United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect

Daniel Provencio - Inmate Death

Inspector General Report

Story of Danny Provencio - 
It started with this Public Hearing!
Public Hearing on GRP 1, Boards & Commissions

 Coroners Report

 Medical Record

Inspector General's Report on Provencio a Cover Up

What we need to do is read it and discuss it for the journalists on our UNION list who will no doubt be writing stories today and tomorrow. 

I haven't studied the entire report yet, I will do that later tonight. But I'd like other opinions too. 

These are just a few of my initial reactions and I'm certain your fresh, sharp critical minds will see much more.  But deadlines are pressing so let's get our thoughts down. 

The Provencio's have a lawyer but until more witnesses surface, who are most Likely in the hole at other prisons until this entire thing blows over, the lawyer can't file. 

We still do not even know who shot Danny.  Our network in Wasco needs a lot more developing . 

Just jot down your notes and send them to me for discussion, here are some of mine, I am not finished studying it yet. 


We have another UNION mother in grief over the shallow report from the Inspector General.
There are only a few days where your letters to the editor on this topic might get printed.

Please write to the Bakersfield Californian, Ventura County Star, Oxnard Courier as they are in Danny's home town.

Who shot Danny Provencio?

We must find out and release it to the journalists who are blocked.

The Bakersfield Californian

Inmate's family sues foam-bullet maker
BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer
e-mail:  jkotowski@bakersfield.com  | Friday, Feb 2 2007 11:25 PM 
Last Updated: Friday, Feb 2 2007 11:31 PM

The family of a Wasco State Prison inmate who died in 2005 after a guard shot him in the head with a foam bullet has sued the manufacturer of the weapon. 

The lawsuit, filed against Defense Technologies Inc., is one of several lawsuits filed in the death of Daniel Provencio, attorney Michael R. Mitchell said. Another complaint has been filed in Kern County against the State of California and a civil rights action was filed in federal court on Jan. 12.

Provencio was hit in the head by a foam bullet while guards tried to break up a fight in a prison day room on Jan. 16, 2005, according to previous stories in The Californian. Provencio, who was drunk at the time, had been yelling and walking towards a guard when he was hit and he fell, according to previous reports.

"In the Inspector General's report, there was a lot of language saying the weapon had not been used properly," Mitchell said.

Provencio got back up and continued to try to fight until he was sprayed with pepper spray and handcuffed. He was taken to the infirmary with a hood over his head because he was spitting, and he lost consciousness within an hour, according to an earlier story.

Provencio lapsed into a coma after being taken to Mercy Hospital. On Jan. 20, he was declared brain dead and he died March 4.

Mitchell, who is representing Provencio's 8-year-old son, said Provencio should have immediately received emergency medical attention after being hit by the foam bullet. Instead, he didn't arrive at Mercy Hospital until more than two hours after the incident.

The civil rights action is against more than 35 people, including Matthew Palmer, the guard who fired the foam bullet, Mitchell said. Palmer had been aiming for Provencio's upper right thigh, reports said.
The Inspector General's office did not find Palmer at fault in the incident. However, inspectors faulted prison administration for poor training, inspections and record keeping.

Palmer's lack of familiarity with the rifle contributed to Provencio getting shot in the head, investigators said. Few guards at the prison had hands-on training with the weapon because foam bullets are expensive, costing $20 to $25 each, according to investigators.

Mitchell said it was "just absolutely crazy" that the prison does not have a hospital on its premises. 

The closest hospital is 35 miles away, he said.

Guards did not flush the pepper spray from Provencio's face, according to documents filed in federal court. The pepper spray remained on his face for nearly two hours until he was taken to Bakersfield by ambulance, the documents said.

"There was a two-and-a-half-inch gash on his forehead and blood everywhere," Mitchell said. "He should have been (flown)."

At least two inmates, including Provencio, were able to make and drink alcohol in the prison and were drunk at the time of the shooting, reports said. Provencio's blood alcohol content was 0.152, almost twice the legal limit, when it was tested at Mercy Hospital following the shooting.
Prison inspection records were incomplete, reports said. If proper inspections had been carried out, it would have been more difficult for the inmates to get drunk, investigators said.


Los Angeles Daily News

Prison blamed in death
2 mentally ill inmates in cell ended in slaying
By Greg Botonis
Staff Writer 

Saturday, June 11, 2005 - LANCASTER -- After a Lancaster prison inmate's strangulation in his cell, a government watchdog agency urged state prison officials to modify a policy that allows mentally ill inmates to be placed together in a cell.

Convicted carjacker Frank Perez, 30, is awaiting trial on charges he used a bedsheet to strangle cellmate Eddie Arriaga, 27, in September 2004 while the men were locked in the administrative-segregation unit cell they shared at the California State Prison-Los Angeles County.

