Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp Wards Return From Southern California Fires To Make Christmas Decorations For Local Communities

PINE GROVE - On Monday evening, Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (YCC) wards returned from fighting fires in Southern California. By Tuesday morning the youth were making Christmas boughs for thirteen local communities. On Wednesday, the wards visited California’s historic Governor’s Mansion in downtown Sacramento to decorate the building with wreaths and other decorations.

It has become a long-standing tradition for the Pine Grove wards to provide this kind of decoration and community service. On average, the wards and staff of Pine Grove YCC produce more than 2,000 Christmas boughs for thirteen local communities.

“This program provides an innovative way for our youth to creatively enhance their skills, while working with their local community,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary of the Division of Juvenile Justice. “This is just one of the many rehabilitation programs offered to youth designed to encourage civic service, and build confidence and self-respect.”

The huge sugar pine cones are harvested upcountry by crews in October. In late November the fir and Ponderosa tree trimmings, left after crews trim trees in conservation operations, are brought to Pine Grove Camp, located just off of Highway 88, to be assembled with the pine cones and some red ribbon. The camp takes reservations for the boughs all year long, and recipients compensate the camp for the ward’s time for each bough.

“A trip through the Mother Lode will give visitors a warm welcome this time of year as our Christmas boughs to add to the holiday decorations in local communities,” said Mike Roots, YCC Superintendent. “These wards not only work hard protecting homes during fire season, but also give back to the community during the holiday season.”     


Last week, Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp sent a strike team of fire fighters to Southern California to be on standby for the extreme fire danger because of the expected high winds. It turned out to be a good call by CALFIRE to plan ahead and have crews on the ready. The fire that started in Malibu consumed 4,700 acres and 53 homes before firefighters could contain the blaze. A week later, Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp returned from Southern California and immediately started making more Christmas boughs. This flexibility shows the strength of public service brought by the CDCR Youth Conservation Camps.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Prison Inmates Graduate from Carpenter’s Training Program

Prison Industry Authority to Expand Rehabilitation Program for Women

Folsom -- The Prison Industry Authority (PIA) today announced that it will expand a rehabilitation program that prepares female inmates for careers as professional carpenters, supported by funds budgeted by Governor Schwarzenegger to reduce recidivism among prison inmates.

The announcement was made during ceremonies for 33 male inmates from two Sacramento area prisons who took a constructive step toward turning their lives around by graduating today from a similar training program conducted by PIA in partnership with Northern California’s Carpenter’s Union Local 46.

“These programs prepare inmates for real careers, not dead-end jobs, which can reduce the number of former inmates who return to prison,” said Charles Pattillo, general manager of the Prison Industry Authority. “Reducing recidivism saves inmate families by helping them stay together and saves taxpayer dollars by reducing the cost of a revolving door prison system.”

“The carpentry training program at Folsom has proven to be a path for success for male inmates and it has opened up a new career path for female inmates in Southern California, who up to now may have never considered working in the carpentry field,” said Pattillo.

Pattillo noted that, although research data is preliminary, it concludes that inmates who graduate from PIA technical education programs have a recidivism rate that is less than one-third that of the general prison population. “Of the 70 men who have graduated from the carpenter’s pre-apprenticeship training program and been paroled, only three have returned to prison,” noted Pattillo. “If this type of success rate can be replicated it will significantly reduce prison overcrowding, and save taxpayer dollars.”

The pre-apprenticeship program, operated in partnership with the carpenter’s union, trains inmates in all of the job skills they need to work as apprentices on a construction site. Inmates, who are trained by union members, are assigned to work sites when they are paroled. PIA provides each inmate with a tool belt that includes everything they need for the first day on the job and pays their union dues for one year to provide a financial cushion as former inmates make the transition back to their communities.

Male inmates at Folsom are rebuilding a former fire camp into a conference center and classrooms on the grounds of the prison and also work in PIA’s Modular Building Enterprise, which manufacturers building for use by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and other government agencies.

The expansion of the carpenter’s training program for women, funded with $3 million in anti-recidivism monies budgeted by Governor Schwarzenegger, will complement a program already underway for female inmates at the California Institution for Women in Corona. Inmates in that program are constructing a new classroom to be used by female inmate firefighting crews housed at that prison. The expansion will take place at one of two women’s prisons in the San Joaquin Valley, to be determined in the coming weeks.

Last month, the PIA signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 118 that will establish a similar pre-apprenticeship program and prepare inmates for professional careers as ironworkers when they are paroled.

