Thursday, December 18, 2008

26 Graduate from First Year of "Restoring Youth and Communities" Project

SACRAMENTO - AmeriCorps and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) are celebrating a successful collaboration today that has encouraged mentoring and volunteerism among youthful offenders. For the last year AmeriCorps members, many of whom are former offenders themselves, have been acting as "service learning coaches" for wards and parolees under the supervision of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) as part of a project called "Restoring Youth and Communities." Through this partnership, CDCR and AmeriCorps members are mentoring youthful offenders and engaging them in meaningful service-learning projects that benefit their home communities.

At a ceremony today, 26 AmeriCorps participants in the "Restoring Youth and Communities" project completed their first year of service, and became the program's first group of graduates. Of these individuals, 12 plan to "re-up" for another year to continue working with DJJ youth in facilities and on parole. More than 270 candidates are vying for 34 vacant slots in the project for 2009.

"These individuals have not only changed their own lives, but are using their personal experiences to make a difference in the lives of others and to improve their home communities," said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate, who participated in the ceremony. "By engaging at risk youth early on in these types of service projects, we are not only improving their lives today, but giving them hope for the future."

The graduates completed up to 1,700 hours of public service over the last 11 months, mentoring DJJ youth both in institutions and on parole in the community. AmeriCorps members in the project work full time as "service-learning coaches," helping DJJ youth identify and learn about issues such as drug abuse, youth violence, and education, and recruiting and connecting these youth with community based organizations and opportunities.

AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance, health and child care benefits, and an educational award upon completion of service. AmeriCorps is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, and a $532,965 annual grant administered by California Volunteers. DJJ has matched that amount with funding of $695,500 per year. Participants are paid a stipend of $20,000, not including some education benefits, to participate in the 11 month program. Year to year funding is predicated on performance measures.

Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary of the Division of Juvenile Justice, said that DJJ's participation with this program has been extremely rewarding and that former parolees have shared compelling stories of personal growth and showed evidence of making a difference with their individual efforts.

"The AmeriCorps members have been integral to our reform efforts at DJJ," Warner said. "Their energy, dedication, and new ideas have not only helped to rehabilitate the young people with whom they have worked but also to revitalize our mission."

CDCR and AmeriCorps kicked off the partnership in February 2008. Many of this year's graduates are former parolees who successfully discharged. Other participants included young adults who had been at risk, as well as a select few individuals who were studying criminal justice at various state universities and colleges. The common thread is that these individuals were interested in exploring careers in juvenile justice while helping DJJ youth in facilities and on parole make positive changes in their home communities.

"Parole is often a difficult time of transition as offenders work to re-establish themselves in their communities," said Juvenile Parole Board Executive Director Chuck Supple. "Many AmeriCorps members have already been there, and know more than anyone else the kind of help parolees need. It is this unique perspective that allows them to reach out and help guide former offenders toward a more constructive and successful life."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

CDCR Begins Implementation of Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) began this week implementing newly enacted provisions of the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008 that expand crime victims’ rights and change life prisoner parole suitability hearings. CDCR has also launched a new webpage for victim disclosures related to the new law. Also known as “Marsy’s Law,” Proposition 9 was passed by voters on Nov. 4, 2008 and certified by the Secretary of State on Dec. 13, 2008.

Victims’ Rights
“Marsy’s Law amended California’s Constitution to give victims additional rights of notice and allow for greater participation in various components of the criminal justice system,” said Sandi Menefee, Assistant Secretary of CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights of Services (OVSRS). “CDCR has a long history of ensuring victims are notified of their rights, given opportunities to provide input into special conditions of parole, and given notification for parole consideration hearings. Our agency is also responsible for ensuring that direct orders for restitution are collected for victims.”

Marsy’s Law impacts the timeframes for notices to victims and victims’ next of kin. Since the passage of Proposition 9 on November 4, OVSRS has worked cooperatively with every division within the CDCR affected by the passage of the new law in order to ensure staff would be ready to implement these provisions as soon as the proposition was certified.

“We are ready to embrace the new changes,” Menefee said.

Lifer Parole Suitability Hearings

Marsy’s Law also fundamentally alters life prisoner parole suitability hearings and expands victims’ rights in parole proceedings for offenders sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

“Parole commissioners have been trained on the new provisions of Marsy’s Law and beginning December 15, all lifer hearings are subject to the new law,” said Martin Hoshino, Executive Officer of the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH). “We have also been communicating with our deputy commissioners and BPH staff at the state’s adult institutions at every public, private and working meeting since voters approved the proposition to inform them of these changes.”

Parole Revocation Hearings

Proposition 9 also changed timelines and procedures for parole revocation hearings. However, on December 5, Judge Lawrence K. Karlton with the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, ordered those portions not be implemented in response to a motion filed by plaintiffs in the Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger class action lawsuit, which had previously challenged the constitutionality of parole revocation proceedings. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 9, 2009.

Provisions of the Victims Bill of Rights Act of 2008
In addition to the above mentioned changes, Marsy’s Law:

  • Expands the definition of a victim;
  • Expands the scope of persons allowed to act as victim representatives at parole hearings;
  • Allows victims to attend lifer parole hearings without being asked questions by the prisoner or the prisoner’s attorney;
  • Requires the BPH, when setting a date for a parole grant, give meaningful consideration to whether the inmate should be released to parole;
  • Increases the length of denials from 1-5 year denials to 3-, 5-, 7-, 10-, or 15-year denials;
  • Requires that the BPH give registered victims and victims’ next of kin 90 days notice of all parole proceedings or other post-conviction release proceedings, rather than 30 days;
  • Allows the victim, next of kin, members of the victim’s family (not just the immediate family) and two representatives to appear personally to express their views about a prisoner and the case;
  • Requires a web page for victim disclosures related to the new law. Information about the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: CDCR’s “Marsy’s Law” site can be found at The website also has information on how to register as a victim of crime in order to receive notice of future parole consideration hearings, how to request a hearing transcript, and how to contact CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services.
To view New Marsy's Law page

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Inmates Contribute $131,000 to Local Crime Victims

To read this article Click Here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

CDCR Employees and Inmate Holiday Activities to Benefit Less Fortunate, Underserved

SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced its annual calendar of holiday community benefit activities, organized by hundreds of CDCR employees statewide.