"The Office of the Inspector General found that the murder victim and his alleged assailant should not have been celled together because both had long histories of criminal violence and violent behavior toward other inmates," said a California Inspector General's report on the death.

The report urged the state Department of Corrections to modify its double-cell policy to give special consideration for inmates diagnosed with mental illness.

In addition, a special review is being conducted of the department's policy of housing administrative segregation inmates in double cells, the Inspector General's report said.

The Inspector General report said Lancaster prison employees violated department policy by not completing a cell compatibility form before placing the inmates in the same cell. But no policy was violated by assigning Arriaga and Perez to double-cell status, the report said.

The review also found two more cases at the Lancaster prison where the cell compatibility form was not completed.

"From the DOC's standpoint, we are following their (Office of the Inspector General) recommendations," said Department of Corrections spokesman Todd Slosek. "We can't talk about this right now because it's an ongoing investigation. Whether we have to take adverse action or not (against prison staff) will be determined at a later date."

Inmates are put in the administrative-segregation unit because they are disciplinary problems, could be in danger among the general prison population, or for other reasons, prison officials said. Both Arriaga and Perez were undergoing psychological treatment, prison officials said.

Administrative-segregation inmates are allowed out of their cells only to shower, for 10 hours a week of closely guarded recreation and, in the two inmates' situation, therapy, officials said.

Arriaga had been imprisoned in August 2000 on a five-year sentence for an attempted robbery in West Covina. He had been at the Lancaster prison since September 2003 and was scheduled to get out in July 2005. Arriaga was put in administrative segregation after he destroyed another inmate's television set, prison officials said.

Perez is awaiting trial in Antelope Valley Superior Court on a murder charge. Prison officials have not said why he was in administrative segregation.

Authorities say Perez has admitted killing Arriaga, but has given differing explanations. He has said he was ordered to kill Arriaga for the Mexican Mafia and, alternately, that the victim had poor hygiene, officials said.

Arriaga's death was one of five at the Lancaster prison since September, two of which were investigated for the possibility of drug use being involved. Another inmate died of natural causes, and one died of cardiac arrest after struggling with corrections officers and being pepper-sprayed.
Greg Botonis, (661) 267-7802  gregory.botonis@dailynews.com


State clears guard in inmate death

Critics say report fails to answer vital questions in shooting at Wasco Prison 

By STEPHANIE TAVARES, Californian staff writer
e-mail: stavares@bakersfield.com

Posted: Tuesday June 21st, 2005, 11:25 PM
Last Updated: Tuesday June 21st, 2005, 11:27 PM

A Wasco prison guard was not at fault in the January shooting of an inmate who later died of his injuries, a state report released Tuesday found. Instead, the report blames inadequate guard training and drunk inmates.

 The Inspector General's office did not release the name of the guard despite the fact that the California Public Records Act forbids withholding the names of peace officers involved in a shooting.
The family of the inmate, Daniel Provencio, is not satisfied with the report, which was issued one day after Provencio would have been released from prison.

"All the emotions are still there, it's been tough," Provencio's sister Nancy Anaya said. "I think there's more to the story than what's in the report. From looking at that report and the medical records and the coroner's report, there's still some pieces missing."

Provencio was declared brain dead days after being shot in the head with a foam bullet by the unidentified Wasco prison guard. He died March 4 at Mercy Hospital. 

Provencio, who was heavily intoxicated at the time of the shooting, reportedly was trying to prevent another guard from breaking up a fight and defied orders from guards to lie on the ground.

With the inspector general's report, many of the details of the incident are coming to light for the first time. In the wake of the shooting, the California Department of Corrections gave conflicting or incomplete accounts of what happened in addition to omitting the name of the guard.

Three internal prison reports were also filed following the incident but have not been made available to the public.

The incident gained national attention after the prison began occasionally cutting off visitation for members of the Provencio family during his hospital stay and refused to release him from custody for weeks, even after he was declared brain dead.

Prisoner advocates say the report, which does not name the guard, the inmates involved in the fight or other details of the investigation, does not go far enough.

"I appreciate that they even did a report on the death of an inmate, but after nine international stories they had no choice but to put up some defense," prisoner advocate Cayenne Bird said. "I think they ought to do more of these reports and name the names of all of those involved and attach those subsequent (internal) reports and stop the code of silence. They are all on our taxpayer dime and should be providing information and accountability."

State investigators for the inspector general, in an investigation into both the incident and how the Department of Corrections handled it, found that the internal investigations were accurate and that the guard did not act inappropriately when he shot Provencio.

However, inspectors faulted the prison's administration for poor training, inspections and record keeping that contributed to the incident.

"The department was very receptive as far as any suggestions that we made and in making sure that the investigation was thorough, but that's not to say there's nothing to improve on," said Bob Barton, who was one of the lead authors of the office's report.

