Friday, July 27, 2007

CDCR Continues Inmate Moves to Out of State Facilities

Involuntary Transfers Are Second Group to Arrive In Mississippi to Relieve Overcrowding in California

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today transferred a second group of 40 inmates to a private correctional facility Mississippi, as part of its effort to reduce severe overcrowding and increase space for rehabilitation programs.

The inmates were transferred to the Tallahatchie County Detention Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, joining a group of 40 that were sent from California last week.

Including 316 inmates housed in the Florence (Arizona) Detention Facility and 80 in the West Tennessee Correctional Facility, today’s transfers bring to 476 the number of California inmates housed in private correctional facilities, all of which are operated by the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, Tenn.

“Temporary out of state inmate transfers will provide immediate relief to California’s prison system, while the rest of the Governor’s comprehensive reforms are implemented,” said James Tilton, Secretary for Corrections and Rehabilitation. “Relieving overcrowding will improve the safety of our prisons both for inmates and staff. It will also give us breathing room to restore rehabilitation programs, reduce inmate population that will increase access to medical care, and ultimately protect public safety by reducing recidivism rates.”

The transfer of inmates out of state was begun in response to an Emergency Order issued by Governor Schwarzenegger in October 2006, but was halted in November while the state’s authority to move the inmates was challenged in lawsuits. In February 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 900, The Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Act of 2007, that clarified the authority of CDCR to temporarily transfer inmates to private facilities in other states, which was resumed on June 1.

CDCR expects to begin transferring larger groups of inmates in the next several weeks, resulting in up to 400 inmates each month being moved to out-of-state facilities. Approximately 8,000 inmates will be transferred by March 2009. Transfers will continue thereafter as needed, as AB 900 authorizes them until July 1, 2011.

Inmates transferred to out-of-state facilities undergo a comprehensive medical screening. Only those inmates who meet criteria established by the federal court appointed Receiver overseeing inmate medical care are eligible for transfer.

CDCR’s contract with CCA is for 4,056 beds and discussions with other private correctional companies are expected. A CCA facility in North Fork, Oklahoma is also likely to house California inmates.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

CDCR, INMATES CELEBRATE SECOND SUCCESSFUL LICENSING PROGRAM BY BOARD OF COSMETOLOGY

Full licensing, employment possibilities result of Governor Schwarzenegger signing legislation in 2006

Chowchilla - Three female inmates housed at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Central California Women’s Facility are celebrating their success at passing the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology licensing exam, which was made possible by legislation signed last September by Governor Schwarzenegger.

“This is exciting news for these inmates, who will be able to be licensed as cosmetologists and gain meaningful employment when they parole,” said Wendy Still, Associate Director for CDCR Female Offender Programs and Services. “Programs like this are part of a concerted effort by the state to reduce recidivism by providing inmates with rehabilitation programs and tools they need to become contributing members of society upon release.”

The successful inmates were Michelle Agee, Risha Land, and Rose Ward from Los Angeles County.

The onsite testing at the prisons is the second since the prisons were activated in the 1990s; the first on-site testing occurred in December 2006. The licensing exam is the culmination of more than 3,200 hours of study. The Vocational Cosmetology programs offer courses of study and practical, hands-on experience at the female institutions in Chowchilla and at the California Institution for Women in Chino. The program is such a success that the prisons are expanding their vocational cosmetology programs.

As part of the Department’s focus on female offender reform initiatives, CDCR partnered with Assembly Member Karen Bass (D-Baldwin Vista). Bass introduced AB 861, legislation that required the State Board to issue a probationary license to an applicant—such as an inmate—that is subject to specified terms and conditions. Previously, state law banned licensing of convicted felons, creating an impediment to employment and a successful parole. The bill also required the Board to study the effects of law, regulations, and policy that may create unnecessary barriers to employing individuals with criminal records. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law on Sept. 22, 2006.

Click here learn more about Governor Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive prison reform package.