More than 44 activities and events will help to feed, clothe, or bring toys to needy families and children statewide. Food and donations to purchase food will feed hundreds as the holidays approach and cold weather sets in.

“Our employees have really stepped up to help local communities and needy families this year,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “The holiday, charitable events and fundraisers underway by staff and inmates at institutions and field offices across California will help to brighten the holidays for those less fortunate,” he continued.
Some holiday activities involve work offenders who have spent months creating crafts or rebuilding bicycles. In Sacramento, a group of juvenile offenders from Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp helped decorate the historic Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento for the holidays.

“The generosity and good will shown by our staff is impressive,” said Cate. “Because of their efforts, a few hundred more children will have a shiny bicycle, and others got to eat a warm Thanksgiving meal. We feel we are making a difference in our communities.”

CDCR oversees 33 adult state prisons ranging from minimum to maximum-custody, 44 conservation camps, 12 community correctional facilities and six facilities designed for inmate mothers and their children. For offenders released to parole, four parole regions oversee 190 parole units and sub-units in 84 separate locations. CDCR also oversees five facilities for juvenile offenders and regional parole offices for youths on parole. Nearly 67,000 employees oversee more than 317,000 offenders in institutions and on parole.

CDCR Holiday Activities 2008 Fact Sheet

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Partnership Provides Youthful Offenders with Job Skills and Keeps Manufacturing and Revenues in California

CHINO - Youthful offenders in Chino will receive valuable job training in manufacturing, and California will keep jobs and tax revenues in the state, under a new partnership announced today by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility is welcoming Rampone Industries to open a new manufacturing facility on its grounds that will employ youthful offenders and provide vocational training as part of the Free Venture Program managed by the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA).

Under CDCR's Free Venture Program, Rampone Industries will set up and operate its business within the confines of the correctional facility and hire motivated wards as its employees. The business will pay these wards comparable wages while providing much needed job skills.

Rampone Industries manufactures store displays and fixtures for numerous well known nationwide stores. CEO Horacio Rampone decided to open this facility rather than expand manufacturing overseas.

"We decided that a partnership with the Division of Juvenile Justice provided an excellent opportunity to benefit California and the young men inside these facilities. It just makes sense," CEO Horacio Rampone said. "The program is a win-win situation. The State of California, the community, the wards, and our company all benefit. The young men come out of this facility with hope, a future, and a positive direction."

Rampone Industries initially intends to employ 10 to 20 workers, but has plans to offer many more jobs in the long term. Juvenile offenders will be working in a variety of positions including shipping and receiving, metal, wood and acrylic manufacturing, finish work and painting.

"Free Venture programs offer incredible benefits by providing these young men with real world job skills," DJJ Chief Deputy Secretary Bernard Warner added. "Our main objective is to get these young men back to the community to be productive workers leading crime free lives."

Free Venture is a partnership between correctional facilities and private businesses that operate inside prison walls while hiring inmates and wards. The program provides compensation to the victims of crime by deducting a portion of the ward's pay.

CALPIA will partner with Rampone Industries to ensure offenders' skills are documented to assist in their transition to employment upon release. Currently, there are two Free Venture programs within the DJJ system with 24 youth employed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

CDCR Youth Decorate Governor’s Mansion for Christmas

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) youth from the Division of Juvenile Justice helped deck the halls for the holidays. These young men from the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp were invited to help decorate the historic Governor’s Mansion in downtown Sacramento.

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate greeted the youth and got a quick tour of the mansion. He expressed his gratitude toward the young men who recently fought the wildfires in Southern California.

This has been a tradition for the young men of Pine Grove with this being the 15th year of decorating the Governor’s Mansion. The young men helped set up five Christmas trees and strung the lights. They also placed garland, boughs and wreaths on staircases and fences outside.

“Decorating the Governor’s Mansion is a big change from the fire lines,” Pine Grove Youth Correctional Counselor Tom Menley said. “Fighting fires is strenuous and this is more of a relaxing event for these young men that they can look back on and remember the spirit of the holidays.”

After decorating the mansion, the youth were taken on a tour by docent, Linda Bergmann. They also were treated to a pizza lunch.

Approximately 80 youth are assigned to the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp in Amador County. The holiday boughs are made at the facility with fresh pine branches, pine cones and red ribbon. The boughs adorn many city street lights throughout Amador County during the holiday season.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CDCR Releases New Video on GPS Monitoring of Sex Offenders

To read this article Click Here.

CDCR Goes “Online” with Computerized Inmate Funds System

System will aid in victim restitution collections

SACRAMENTO - Beginning this week, The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) started using a statewide inmate funds system that will make it easier to track and account for funds that families give to inmates, monies that inmates earn, and will ease the department’s responsibility to ensure victims with court-mandated restitution orders receive their payment.

The program, called The Trust Restitution Accounting Canteen System (TRACS) replaces three obsolete applications and will be used statewide at all 33 adult institutions for the more than 170,000 inmates incarcerated in California.

Susan Fisher, who serves as Governor Schwarzenegger's Crime Victim Advocate, lauded this effort as another step forward for victims in their ongoing effort to achieve restitution from convicted felons who have court-ordered restitution.

"We are excited about the obvious benefits to victims that this system brings to all victims with restitution orders," said Fisher. "When restitution is collected and tracked more efficiently, benefits can be dispersed more quickly.

