Thursday, August 30, 2007

CDCR Resumes Construction of Lethal Injection Facility at San Quentin State Prison

SAN QUENTIN – Construction of a new lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison is scheduled to resume on September 7, after being halted in April due to budget overruns requiring legislative approval. The budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on August 24, 2007, provides for $182,000 in new funds to complete construction of the lethal injection facility. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Office of Facilities Management estimates that construction will take ten weeks to complete.

The new lethal injection facility is part of the state’s plan to address concerns with the lethal injection protocol and the current death chamber facility outlined by United States District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel. Judge Fogel requested to tour the new lethal injection facility on October 1, 2007, before a scheduled hearing on the state’s new lethal injection protocols. It is unclear whether that tour and hearing will be postponed until construction is completed, or whether it will continue as scheduled.

The estimated construction completion date for the new lethal injection facility is November 9, 2007, with a complete fire alarm system scheduled to be operational by March 1, 2008.

Friday, August 24, 2007

CDCR Hosts 14-County Regional Workshop in Sacramento on Secure Community Reentry Facilities

Event held to educate local officials and stakeholders on new reforms

Sacramento - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) hosted the fourth in a series of regional workshops today on Secure Community Reentry Facilities, a key component of recently signed legislation by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to reform California’s prison and jail systems. The workshop, held in downtown Sacramento, included representatives from Alpine, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Yolo, Sierra, Butte, and Mono counties.

“The Governor’s comprehensive corrections reforms aim to address severe inmate overcrowding at state prisons and local jails by funding new beds tied to rehabilitation, and creating secure reentry facilities in the local communities where inmates will be returning,” said Marisela Montes, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary, Adult Programs. “Inmates too often leave prison with $200 minus the cost of a bus ticket, and no prospects for success once they return home. The goal of a secure community reentry facility is to ease the transition of local residents and improve public safety.”

“By law, inmates are returned to their county of last legal residence. In practice, offenders come back to local cities and towns whether they’re rehabilitated or not. It is in the public’s interest to give these returning residents the tools to be law-abiding citizens,” said Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness, whose office hosted the workshop. “Not only do we have our share of returning parolees to this county, but we have two large prisons in our jurisdiction. My department and this county have a vital interest in partnering with the state to improve our process for transitioning our residents back home, and exploring the use of secure community reentry facilities. Helping inmates succeed on parole and once they are off supervision will increase public safety and reduce crime.”

Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, who represents a district which has undergone tremendous growth this past decade, said the number-one concern of any citizen – is public safety. He said county supervisors often serve as a first-point-of-contact on public safety issues, and the availability of services for parolees and those still in prison is an area of genuine concern.

“These informational workshops are important to raise local awareness of the secure community reentry facility models and I expect my colleagues in county government to ask the hard questions,” Nottoli said. “Any final plans and agreements on secure community reentry facilities will be negotiated by county sheriffs and county administrative officers. However, considering the close relationships county supervisors’ have with people – it is important that we have a voice in how these are designed, implemented and operated in their respective communities.”

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.

Secure community reentry facilities will enable CDCR and local communities to create an unprecedented continuity of care to provide support services. Reentry facilities will be built in cities, counties or regions willing to partner with CDCR, to assist local residents who are required to be returned to the county where they committed their offense upon release.

These facilities will provide programs and services such as: Intensive substance abuse treatment; Vocational training and job placement; Education and GED coursework; Anger management classes; Family counseling; Housing placement; and,Targeted services to help ease the transition from incarceration to a crime-free life on the outside.

This regional workshop was the third in a series of nine statewide regional workshops that have been organized through October 5th, 2007. In addition, on July 16 CDCR hosted an online web seminar to discuss why community reentry facilities are important to public safety.

Invited participants to the regional workshop were from San Diego and Imperial counties, and 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.

Participants attended workshops discussing parolee programming needs, jail construction funding, and standards for reentry facilities.

For more information on secure reentry centers, and the Governor's focus on rehabilitation through the new reforms, please visit the CDCR website at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/PrisonReform.html

Photos of Workshop

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Than 100 Juvenile Offender Students Honored in Graduation Ceremony at Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino at Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility

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

CHINO – A total of 53 Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) wards walked and received their degrees, diplomas and certificates before family members in a graduation ceremony conducted today from Lyle Egan High School, within the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility. So far in 2007, nearly 100 wards attending Lyle Egan High School have gotten AA degrees, high school diplomas and GEDs certificates.

The ceremony itself lasted about an hour, followed by a reception hosted by the school for the graduates and family members who had traveled to the event. In many cases, these graduates are the first in their family to have earned a degree or GED certificate. Today, students graduated with two Associate of Arts degrees from the University of LaVerne, 31 High School Diplomas from Lyle Egan High School, and 20 GED certificates.