More Than 200 Inmates Graduate from Folsom State Prison's Greystone Adult School with Academic and Vocational Diplomas

Programs are designed to help offenders succeed upon release, reduce overcrowding and improve public safety

FOLSOM - A total of 235 California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmates today received diplomas from Folsom State Prison's Greystone Adult School during a commencement ceremony held at the historic prison. Inmates received diplomas for general education development and vocational programs. The graduating vocational program inmates also received their industry standard certifications to show employers they have passed the necessary requirements for employment in one of several trades that include welding, electronics, mill and cabinet, landscaping, janitorial and office services.

“Inmates who leave prison prepared with the right education and skills can make positive contributions to the community. Giving inmates the tools they need to succeed upon release will reduce recidivism, and improve public safety,” said Marisela Montes, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Programs. “Implementing the Governor’s reforms to reduce overcrowding will create much needed space to expand valuable rehabilitation programs like these that will impact inmates’ lives. Strategies to reduce recidivism provide enormous public safety benefits and are key components of the Governor’s vision for long-term reform.”


The proud graduates wore caps and gowns over their usual prison clothing. Warden Kramer addressed the group with friends, families, Greystone faculty and staff, corrections administrators and community guests on hand to celebrate the hard work and academic achievements of the incarcerated students. Fifty-seven inmates earned GED diplomas, another 80 inmates earned vocational certificates, and 98 inmates graduated in absentia because they either paroled or transferred to other prison facilities. Fourteen inmates were recognizes as honor students.

“The true measure of this program’s success will be whether we see these inmates come back through our gates after they are released,” said Warden Kramer. “We can teach a man life skills, but only he can choose to change his life. I am optimistic that for many of these men this achievement is just the first step down a road toward a crime-free life as self-sufficient and productive residents of this great state."

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Gov. Schwarzenegger Issues Statement Regarding Ruling on Prison Overcrowding

Governor Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement after two federal judges, in cases relating to prison medical care and prison mental health care, granted motions to convene a three-judge panel to evaluate prison overcrowding.

"California prison overcrowding developed over the past 30 years, leading to the current crisis in our prisons. That is why I issued an Emergency Proclamation to address overcrowding and directed the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to transfer thousands of inmates to out-of-state prisons. And that is why my administration and the Legislature enacted AB 900, major prison reform that will reduce overcrowding and recidivism, and change parole policies, without releasing dangerous criminals into our communities.

"Today, the federal judges encouraged the State of California to continue with our efforts to reduce overcrowding and to implement AB 900. The judges said that if we are successful, further population orders will not be necessary. There is no immediate threat of inmate release, which one federal judge noted would be a "radical step."

"I'm confident that the steps the state has taken and will continue taking to reduce overcrowding will meet the court's concerns. At the same time, we intend to appeal these orders to ensure that dangerous criminals are not released into our communities."

Friday, July 20, 2007

CDCR Continues Temporary Out of State Inmate Transfers

Transfers to Tennessee and Mississippi Will Help Reduce Short Term Overcrowding while Reforms are Implemented

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today transferred another 42 inmates to out of state correctional facilities in Tennessee and Mississippi, as part of its effort to reduce overcrowding and increase space for rehabilitation programs.
Forty of the inmates were transferred to the Tallahatchie County Detention Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, marking the first time that CDCR has used that facility. In addition, two inmates were sent to the West Tennessee Detention Facility, joining 78 California inmates who have been housed there since last October.

Including 316 inmates housed in the Florence (Arizona) Detention Facility, today’s transfers bring to 436 the number of California inmates housed in out of state correctional facilities, all of which are contracted with and operated by the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, Tenn.

“The temporary out of state transfer of inmates will provide immediate relief to California’s prison system,” said James Tilton, Secretary for Corrections and Rehabilitation. “Relieving overcrowding will improve the safety of our prisons both for inmates and staff while the Governor’s comprehensive reforms are fully implemented.”

The transfer of inmates out of state was begun in response to an Emergency Order issued by Governor Schwarzenegger in October 2006, but was halted in November while the state’s authority to move the inmates was challenged in lawsuits. In February 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 900, The Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Act of 2007, that clarified the authority of CDCR to temporarily transfer inmates to private facilities in other states, which was resumed on June 1.