Inspectors found that the guard's lack of familiarity with the weapon contributed to Provencio getting shot in the head instead of the leg, where the guard was aiming.

Few guards at the prison had actual hands-on training with the weapon because the foam bullets are expensive (about $25 per bullet) and the manual given to guards was ambiguous, investigators found.

Another contributing factor in the incident was that at least two inmates, including Provencio, managed to make and drink alcohol in the prison and were drunk at the time of the shooting. Three hours after he was shot, Provencio's blood alcohol content was 0.152, nearly twice the legal driving limit.

Investigators found the records of inspections to be incomplete and that if proper inspections had occurred, it would have been more difficult for the inmates to get drunk.

The office of the inspector general is recommending that the prison improve its training procedures and train guards thoroughly on all weapons before they are required to carry them.

The office is also recommending that inspections and inspection records-keeping be improved to help reduce alcohol-related incidents.

Wasco Prison spokesman Brian Parriott said Tuesday evening that prison officials could not comment on the report because they had not yet seen it.

A Mother's Day Plea: Release My Quadriplegic Son From Prison
Commentary, Norma Martinez,
Pacific News Service, May 05, 2005

Editor's Note: California's prison health care crisis strikes severely disabled prisoners particularly hard. And while most states have lower-cost, more compassionate treatment options for such inmates, California keeps some shackled and under guard. PNS contributor Norma Martinez says it's time to bring her son, and others like him, home.

SAN DIEGO--I was horrified to read newspaper reports of Daniel Provencio, a brain-dead California prisoner who remained on a ventilator and feeding tube for a month and yet was shackled and guarded by correctional officers 24-hours a day. I prayed for his mother, Nancy, who was granted only limited visits under a guard's watch. Her son was finally released just days before he passed.

Nancy is not the only mother who has endured such cruelty.

My son, Steven Martinez, 36, was left paralyzed from the shoulders down after a violent attack in prison in 2001. A quadriplegic with no bladder or bowel control who can barely move his head, Steven requires 24-hour care and help with every basic human function to survive.

Since the accident, when my husband and I visit Steven we hide our devastation so that we don't cause our son more duress than he already experiences 24/7. We're allowed to see him only once a month, so we drive six hours each way for a two-hour visit under a guard's watch. His children are allowed to see him only once every three months, for a supervised, four-hour visit. We honestly don't know if they are punishing us, him or both.

Steven's condition is expensive and fragile, even under the best of conditions. But in prison he faces one catastrophe after another. The crisis that plagues the health care system of the California Department of Corrections (CDC) was highlighted in April at a hearing organized by Sen. Gloria Romero. At the hearing, CDC representatives admitted that the department lacks accountability and fails to attend to the most basic needs of people in prison.

Permanently medically incapacitated people in prison such as my son have constant needs and cannot advocate on their own behalf. They're especially vulnerable to abuse, and suffer immensely from lack of access to standardized, adequate medical care. Following the hearing, a CDC top official said, "We have a health care system that either through neglect or poor care puts people's lives in danger."

I know this firsthand. Because prison medical staff didn't turn Steven's body for pressure relief, he developed life-threatening bedsores that required five operations, a skin graft and six months in a rehabilitation center. I found out about it when I showed up for a visit and Steven wasn't there. I was devastated; they lied about the level of care my son was receiving.

Like Daniel Provencio, Steven was shackled to a hospital bed and watched around the clock by guards earning overtime. These avoidable injuries cost California taxpayers $620,000, nearly half of which was paid to the guards.

My husband and I have tried countless times to improve Steven's care in prison, without any success. I am telling our son's story in the hope that he will be rescued from prison before he dies.

A year ago, we contacted Justice Now, a human rights organization that advocates on behalf of terminally ill and medically incapacitated people in prison. They told us about other prisoners who are permanently unable to attend to their most basic daily needs without assistance, or who are permanently ventilator-dependent. They too endure grotesque medical neglect and cruel treatment. I pray for them and their mothers.

Justice Now worked on a bill last year that would have released permanently medically incapacitated people in California's prisons and save taxpayers millions of dollars annually. The bill was unopposed and passed through both houses with bipartisan support. Even the CDC agreed, stating, "When the Director of Corrections determines that a medically incapacitated inmate does not pose a public safety threat, CDC believes it is appropriate for the sentencing court to consider the recall of the inmate's sentence."

But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill. It must be due to misinformation. I truly believe in my heart that had the governor known about the horrific medical conditions endured by Steven and others like him, he would have passed the bill and they would be home by now.

I am willing to provide the care that Steven requires. I applied for Social Security and Medicare; he has been approved. The cost of Steven's care at home will be considerably lower than in prison, where health care is two to three times more expensive due to bureaucracy and guards' salaries.