“This allows the Department to provide more comprehensive services to victims of crime, public agencies, and the CDCR adult offender population at a lower cost,” said Suzan Hubbard, Director for the Division of Adult Institutions. The seamlessly integrated system utilizes a single central database where data is entered one time and accessed from multiple locations throughout the State.

TRACS provides improved tracking and generates increased collections of court-ordered restitution obligations from offenders on behalf of victims.

“This project has been so long in coming but never lost its momentum, since it was first envisioned more than eight years ago,” said Sandi Menefee, Assistant Secretary over the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services. The office has seen restitutions collections increase steadily as technology has been harnessed to ensure victims receive court-ordered restitution.

The TRACS program interfaces electronically with the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board and the Franchise Tax Board, allowing for restitution collections from parolees and individuals no longer under the jurisdiction of CDCR. This enhances the State’s ability to more effectively honor victims’ rights to restitution, as guaranteed by the California Constitution.

Improved restitution tracking facilitates payment of restitution obligations. This is especially pertinent to parolees who wish to reside out of state, which is not permissible by law until restitution obligations have been fully satisfied. In these win/win situations, victims receive their just restitution payment, while parolees, who may have a better chance of rehabilitation in a different locale, are able to fulfill their obligations in a streamlined manner.

California Law authorizes CDCR to provide offenders with the ability to purchase goods from stores within the institutions, otherwise known as canteens. Inmate funds held in Trust are readily available for purchases and inmates benefit from increased accuracy and accessibility to their trust account balances.

“TRACS implementation highlights the department’s continuing efforts to utilize information technology such as role-based single sign-on access via Active Directory in partnership with the Department of Technology Services (DTS), and implementing high-availability, redundancy, and fault tolerant operational recovery to transform and safeguard offender management business practices.” said Joe Panora, CDCR Assistant Secretary/ Agency Information Officer.

With the statewide deployment of TRACS, CDCR went a step further in improving the department’s information technology environment while achieving its performance objectives, Panora added. The project was successfully completed on time and under budget.

TRACS was first implemented at the Department’s adult female institutions in early August as a pilot. The pilot deployment was closely monitored and lessons learned were employed prior to going live at the remaining thirty adult CDCR correctional facilities.

The new software solution was customized for CDCR by Advanced Technologies Group, Inc, a privately held company with a proven solution that was successfully deployed at the Federal Bureau of Prisons and has been operational since April 2004.

# # #

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Female Inmate Apprehended in Fresno

FRESNO - A female inmate who escaped from the Drug Treatment Furlough Center Bakersfield on Sunday, November 9, 2008 has been found in Fresno. She was located on a street corner at Fresno Street and Belmont at 9:40 AM this morning (November 13, 2008).

CDCR special agents with the Office of Correctional Safety in cooperation with the Bakersfield Police Department looked for Bowles and successfully tracked her down in Fresno. Bowles did not resist and was booked at the Central California Women's Facility without incident.

Bowles is originally from Fresno and was serving time in Bakersfield for a petty theft conviction. She was sentenced to 16 months and was scheduled to be released in January 2009.

The facility, operated by Mental Health Systems, Inc. under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), provides substance abuse treatment in a licensed residential treatment facility to inmates 120 days before their release to parole. The inmates in the program are convicted of non-serious and non-violent offenses and transition into the community-based facility from an in-prison substance abuse treatment program.

Bowles case is being referred to the Kern County District Attorney's office.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CDCR Issues Statement on Correctional Officer Death

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento Police Department's Homicide Unit and Crime Scene Investigations Unit are investigating the homicide of Correctional Officer Steve Lo, 39, a three-year veteran of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

According to the Sacramento Police Department, Officer Lo was found shot in the garage of his Sacramento home on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 4:59 a.m. It appears he was preparing to leave for work when he was shot. He was transported to an area hospital where he later died.

Officer Lo is survived by his wife and five children. He started at the Basic Correctional Officer's Academy on November 14, 2005 and began his assignment at the California Medical Facility on March 4, 2006.

"Officer Lo was a well-respected, professional officer who carried out his duties with diligence and humanity," CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said. "His death is a great loss to his family as well as his friends and co-workers at California Medical Facility and at CDCR.

"My condolences and prayers are with his family. We will continue to work closely with the Sacramento Police Department to ensure the person or persons responsible for this heinous act will be brought to justice."

# # #

Friday, October 3, 2008

California to Launch Parole Violation Decision Making Instrument to Help Agents Assess Risk and Needs in Determining Sanctions

SACRAMENTO - California is moving forward with a new evidence-based system for dealing with parole violations that will allow parole agents to scientifically weigh an offender’s risk level and the benefits of alternatives to prison as part of their decision making process. The centerpiece of the program is a new Parole Violation Decision Making Instrument (PVDMI) that was specifically designed and tested for California parolees, and was developed in coordination with national experts advising the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). This new model will help focus CDCR’s custody resources on higher risk offenders while targeting less serious offenders with proven treatment programs that seek to address the root of their problems.

“Our goal is to give parole agents the tools they need to make stronger decisions that are smart on crime, while being tougher on higher risk offenders,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “Rather than just issuing blanket parole revocations and sentencing violators to sit on a prison bunk for a few months at a time, this instrument will help target custody resources. Higher-risk offenders might be referred for prison time, while those offenders who can benefit from alternatives to incarceration might be steered into rehabilitation programs and other services. This is good public safety policy designed to reduce recidivism, which could lead to population reductions and cost savings as a by-product.”

“This new instrument will allow parole agents to make more consistent decisions on sanctions when a parolee commits a violation, based on proven risk factors,” said Scott Kernan, CDCR Undersecretary for Operations. “Parole agents will utilize objective and scientific criteria, while also drawing on their personal knowledge of the parolee, to evaluate violations and make smarter public safety decisions.”