Prior to the transfers today, all inmates housed in out of state facilities were volunteers. The 40 inmates transferred to the Tallahatchie County Detention Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, were the first inmates who did not volunteer to be moved out of state. The transfers were safely conducted without incident. The two inmates sent to the West Tennessee Detention Facility volunteered for the transfer.

It is expected that CDCR will process up to 400 inmates per month for transfer out of state over the next two years, and that approximately 8,000 inmates will be transferred by March 2009. Transfers will continue thereafter as needed, as AB 900 authorizes transfers until July 1, 2011.

Inmates transferred to out-of-state facilities undergo a comprehensive medical screening. Only those inmates who meet criteria established by the federal court appointed Receiver overseeing inmate medical care are eligible for transfer.


CDCR Reentry Advisory Committee Convenes in Davis

State moves forward to address overcrowding by reducing recidivism

DAVIS - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today convened the first meeting of an expert group that will advise the state on how to meet the needs of former inmates as they return to their local communities. The Reentry Advisory Committee, chaired by CDCR Secretary James Tilton, was facilitated by the Center for Public Policy Research as part of a partnership with UC Davis, which will play a role in conducting research about evidence-based strategies to ease reentry and reduce recidivism. This committee is yet another example of efforts that the state is undertaking to reduce crisis level overcrowding in our prisons.

“More than 95 percent of all prison inmates eventually return to their communities. Unfortunately in years past they have been equipped with nothing more than $200 gate money, minus the cost of a bus ticket,” said Secretary Tilton. “As part of the Governor’s comprehensive prison reforms, the state is developing reentry facilities and programs to help close the revolving door so that offenders can get the rehabilitation they need to keep from returning to prison, which will improve public safety.”

Agenda

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Division of Juvenile Justice Academy Cadet Graduation

What:           Juvenile Justice Academy Cadet Graduation

When:          Friday, July 20, 2007
                    10:00 a.m.

Where:       The Terry Lewis Theatre on the Delta College Campus, Stockton, CA

Contact:     Lt. Valerie Mayol, (209) 546-4259

This special ceremony will be held for 43 cadets graduating Friday morning. These cadets have just completed a 16 week training academy and will be reporting to Division of Juvenile Justice facilities statewide. This training is part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's commitment to increase public safety in the Juvenile Justice system.

Monday, July 16, 2007

CDCR Hosts Webinar on Secure Community Reentry Facilities

Online event educates local officials and stakeholders on new reforms

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation conducted a statewide web seminar, or “webinar” on Monday, July 16, 2007, to discuss secure community reentry facilities. Participants included:

  • James Tilton, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Marisela Montes, Chief Deputy Secretary, Adult Programs, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Laurie Smith, Santa Clara County Sheriff
  • Bob Takeshta, Deputy Director, Corrections Standards Authority, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and
  • Steven Farugie, Project Director, Santa Barbara County Reentry Project
The webinar can be viewed in its entirety at: http://archive.videossc.com/asxgen/gov/CDCR071607.wmv

BACKGROUND: In May of this year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007, a historic prison reform agreement. Chief among the provisions of Assembly Bill 900 are funding for 16,000 beds in secure community reentry facilities. These facilities will enable CDCR and local communities to create an unprecedented continuity of care to provide support services.

CDCR partnered with the California State Sheriffs Association, the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities, the Chief Probation Officers Association, the California Mental Health Directors Association, the County Alcohol & Drug Program Administrators Association of California, and the Association of California Cities Allied with Prisons to help inform local community stakeholders on provisions of AB 900 pertaining to secure community reentry facilities through this webinar. Invited participants included: Local Government Officials, Sheriffs, Boards of Supervisors, Mayors, City Council Members, Chief Probation Officers, Mental Health Professionals, Drug/Alcohol Professionals, County Administrative Officers, Police Chiefs, District Attorneys, County Public Works, Community Based Agencies, Victims Advocates, Chamber of Commerce, Legislators, and Association Representatives. During the webinar, invited participants from around the state will be given the opportunity to submit questions.