We are not safe when we spend millions guarding people who cannot tend to their most basic daily needs, siphoning resources away from our communities. On this Mother's Day, I plead with Gov. Schwarzenegger to allow my son and others, in their irreversible and untreatable condition, to go home.

Permanently medically incapacitated people like Steven must be released from prison. Not just because their substandard care costs California taxpayers millions, but also because they, like my Steven, are human beings.

Martinez lives in San Diego with her husband. More information can be found at Justice Now.


Posted on Mon, Mar. 28, 2005 

$1.27 million in six months spent on comatose inmates

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections spent $1.27 million in just six months last year on medical care for six comatose inmates, not counting the $1,056-per-guard daily cost for security.

One of the inmates was at Delano Regional Medical Center from Nov. 7, 2003, until he died Jan. 12, costing the department $851,880 by year's end. Another, at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield from July 7 to Sept. 26, cost $246,494, the department said.

The debate over the wishes of Florida's Terri Schiavo, and who should decide her fate, "is the same debate we're having in our prison system," said Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, who sought the cost accounting.

The state may need to find a way for inmates to sign release forms to indicate their health care wishes, and do a better job notifying family members, said Romero, who plans an April 14 hearing on the problem.

Though inmates are in state custody, private doctors make medical decisions once inmates go to outside hospitals, and there is often confusion over when family members should be brought in to help with care decisions.

"It becomes very difficult because nobody knows who's in charge," Romero said.

That was the case with Daniel Provencio, 28, who was treated under guard for 29 days after he was fatally shot in the head with a supposedly non-lethal foam bullet Jan. 16 altercation at Wasco State Prison.

His medical care cost more than $100,000, not including the $30,624 in security costs, the department disclosed in its accounting.

Provencio's case "was very unique" because he was guarded and treated for 25 days after doctors declared him to be brain dead four days after the shooting, wrote department Director Jeanne Woodford. His family kept him on a ventilator, saying they were hoping for a miracle. He was finally released from custody Feb. 14, ending the department's responsibility, and died March 4.

"The Department's staff is not aware of any other inmates in recent memory that continued to receive medical treatment once a physician had made this specific determination" of brain death, Woodford wrote to Romero.

Romero, who heads two prison oversight committees, asked for a tally of the number of brain dead and medically incapacitated inmates.

The other six inmates were comatose in community hospitals between July and December, Woodford said in her March 17 response. Four of the five died in the hospital, while the sixth left department custody when he was paroled. Four of the six were hospitalized 10 days or less.

All were guarded around the clock to protect hospital employees, patients and visitors, and to protect the helpless inmates from enemies, Woodford said.

Yet there is no need for "two guards guarding a dead man," as happened for Provencio, said Romero. She said such decisions should be made case by case.

Woodford said a task force will be reviewing the department policy; Romero said the issue needs to be addressed in contract negotiations next year with the powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

It costs $1,056 per day, per guard, to provide security at outside medical facilities, though prison officials say they can sometimes shave costs if several inmates are housed together in locked facilities.

Romero said more critically ill inmates should be treated within prison medical facilities, yet she said the quality of prison health care remains so poor that isn't possible.

Department spokesman George Kostyrko said a major problem is that 70 percent of the prison system's crisis care beds are occupied by mentally ill inmates who can't readily be placed in outside facilities. That means more medically ill patients must be sent to outside hospitals.


California Department of Corrections:  http://www.corr.ca.gov

June 23, 2005


I think it is a big cover-up and lies as I suspected it would be. 

100 witnesses in one place and then mention of 112 witnesses.  Okay where are the names?  How many inmates were interviewed?  Where are they now?  How many of the Wasco personnel including the warden, management staff, institutional investigators and other employees were present when the incident occurred?  If they were not an eye witness there testimony is not relevant unless it was to prove how great the prison is. 

It is not shocking to find that the emergency response procedures are lacking!  We have been saying that for some time.  They act like they just found this out.....not so we have been pointing it out over and  over in the last few years and yet our data has fell on deaf ears because there is NO accountability and now they want to jump through hoops to ward off another lawsuit.  They are not fooling me. 

Evidence was handled exactly as they wanted to handle it so that they got the outcome they wanted.  The deficiencies they "found" are not a surprise to them as you have expressed concern over some of these deficiencies over an over for the past 5 years at least. 

I do not get the accuracy of the shot issue.  I am not a scientist or an expert in the field but I know when something is fishy.  There would be at least 30 inches between the intended hit spot on the upper right thigh and the head....much less around the head to the other side.  Now that is a stretch in any half way intelligent person's mind to figure how a bullet supposedly intended for the upper right leg hit on the left side of the head.  Perhaps they have weapons that nobody knows anything about that can shoot around corners because it sure flew around Danny's head if the target was the right upper leg. 