The Parole Violation Decision Making Instrument will also help agents identify the types of programming needs and remedial sanctions that might be more appropriate for the parolee. The tool will supplement the parole agent’s knowledge of the offender, the violation, and resources available in their geographic location when considering an appropriate response.

Overview of the Parole Violation Decision Making Instrument: The PVDMI is part of an overall strategy designed to reduce the risk of recidivism, enhance success on parole, and utilize resources in the most effective manner. Specifically, the PVDMI:

  • Relies on the principles of evidence-based and effective interventions;
  • Identifies the appropriate response to each violation based on the offender’s risk level and the severity of the violation;
  • Ensures consistency and standard responses across California’s Parole Division; and
  • Promotes transparency by enabling CDCR Parole Agents, Board of Parole Hearings Deputy Commissioners, CDCR executive management, offenders, and the public to understand the rationale for violation responses, and to see them as a part of the California’s coordinated public safety strategy.
CDCR's use of such a parole violation instrument is consistent with recommendations made by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Rehabilitation Strike Team and the Expert Panel on Adult Offender and Recidivism Reduction Programming in 2007. Such an instrument was also recommended by the California Independent Review Panel (2004), the Little Hoover Commission (1993 and 2007), the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (2005), and the UCI Center for Evidence Based Corrections (2002 – Present).

Many other states have been using a structured decision making process for parole revocation. Since 1988, the Center for Evidence Based Public Policy (CEPP), who is assisting CDCR in the design and implementation of the PVDMI, has worked with many state and local jurisdictions across the country to develop policy driven responses to parole violations. According to a 2001 National Institute of Corrections (NIC) study, none of the 29 jurisdictions studied reported an increase in new crimes among parolees and many actually experienced a reduction in parole revocations.

“California is utilizing science and research to move away from a system that relies on subjective factors to make decisions to revoke a parolee back to prison, to one that is based on risk to re-offend. This is consistent with approaches that are working in other states, and will help ensure that parole agents from across California are consistently making good public safety decisions,” said Steve Chapman, CDCR Assistant Secretary for Research. “This instrument is just one piece of the broader parole and prison reforms that are underway in California to overhaul how we deal with offenders, focus on rehabilitation, and reduce recidivism rates.”

Implementation of PVDMI: The first phase of this program is schedule to begin in November, 2008, and will be implemented in a parole unit within each of the four parole regions as follows:

  • Region I – Stockton
  • Region II – Santa Maria
  • Region III – San Fernando Valley
  • Region IV – Chula Vista
For more information on the risk assessment and decision making instrument, please visit the PVDMI Information Page

# # # #

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CDCR Launches First-of-its-Kind Substance Abuse Treatment Program for Female Offenders

The new Trauma Informed Substance Abuse Treatment Program addresses women’s root causes of substance abuse and helps meet the goals of prison reform legislation.

LIVE OAK –Today, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR) Secretary Matthew Cate joined staff, participants, and substance abuse treatment professionals at the opening ceremony for the new Trauma Informed Substance Abuse Treatment Program for women offenders at the Leo Chesney Community Correctional Facility in Live Oak. The program is one of the components of the Public Safety and Offender Services Act of 2007, also known as AB 900, landmark prison reform legislation signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in May 2007.

“This innovative program is a down payment on CDCR’s commitment to provide more rehabilitation programs to offenders and showcases the Department’s shift away from the one-size-fits-all approach to female incarceration,” said Secretary Cate. “Substance abuse has a negative effect on families and drives incarceration; however, research has shown that investing in substance abuse treatment has a real cost benefit to the public.”

The Trauma Informed Substance Abuse Treatment Program, or TI-SAT, is unique for CDCR in that it takes a multi-dimensional approach that acknowledges women’s pathways into the criminal justice system and targets the causes of substance abuse. The program, provided by Walden House, is geared for 200 inmates at the Leo Chesney Community Correctional Facility. Clinicians and counselors provide the 150 women currently in the program treatment in a safe environment. The program targets social and cultural factors including abuse, violence, family relationships and co-occurring disorders, and treats the trauma that may have lead the women to abuse drugs and alcohol.

“This program provides female offenders with gender-responsive treatment and services to help them successfully reintegrate in their communities,” said Thomas Powers, Director of CDCR’s Division of Addiction and Recovery Services. “Improving outcomes for these women will also translate into improved outcomes for their children and assist with CDCR’s important efforts to break the intergenerational cycle of incarceration.”

Powers said that gender-responsive means the housing, supervision, treatment programs, services, the staff who develop and deliver the programs, and every aspect related to the incarceration of women reflects an understanding of the realities and issues of women’s lives.

“For several years, CDCR has tackled the issue of female incarceration and developed policies and strategies to address that issue,” Powers said. “Research shows that more than 57 percent of incarcerated women have been physically or sexually abused at some time in their lives compared with 16 percent of male inmates. This program is specifically geared to help the women deal with the trauma that may have led to their addiction and subsequent imprisonment.”

AB 900 directed the CDCR to expand in-custody substance abuse treatment services as well as follow up treatment for offenders on parole. The TI-SAT program represents the first milestone in the goal to add 2,000 substance abuse treatment slots statewide by December 30, 2008.

It is also part of CDCR’s long-term strategic plan for female offenders which began in January 2005 when CDCR established the Gender-Responsive Strategies Commission to develop overall plans, policies, procedures and programs for improving outcomes for juvenile and adult females in prison or on parole.

During the first two weeks of the TI-SAT program, inmates go through an orientation and then progress to the main treatment phase where they are placed in classes and groups geared to address their needs identified in their assessments and interventions.

The Leo Chesney Community Correctional Facility in Live Oak opened in April 1989 and is operated by Cornell Companies, Inc. under contract with CDCR. Located 60 miles north of Sacramento, the facility houses up to 305 minimum-security female offenders. In addition to the TI-SAT program, the facility also offers academic educational programs, substance abuse and addiction support groups, a pre-release program, vocational training and other programs.