The Prison Industry Authority is a financially self-supporting state government agency that operates manufacturing and agricultural facilities within the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which provides rehabilitation opportunities for inmates.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gov. Schwarzenegger Appoints Thomas Powers Director of the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services in CDCR

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Thomas F. Powers as director of the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services (DARS) within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

"My administration has taken immediate action to implement California's historic prison reform plan. As part of this plan, we are providing rehabilitative programs to our inmates so when they have served their sentences they can return to society as law-abiding citizens," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Tom's strong background and experience with substance-abuse treatment makes him the right person to ensure California's inmates have the right tools and knowledge they need when they return to our communities."

Powers has served as acting director of DARS since May 2007. He has also served as executive director of the Wolfe Center since 2006, where he directs the operation of an intensive, outpatient substance-abuse treatment program for teenagers that services the greater Napa County area. From 2000 to 2006, Powers served as chief deputy director for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, where he administered state and federal alcohol and drug treatment and prevention funds. Prior to that, he served as deputy director for the Crime and Violence Prevention Center for the Office of the Attorney General in 2000 and previously held the same position from 1984 to 1988.

In addition, Powers worked in various capacities for the California Conservation Corps (CCC) from 1978 to 1984 and from 1988 to 2000. He held the positions of division chief, regional deputy director, deputy director of programs and policy and regional deputy director at the CCC. As division chief, Powers directed the CCC member Development and Project Support Division with 57 staff and an annual budget of $18 million. He also supervised four Northern Region Service Districts as regional deputy director at CCC.

"It is a great honor to serve in this important role in Governor Schwarzenegger's administration," said Powers. "I will continue to work with the Governor and federal, state and local officials to provide the best tools and programs to rehabilitate and reform California's inmates and parolees to ease their transition back into society."

Powers, 58, of Napa, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego. This position does not require Senate confirmation.

DARS is a cornerstone of CDCR's overarching mission to improve public safety through crime prevention and recidivism reduction. CDCR established DARS, formerly known as the Office of Substance Abuse Programs, to reduce substance abuse by inmates and parolees. The division implements and manages CDCR's system-wide substance abuse plan for intervention and treatment that includes both prison-based and community programs. DARS is responsible for coordinating activities with federal agencies, state agencies and public and private non-profit organizations to ensure cooperation in providing substance abuse services to the inmate and parole population.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CalPIA, Ironworkers Union, Set Apprentice Training Program for Inmates

Education to help inmates start careers upon parole

Sacramento…..In an effort to reduce the state’s excessive rate of repeat crime among prison inmates, The California Prison Industry Authority (CalPIA) and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 118 today announced creation of an apprenticeship training program that will prepare inmates for professional careers as tradesmen when they are released on parole.

“If we can offer these people a career in the construction business that pays good wages with benefits, not just a job, these people likely will not come back to prison,” said John Rafter, business manager of the union.

“California’s prison population is higher than at any other time in its history and a 70 percent recidivism rate among inmates is one of the biggest reasons why,” noted Charles Pattillo, CalPIA general manager. “Giving these inmates an opportunity to rehabilitate their lives is the best solution to prison overcrowding by reducing crime in our communities.”

Under a formal agreement between the union and CalPIA, inmates will receive the same year-long pre-apprenticeship training that is provided to other aspiring craftsman, taught by a journeyman ironworker and union member. When graduating inmates parole, they will be enrolled in union apprenticeship programs throughout California.

CalPIA will provide each inmate with the basic tools they need for the first day on the job and will pay their union dues for one year to help them financially during their transition.

The training program will be conducted at CalPIA’s facility on the outskirts of Folsom Prison, where inmates will learn about safety laws, basic construction requirements, and welding techniques.

The curriculum includes classroom presentations and real world experience on a CalPIA assembly line that manufactures modular buildings that will be used to expand prison capacity and that will be sold to other governmental agencies.

CalPIA is a financially self-supporting state agency that employs approximately 7,000 inmates in manufacturing and agricultural businesses that offer opportunities for them to learn trades and to earn wages that can help them financially when they are released from prison.

The ironworkers training program is modeled after a successful and similar CalPIA program that has graduated approximately 120 inmates into carpentry apprenticeships in the last year. Preliminary data from that program indicates that approximately 16 percent of the graduates have committed new crimes and been returned to prison, compared to 70 percent for the general prison population.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Firefighter Wards Return to Camp to Earn Diplomas

DJJ Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp Graduates 34

PINE GROVE – Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp honored 34 young men in its 12th annual graduation ceremony today. The camp provides response to all types of emergencies including wildfires, floods, search and rescues, and earthquakes. In the last year 22 students have earned a full high school diploma, and twelve students have passed the GED exam.