And then there is the brave Lieutenent.......He may have approached Provencio but you can bet it was not to offer medical attention.  Do they think we are stupid???  Here we have what THEY described as a combative inmate (Provencio), many inmates getting into a crouched position ready to get any guard they can, many shouting "Rembember Chino" and this brave Lieutenant steps up to Provencio close enough to smell alcohol on him.  I DON'T THINK SO!!!! 

Provencio was supposed to be so combative that even medical personnel was not able to treat him.  Where were the 5 point restraints they love to use????? 

They say all departmental policies were followed in the shooting. Does departmental policy allow for a 30" and around to the other side of the head error??  I find this error to be a relevant issue that has been basically ignored.  At that rate of error several innocent inmates could have been hit.   Saying that a training issue exists does not solve the problem.  Was the "murdering officer" relieved of duty until he was properly trained?  I doubt it. 

And if Provencio was drunk as a skunk---Who is responsible for that?  Where were the guards?  Who is supposed to be watching the inmates and protecting them?  It all sounds too convenient to me. 

Finding 2 is back to the shooting.....It states that inaccurate placement was due to inadequate training on the weapon and lack of consistent policy at WASCO.    If you are firing at an inmate's lower extremity, whether he is moving forward or standing still the level of the shot will be the same.  Unless they are trying to say that Danny was flying up in the air and even then the bullet would have hit lower not higher.  And the bullet did not strike him in the upper body----it struck him in the head on the opposite side of the intended hit spot. 

I want to know what disciplinary action was taken against all guards on duty who failed to provide security checks of the housing unit? Bet they did not even get a verbal warning. What disciplinary action was taken for them not doing their jobs....the jobs we as taxpayers are paying big bucks to get done? Lack of cell checks, Logs not being kept up accurately, Lack of record keeping, Inappropriate and unprofessional remarks on logs, factual information not present.  Who has been disciplined in any way?  The warden needs to be held accountable as well....this is his crew.  You can bet when there is a suicide the report always reads "Cell checked every hour" 

Finding 4:  Wasco states they provided timely accounting, however the injuries were sustained at 4:41, Danny lost consciousness at 
5:45 yet no notifications were made until 8:30 when guards were getting ready to go home.  When investigators arrive at approx 9:30 nobody was there to answer questions.  CONVENIENT!!!  They had all night to make up whatever they wanted to say and get together their alibis.  Timely interviews were not possible.  How nice for the guards. 

Excuses for not reporting: They weren't sure who was supposed to do the reporting!!!  Getting big wages and benefits but they do not even know their job???? 

They weren't sure whether they needed to report.  After all there was only one unconscious inmate that had not been checked on so he could even be dead.  And one injured officer who was hit in the head with a tray.  A weapon had been discharged. NOTHING IMPORTANT TO REPORT!!!!!!  And since it was a non lethal weapon that killed Danny, I guess that does not count as a killing. 

The staff did not comply with their own policies but most likely did not even get their knuckles smacked. 


Wasco staff improperly handled evidence!!!!  More training needed. More dollars for training needed. 

Cayenne in my opinion it is a big coverup.  Plain and simple. 

Shirley  Wetherwax

Here are supporting documents to the claims I made in my op-ed which follows. 

Provencio had two head wounds not one.  The one in the center of his forehead appeared to have been made by a rubber projectile but the other one on the left side of his head, might have been a metal baton, the one that killed him! 

He was either shot twice or shot once and given a fatal blow with another weapon 

Stephanie Tavares from the Bakersfield Californian also witnessed the indentation in the front of his forehead via a cell phone camera. 

I want to apologize to the Los Angeles Times who Rapidly responded to my query for this op-ed, but I do not have time to edit it down before leaving to San Francisco for Henderson's trial. 

I trust that the reporters and op-ed writers on the UNION List will take the information out to the voters through their various news stories and publications. 

You may circulate it widely, I'm releasing this information Now  I ask our subscribing journalists not to water down the Tone too much because it reflects the outrage of the family and the members of our UNION. 

We worked on this together for several days and when the word Count went off the chart, we stopped.  I am certain there are More discrepancies. Permission to reproduce granted with proper acknowledgement given.  The family is suffering over that ridiculous report. 


The Inspector General's Report on Daniel  Provencio is a shame and a sham! 

By B. Cayenne Bird, 
Director United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect 

We as taxpayers paid a fortune for the report on the shooting death of Daniel Provencio at Wasco Prison released this week from the State Office of the Inspector General (OIG).  In fact at least  three different agencies stumble-bummed over the top of one another, not even knowing whose job was whose.  And even after all that energy and dollars spent,  the report doesn't include the names of anyone involved, not the witnesses, nor the guard who shot Danny Provencio, almost nobody. 