Click here to view AB 900 Benchmark Documents

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Out-of-State Transfers of Inmates Surpass 5,000; Allow CDCR to Reduce "Bad Beds" by 27%

Moves Clear Beds in Gymnasiums, Dayrooms and Make Room for Rehabilitation

SACRAMENTO - In response to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Emergency Order on Prison Overcrowding, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has reduced "bad beds" by approximately 27 percent over the last year. This month, the number of California inmates transferred to out of state facilities has surpassed the 5,000 inmate mark which, combined with other elements of the comprehensive prison reform movement, has allowed CDCR to take down 5,386 non-traditional beds.

"The transfers have alleviated overcrowding and helped enhance safety and security for staff and inmates, while increasing space for rehabilitation programs," said Acting Undersecretary of Operations Scott Kernan. "We've been able to reduce the number of ‘bad beds' in gymnasiums, dayrooms and places not intended for housing."

CDCR is on schedule to reach its goal of housing 8,000 inmates in out-of-state correctional facilities by next summer as authorized by Assembly Bill 900, prison reform legislation signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in May 2007.

"Overcrowding affects all aspects of the state prison system and has a ripple effect on our communities and other components of the criminal justice system," Kernan added. "The transfers are enabling the Department to implement permanent reforms and beef up rehabilitation programs while creating a safer environment."

As of September 25, 2008, the out-of-state transfers reached 5,101 and coupled with other reform efforts have allowed CDCR to deactivate 5,386 non-traditional beds. CDCR anticipates the reduction of approximately 5,000 more non-traditional beds in the next calendar year if inmate population projections remain consistent.

CDCR has cleared inmate beds from 17 gymnasiums and six dayrooms since August 2007. Specifically, CDCR has deactivated:

  • four gyms at Salinas Valley State Prison;
  • three gyms at Correctional Training Facility;
  • one gym at California Correctional Center;
  • one gym at High Desert State Prison;
  • one gym at California State Prison-Solano;
  • one gym at Corcoran State Prison;
  • one gym at California Rehabilitation Center;
  • one gym at Kern Valley State Prison;
  • one gym at Ironwood State Prison;
  • one gym at California State Prison-Sacramento;
  • one gym at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison-Corcoran;
The out-of-state transfers have also allowed CDCR to deactivate dayrooms at:
  • California Correctional Institution;
  • California Men's Colony;
  • Ironwood State Prison;
  • Pleasant Valley State Prison;
  • Sierra Conservation Center;
  • Wasco State Prison.
The transfer of California inmates to facilities in other states began after Governor Schwarzenegger issued an Emergency Order in October 2006. At the time, California's state inmate population was at historic levels and had swelled to 173,479 inmates - an all time high - with 19,618 inmates in non-traditional beds in August 2007. CDCR was close to running out of space for inmates. Today the total non-traditional bed count stands at 14,232, which is 5,386 beds below the peak - a reduction of 27 percent.

California's 5,101 out of state inmates are housed in Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee in facilities operated by Correctional Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tennessee.

The facilities are the West Tennessee Detention Facility in Tennessee, the Florence, Red Rock and La Palma Correctional Centers in Arizona; the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Mississippi and the North Fork Correctional Facility in Oklahoma.

For more information on the transfer program, visit "Out of State Transfers."

# # # #

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Juvenile Offenders Raise Money for Cancer Awareness

N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility hosts Run/Walk for the American Cancer Society

STOCKTON - Today, wards and staff of N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facilty (NAC) supported those who have cancer and raised money and awareness for those community members affected by this disease. The facility accomplished this by hosting the Cancer Awareness Run/Walk on the NAC Facility Track.

Three wards all of whom have lost loved ones to cancer assisted staff for the first "Cancer Awareness Day." The idea for the event originated from a ward whose father died of brain cancer. He talked to his counselor and said he wanted to "give back" because he knows what an emotional toll it took on his family.

"This is another opportunity for these youth to reach out to the community and give back," said NAC Superintendent Michael Minor. "This is vital in their rehabilitation process, sharing their stories about the impact cancer has played in their lives or lives of loved ones shows a great deal of compassion. This compassion is evident by the number of youth participating in this activity."

82 wards participated and they presented a check for a $1,000 to The American Cancer Society.

All participants took part in a run/walk which lasted for one hour and approximately 6 miles. Wards raised funds for Cancer Awareness by gaining sponsors primarily from staff. A minimum of $1.00 per ward was paid in order to participate in the run/walk. A raffle was also conducted to raise more funds.

Several other activities of the day included:

  • A large group presentation that was given to each living unit by these three individuals in which they shared personal stories;
  • A video, provided from the American Cancer Society to the wards of the juvenile facility;
  • Youth expressed their feelings regarding Cancer Awareness through a writing competition;
  • Prizes were handed out to the best essay, song, rap or poem;
  • Wards and staff displayed a pin wheel in honor of a loved one they have lost to cancer which, will be displayed in front of the school area at a later date.
# # #

Thursday, September 18, 2008

CSA Board Moves Forward to Authorize County Jail Funds and Approve Local Reentry Sites

BERKELEY - Today the Board of the Corrections Standards Authority (CSA) moved forward with the process for distributing $750 million in state funds to relieve overcrowding in local jails, and to advance sites for the construction of secure community reentry facilities, as authorized by AB 900. The Board’s decisions as to which counties should move forward in the competitive process were primarily based on whether counties submitted viable reentry facility sites.

“The Board’s decisions today aim to further the intent of AB 900 by reducing overcrowding in county jails and ensuring that funds are directed toward counties who have identified sites for reentry facilities,” said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary and CSA Board Chair Matthew Cate. “There are some counties who have worked diligently with the state to identify reentry sites but were unable to do so. It is my hope that these counties will continue to work with the state so that they may be eligible to receive jail funds and reentry facilities in the second phase of AB 900 funding.”

