California Institution for Men

California Institution for Men
California Institution for Men (CIM)
Aerial View
Location Chino, California
Coordinates 33°58′55″N 117°40′55″W / 33.982°N 117.682°W / 33.982; -117.682Coordinates: 33°58′55″N 117°40′55″W / 33.982°N 117.682°W / 33.982; -117.682
Status Operational
Security class minimum to maximum
Capacity 3,160
Population 5,800 (183%) (as of fy 2008/09[1])
Opened 21 June 1941
Managed by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Director Aref Fakhoury, Warden

California Institution for Men (CIM) is a male-only state prison located in the city of Chino, San Bernardino County, California. It is often colloquially referenced as "Chino." In turn, locals call the prison "Chino Men's" or just "Men's" to avoid confusion with the city itself. The institution is a reception center for parolees who are returning to custody and a place for newly committed felons from several counties in Southern California.[2]



CIM has 2,500 acres (10 km2).[3] Facilities include:

  • "The largest Level I inmate population within the California prison system" ("Level I" referring to "open dormitories without a secure perimeter").[3][4]
  • Three Reception Centers (RCs) which "provide short term housing to process, classify and evaluate incoming inmates."[4] Reception Center Central for medium/maximum custody level inmates "receives intake from several southern California counties"; Reception Center East "houses [medium/maximum custody level] RC inmates with sensitive needs, Mental Health inmate/patients requiring an Enhanced Out-Patient level of care and a 100 bed HIV/CID unit"; and Reception Center West is for "medium level custody inmates" who are "waiting processing/transfer to programming institutions."[3]

As of Fiscal Year 2006/2007, CIM had 2,327 staff and an annual budget of $232.2 million.[1] As of September 2007, it had a design capacity of 3,160 but a total institution population of 6,900, for an occupancy rate of over 200 percent.[6]


CIM opened in 1941 and "was the first major minimum security institution built and operated in the United States."[3] It was the fourth state prison built in California (after San Quentin State Prison, Folsom State Prison, and the original California Institution for Women at Tehachapi).[4] Since the California Correctional Institution replaced the original California Institution for Women at Tehachapi[7], CIM is now the third-oldest California state prison.

In 1970, a commercial diver training program started at CIM. In following years, the program's graduates had much success in finding jobs after release from prison and a recidivism rate of only 12 percent.[8] The program was "closed in 2003 due to budget restraints," but reopened in 2006.[9]

Inmate Kevin Cooper escaped from CIM in 1983. In retrospect, factors that may have contributed to the escape included conviction "under an alias," an undetected "history of escaping from jails and mental hospitals," and "a hole in a fence" surrounding CIM.[10] Three days after Cooper's escape, four people were found dead in nearby Chino Hills, and Cooper was later convicted of murdering them.[11]

In 1987, officials of the city of Chino opposed a plan to build a ward at CIM for inmates with HIV/AIDS because they "believe[d] it would threaten the community."[12] After "Corrections Department officials announced they wouldn't increase the AIDS inmate population to more than 200 men," opposition decreased.[13] The ward was constructed and received its first patients in May 1988, making it the second such AIDS ward in California (following one opened in 1984 at the California Medical Facility).[13]

Shayne Allyn Ziska was a correctional officer at CIM "from January 1984 through October 2000."[14] In 2004 he was arrested for assisting the Nazi Lowriders (a white supremacist organization) "distribute drugs and assault inmates" inside CIM.[14] In 2006, Ziska was convicted "on charges of conspiracy, civil-rights violations and violent crime in aid of racketeering" and sentenced to "17 years in federal prison."[10] Ziska, Federal Bureau of Prisons#04299-748, is now at Federal Correctional Institution, Allenwood Medium.[15]

Correctional Officer Manuel A. Gonzalez Jr. was stabbed to death in CIM in 2005.[10] Factors that may have contributed to the killing were prison overcrowding, understaffing, a failure to segregate the inmate in question due to a history of violent behavior, the inmate's lengthy stay at CIM, the inmate's access to a weapon, and the officer's lack of a protective vest.[10][16] In the aftermath of the Gonzalez murder, the CIM warden and two chief deputy wardens were fired, and CIM instituted reforms.[10][16] The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in July 2007 agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit by Gonzalez's family.[17]

