Thursday, April 20, 2006

Statement from Jeanne Woodford Regarding Her Resignation as Acting Secretary to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Jeanne Woodford released the following statement regarding her resignation as Acting Secretary at CDCR.

"Today I am stepping down as acting Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

I will continue to serve in my appointed position as the Undersecretary of the Department pending my July 6, 2006 retirement.

My decision to leave the department after 28 years has been a very personal one. This choice is based on my commitment to my family and in no way reflects any change in my belief that this department is headed in a positive direction. We have made great progress toward reforming the largest correctional organization in the country and I know that those who will remain after me will continue to advocate the changes that must be made.

It has been an honor to serve the Schwarzenegger Administration. I am proud that Governor Schwarzenegger chose me to lead this organization at such a critical time in its history."

Friday, April 14, 2006

CDCR Inmates, Juvenile Wards, Respond To Flood Threats

Sacramento - As California residents along the coasts and Central Valley brace for the threat of flood and other damage brought by the record amount of rain this season, they can count on hundreds of inmate and juvenile ward volunteers to be there -- filling sandbags, fixing eroding levees and providing public service.

Dressed in bright orange vests and jackets with words such as "Prisoner," "CDC Inmate" and "CDCR Inmate" stenciled on them, the inmates and juveniles work under the direction of CDCR staff and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection staff reinforcing levees, watching for levee breaches, helping evacuate, and clearing debris from streams.

Since December 2005, both adult inmate and juvenile ward crews have worked more than 30,000 hours throughout state after being called by first-responders to emergency situations.

"These inmates and juvenile wards continue to stand at the ready, to respond at the direction of local and state emergency operations so that lives can be saved - and property protected in the event of a flood stage emergency or catastrophic levee or stream bed overflow or break," said CDCR Secretary (A) Jeanne S. Woodford.

"The commitment and willingness of the incarcerated to do the right thing - is very much part of their rehabilitative path," Woodford said. "When they return home to their communities after serving their sentences, they do so with the knowledge that they made a difference in a time when society needed them most."

During the recent rain storms, more than 168 adult inmates from three camps throughout the state, and 30 juvenile wards from Pine Grove Conservation Camp have been staged at Stockton Fairgrounds so they can be quickly dispatched to trouble spots along Central California waterways and creeks where homes, property, and residents are at risk of flooding with each passing rain.

The CDCR crews will remain there, until further notice, to assist local and state emergency crews in providing critical first-response assistance.

Since 1946 inmates and juveniles on public service crews and from nearly 40 California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Conservation Camps have contributed hundreds of millions of public service hours - resulting in both the savings of lives and property. In an average year, Conservation Camps Program inmates provide eight million hours in project work and two million hours in firefighting and other emergency services, saving California taxpayers more than $80 million annually.

CDCR's Conservation Camps Program provides the State of California's cooperative agencies with an able-bodied, trained workforce for fire suppression and other emergencies such as floods and earthquakes. Fire and public service crews also work on conservation projects on public lands and provide labor on local community service projects.

Monday, April 10, 2006

CALIFORNIA'S ONE-YEAR RECIDIVISM RATE THE LOWEST SINCE 1979

The past four years show a five percent drop in the two-year recidivism rate

Sacramento
- The recidivism rate for offenders who were released to parole in 2003 was 38.15 percent, the lowest since 1979 when the rate was 33.2 percent, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials announced today.

CDCR research also shows that the one-year recidivism rate has been declining since 1997 when it was 44.9 percent. The highest one-year recidivism rate was in 1988 at 53.8 percent.

"While it is still early, this kind of information shows we are heading in the right direction, and the thing to remember is every drop in the recidivism rate means fewer victims in our neighborhoods," said Acting CDCR Secretary Jeanne Woodford.

"The data are promising and underscore the need to continue providing meaningful, effective and evidence-based programs to offenders in order to help them become productive citizens when they return to our communities," she said.

In addition to the one-year trend, for the past four years, there has been a decline in the two-year recidivism rate. Of the inmates who paroled in 2003, only 51.09 percent were back in custody after two years on parole. The last time the two-year recidivism rate was that low was in 1991 at 49.9 percent. Over the last four years, the rate has dropped approximately one percentage point each year from 56.1 percent in 1999 to 51.08 percent in 2003.

Although it is too early to say exactly why the recidivism rates are declining, Woodford said that true public safety includes both the principles of strong policing coupled with evidence-based programs designed to improve parolee outcomes.

"Maintaining and strengthening our relationships with our law enforcement partners as well as providing evidence-based education and rehabilitation programs to offenders to keep them from victimizing others is good public safety," Woodford said.

CDCR researchers calculate recidivism rates by tracking inmates paroled in a calendar year and calculating the ratio of those who have been returned to custody, including felons returned to a substance abuse control unit in a correctional facility, returned on a parole revocation hearing, returned to custody for a parole violation, and returned to prison by a court on a new felony conviction.

To see the just released recidivism rates from 2003, visit http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Reports_Research/Offender_Information_Services_Branch/Annual/RECID2/RECID2d2003.pdf