“Attaining a high school diploma or vocational trade can help set the stage for success for youthful offenders when they return to the community,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice. “In custody educational programs provide skills that will open doors for these youth in their future, and help to keep them from revolving in and out of prison as adults. They are part of the state’s broader commitment to reducing recidivism and increasing public safety through rehabilitation.”

Heman G. Stark Superintendent Ramon Martinez praised the focus and resilience of the students honored today, noting the significance of this achievement.

“This graduation ceremony represents a first step for these young adults who have attained college degrees, high school diplomas, and GED’s,” said Martinez. “It is my hope that these young adults will continue to strive to better themselves from this point forward, and take advantage of these opportunities to become productive members of their home communities.”

Lyle Egan High School is one of eight high schools administered by the California Education Authority of the DJJ. In addition to meeting the state standards and academic requirements, all students graduating from DJJ facilities must also earn a minimum of ten character education credits in courses that address such areas as impact of crime on victims, financial planning, parenting, and employability in order to graduate.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

CDCR Hosts Regional Workshop in Downtown San Diego on Secure Community Reentry Facilities

Event held to educate local officials and stakeholders on new reforms

San Diego - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) hosted the third in a series of regional workshops today on Secure Community Reentry Facilities, a key component of recently signed legislation by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to reform California’s prison and jail systems. The workshop, held in downtown San Diego, included representatives from San Diego and Imperial counties.

“The Governor’s comprehensive corrections reforms aim to address severe inmate overcrowding at state prisons and local jails by funding new beds tied to rehabilitation, and creating secure reentry facilities in the local communities where inmates will be returning,” said Marisela Montes, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary, Adult Programs. “Inmates too often leave prison with $200 minus the cost of a bus ticket, and no prospects for success once they return home. The goal of a secure community reentry facility is to ease the transition of local residents and improve public safety.”

“By law, inmates are returned to their county of last legal residence. In practice, offenders come back to local cities and towns whether they’re rehabilitated or not. It is in the public’s interest to give these returning residents the tools to be law-abiding citizens,” said Sheriff Bill Kolender, San Diego County, whose office hosted the workshop. “San Diego County has a vital interest in partnering with the state to improve our process for transitioning our residents back home, and exploring the use of secure community reentry facilities. Helping inmates succeed on parole and once they are off supervision will increase public safety and reduce crime.”

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis said it is important that superior court judges know that when someone is sentenced to state prison – there will be meaningful programs available to offenders once they are paroled back to the county of commitment.

“These informational workshops are important to raise local awareness of the secure community reentry facility models. Any final plans and agreements on secure community reentry facilities will be negotiated by county sheriffs and county administrative officers, but those of us who work in public safety will ensure these are set up correctly,” said District Attorney Dumanis.

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.

Secure community reentry facilities will enable CDCR and local communities to create an unprecedented continuity of care to provide support services. Reentry facilities will be built in cities, counties or regions willing to partner with CDCR, to assist local residents who are required to be returned to the county where they committed their offense upon release.

These facilities will provide programs and services such as: Intensive substance abuse treatment; Vocational training and job placement; Education and GED coursework; Anger management classes; Family counseling; Housing placement; and,Targeted services to help ease the transition from incarceration to a crime-free life on the outside.

This regional workshop was the third in a series of nine statewide regional workshops that have been organized through October 5th, 2007. In addition, on July 16 CDCR hosted an online web seminar to discuss why community reentry facilities are important to public safety.

Invited participants to the regional workshop were from San Diego and Imperial counties, and 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.

Participants attended workshops discussing parolee programming needs, jail construction funding, and standards for reentry facilities.

For more information on secure reentry centers, and the Governor's focus on rehabilitation through the new reforms, please visit the CDCR website at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/PrisonReform.html

View Photos from the Event

Thursday, August 16, 2007

PIA Introduces Nation’s First Prison Pre-apprenticeship Carpentry Program for Women

Training Links Paroling Inmates to Construction Jobs

(CORONA, CA)—The Prison Industry Authority today announced the graduation of 11 female inmates from the newly established carpentry pre-apprenticeship program that trains inmates in construction skills at the California Institution for Women in Corona. The “Career Technical Education-Carpentry” program, the first of its type in the nation for women, is modeled after a similar program for men introduced last year at Folsom State Prison.

“The implementation of this unique prison carpentry training at the California Institution for Women demonstrates Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commitment to provide new inmate rehabilitation programs. Obtaining employment upon release can make a significant difference in a parolee’s ability to succeed on the outside,” said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary James Tilton. “Inmates can learn various carpentry skills that help prepare them for good-paying jobs. This is an opportunity for inmates to turn their lives around.”

