Monday, July 13, 2020

The "new normal" at the Law Office of Diane T. Letarte

Message from Attorney Diane T. Letarte:

We have received many phone calls and an uptake in legal US mail from all 35 State Prisons' inmates.

In order to keep up with the "New Normal" given the constraints, our Legal Team adapted our new model of parole hearing preparation to respond to the limitations on in-person legal visiting due to the constraints of COVID-19.

The new Model includes advocating for private attorney-client phone calls, Longer time limits on the prison phone calls, we  expanded our legal staff hours of operations (behind the scene assistance) to reach more clients and provide more resources and information to people inside. We are also  on-boarding attorneys “of counsel” to assist us provide more parole consultation resources via personnel written communication feedback directly from the attorney, on most of the written responses. 

The client prison communication now includes reviewing their Parole Packets organization as well as reviewing their Relapse Prevention Plan and their Apology letters to the victim(s). We worked with the families of the incarcerated  in order to supplement the Parole Packet, getting support letters. We have increase our in-office equipment to assist with scanning and uploading our clients' Parole Packet (PP) directly to the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) to ensure the electronic delivery of the PP. This eliminates the need for the inmate to "bring" any copies to his parole hearing since the Commissioners are NOT in the room in the prison but actually Remotely located, with only an electronic copy of the inmates' Central file(s) and the electronic Parole Packet provided by our law office.

We have allowed more of an "open-door policy" for family members to contact our law office via telephone or emails to get updates on their loved ones and the latest CDCR information, that we have available. Our email monitoring as been increased to include Saturday and on occasion Sunday responses, depending on the urgency of the communication.

Our staff continues their work providing direct services such as accepting collect calls - sometimes beyond our 5pm office hours. In addition we are providing additional written resources to our clients on the inside, and most importantly, bringing Lifers (and long Term Offenders) safely home from prison, as soon as possible. 

We do not do any Civil Litigation regarding COVID19 medical Issues. We focus on Parole Suitability Hearings (via Audio/Video) at this time. We DO appreciate your cooperation and patience while we try hard to respond to all the surplus incoming Legal mail from the prisons.  

Attorney Diane T. Letarte, MBA, LLM and
M.S. Forensic Psychology

Former President - NC Lawyers Club
Judge Pro Tem - Superior Court of California
1080 Park Blvd., Suite 1008
San Diego, CA 92101

888-400-6082  E-fax and

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

COVID19 Prison update & Statistics - San Quentin a HOTSPOT

This is a Courtesy update of the COVID19 statistics as of 6/30/3030 in California Prisons from Vanessa at LSA (Lifer Support Alliance).
 As the numbers continue to rise San Quentin State Prison (SQ) today claimed the dubious distinction of having the most CoVid positive inmates, not only overall, but at one time.  The total positive individuals within the California system today numbers 2,585.
We received the LATEST update from CDCR and More information on CDCR’s efforts and the expedited release overview can be found on
CDCR is taking further action to fight the outbreak of COVID-19 at San Quentin State Prison. These actions include establishing a unified command center at the prison to coordinate custody and medical response to COVID-19 cases. The team is composed of medical, custody, emergency management and infectious disease experts from CDCR, California Correctional Health Care Services, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Emergency Medical Services Authority, California Department of Public Health, and Division of Occupational Safety and Health. This expands upon San Quentin’s local Incident Command Post, which has been activated since June 11 to coordinate custody and medical response to the increase in cases at the institution.
Additionally, the prison is currently installing six tents that will be used as alternative care stations to treat COVID-19 inmate patients on the grounds, and open up space in certain areas of the prison to allow for increased physical distancing, quarantine, and isolation. More information will be provided once the tents are fully installed. Also, under Secretary Diaz’s authority, CDCR will be expediting the release to parole or probation supervision of qualifying inmates with 180 days or less left on their sentence. These inmates will undergo a risk assessment, a medical screening and have a parole plan in place. Eligible inmates with high-risk medical conditions will be also considered for the expedited release.