Staff from CDCR’s Division of Facilities Planning, Construction, and Management provided testimony on the viability of the reentry facility sites presented by the first 12 counties who received the original tentative awards issued on May 8, 2008. In response, the CSA Board took the following actions to amend those original conditional awards based on CDCR’s reentry site evaluations:

Counties that received conditional awards will move on to the next phase of evaluation. This phase is a precursor to going to the State Public Works Board.

Counties that did not provide viable sites for reentry facilities within the timeframe specified by CSA had their conditional awards denied for Phase I AB 900 jail bond funding. After these were removed from consideration, the CSA Board voted to issue tentative conditional awards to the following counties using the newly available funds:

The remaining counties have up to 90 days to enter into a siting agreement and to obtain the necessary city and county resolutions to compete for any funds that may become available in the future.

Sept. 18 Meeting:
County & City Reentry Resolutions :
Resource Links:

Prison Escapee Apprehended After 13 Years

SACRAMENTO - Octavio Raso Quiroz, who escaped from a California Men’s Colony (CMC) inmate work crew in San Luis Obispo 13 years ago, was arrested this morning in Merced by Special Service Unit agents with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

“We can credit the attentiveness and diligence of a correctional case records manager at CMC with providing a lead in this case,” said Richard Rimmer, Assistant Secretary of the CDCR Office of Correctional Safety. “We aggressively seek fugitives who escape our custody. We never stop looking for them.”

A CDCR special agent in the Fresno office investigated the lead and learned that escapee Quiroz was living in Chowchilla in Madera County under an assumed name. Special Service Unit agents took Quiroz into custody without incident on Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 8:20 a.m. in Merced. Quiroz admitted to the agents he was the escapee.

Quiroz was four months into a six-year sentence from Los Angeles County when he ran away from an outside work crew on September 21, 1995. The crew was working at Camp San Luis Obispo.

Quiroz was sent to state prison in May 1995 for several counts of possession and sale of heroin and cocaine. In August 1995, he was transferred to the minimum-security facility at CMC.

CDCR special agents are transporting Quiroz to CMC where he will be housed in the prison's administrative segregation unit pending transfer to a higher security prison. He could face new felony charges of escape.

Of all inmates who escaped from a state prison, conservation camp or community-based program between 1977 and 2007, 99.1 percent have been apprehended.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Statement from CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate on Lack of Public Safety Trailer Bill in Budget Package

SACRAMENTO– Matthew Cate, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), issued the following statement today on the budget package passed by the Legislature, which did not contain a public safety trailer bill containing needed clean-up language to AB 900:

“I am deeply disappointed that the Legislature chose not to pass the public safety trailer bill as part of their budget proposal. There will be very negative and long-lasting public safety repercussions if this bill is not passed. For 16 months the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has worked with public safety and local stakeholders from across the state to implement the landmark corrections reforms contained in AB 900, which was passed on a bi-partisan basis. This clean up language would have provided funds to reduce overcrowding, and build much needed rehabilitation space in our prisons. It also would fund inmate reentry facilities designed to reduce recidivism. Finally, it would have provided local communities with funding to build much needed jail expansion projects. Without this trailer bill the state will be unable to pay for county jail, reentry, or infill bed construction projects, and will face a major setback in our strategy to reduce overcrowding. Local governments also lost important mentally ill offender crime reduction grants designed to provide treatment services for offenders. This administration will continue to work with the Legislature and local law enforcement to ensure that the initiatives authorized by AB 900 are funded, and that the prison reform movement continues.”

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Modular Building Construction Program Gets Industry Approval

ISO 9000 Certification Documents Management Qualit

FOLSOM - Construction of modular buildings is the most recent California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) enterprise to be certified as meeting a world-wide industrial standard for quality.

Certification to the ISO 9000 standard is an industry-wide stamp of approval, documenting the quality of the buildings manufactured by CALPIA as well as the business practices that support it, from accounting and marketing to inventory control of raw materials.

Companies such as Siemens, a world wide leader in designing and manufacturing transportation systems from light rail to airports, and chemical industry leader BASF, are among those who have received the ISO 9000 certification.

“The ISO certification documents that the modular buildings we make, as well as our business and manufacturing practices, meet the business world’s highest levels of professionalism,” explained Charles Pattillo, general manager and CEO of the CALPIA. “The ISO approval shows that our inmate labor force is as good as any in the marketplace and that CALPIA’s business practices insure that our customers get quality and cost-effective service.”

The certification is based on an independent audit from ABS Quality Evaluations of Houston, Tx., which reviewed each aspect of CALPIA’s manufacturing procedures and business practices. The certification reflects the auditor’s documentation that each step in the manufacturing process reinforces consistency so that the same level of quality product is produced over and over again.

The certification also documents that all of the business practices that support manufacturing, from inventory control of materials to accounting, marketing and sales, reflect the industry’s best practices by including systems to identify and eliminate problems and develop constant improvements.

CALPIA’s modular buildings are manufactured at Folsom Prison as part of the agency’s Career Technical Education Program, in which inmates are trained in carpentry and other construction skills by journeymen craftsmen. Graduates are eligible for placement in apprenticeships when they are released on parole, as part of a formal agreement between CALPIA and the Northern California Carpenters Local 146.

Approximately 70,000 sq. ft. of buildings have been constructed or are planned by the end of the year, most of which have been purchased by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for use as counseling centers for drug and alcohol treatment programs. The buildings, which feature steel and concrete foundations, offer a 30 year lifespan, far longer than traditional modular buildings.