After completion of the training, paroling inmates will be eligible for placement in jobs in the construction industry. PIA will provide a full complement of tools to inmates who complete the program and secure employment after release.

The City of Los Angeles Community Development Department will target for employment those inmates who will be paroling to the greater Los Angeles Region. “The City of Los Angeles is collaborating with the Prison Industry Authority to assist parolees who have graduated from the carpenter pre-apprenticeship program at the California Institution for Women. This is an opportunity for these inmates to develop skills that will enhance their ability to obtain employment upon parole,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

As part of their training, the inmates are renovating the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection training facility located at the prison. The work involves all phases of carpentry where inmates gain proficiencies in various skills including: framing, drywall, taping and texturing, painting, roofing, and finished carpentry skills.

PIA is the State organization that provides productive job assignments for inmates in California’s adult correctional institutions. PIA operates factories that produce a variety of goods and services including: modular buildings, office furniture, eye glasses, license plates, coffee, shoes, printing services, signs, binders, clothing, and much more. PIA’s products and services are available to governmental entities, including federal, state, and local agencies.

PIA has established the Inmate Employability Program, which provides training, certification, and job placement assistance, to improve the employability of inmates upon parole. While PIA work assignments help train inmates to prepare for employment, the program also reduces idleness and decreases violence in the institutions. Court-ordered restitution/fines are deducted from the wages earned by PIA inmates and are transferred to the Crime Victims' Restitution Fund. In fiscal year 2005-2006 over $.7 million of PIA inmates’ earnings was deposited into this fund.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

CDCR Hosts Regional Workshop in Orange County on Secure Community Reentry Facilities

TUSTIN - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) hosted the second in a series of regional workshops today on Secure Community Reentry Facilities, a key component of recently signed legislation by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to reform California’s prison and jail systems. The workshop, held in Tustin, included representatives from Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Chris Norby, Chair, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Addressing Regional Workshop in Orange County on Secure Community Reentry Facilities

“The Governor’s comprehensive corrections reforms aim to address severe inmate overcrowding at state prisons and local jails by funding new beds tied to rehabilitation, and creating secure reentry facilities in the local communities where inmates will be returning,” said Marisela Montes, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary, Adult Programs. “Inmates too often leave prison with $200 minus the cost of a bus ticket, and no prospects for success once they return home. We must end the cycle of crime that creates new victims. The goal of a secure community reentry facility is to ease the transition of local residents and improve public safety.”

“By law, inmates are returned to their county of last legal residence, meaning offenders will come back to local cities and towns whether they’re rehabilitated or not. These are our residents, and it is in the public’s interest to help give them the tools to be law-abiding citizens,” said Sheriff Michael S. Carona, Orange County, whose office hosted the workshop. “Orange County is very interested in partnering with the state to improve our process for transitioning our residents back home, and exploring the use of secure community reentry facilities. Helping inmates succeed on parole and once they are off supervision will increase public safety and reduce crime.”

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.

“State lawmakers took a big step this year by finally passing much-needed prison reforms,” said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange. “It is crucial that state and local governments, law enforcement, and the community-at-large are working together in order to see these reforms have their desired affect of reducing overcrowding and recidivism, and improving public safety. We must all be on the same page to implement these reforms, and protect against the early release of inmates.”

Secure community reentry facilities will enable CDCR and local communities to create an unprecedented continuity of care to provide support services. Reentry facilities will be built in cities, counties or regions willing to partner with CDCR, to assist local residents who are required to be returned to the county where they committed their offense upon release.

These facilities will provide programs and services such as: Intensive substance abuse treatment; Vocational training and job placement; Education and GED coursework; Anger management classes; Family counseling; Housing placement; and,Targeted services to help ease the transition from incarceration to a crime-free life on the outside.

This regional workshop was the second in a series of nine statewide regional workshops that have been organized through October 5th, 2007. In addition, on July 16 CDCR hosted an online web seminar to discuss why community reentry facilities are important to public safety.

Invited participants to the regional workshop were from Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and 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.

Participants attended workshops discussing parolee programming needs, jail construction funding, and standards for reentry facilities.

“These informational workshops are important to raise local awareness of the secure community reentry facility model created by the Governor’s reforms. Any final plans and agreements on secure community reentry facilities will be negotiated by county sheriffs and county administrative officers, and are subject to board of supervisor approval,” said Chris Norby, Chair, Orange County Board of Supervisors. “The public will be engaged at every step of the process, and it is important to realize that these are our residents who are coming home, ready-or-not, and a coordinated plan for their return is critical.”

For more information on secure reentry centers, and the Governor's focus on rehabilitation through the new reforms, please visit the CDCR website at:

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