By CA prison acronym: SQ 1,106; CIM 509; CVSP 291; CCC 214; COR 125; CCI 109; CRC 99; ASP 41; ISP 31; WSP 24; CEN 12; CIW 6; NKSP 5; HDSP 4 (apologies for omitting HD yesterday, there has been no change in the number since yesterday); SAC 3; SVSP 3; and single cases at CAL, SOL, and in a new entry, RJD.
PBSP (Pelican Bay State Prison) showed up with a single case early yesterday and then disappeared, only to do the same today, that is reportedly a false positive that seems to be stuck in the system.
As bad as the virus has been in various locations, in something of a rotating circle, clearly SQ has been the most spectacularly impacted.  Since the beginning of the outbreak at SQ has tallied a total of 1,113 positive cases, and with a population (as of May 30) of 3,626—nearly a third of those at SQ have tested positive.  And most of those cases are currently positive.
CVSP was also hard-hit with a total of 1,012 positive cases and 2 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, which accounts for 45% of their population 2,261, but those cases were more spread out over a few weeks of time.  CIM, the first of the big outbreaks, has racked up 896 total positive cases, and the highest death rate, 16 fatalities at CIM alone, but again, those positive cases grew at a slower rate than at SQ and amounted to 30% of that prison’s population.
ASP also had a moment in the top spot, and totaled 938 over time, as well as 9 deaths, accounting for 23% of their population.  CIW, clearly on the downslope, had 11% of the population, or 164 cases, 1 death reported. 
CCC and COR, both looking to be on the rise, are currently at 5% and 4% of the population respectively.  Overall, close to 5,000 California prisoners, 4,939, have tested positive since the first case at LAC, what seems a lifetime ago.

A great THANK YOU to Vanessa who is assitng to pass "accurate information " and not rumors from CDCR sources (and website)  to the outside community.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

COVID-19 California Prison inmates affected & recovered

The following COVID-19 Prison update is a Courtesy of  Vanessa, from 

 If you prefer to look at CDCR's website of 

As expected of a closed-in Prison Population with limited "social distancing", the Numbers are creeping up, both in the number positive cases and in the number of cases ‘resolved’ or recovered from the virus.  
This BLOG is specific to California prison and the acronym for the specific prison (as well as location) can be viewed at CDCR link here. 
Keep in mind that the numbers changes daily but as of the past week [before Memorial Weekend] -->The breakdown is as follows:
The Total positive cases in the inmate population today stands at 714, up some 40 from yesterday.  By individual prison: CIM 460 (8+); CIW 116 (6+); CVSP 52 (12+); ASP 49 (17+); LAC 32 (no change); CMC 4 (3-) and CEN 1 (1-).  No, the numbers don’t exactly match, but there are also changes in the number of cases ‘resolved’ cases.  The most concerning number, that of deaths related to CoVid 19, remains at 6, all from CIM (Chino)
CDCR has released no additional information today—again, leading into a long weekend, not unexpected or surprising.  We will of course keep checking throughout the weekend and posting daily. 
Please continue to send Vanessa, from Life Support Alliance
information on mask wearing and other details inside, LSA follows up on each and just the fact that LSA keeps bombarding CDCR with questions and particulars keeps them on their toes—someone is watching.  And thanks to those who let LSA know their posts are helpful to them and their loved ones, in letting them know what’s going on.  That’s LSA's objective, to provide information.
LSA continues the battle with CDCR, to get everyone to wear masks—and that means prisoners as well as staff members.
A REMINDER to family member,  unless your loved one has added you to his/her Medical release form, CDCR Form 7385, CDCR cannot, by law, give you ANY information about their medical condition. 
If you aren’t sure whether you’re on that Health disclosure form, send this form (see link below) in to those you care about, have them sign it and send to their counselor to put in their file.  In fact, send in 2 forms, send one to the counselor and send one back to you.
Here’s a link to the form:
Everyone stay safe, enjoy the weekend as much as you can.