In addition to its modular building construction program, CALPIA has also received ISO9000 certification for manufacture of office furniture and for its career technical education program in ironworking.
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CDCR Presents “Pathways to Rehabilitation” Project Roadmap to Rehabilitation Oversight Board

SACRAMENTO - As part of the comprehensive prison reforms underway in California, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has launched the “Pathways to Rehabilitation” project, which is designed to increase inmate access to programs and reduce recidivism rates.

Today, Carole Hood, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary of Adult Programs, presented a video on the Pathways to Rehabilitation Project that highlights some of the progress to-date at one of the first demonstration sites, California State Prison Solano.

“The ‘Pathways to Rehabilitation’ project is a roadmap for implementing prison reforms that will result in a higher percentage of inmates leaving prison and never coming back,” said Hood. “This project is a key component of the broader prison reforms that started with AB 900, and will help equip our institutions with the tools they need to achieve the seismic shift in our corrections system that lawmakers envisioned.”

The “Pathways to Rehabilitation” project was recommended by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Strike Teams on prison reform, and is consistent with recommendations made by the Expert Panel that was convened to review rehabilitation in California. It is a means for implementing effective rehabilitation programs in a coordinated manner throughout CDCR.

“The ‘Pathways to Rehabilitation’ project will help ensure that inmates have access to education, vocational training and drug treatment programs, and that they return home from prison better off than when we received them,” said Kathy Jett, CDCR Undersecretary for Programs. “This project is the foundation upon which all of our programs will be built throughout our 33 institutions and parole.”

The program will ultimately follow an inmate from the day he is received at a reception center through his ultimate release onto parole. The “Pathways” project utilizes the California Logic Model, under which CDCR will conduct risk and needs assessments on inmates, develop tailored case management plans, deliver evidence-based rehabilitation programs, monitor inmates’ progress, and help prepare inmates to reintegrate back into their home communities.

Demonstration sites for the “Pathways to Rehabilitation” project were identified in a reception center, general population prison, secure community reentry facility, and parole region as follows:

  • Deuel Vocational Institute, Tracy - Reception Center;
  • CSP Solano, Vacaville – General Population Prison;
  • Northern California Reentry Facility (NCRF), Stockton – Secure Community Reentry Facility; and,
  • Parole Region 1, Central California from Bakersfield to the Oregon border – Amador, Calaveras, and San Joaquin Units Receiving Offenders Released from NCRF.
Solano Selected as Demonstration Site
California State Prison, Solano was selected as the demonstration site for a general population prison as part of the project. CDCR officials worked with staff at Solano to develop a plan to curb gang and disruptive influences leading to lockdowns, reduce overcrowding, and increase access to rehabilitation programs. To date, the program at Solano has been successful.

  • Operation “Changing Tides”: In March 2008, CDCR conducted a 10-day operation referred to as operation “Changing Tides.” This operation was designed to gather intelligence about the activities of the prison gangs and disruptive groups at Solano and to identify, validate and remove inmates aligning themselves with prison gangs or engaging in violent behavior. The goal of operation “Changing Tides” was to reduce the negative influences that hinder the rehabilitative process and the full integration of inmates in programming and housing assignments. The operation resulted in 21 prison gang validations. Many of these inmates were transferred to other facilities, or placed in segregated housing units. The operation has helped prison officials curtail activity that leads to lockdowns and can impede access to rehabilitation programs.
  • Reducing Overcrowding by Repurposing a Gymnasium: Solano was able to deactivate a gymnasium that had for years been used to house more than 225 inmates and reactivate it for its designed use – recreational and rehabilitation programs. In addition to providing much-needed space for rehabilitation-focused programs, the new gymnasium allows CDCR staff to provide incentives to inmates for good behavior. Out-of-state inmate transfers and other effective population reduction measures have allowed CDCR to deactivate a more than 13 gymnasiums in prisons across California.
  • Increased Access to Rehabilitation Programs: Inmates at Solano have increased access to rehabilitation programs due to the “Pathways to Rehabilitation” project, and the institution has already begun to implement many new initiatives as a result:
    • The inmate population has been assessed to determine their education levels, and classrooms and courses are being realigned to meet their needs;
    • There have been significant increases in participation in substance abuse programs, and select inmates who have successfully completed programs are being certified as peer tutors to help their fellow inmates;
    • Solano is in the process of making lifer inmates and other inmate peer counselors eligible for similar pay to those in Prison Industry Authority work assignments to incentivize their participation, and better utilize existing human resources;
    • The institution is in the process of implementing red “Privilege Cards” that inmates can use for things such as access to night-yard, priority access to canteen, etc. as a reward for good behavior;
    • New core programs and a new approach based on inmates individual needs will soon be implemented.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Growlersburg Conservation Camp:Where Fighting Fires is Just Part of The Mission

Growlersburg Conservation Camp is featured on an upcoming episode of KVIE California Heartland, first broadcast in the Sacramento region in July. The episode is available to view online at and will air on statewide PBS affiliates in late August and September.

Inmates learn sawmill operation, finish carpentry, heavy construction, and even gardening skills at the mountain camp
GEORGETOWN - Set high in the mountains above the South Fork of the American River, a piece of the “Wild West” still clings to life in the form of a small town called Georgetown.

Dating back to the Gold Rush, when thousands of emigrants descended upon the Sierra Nevada foothills looking for their fortunes, Georgetown today has not quite shaken that frontier look.

Just down the street, set in the tall pine trees, you will find the Growlersburg Conservation Camp, which supports CAL FIRE’s operations while teaching inmates valuable skills.

CDCR’s Lt. Mike Hernandez oversees the inmate population, while CALFIRE’s Division Chief, Kelly Keenan, oversees the firefighting efforts. For both, their goal is to run an efficient, effective camp.

“We oversee the custody of 132 inmates, and we aim to run a very clean operation,” said Lt. Hernandez. “The barracks are clean. The kitchen is clean. Vehicles, even uniforms are clean. It helps us maintain a level of respect and discipline which is so necessary when inmates are deployed out in the field.”

