California State Prison, Corcoran

Coordinates: 36°03′36″N 119°32′56″W / 36.060°N 119.549°W / 36.060; -119.549
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California State Prison, Corcoran (CSP-COR)
LocationCorcoran, California
Coordinates36°03′36″N 119°32′56″W / 36.060°N 119.549°W / 36.060; -119.549
Security classMinimum–maximum
Population3,445 (115.6% capacity) (as of January 31, 2023[1])
OpenedFebruary 1988
Managed byCalifornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
WardenKen Clark

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).[2][3][4]


As of Fiscal Year 2002/2003, COR had a total of 1,703 staff and an annual institutional budget of US$115 million.[2] As of April 30, 2020, COR was incarcerating people at 119.4% of its design capacity, with 3,719 occupants.[5]

  • 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".[6] 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.[7]
  • Acute care hospital
  • Prison Industry Authority


Built on what was once Tulare Lake, home to the Yokuts Native American people, the facility opened in 1988.[8][9] The prison hospital was dedicated in October 1993.[10]

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.[11] Dillard testified in the same trial.[12] 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."[13]

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".[14] 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".[14] Furthermore, the article alleged that "officers ... and their supervisors staged fights between inmates" during "gladiator days".[14] 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".[15]

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".[16] 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".[17]

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.[18] 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".[19] After a trial, the eight men were "acquitted of all charges" in June 2000.[20]

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.[21]

Subsequently, COR has been featured in at least two episodes of MSNBC's Lockup series: "Inside Corcoran" (first aired as early as 2003)[22] and "Return to Corcoran" (first aired in 2005).[23]

In July 2013, many inmates at COR participated in a state-wide hunger strike protesting the use of solitary confinement.[24] 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).[25] 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.[26] 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.[27][28]

