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Chino mayor "appalled" by transfer of death row inmates to nearby prison

26 death row inmates transferred to Chino prison
26 death row inmates transferred to Chino prison 02:23

Chino's mayor shared her thoughts after learning that over two dozen death row inmates will be transferred to the prison near his city.

"Considering the Department of Corrections' lack of investment in the upkeep and maintenance of [California Institute for Men], I am appalled that they would choose to house the worst of the worst prisoners in our state in such close proximity to residences, schools, and businesses," Mayor Eunice Ulloa said.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation transferred the inmates to the California Institute for Men as part of Proposition 66, which allows condemned inmates to participate in prison programs, including prison jobs, to pay off their restitution to their victims, according to the city. 

"This prison is not isolated," Chino Police Department Lt. Aaron Kelliher said. "It is right in the middle of the community. There is housing, schools, businesses that are right next to [it]. There's a giant community park that is right next to this prison."

Kelliher said there have been three high-profile escapes from the aging facility in recent history, including the infamous Kevin Cooper escape in 1983. It resulted in several murders. 

So far, 26 inmates on death row have been moved to CIM.

"I am alarmed that the Department of Corrections is transferring these dangerous inmates to one of the oldest prisons in the state,"  the mayor said. "The Department of Corrections needs to immediately remove these horrifically violent offenders from CIM and house them in a prison that is capable of confining people who are sentenced to death."

When addressing their concerns of the prisoner transfers, the city cited a 2008 report from the Inspector General which stated that the prison had fallen into an unacceptable state of repair after years of neglect. It also stated that if dramatic improvements were not made the prison may worsen to the point that it would be best to just demolish it. 

The Chino City Council said they will work with local and state leaders to remove the inmates from CIM hopefully. 

While the state claimed it informs victim's families about prisoner transfers, officials in Chino said they knew nothing about the condemned inmates' arrival. They said they expect more death row prisoners to be moved to the city. 

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