Thursday, January 26, 2006

Providing Public Safety for Future Generations

Governor’s Strategic Growth Plan Delivers

Sacramento -The Governor's Strategic Growth Plan and the portion that deals with public safety is "critical to the safety and welfare of our citizens and our staff," officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told the Assembly Public Safety Committee today.

Citing the need to keep Californians safe from convicted felons, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Undersecretary Jeanne Woodford and the Governor's Public Safety Liaison Les Weidman testified in support of AB1833 (Arambula), the measure that will implement the portion of the Governor's plan which funds increased capacity in county jails and state prisons.

"This bond is critical to the safety and welfare of our citizens, our staff, and the inmates that are sentenced to and receive services from our jails and our prisons," said Woodford. She pointed out that the state's current prison population is nearly 168,000 inmates and is projected to reach 180,000 by 2010 and 190,000 by 2015.

Currently the Department uses "non-traditional" housing to deal with overcrowding including placing inmates in triple bunks in gyms, day rooms and hallways.

"I cannot stress enough how volatile this situation can be, and how this affects the ability of staff to maintain the safety and security of our institutions," Woodford said. "By placing inmates in spaces not designed for housing, we place our staff at greater risk."

The citizens of California must be assured that we, as public policy makers, are planning adequately for the future by taking the necessary steps to expand the capacity of our jails and prisons Weidman noted. "The public demands that the state and counties work together to provide public safety," he said.

The state population is projected to reach roughly 46 million people by 2020 and that in turn will put pressure on county jails and state prisons, Weidman said. Like all the other parts of the Governor's Strategic Growth Plan, the public safety portion recognizes the pressure the state's population growth puts on California's infrastructure, including jails and prisons.

"It is one of our responsibilities to ensure that we have the necessary capacity to house those offenders who create an unsafe environment for our communities," said Woodford. "But it is not enough to just build capacity the way we have done in the past. We must be smart about how we plan for and utilize our new capacity."

This plan will create a partnership between county and state correctional systems to better provide for public safety by providing additional capacity for county jail inmates and the state's short-term parole violators. It also includes plans to better share information about inmates between counties and state prisons.

Currently, more than 5,000 inmates each year spend less than 90 days in state prison - many because of the time they served in county jails prior to sentencing to state prison, Woodford noted.

Each year, the department houses 62,000 parole violators or parolees pending revocation. These short-term inmates are processed through reception centers and then sent to "mainline" prisons and then almost immediately released back to the county from which they came, she said.

"I believe the most essential part of the Governor's Strategic Growth Plan as it pertains to our jails and our prisons is that it will provide for partnerships between counties and the state, and that we will be more thoughtful in the way we house prisoners," she said.

The Governor's plan provides an essential public policy model for California through three primary goals:

  • It provides a more cost-effective model for housing short-term inmates which includes the sharing of information produced by the counties;
  • It provides greater collaboration between county and state law enforcement agencies, which is essential to the safety of the state's communities;
  • It provides the framework for an effective reentry model, through collaboration with local law enforcement, state parole agents, and social sector partners, which will reduce the likelihood of re-offending by parolees.
The Governor's Strategic Growth Plan would put inmates in county jails for the last 90 days of their sentence and during that time, state parole agents would be able to meet with the inmates before they parole to finalize their parole plans; local law enforcement officials could meet with them as well and make sure those required to register (such as sex offenders and gang offenders) would in fact register with local law enforcement; and social welfare partners could meet with them to help find housing and jobs for them before they are released.

"I believe our plans under the Governor's Strategic Growth Plan provide a strong partnership between counties, communities and the state," said Woodford.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Media Advisory, Michael Angelo Morales Scheduled Execution

The execution of Michael Angelo Morales, convicted of one count of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait in the death of Terri Lynn Winchell in Ventura County (a change of venue from San Joaquin County where the murder occurred), is set by court order for February 21, 2006 at San Quentin State Prison.

Access Inquiries:

Direct all requests and inquiries regarding access to San Quentin State Prison to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Press Office in Sacramento, which is responsible for all media credentials. Requests are due by February 8, 2006. (See “Credentials.”)

Reporters:

Up to 125 news media representatives may be admitted to the Media Center Building at San Quentin to attend news briefings and a news conference after the execution. To accommodate as many media firms as possible, each news media organization applying will be limited to one representative. Firms selected to send a news reporter to witness the execution will be allowed a separate representative at the media center.

