The earliest possible release date for a Tuolumne County inmate at North Kern State Prison has been extended to October as the state prison system and the county District Attorney’s Office considers additional charges stemming from his prison escape and subsequent capture in a Tuolumne County homeless camp last November.
Daniel Salazar, 31, has been a serving a three-year, eight-month sentence in the prison after being convicted in Tuolumne County of second-degree robbery and using someone else’s identification.
His Nov. 3 escape – where authorities say he stole a pickup truck from a firehouse and later abandoned it on Jamestown Road near Star Mobile Home Park and the Mother Lode Gun Club – motivated a three-week manhunt led by the CDCR Correctional Safety Special Service Unit.
Utilizing resources from the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, the Sonora Police Department and the Merced County Gang Task Force, the law enforcement team followed an unspecified investigative lead and amassed on a homeless camp behind Lowe’s Home Improvement in Sonora, where Salazar was located, huddled in a tent.
Salazar’s earliest possible release date had been scheduled for March before his escape due to credits earned while incarcerated, said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Public Information Officer Krissi Khokhobashvili over email.
After his capture and subsequent return to North Kern State Prison, the earliest possible release day was adjusted to October “to ensure Salazar will not be released from custody prior to receiving any internal discipline and/or a new term from the courts,” she said.
CDCR spokesperson Vicky Waters explained that the earliest possible release date was not an ironclad date for an inmate’s release and only identified their eligibility to be considered for release.
Sara Danville, supervising Kern County deputy district attorney of the Prison Crimes Unit, said that additional escape charges recommended by CDCR for Ramirez were still pending review, but a determination could likely be made by next week.
Though the office could choose to reject the recommendation or return it to the prison with a request for further investigation, the most common result of a CDCR request would be to file charges, she said.
The prison crimes unit received the complaint package from CDCR on Jan. 18, and the review process often took about a month based on staffing restrictions and the prioritization of inmates with upcoming release dates, she said.
Waters added that a rules violation report within the prison was being investigated to determine whether Salazar would be penalized with a loss of earned credits for the escape.
A disciplinary hearing would be called within the prison following an interview with the inmate and an evaluation of the escape, she said.
If found guilty of a violation, Salazar would lose between 181 and 360 days he had earned toward the completion of his sentence while incarcerated, she said.
Salazar had earned 199 days of pre-sentencing credits in the Tuolumne County Jail before entering the state prison system on Aug. 16, 2016.
Following his return to North Kern State Prison, Salazar was transferred out of the Minimum Support Facility within the prison and into “more restrictive housing.”
The Minimum Support Facility includes fire camps and programs that Salazar would no longer be eligible for, she said.
CDCR officials declined to comment on whether a reward payout for information leading to the capture of Salazar was issued due to confidentiality restrictions.
The prison system offered a $500 reward for information leading to his arrest, and described the search of the homeless camp where he was found as “not random.”
Officials previously declined to comment whether they knew Salazar had been in the encampment since he escaped from the prison or how officers learned he was there.
A handful of homeless people live in the area that is down a steep cliff in some low brush, unseen from the store or the nearby Highway 108.