Many of the wards honored in today’s ceremony spent the last six weeks assisting other state firefighters in battling some devastating wildland and urban fires. Most recently the wards were dispatched to a number of Southern California fires, in an effort to save lives and protect structures at risk from fire damage.

“Wards who leave our youth facilities and camps prepared with the right education can make positive contributions to the community. Giving these wards a chance to perform public service work can truly change their perspective on life. By equipping youth with the tools they need to succeed upon release we will reduce recidivism, and improve public safety,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for the Division of Juvenile Justice. “Strategies to reduce recidivism provide enormous public safety benefits and are key components of the Governor’s vision for long-term reform.”

“This is an incredible accomplishment for these young men and we are very proud of them,” said Pine Grove YCC Superintendent Mike Roots.” It takes a focused effort on their part to complete their schooling as well as keep up with the other demands on their day. They are responsible for working all day with CALFIRE captains on community service projects, responding to fires and other emergencies whenever they are called upon, and completing their board-ordered groups. At night, when all of us are at home relaxing, they are going to school and attempting to finish their education. Their graduation is truly a day to celebrate!”

Superintendent Roots noted that this is the largest group of graduates the camp has ever had.

“It is quite an accomplishment to have this many graduates out of the 80 wards assigned to the Camp program,” Roots said. “Not only should the ward be congratulated, but also the staff of this camp, from cooks to counselors, as well as the CALFIRE staff.”

Honorary speakers today included CALFIRE Captain Howard Drummond and Superintendent Mike Roots. Several dignitaries from Education Services Branch as well as our school Principal were also in attendance. Many family members joined the celebration with their graduates as well as members of the local Pine Grove community that donate service hours to the camp.

Background

The Conservation Camp Program is one of the most successful collaborations in California’s history and dates back to 1946. The CDF, and CDCR Adult and Juvenile facilities jointly operate 41 Conservation Camps statewide that house nearly 4,000 inmates and wards. When they are fighting fires or completing various conservation projects they are under the supervision of CALFIRE. There are 198 fire crews serving California year round under this system. These crews are available to respond to all types of emergencies including wildfires, floods, search and rescues, and earthquakes. When not responding to emergencies, the crews are busy with conservation and community service work projects for state, federal, and local government agencies. Fire crews perform several million hours of emergency response each year and more on work projects.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wards in New “Prison Pup” Program Train Abused and Neglected Dogs for Re-adoption into the Community

Rehabilitation Program Benefits Youth and Rescued Animals

CHINO – The Prison Pup Dog Shelter Program recently debuted at the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino. This is the first such program in a California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facility. On Oct. 30, the first four dogs planned for the program arrived at the institution and met their handlers – wards who have earned the privilege of perfoming community-service working with rescued animals from local animal shelters. Dogs in the program are rehabilitated from past neglect and abuse issues and then retrained for basic obedience and proper socialization for re-adoption into the community.

“This is a worthy cause for our youth to give back to the community and learn about caring and responsibility,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for the Division of Juvenile Justice. “We are proud to be chosen to be part of this program and are hopeful that the dogs in our care can be given to an appropriate citizen in need, to ease them in life’s challenges.”

The first dogs came from Santa Ana in Orange County via the Canine Support Team, Inc (CST). CST is a California based, non-profit organization that provides specially-trained dogs to people with disabilities other than blindness. Since 1989, CST started placing service dogs with people who use wheelchairs, walkers, crutches or canes.

Heman Stark YCF Superintendent Ramon Martinez noted that this service work is consistent with one of the basic tenets of the state’s juvenile system – restorative justice.

“One of the tenets of the DJJ and former California Youth Authority is the concept of restorative justice,” Martinez said. “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.”

It will be the goal of the youth entrusted with these animals to care for these pets, rehabilitate them from past neglect and train them in basic obedience. The program is intense and based on positive reinforcement and social learning theory. The goal of the program is to teach youth about parenting, responsibility and respect for life. Once trained, these dogs then will be directly placed into a loving home.