Audio/Visual/Still Photographs:

In anticipation that interest may exceed space, pool arrangements may be necessary for audio/visual feeds and still photographs from inside the media center. The pool will be limited to two (2) television camera operators, two (2) still photographers, and one (1) audio engineer. The Radio-Television News Directors Association of Northern California (RTNDA) and the Radio-Television News Association (RTNA), Southern California, arrange the pool.

Live Broadcast:


On-grounds parking is limited. Television and radio stations are limited to one (1) satellite or microwave vehicle.

Television Technicians:

Television technicians or microwave broadcast vehicles will be permitted three (3) support personnel: engineer, camera operator, and producer.

Radio Technicians:

Radio broadcast vehicles will be allowed two (2) support personnel: engineer and producer.

Credentials:

For media credentials, mail a completed Media Credentials Application along with a written request signed by the news department manager on company letterhead to:

CDCR Press Office 1515 S Street, Room 113 South P.O. Box 942883 Sacramento, CA 94283-001

The application is to be used to submit the name(s) of the proposed representatives, their dates of birth, driver’s license number and expiration date, social security number, and size of vehicle for live broadcast purposes. All written requests must be received no later than Wednesday, February 8, 2006. Media witnesses will be selected from requests received by that time. Telephone requests and faxes will NOT be accepted.

Security clearances are required for each individual applying for access to San Quentin. The clearance process will begin after the application deadline. No assurances can be provided that security clearances for the requests, including personnel substitutions received after the filing period closes February 8, 2006, will be completed in time for access to the prison on February 20, 2006.

Facilities:

The media center has a 60-amp electrical service with a limited number of outlets. There are several pay telephones. Media orders for private telephone hookups must be arranged with SBC. SBC will coordinate the actual installation with San Quentin. There is one soft drink vending machine at the media center. Media personnel should bring their own food. Only broadcast microwave and satellite vans and their support personnel providing “live feeds” will be permitted in a parking lot adjacent to the In-Service Training (IST) building.

For information and statistics about capital punishment in California, visit ReportsResearch/capital.html

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sacramento State, CDCR Team Up to Train Future Leaders State Correctional Agency Provides Leadership Training While Gearing Up for Hiring Thousands of Employees in 2006

Sacramento – Today the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in cooperation with Sacramento State begins an innovative series of continuing education classes to train CDCR staff to become future leaders of the department. This is the first of a three-stage leadership training and succession strategy to assure that public safety and reforms continue uninterrupted into the next decade.

“With the large number of retirements expected, this department has an obligation to begin training the leaders of tomorrow – today,” said CDCR Secretary Roderick Q. Hickman. “We know those best and brightest are out there – in the institutions and in the offices statewide – providing a high level of public safety and public service. This program will get them ready to assume leadership opportunities available today – and maintain the necessary momentum for all classes and ranges of CDCR employees to participate in continuing education.”

The CDCR Leadership Development Program closely models an innovative and successful program that Caltrans has used these past five years. However, an unusually high number of retiring high level managers has created opportunities for upward mobility for a number of CDCR employees. This Leadership Development Program will give those employees the necessary skills to assume these available positions.

While the present program will cultivate middle and upper level managers first for the leadership positions, the idea behind the multi-stage succession planning is to insure that eventually all CDCR employees, whether they are correctional officers, budget analysts, health care workers, or rehabilitative services employees – will have the opportunity to change and grow and contribute to the necessary reforms that CDCR must make to meet the challenges ahead.

“This partnership is a natural extension of Sacramento State’s role in educating the state’s future leaders,” says University President Alexander Gonzalez. “Our location in the state capital makes us ideally positioned to help meet the current and future needs of the state government and its employees.”

The program – which will be offered through the University’s College of Continuing Education – is designed to address the fast-approaching retirement of the majority of state agency managers and leaders. Agencies such as Caltrans and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, two of the largest departments in state government, face an urgent need for a succession plan that takes into account available time, money, and resources. By partnering with the already-established leadership programs of the College of Continuing Education, those resources can be stretched much further.

Caltrans began partnering with Sac State on leadership development five years ago, resulting in nearly 500 graduates to meet their retirement and hiring needs. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation begins its own partnership with Sacramento State on Jan. 11 to start to train and replace an estimated 1,500 retiring correctional employees each year for the next three years.

"One of the major organizational goals for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is workforce excellence," CDCR Secretary Roderick Q. Hickman said. "Our success depends on our ability to attract, train, develop, and retain a qualified workforce. The partnership with Sac State and Caltrans puts us on track to attain that goal and ensure that we'll have qualified employees that will be well equipped in meeting the demands of the corrections profession.”