The sub-reports that we paid for about what happened in a tax-payer-financed institution are unavailable even though there is a law against government entities hiding records.  One report was said to have been made by the Wasco Prison Warden who is one of the legally responsible parties for what took place that day.  I am sure his report is objective.  Yeah!  Right! 

After all, it isn't every day that an investigation is called for in an inmate's death. It's usually only in the rare event of the death of one of the guards that the legislators and all the agencies care enough to attempt an investigation  But after nine news articles appeared internationally exposing the outrageous violation of the Eighth Amendment by shackling a brain-dead young man and  guarding him around the clock while on life support, CDC had to explain. 

What that explanation amounts to is nothing more than a tax-payer financed cover up in the opinion of his family and in my opinion as the advocate who helped them gain attention for this great cruelty which they couldn't get on their own. 

That's because typically nobody hears the screams of families of prisoners.  Nancy Mendoza, Danny's mother and I had to literally crash The Little Hoover Commission hearing on the proposed Prison Plan in Sacramento with all the media present to get help for her. 

Mendoza's son Danny Provencio was on life support near death on January 21. She and her family couldn't get any information and were being denied or limited with visits.  CDC claimed she had an outstanding traffic ticket that needed to be paid.  Her elderly mother, Danny's grandmother, didn't have an ID card.  So for two weeks in their blackest hour this hurting mother and other family members were denied  hospital visits for ridiculous reasons.  She had already paid the traffic ticket, which was a registration violation months before her son was shot. 

When they did finally get into the hospital,  what they saw was their braindead son,  shackled in his bed on a ventilator with prison guards telling them "visit for ten minutes only."  Those who could get in had to take off from work and drive several hours from Oxnard for a ten minute visit as their son, in prison for a minor parole violation, lay dying. 

Parriot, the Wasco State Prison public information officer lied to me when I tried to find out why Nancy Mendoza and her mother couldn't visit Danny. 

"Oh, she can visit"  he said.  "We wouldn't do anything like that prohibit a mother from visiting over a traffic ticket." 

The letter that was sent to Nancy Mendoza from CDC is posted online at our website under a link entitled "CDC Lied."  It clearly states just what they told her that she couldn't visit due to an outstanding traffic ticket. 

That was the only the first lie.  There were many more to follow over the weeks that ensued. The Inspector General's "Report with No Names" is the compilation of a bunch of lies that even a person of minimal intelligence could see through. 

The report is posted online at www.oig.ca.gov. 

The Coroner's report ruled Danny's death a homicide. But shockingly, this is not mentioned in the OIG's report.  Why do we have Coroners if their opinions do not count? This is more than ineptitude in my opinion. This is cover up. 

Go to top of page and click on Coroner's report. 

Here's a list of points that are misrepresented or excluded compiled by Danny's family and myself and our UNION folks who followed and/or were a part of the events. 

1.  One of the reporters covering the story witnessed by cell phone photographic images of Danny on life support.  In the middle of his forehead there was an indentation about the size of one of those rubber bullets. The medical records also describe it.  This injury was never mentioned in the OIG's report.  Why not?  What caused this indentation if not a bullet?  A metal baton? It didn't appear to be the shape of a metal baton but it should have been mentioned, not excluded.  The injury along the left side of his head, the one that allegedly killed him was not an indentation  Go here and click on medical record for the proof of a second head injury which  might have been the one from the rubber bullet but not the fatal injury Go here for this evidence documented and click on medical report 

2.  Senator Gloria Romero made a trip to the Bakersfield Mercy hospital. Knowing she was coming, administration made a copy of the medical records for  Danny's mother to make themselves look good before Danny died. 

These were not the records from the prison, but from the admission date onward which covered several weeks. The prison has yet to get the medical records from the prison which are being refused. The withholding and distortion of medical records is common in all inmate deaths and injuries.  There was no blood alcohol test in this set of documents.  I asked for this test specifically the minute Danny's mother secured the records and the test wasn't there.  I really question how the "blood test" that suddenly appeared much later on claiming Danny's alcohol level was .015.  The OIG's report stated this blood test was conducted about more than  three hours after his injury, at 7:35 pm.  But the medical records do not mention blood alcohol test on the 
17th, while they do mention other chemistries.  Why wasn't this blood alcohol test in the first medical records given to Danny's mother several weeks after he was hospitalized?  There was certainly time for the test to have been completed. 
3.  The OIG report mentions that Danny's clothing was thrown away. Could it have been that the blood on that clothing would have tested at a different alcohol level (if any)? Missing clothes, the forehead injury not even mentioned, a blood test that wasn't there before declaring Danny very drunk. 