The dogs will be trained by wards on a team coming from two programs at the Heman Stark facility. The OR Treatment Team currently has 67 wards assigned. The team is divided between two populations: R Company is a high-risk general population; O company is the Incentive Program, which consists of 36 wards. Wards on the Incentive Program must meet minimum criteria of possessing a High School Diploma or GED, or senior status, and be employed within the institution. They cannot accumulate any negative reports for any violent behavior(s) or gang-related activity. All wards on OR are expected to perform community service.

The Prison Pup Program was spearheaded by Sister Pauline Quinn and made its debut in the California correctional institutional system when then-Warden John Dovey approved the program to begin at the California Institution for Women in September 2002.

The Canine Support Team is a non-profit organization that provides service to people with disabilities. Nearly 20 years ago, CEO, Founder and Training Manager, Carol Roquemore started placing dogs with people who use wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, or canes. The success of the program has grown from 4 puppies to 20 with more than 50 California inmate participants training the animals for dedicated service in the community.

Recently CST was looking to expand the existing prison-based program. Research of the local animal shelters shows a high kill rate of unwanted dogs left in animal shelters for extended periods of time. The main reason for euthanizing pets is due to limited resources in caring for them. The overall neglect and abuse has left them in a desolate state.

The Prison Pup Program is partnered up with Prison Pup Program Manager, Donna Shawver and Janette Thomas, Chief Operating Officer and Training Supervisor, and Michelle Lee, Treatment Team Supervisor from Heman Stark YCF. The case managers working directly with the program are Jared Mory and Cedric Shiner, both Youth Correctional Counselors, along with support from all the counselors working on the OR Treatment Team.

The Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility is the largest youth correctional facility within the DJJ. This facility opened up in 1959 with an original mission to younger youth in need of reform. Nearly 49 years later, Heman G. Stark is housing some of the state's most violent and older wards with more serious offenses.



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

CDCR Regional Workshops Engage Officials in All 58 Counties on Secure Community Reentry Facilities







Over 800 local law enforcement, elected officials and stakeholders attended informational workshops and provided input on the Governor’s prison reforms

SACRAMENTO – Regional workshops held over the last four months on secure community reentry facilities created under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive prison reform legislation engaged over 800 officials from all 58 counties, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) reported today. CDCR Undersecretary for Adult Programs Kathy Jett summarized the goal of secure community reentry facilities and the success of these workshops to the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board (C-ROB) this morning during a board meeting at the Sacramento Convention Center.

"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 Undersecretary Jett. “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.”

The Governor’s prison reforms fund 16,000 beds in secure community reentry facilities, which will house a maximum of 500 inmates and be located in the county where an inmate is legally required to be returned. Jett also spoke of the importance of having local communities participate in the process, since only those counties that apply for and cite a location will be considered to house a secure community reentry facility.

“The new model for Secure Community Reentry Facilities is one that will take an unprecedented amount of coordination between the state and local law enforcement, elected officials and stakeholders if it is to be successful. After meeting with all 58 counties, I am very confident that we can build the partnerships necessary to improve the way we transition inmates who are returning home so that they can be successful upon release,” said Undersecretary Jett. “The fact that so many local communities are becoming engaged in the reentry process is an optimistic sign that we can enact positive change to increase public safety.”

From July through October 2007 CDCR joined 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 conduct a statewide informational campaign on the benefits and responsibilities of bringing Secure Community Reentry Facilities into local communities.

The workshops were meant to educate, inform, and receive feedback from all 58 counties on the reentry facilities and jail construction funding - the centerpiece of the Governor’s prison reform legislation, AB 900. Approximately 800 local law enforcement, government officials, and stakeholders attended at these workshops. Each workshop received very positive feedback from the locals, and many communities took the next step of signing agreements to cooperate with the state to cite a facility. Input by the attendees from the workshops is being used by CDCR executive management to make policy decisions as the CDCR moves forward with the development of reentry facilities.

Following are some quotes from attendees at the workshops from press releases and media covering the events:

“The State has made great strides at expanding partnerships and leading the charge to reduce recidivism. These reentry facilities will begin to address the missing pieces that have fostered the revolving door of recidivism. These reentry facilities must be designed according to the needs of the offenders as well as the needs of the community,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. “Last year the CDCR and LASD Community Transition Unit collaborated in an effort to create a Reentry Council for Los Angeles County. This project is in full swing, and it’s partnerships like these that show how a leveraging of funds and a strong partnership can lead to a safer community.”
CDCR Press Release, Oct. 5, 2007

Los Angeles County Assistant Sheriff Marvin Cavanaugh said he believes the time has come to look at giving pre-release inmates tools to survive in the real world. - "We are now at the brink where re-entry programs ... are exactly the right thing to do," he said.
Honig, Robert. “Inmate Reentry Facility Proposed.”
Pasadena Star News. Oct. 6, 2007.

