radio talking about what a sham CalPERS is too.

    Early life

    Born and raised in Greenville, California, in rural Plumas County, Wattenburg grew up working with his father in the logging business.[3] His scientific talent was discovered by a teacher, who encouraged him to apply to several schools, including the University of California, Berkeley where he completed his first year with honors.[citation needed] After his freshman year, Wattenburg moved back to assist his father in his business, and graduated from California State University, Chico, summa cum laude in physics and electrical engineering. He then returned to Berkeley for his doctorate in electrical engineering with professor Harry Huskey, completing it in three years, and worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and as a professor at Berkeley until 1970.[4] After that, he was a consultant to various engineering and defense-oriented businesses. He remained a consultant to the Livermore Laboratory until his death.[4]
    Engineering and more
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Wattenburg

    He passed away at the age of 82

  • There are a lot of expensive bikes in the picture. There is an assumption that this individual would have accepted housing if it was in a place where he couldn’t use drugs. I don’t know if it’s a good use of taxpayer money to have someone in a hotel likely using drugs and stealing to support the drug habit. Also if he was just released then he recently relapsed. While tragic he was sober for long enough to reflect on his life and past and decided yeah I want some more chiva. His death is very sad but what happens to the kid whose bike was stolen. One of the bikes in the picture is a childs bmx bike. My bike was stolen when I was little to support a meth users habit at the time I wished that person would die of an overdose.

  • Please see Kevin Devin on Facebook! He has info that can help get insight in to ACTUAL safe prison reform!

  • I’m glad they release dead people. It must smell in there if they keep them in prison.

  • Life Implies Death

    Life implies death. Why is your response that his death is tragic or sad? Death is just as important as being born. Maybe he was done and it was not accidental but he was ready to step over to the next chapter. Why is death so frowned upon. Why is it sad that a person overdoses if that’s what they intend or did not intend to do?

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