4.  Pruno manufacture is done by suspending fruit and sugar in a drain or a toilet.  It has a strong smell that guards can easily detect.  How much pruno will fit in a drain or toilet? Inmates claim that they can get a MILD buzz from drinking an entire cup of it. How much pruno would they have to drink to be that drunk - .015?  There is no sugar allowed at most prisons and the fruit is denied from their diets to the point that their health is put in jeopardy.  How much illegal sugar in a bag suspended in a toilet or small drain would have been possible for Danny to have consumed.  Like the Pruno, this cover up story stinks to high heaven. The stuff is extremely vile and drinking large quantities of it would be difficult.  The way the guards cover up, he could have been injected with anything before being brought to the prison.  A jaundiced eye is necessary in order to conduct a real investigation.  That didn't happen here, obviously. More expert witnesses outside of CDC are needed. 

5.  Touchy-feely words to describe a lethal weapon is misleading.  The OIG's report used the word "sponge bullet"  instead of a "foam bullet" that CDC was using with media.  As if a person could die of blunt trauma from sponge or foam.  It was a lethal rubber projectile with enough force to kill and that is the language that should have been used.  Soft-shoe should be reserved for tap dancing in the theater not in the public arena.  The coroner who ruled Danny's death a homicide used the proper term, "rubber projectile" in his final report. 

6. According to the OIG's report, more than one hour passed between the time Danny was shot until he arrived at Mercy Hospital. That was too long. The Coroner's report said the injury happened at approximately 1600 hours, 4 p.m. but the OIG's report stated 4:45 pm. In an emergency,  45 minutes more is an eternity.   The family wasn't telephoned about Danny's injury until 10 pm, approximately six hours later, just before he was finally taken into surgery. In most hospitals, the first thing that is done in an emergency is blood work and x-rays.  If it took until 
7:35 to get the alleged blood test, what was going on for the 3 hours plus preceding this step.  There are discrepancies in the times obviously to cover a poor emergency response time. The OIG report does mention a poor emergency response time but it is worded as if this is a big surprise.  Numerous lawsuits have been filed over lives lost due to ambulances taking hours to arrive at California prisons and guards who don't even know basic first aid even though they are paid nearly $100,000 per year or more in many cases. What?! 

7  The names of the guards are left out of the report. Why?  This is a taxpayer-financed Institution, a taxpayer financed report and the names of the guards are left out.  The Public has a right to know who was responsible. 

8.  If I find out the names of the guards from the inmate witnesses, whom I have no doubt had their lives threatened and have endured a living hell while this was taking place, I will tell the world about it. Typically inmate witnesses are immediately shipped out to other prisons and hidden in the hole for months, if not years  just because they saw something. This "hiding" of the facts is what empowers misconduct and the Code of Silence.  Who committed the wrongs and what are the consequences?  That  information is what a report should contain. 

9.  The OIG's report states that Danny was shot and knelt to the floor but quickly stood up again.  In the medical report there were notes from two different doctors who received calls and statements from the prison and correctional officers.  The doctors were told that Danny lost immediate consciousness.  It also states that Danny was in an altered mental state.  He became confused, combative, and lost the ability to breathe on his own. Combativeness is a typical symptom of brain damage.  When an inmate becomes combative under normal circumstances, about ten guards jump on him, beat him up and put him in five point restraints. Medical care couldn't be administered because a 120 lb. guy was "combative"  What misrepresentation and feeble attempt at cover up! 

10.  There were also notes contributed  in those initials reports to the doctors including  a situation where Danny was allegedly being held as a hostage by other inmates as per a correctional officer history. In fact it appeared in some of the press coverage. Ultimately, it said,  as that hostage situation was being resolved and other inmates laid on the ground, Danny attempted to attack an officer, prompting the shooting.  So what is the real story?  Whatever happened to the hostage story and what is the name of the inmate who was holding Danny.  If one unarmed inmate could restrain Danny, how is it that several officers couldn't restrain him enough to treat his injury if they even tried? 

11.  How could the bullet that was meant for Danny's right leg hit him on the left side of his head?  The OIG report states that bullet would hit 4-5" above the intended target.  That would mean he should have been hit in his abdomen.  A person would have to have been a very bad shot to be that far off at the alleged 53 feet.  I find this unbelievable with the amount of target practice the guards do every day where the inmates can hear them.  Others have said that in order for a rubber projectile to have been lethal, the shot would have to been made at very close range. What's the real truth? 

12.  What was written on the logbook report probably long thrown away by now?  The  OIG report states what the inmates were shouting, but says nothing about what was written in the logbook.  Was the shooting in retaliation for what happened to Officer Gonzales in Chino?  If Danny was a hostage being held by an inmate, what would that have had to do with Chino? 

13 How do you get 112 witnesses from 38 inmates and a few officers?  Let's see the video and photos. 

A lot of questions, not many answers.  The public has a right to know.  More than 365 inmates per year are dying in California's prisons.  They deserve valid investigations and their families deserve closure.