In 2005 and 2007, the state of California proposed building hundreds of new units for mentally ill inmates at CIM and at the nearby California Institution for Women; local officials opposed such plans.[18][19] A "general acute-care hospital at CIM" had received a license to operate in 1984, but in March 2006 the hospital operating room was closed and in July 2007 the plan was "to relinquish the license" because the facility was not functioning as a hospital.[20]

On August 8, 2009, a prison riot broke out at CIM during which over 250 inmates were injured, and which ultimately took more than twelve hours to put down. The cause of the riot is under investigation.[21] The riot broke out at 8:20 pm. Although other races were involved the riot was mainly between Hispanic inmates and African American inmates. The prison's damages were severe, bathroom sinks ripped of the walls, fires broke out, and 50 inmates were taken to nearby hospitals. The riot caused a lock down of the prison and six others in the area.[22]

In February 2010 the youth facility Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility was closed; California authorities will incorporate the facility into that of the California Institution for Men.[23]

References in popular culture

  • The prison is a major setting in American History X,[24] as Derek Vinyard's personality changes as a result of enduring the prison culture and prison rape during a manslaughter sentence.[citation needed]
  • The 1955 film Unchained was filmed at CIM and included footage of actual inmates. It concerned reform warden Kenyon Scudder and represented his successful attempts to rehabilitate prisoners. The film is most famous for the song Unchained Melody.
  • The Airborne Toxic Event make reference to the prison in their song "It Doesn't Mean A Thing".
  • The Mountain Goats song "Pigs That Ran Straightaway into the Water, Triumph of" references the prison facility with the lyrics "I come from Chino, so all your threats are empty", "Please don't fit me with that orange jumpsuit" and "please don't send me back to where I came from [Chino]"


  1. ^ a b California Institution for Men (CIM) (2009). "Institution Statistics". California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  2. ^ Mozingo, Joe and Margot Roosevelt. "Dormitory burns down in Chino prison riot." Los Angeles Times. August 10, 2009. Retrieved on December 31, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d California Institution for Men (CIM) (2009). "Mission Statement". California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Retrieved 2009-08-20. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. California's Correctional Facilities. 15 Oct 2007.
  5. ^ "Adult Facilities Locator." California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Retrieved on September 24, 2011.
  6. ^ California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Monthly Report of Population as of Midnight September 30, 2007.
  7. ^ California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. California Correctional Center (CCI). Accessed 29 Nov 2007.
  8. ^ Schexnayder, C.J. Diving into success: underwater training helps inmates get jobs. The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), August 28, 2000.
  9. ^ DeRobertis, Shelli. CIM inmates dive in for a better future. Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA), December 1, 2006.
  10. ^ a b c d e Stockstill, Mason. Criminal Neglect: Years of indifference turned Chino prison dream into nightmare. Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA), July 23, 2006.
  11. ^ Susman, Tina. Jury urges death in gas chamber for Cooper. Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), March 2, 1985.
  12. ^ Associated Press. Chino Officials Object to Proposed AIDS Ward at Prison. Daily News of Los Angeles, November 8, 1987.
  13. ^ a b Associated Press. State Sets Up Isolation Ward to Care for AIDS Inmates. San Jose Mercury News, April 28, 1988.
  14. ^ a b Leveque, Rod. Guard accused of aiding gang. The Sun (San Bernardino, CA), July 30, 2004.
  15. ^ "Shayne Allen Ziska." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on September 27, 2010.
  16. ^ a b Austin, Paige. Rehabilitating prison: Findings forcing changes at aging facility. The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), September 18, 2005.
  17. ^ Leveque, Rod. Slain guard's family settles. Whittier Daily News, July 10, 2007.
  18. ^ City Council of Ontario, California. Resolution To Oppose Proposed Mental Health Facility At California Institution For Men - Chino. June 7, 2005.
  19. ^ DeRobertis, Shelli. Prisons' role to grow. The Sun (San Bernardino, CA), February 1, 2007.
  20. ^ DeRobertis, Shelli. CIM hospital to forfeit license. Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA), July 26, 2007.
  21. ^ "250 inmates hurt, 55 hospitalized after California prison riot -". CNN. August 10, 2009. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "A history of housing youth at Stark facility comes to a close." Santa Barbara Sun. February 21, 2010. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  24. ^ Whitty, Stephen. "Down by Law." Entertainment Weekly. April 9, 1999. Retrieved on September 27, 2010. "The 25-minute black-and-white flashback begins with Norton waking up in Chino, angry and uncowed;"

External links

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