Notable inmates (current and former)[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Monthly Report of Population As of Midnight January 31, 2023" (PDF). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Internal Oversight and Research. January 31, 2023. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ Office of the Governor, State of California. Jerry Brown Announces Appointments 08/24/07 Archived 2011-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ City of Corcoran, California. About Corcoran Archived 2007-12-15 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 11 Dec 2007.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ a b c Curtis, Kim. Even in prison Jackson would be 'star'. Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), June 13, 2005.
  7. ^ "Inmates attack mass murderer Juan Corona, smash Manson's guitar". The Daily Sentinel. Pomeroy and Middleport, Ohio. March 16, 1999. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Good, Bob. First Inmates Arrive at Corcoran Prison. Fresno Bee, February 23, 1988.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Arax, Mark. "Corcoran Inmate Tells Jury Guards Set Up Rape." Los Angeles Times. October 19, 1999. Retrieved on February 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Arax, Mark. "Tearful Victim Testifies on Prison Rape." Los Angeles Times. October 20, 1999. Retrieved on February 24, 2016.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b c 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.
  15. ^ Podger, Pamela J. Video of Fatal Prison Shooting at Corcoran Stirs Controversy. The Fresno Bee, November 20, 1996.
  16. ^ "60 Minutes" Spotlights Corcoran. "Deadliest Prison" Segment Will Lead Off Sunday's Broadcast. Fresno Bee, March 29, 1997.
  17. ^ Holding, Reynolds. State Corrections Dept. Clears Itself in Probe of Corcoran Prison. The San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 1997.
  18. ^ A Film Aims to Expose Prison Deaths. Private Investigator Hopes Corcoran Footage Stirs Debate, Reform. Fresno Bee, February 16, 1998.
  19. ^ United States Department of Justice. Eight Officers Indicted for Civil Rights Violations at Corcoran State Prison in California. February 26, 1998.
  20. ^ Bier, Jerry, et al. All 8 Corcoran Guards Acquitted. Applause Rocks the Courtroom After the Verdicts. Fresno Bee, June 10, 2000.
  21. ^ "Archives". Los Angeles Times. 16 May 1999.
  22. ^ Primetime mailing list. New Year's Day Programming on America's Newschannel MSNBC. The Mail Archive, January 1, 2003.
  23. ^ MSNBC - "Lockup: Return to Corcoran" on TV tonight (01/07/06) Archived 2009-01-21 at the Wayback Machine (discussion thread).
  24. ^ "Why 30,000 California Prisoners Are On Hunger Strike [INFOGRAPHIC]". Human Rights Now. 2013-07-10. Archived from the original on 2020-06-01. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  25. ^ "Searching for the Truth About California's Prison Hunger Strike". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  26. ^ "'Affront to human rights': Amnesty International weighs in on California prisons hunger strike - NBC News". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  27. ^ "'Affront to human rights': Amnesty International weighs in on California prisons hunger strike - NBC News". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  28. ^ Mullane, Holly Kernan, Martina Castro, Nancy. "A look inside the Security Housing Units in California state prisons". Retrieved 2017-11-28.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ "Man sentenced to death in torture, murder of boy he thought was gay". NBC News. 8 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Throw out my conviction, says Gabriel Fernandez's mom, who pleaded guilty to Palmdale 8-year-old's torture-murder". Los Angeles Daily News. 8 April 2021.
  31. ^ "California Incarcerated Records & Information Search (CIRIS) - CDCR".
  32. ^ "CDCR moves 'Golden State Killer' to protective housing at Corcoran State Prison". KGET 17. 2021-02-06. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  33. ^ "Scott Dyleski Teen Killer Murders Woman | My Crime Library". 31 January 2021.
  34. ^ "Notorious East Bay murderer becomes eligible for parole". 30 August 2018.
  35. ^ Swinton, Nate. Appealing to God. The Santa Clara, May 23, 2002.
  36. ^ "'Shield' actor Michael Jace gets 40 years for murder". CNN. 10 June 2016.
  37. ^ Gartrell, Nate (2021-03-08). "Court denies new trial for Bay Area plumber who murdered five people; Three attempted robbery counts reversed". The Mercury News. Archived from the original on 2021-03-09. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  38. ^ Siemaszko, Corky. Scott's Fate Still in Limbo Archived 2009-01-22 at the Wayback Machine. New York Daily News, December 11, 2004.
  39. ^ Berry, Steve. Cosby’s Killer Gets Life in Prison. Los Angeles Times, August 12, 1998
  40. ^ "California Incarcerated Records & Information Search (CIRIS) - CDCR". Retrieved 2024-01-31.
  41. ^ "CDCR California Incarcerated Records and Information Search (CIRIS)".
  42. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator".
  43. ^ "Modesto man sentenced to life in prison for killing parents". Modesto Bee. 2 February 2021.
  44. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
  45. ^ "Jake Turpin family".[permanent dead link]
  46. ^ Inmate Locator, inmate BU7697
  47. ^ "Infamous 'Dating Game Killer' Rodney Alcala Dies Of Natural Causes". CBS San Francisco. 2021-07-24. Retrieved 2021-07-24.
  48. ^ Juan Corona denied parole for 2nd time. San Diego Union, June 24, 1987.
  49. ^ a b 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.
  50. ^ Lopez, Pablo. Charles Manson Transferred to Corcoran Prison. Fresno Bee, March 16, 1989.
  51. ^ "Inmate Charles Manson Dies of Natural Causes". California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. November 19, 2017. Archived from the original on November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  52. ^ Katz, Jesse. Reputed Mexican Mafia Leader Dies in Prison at 64. Los Angeles Times, November 10, 1993.
  53. ^ "County Attacks Welfare Fraud; Grand Jury Wants to 'Close Floodgates". Archived from the original on 2015-12-10 – via The Free Library.
  54. ^ Wilstein, Steve. Sirhan denied parole for 10th time in RFK killing. Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), May 24, 1989.
  55. ^ Barbassa, Juliana. Robert Kennedy killer denied parole. Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), March 16, 2006.
  56. ^ Deutsch, Linda. Robert F. Kennedy's killer is moved to new site. Associated Press, November 2, 2009.
  57. ^ Monica Garske, RFK killer Sirhan Sirhan moved to another prison — on anniversary of JFK assassination, (November 22, 2013). Retrieved on November 23, 2013.

External links[edit]