Monday, December 10, 2007

CDCR Staff, Inmates and Wards Host Holiday Food Drives, Fundraisers and Events Contributing to Local Communities

Rehabilitation Program Benefits Youth and Rescued Animals

Since mid-November, 25 adult and juvenile correctional institutions and parole offices statewide representing hundreds of individuals have contributed talent, time and money to their local communities this holiday season. Dozens of programs and activities ranging from refurbishing bicycles and repairing toys to holding fundraisers and holiday food drives have either already been conducted or are planned for the coming days and weeks by staff, inmates and wards.

These efforts by institutions and parole offices are intended to make the holidays brighter for those in nearby communities that are less able to participate in holiday activities. To date, donations of nearly $12,000 and more than 600 new and refurbished bicycles have either been distributed or await distribution. Nearly every facility conducts food or toy drives, with many facilities and parole offices adopting classrooms at nearly elementary schools.

“I wholeheartedly support these acts of selflessness on behalf of our staff and inmates. While our institutions strive to be good neighbors all year long, these events during the holidays are an expression of good will by staff and offenders made to some very deserving folks in their surrounding communities,” said CDCR Secretary James E. Tilton. “It is my hope that offenders carry this spirit of benevolence and community concern in their hearts and actions when they eventually leave our facilities and return to the communities from which they came. “

Division of Juvenile Justice Chief Deputy Bernard Warner noted that these activities – and other activities conducted by institutions and parole officers with the juvenile justice system have roots in a philosophy called “restorative justice.” The restorative justice philosophy assumes that when a ward committed a crime that got them referred to the DJJ, society lost something in that act of violence. Restorative justice allows that ward to perform a series of public service acts that restores, or gives something positive back to the community-at-large in a showing of “amends” for that past wrong.

“These worthy causes allow our staff and youth to give back to the community to show how we care for others. We are proud to be part of these programs,” said Warner.
In some institutions, staff sponsored “Shop with a Cop” programs where children-in-need from the community where escorted by correctional officers to a store for a shopping spree. Some wards created or refurbished community decorations for holiday celebrations. Some inmates sponsored Christmas parties for the children who come to visit, complete with toys and a visit from Santa.

It has become a long-standing tradition for CDCR staff, inmates and wards to give back to their local communities. “These charitable projects give everyone in the institutional and parole setting feelings of pride and goodwill during the season of giving,” said Scott Kernan, Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Programs at CDCR. “These efforts require teamwork, cooperation and generosity. The dividend of giving is the improved morale for those who may not see their own loved ones during the holiday season."
For more information, and to see the accompanying fact sheet listing activities at all participating facilities and parole offices as well as pictures of events that have already occurred, please visit the CDCR website at Media is encouraged to visit this website to identify CDCR activities in your media broadcast or circulation area.

Holiday Fact Sheet