Citing ‘safety and security,’ CDCR will not provide information on the date, location of Ochoa’s parole

Update: Upon the posting of this story, Lassen News called Lassen County District Attorney Susan Rios to let her know about this morning’s email response from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to Lassen News’ request for information. Rios said CDCR has informed her John Ochoa will not be paroled in Lassen County.

Will violent sexual predator John Ochoa — who’s served more than 20 years behind bars for his crimes — be released in Lassen County later this week?

John Ochoa is led out of the Lassen County Courthouse. File photo

We still don’t know the answer to that gnawing question, and according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, that governmental agency cannot and will not give us even a single word of warning that a violent sexual predator may be set free to roam our neighborhoods. According to a statement from CDCR, “for safety and security reasons,” the public is not entitled to that information.

Susan Rios, Lassen County’s District Attorney, opposes the Ochoa’s parole in Lassen County. Despite Rios’ opposition, concern from the public, the victim’s family and numerous inquiries to governmental agencies by Lassen News, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation cites state law and declines to release any information regarding the date or location of Ochoa’s release, according to a Sunday morning email response to Lassen News’ request for information from CDCR Information Officer II Mary Xjimenez.

“For safety and security reasons, CDCR does not provide information on a person’s exact date or the location of parole release,” Xjimenez wrote. “CDCR also cannot at this time provide Ochoa’s photo (requested by Lassen News) for these reasons. By law, CDCR is limited in what it can disclose about people who are incarcerated or on parole and is unable to provide specific information on parole conditions. However, CDCR can confirm that a previous statement that Ochoa will be released as a transient is not accurate.”

Xjimenez acknowledged Ochoa is eligible for release from custody.

“Ochoa will be released after serving his full sentence as defined by law,” she wrote. “His earliest possible release date is February 2024.”

According to Xjimenez’s statement, “John Ochoa was admitted to CDCR from Lassen County on May 15, 2006, to serve 25 years for two counts of rape with force, violence or fear of bodily injury and one count each of sodomy with force, violence or great bodily injury, and oral copulation with force, violence or fear of immediate bodily injury.

“He received 1,052 days of pre-sentence credits from the court for time served while awaiting trial and was eligible for credit earning opportunities while incarcerated. On Dec. 19, 2022, Ochoa was resentenced according to Senate Bill 483, removing a one-year enhancement for having a prior prison term from his original sentence. More information on SB483 can be found here.

“CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations works with an incarcerated person scheduled for release to ensure they have a release plan in place. If they do not have a housing plan, DAPO works with the individual to obtain approved housing. Releasing sex offenders are provided the same services as other parolees; however, some sex offenders may have certain residency restrictions and DAPO will ensure all residences are in compliance with the law and conditions of parole. Please refer to CA Code of Regulations, Title 15, Division 3, Chapter 1, Subchapter 6, Article 5, Section 3571 for further information on residence restrictions for sex offenders.”