“Parolees already return to our community,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier. “We must make sure they return marked by success and not chronic failure.”
Durand, Michelle. ”State pitches re-entry jail facility plan.
” San Mateo Daily Journal. Sept. 29, 2007.

Solano Sheriff Gary Stanton and District Attorney David Paulson both say they strongly support the idea of creating a re-entry facility in Solano. "My position is that these people are coming back to Solano County whether we do anything or not," said Stanton. "We can continue to give them $200 bucks and a bus ticket with no hope of success or we can have a re-entry program where they are exposed to programs that will help them succeed."
Miller, Robin. “How to help inmates back into society.”
Vacaville Reporter. Sept. 11, 2007

Elizabeth Egan, Fresno County district attorney stated, "I really like the consistency, the focus on providing the programs inmates need to successfully re-enter the community," Egan said. "If the programs help one inmate, if they result in one less failure of parole, this becomes a safer community."
Boyles, Denny. “State targets inmate rehab.”
The Fresno Bee. Sept. 6, 2007

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Gov. Schwarzenegger Directs CDCR to Utilize Inmate Fire Crews in Response to Major Wildfires

To view the video Click Here.
To read the press release Click Here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

CDCR Small Business and Disabled Veterans Contracting Achievements Earn Two Statewide Awards

Agency Accepts Governor Schwarzenegger’s Challenge; Contracts for $6.8 Billion with Small Business and $115 Million with Disabled Veterans

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was recently recognized for significantly increasing contracts with small businesses and disabled veterans pursuant to an Executive Order from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The agency was recognized for achievements over the last six years that have netted more than $6.8 billion in contracts with small businesses and $115 million to disabled veterans. CDCR received two awards during the annual State Agency Recognition Awards Ceremony held on October 25th by the Department of General Services (DGS).

“The recent awards and the recognition of CDCR’s small business efforts reflects this Department’s commitment to working with small businesses to best meet our public safety mission,” said CDCR Undersecretary for Support Stephen W. Kessler. “This department is fortunate to have dedicated professional staff who are committed to reaching out and working with our small business community statewide to ensure that critical services and products are procured in an efficient manner at the least cost to taxpayers. I want to congratulate our staff for their outstanding accomplishments.”

CDCR received the Silver Award for “Most Notable Improvement for Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Contracting in Fiscal Year 2006/2007.” The agency was also honored with the “Secretary’s Special Achievement Award,” presented by Secretary Rosario Marin of the State and Consumer Services Agency, for exemplary and sustained achievements in small business and disabled veteran business enterprise contracting during the last six years. CDCR was the only state department to be honored with the Secretary’s award for 2007. These achievements substantially impacted California’s small business participation goals.

CDCR has seen its efforts in this area develop into a formidable small business and disabled veterans business enterprise program. During the past six years, CDCR averaged over 38.5 percent small business participation in contracting, consistently surpassing the 25 percent goal set by DGS and referenced in Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-02-06. During this time period, CDCR awarded over $6.8 billion to small businesses throughout the state, and more than $115 million to disabled veteran business enterprises.

CDCR’s continual efforts to achieve business development participation goals laid out by the administration culminated in Fiscal Year 2006/07, when CDCR achieved 38.26 percent small business participation by awarding more than $1.5 billion, and 3.19 percent disabled veteran business enterprise participation by awarding $41.5 million.

CDCR is a very unique department since it has 49 locations capable of contracting on their own. These locations are not merely branch offices, most are adult institutions and juvenile facilities. Many of these locations contract out for more than $15 million per year. In Fiscal Year 2006/07, four of CDCR’s reporting locations had more than 50 percent small business participation and four locations reported more than 11 percent disabled veterans business enterprise participation, contributing over $29 million and $16 million respectively.

Keeping the 49 locations informed and educated on CDCR’s business development goals and programs is a tremendous task. To implement the program the agency has 42 small business advocates, one advocate for each of the 34 adult institutions and seven juvenile facilities. CDCR also has a small business and disabled veteran business enterprise Liaison/Advocate at Headquarters who is responsible for coordinating the activities and flow of information within the advocate network, and expanding and improving participation in the program.

For more information on CDCR’s small business and disabled veteran business enterprise program please visit the CDCR website at:

www.cdcr.ca.gov/DoingBusiness/index.html