Punishing the dead The long, strange saga of Daniel Provencio begs for some answers.  (Editorial) 

From: The Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA) 
Date: February 22, 2005 


Twenty-five days after prison inmate Daniel Provencio was declared brain dead, the California Department of Corrections finally ended round-the-clock guarding and released the body to his family. That's the good news. 

But it occurred only after a bizarre precedent: the department got the Board of Prison Terms to parole the dead man. 

Normally, when a prisoner dies in Department of Corrections custody, the body goes to the county coroner, then to the family. 

In this case, however, public confusion over whether brain dead means "dead" or "in a coma" led to extremely odd conduct. Brain dead means dead -- the complete, permanent, irreversible ... 

The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog


February 15, 2005
Update: Brain Dead Prisoner is Granted "Early Release"
Daniel Provencio, who had five months left to serve, was struck in the head by a foam ball fired by a Wasco State Prison guard on Jan. 16. By Jenifer Warren Times Staff Writer

February 15, 2005, LA Times
SACRAMENTO - In a move they called exceedingly rare, state prison officials Monday granted an early release to an inmate who was shot last month by a correctional officer and has been declared brain-dead.

Daniel Provencio, 28, has been connected to a ventilator and feeding tubes in a Bakersfield hospital since Jan. 16, when he was struck in the head by a foam projectile.

Under an agreement between the Department of Corrections and the inmate's family, Provencio was discharged from custody although he had about five months left to serve. Relatives had hoped to transfer him closer to their Ventura County homes, but they acknowledged Monday that he was too fragile to move and that other hospitals had declined to accept him.

"Because of his condition, nobody will take him," Provencio's brother, Johnny, said. "Nobody is willing to do anything for him."

A spokesman for the prison system said Provencio's medical care, which had been paid by the Department of Corrections, probably would be covered by Medi-Cal. By late Monday afternoon, a guard was no longer standing near Provencio's hospital bed. The inmate had been guarded around the clock as part of a Department of Corrections policy.

"We finally found a solution that the hospital, family members and the department can all live with," Corrections Department spokesman Todd Slosek said.

The shooting at Wasco State Prison, a 6,100-inmate lockup near Bakersfield, remains under investigation by the department and state Inspector General Matt Cate.

The case has sparked interest among prison reformers, legislators and others because it raises questions about how corrections officials handle brain-dead inmates whose families are not ready to say goodbye.

In addition, critics have expressed concerns about the department's policy of requiring that prisoners in community hospitals be guarded 24 hours a day by at least one correctional officer. For Provencio, that requirement cost $1,056 per day. The department could not immediately provide the cost of his medical care.

Earlier this month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called guarding brain-dead and comatose inmates "ludicrous" at a meeting with the editorial board of the San Jose Mercury News.

Schwarzenegger said the state needs to "tighten the screw so we don't have this misuse of money. And instead of having these two guys standing there 24 hours a day guarding this guy that is in a coma, why not have these two guys working somewhere else where they really are needed."

Corrections officials said the policy, which was designed to protect hospital staff, other patients and the inmates, was under review. They said that in many cases, the state's contract with community hospitals requires such protection.

Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), chairwoman of a legislative oversight committee on prisons, said she had asked for statistics on how many other comatose or brain-dead inmates are under 24-hour guard, which she called "a totally crazy policy."

As for Provencio's release, Romero said, it was "clearly the right thing to do. But I'm troubled that once again it took an outraged reaction from the public and legislators to make the department act."

Provencio was shot after a fight broke out in a lounge area as about 40 inmates were being given dinner. Three prisoners were involved, and one tried to restrain guards who intervened. Officials have declined to say what Provencio's role was.

After officers ordered the inmates down on the floor, a guard in an elevated control room fired a large, foam pellet from a 40-millimeter launcher. The foam balls, which are used for riot control, are considered non-lethal and are meant to be fired at a person's extremities, prison officials said.

Provencio was taken to Mercy Hospital, where family members said doctors induced a coma to operate and relieve swelling on his brain. Since then, neurologists have declared him brain-dead, his family said.

Divorced with a young son who lives in Oxnard, Provencio was serving his second term in state prison - this time for a parole violation of drunk driving. Previously, he had served three years and eight months for narcotics violations.

His mother, Nancy Mendoza, said he had recently kicked a heroin habit and was working a steady job laying utility pipe. He was arrested while driving home from a Father's Day party at his aunt's house last year.

Johnny Provencio said that doctors repeatedly had asked family members to disconnect his brother from life support.

"They tell us that he is already dead, his spirit has left the body, and there is nothing they can do for him," Johnny Provencio said. "We told them pulling the plug is not an option."

Mendoza has said that she is hoping for a miracle because Johnny Provencio survived a coma as an infant. He is now 29.

"You see things all the time that give you hope," Johnny Provencio said. "Anything can happen."


Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times


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