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Friday, July 6, 2007

$34.2 Million Contract Tracks Financial Transactions for Over 60,000 CDCR Employees at Over 41 Institutions and Field Offices

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has awarded a $34.2 million contract to International Business Machines (IBM) to supply a comprehensive computer system and software designed to increase efficiency and save taxpayer dollars. The software, known as mySAP, will give CDCR the ability to track in one central location every detail of every financial transaction in a far flung network of more than 60,000 employees spread between 41 adult prisons and juvenile institutions and hundreds of parole field offices.

"This is the largest project of its type in California state government, and will allow CDCR to utilize 21st Century technology to track finances and improve our operations," said Steve Kessler, CDCR Undersecretary for Program Support. "CDCR is entrusted with nearly $10 billion a year of taxpayer funds and this system will improve our ability to make prudent and efficient spending decisions and will keep us accountable for how those funds are managed."

The mySAP software is designed to improve efficiency and reduce spending for everything from bulk purchases of supplies to overtime for staff. IBM will provide staff support for three years to help CDCR fully implement the system, which was initiated on July 1 and will be fully operational in July, 2008.

The scope of the tracking system is broad and provides information in real time, eliminating delays in reporting that can result in excessive and inefficient spending. The computerized system will, for example, provide immediate information on spending compared to an authorized budget, eliminating a 45 day lag in reporting.

It will track many other typical financial transactions such as coordinating and consolidating purchases to take advantage of volume savings and coordinating contracting to avoid unnecessary duplication.

The system also will track facility operations to avoid unnecessary expense. It will, for example, track each institution's need to transport inmates to court appearances and medical appointments so that staff assigned to that duty can be better planned or coordinated among more than one institution, potentially reducing overtime in a system that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Monday, July 2, 2007

Heman Stark Correctional Facility Wards Team with Theatre Group to Write an Original Play

CHINO - Saturday, a professional artist presented before a live audience the formal "read-through" of an original play written by fifteen juvenile offenders from the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility.

The effort was made possible through an alliance with the Southern California-based Unusual Suspects Theatre Company -- a non-profit organization of professional artists who work to bring theatre arts to youth, ages 12-21, from the foster care and juvenile justice systems. The juvenile offenders, or ‘wards’ as they are called within the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), spent seven weeks with the theatre company, learning the basics of theatre, script writing and role-playing.

"The myriad of talent of youth in the DJJ is often unrecognized until volunteer groups such as ‘Unusual Suspects’ makes an investment in time, effort and in this case – training,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice, “This program has been an innovative way for our youth to creatively enhance their communication skills and work cooperatively. This has given them confidence and the feeling of self-respect."

Warner acknowledged the role of staff that provides treatment and training to wards at the Stark facility, specifically highlighting the efforts of Jennifer Hetherton, Supervising Case Worker and Joe Hartigan, Program Administrator, who reached out to the theatre group to assist with several wards that would benefit from the project.

Through The Unusual Suspects Theatre program, The Heman G. Stark wards spent time working on developing and writing a play with peers of different races and gang affiliations, and with adults in a supportive role.

"The wards at Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility were unlike any we had worked with in the past, primarily because of their ages and also because of their willingness to participate,” said Melissa Denton, Program Manager of The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company. ”They took everything we gave them and ran with it, shattering their own perceptions of each other along the way.”

The wards learned theatre and writing techniques, and wrote, produced and will perform their own work for parents, friends, peers, and staff. This experience exposed the wards to creativity, new thoughts about adults and their peers, and pride of accomplishment.

“As we continue to work on the rehabilitative process of the young adult offenders, this is an example of the growth that they experience with community support,” Heman G. Stark Superintendent Ramon Martinez said. “We thank The Unusual Suspects Theatre project in devoting their efforts to assisting these young men at a critical time in their life-skills development.”