“CAL FIRE owns approximately 80 acres of land around this camp,” said Keenan. “Inmate crews maintain the forest and keep the roads cleared. When time allows, we transport crews out into the community to complete projects at parks, schools and even other fire departments.”

Sawmill operation, firefighting, fuels reduction and even working on a “crew” are valuable skills the inmates learn, and hopefully will be able to continue once they are released. These are skills learned over a period of months, and in some cases, years. Often, the day-to-day tasks are very physically demanding, whether it is working in a remote forest fighting a fire, or moving heavy lumber stacks in the camp sawmill.

Growlersburg Camp offers spiritual services and recovery programs for inmates that are provided by community volunteers. With these benefits, inmates quickly learn that life in a conservation camp is preferable to life behind the walls of a prison. It is estimated that camp emergency response to fires, floods, and project work, the inmates provide a cost avoidance of $80 million dollars to the taxpayers of California each year.

Inmate crews perform valuable fire prevention tasks including fuel reduction, road maintenance and park maintenance. A handful of inmates maintain a garden and greenhouse, year-round, which produces vegetables that supplement inmate meals at the camp. The sizable garden reduces the camp’s food purchase expenditures, while providing a nutritious variety for the inmate meals.

When they are not fighting fires, a variety of tasks are assigned to the crews.

On June 4, Crew #2 had deployed to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, in Placerville, to help the county crews prepare for the upcoming fair and rodeo. Crew # 3 was sent to Cameron Park to help reduce a fire danger around the Pine Hill nature preserve. Crews # 4 & # 5 were deployed to perform maintenance tasks at nearby CAL FIRE station houses, and were busily gearing up for what may prove to be another dangerous fire season in El Dorado County.

Back at camp, Crew #1 converted huge Ponderosa pine logs into usable lumber, and then hand-crafted the lumber into picnic tables and park benches. Growlersburg benches are built to last, with planed, smooth, 4 x 12 planks. The benches are held together with industrial-grade steel bolts. Hewn from trees salvaged from state and federal forests, you won’t find this type of lumber at your local supplier. The timber stock is a clear pine more reminiscent of an antique store or Gold Rush corral.

“You can see why the parks and schools like our product,” said Brian Eagan, CAL FIRE Captain for Crew #1. “Each table is built to last, and they even come in children’s sizes. We make everything from start to finish, right here in camp.”

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CDCR Fugitive Apprehension Team and U.S. Marshals Coordinate Major Arrests

SACRAMENTO - This week the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Fugitive Apprehension Team took part in two major arrests with the United States Marshals Service (USMS). The result is that a parolee at large (PAL) suspected of a violent crime in California was arrested in Nevada, and a fugitive in a federal methamphetamine distribution case in Washington State was brought into custody.

“These cases should serve to remind offenders that whether they’re from California or flee here from another state, that there will be no safe haven,” said CDCR Office of Correctional Safety Assistant Secretary Richard Rimmer, whose division oversees Fugitive Apprehension Teams. “We have dedicated agents who work as part of a law enforcement web that spans all geographical boundaries, and we will never give up. If you commit a crime and try to run, you will be brought to justice.”

On Monday, July 21, 2008, CDCR’s Fugitive Apprehension Team coordinated an operation to locate and arrest PAL Joshua Walker. The arrest was done in conjunction with Reno’s United States Marshals Service (USMS) Task Force and Sacramento based United States Marshal Deputies. Walker was wanted for attempted murder by the Amador County Sheriff's Department in an incident which left a victim with shotgun wounds.

A subsequent investigation led Agents and USMS to Reno, Nevada where PAL Walker had been living in a basement with his girlfriend. PAL Walker was booked on the CDCR Warrant as well as the attempted murder arrest warrant, and the girlfriend was also arrested for harboring a wanted fugitive and booked into the Washoe County Jail. PAL Walker is currently pending extradition to California.

On Tuesday, July 22, 2008, CDCR’s Fugitive Apprehension Team participated in another major arrest in Newark, California, this time of a fugitive wanted on outstanding federal charges for drug trafficking. CDCR agents, in conjunction with members of the U.S. Marshals Northern California Fugitive Task Force, located and arrested Jose Antonio Aguilar Esquivel in Newark, California. The Northern California Fugitive Task Force is a team comprised of law enforcement officers from the CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety, the U.S. Marshals, and other bay area law enforcement agencies.

Esquivel was a fugitive in a federal methamphetamine distribution case filed in the Eastern District of Washington by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force. Esquivel was booked into Glen Dyer Detention Facility on the federal warrant.

The Office of Correctional Safety represents all major adult and juvenile law enforcement, investigative, security and intelligence functions for CDCR. In 2007, OCS Fugitive Apprehension Team agents arrested more than 2,600 offenders, of which over 75 percent were either parolees-at-large, or parolees wanted for major violations of their parole terms. The office also regularly coordinates high-profile fugitive apprehensions with the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies, and recently swore in 67 Fugitive Apprehension Team agents as U.S. Marshals.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inmates Produce Fire-Fighting Nomex Suits at Record Pace

24-hour shifts double a normal year's output in less than a month

SACRAMENTO - As forest fires ravaged the northern and central regions of the state, the California Prison Industry Authority delivered more than a year's worth of inmate-manufactured fire protection suits to CalFire and other firefighting agencies in less than a month.

Inmate crews have worked 24 hour shifts in three prisons to keep up with the demand, delivering nearly 20,000 sets of the familiar orange and yellow Nomex gloves, pants, jackets and fire shrouds, more than double the normal demand for an entire fire season.

"This heavy demand for fire gear this early in the summer is a testament to how fierce California's fire season is expected to be," said Chuck Pattillo, general manager of CALPIA. "But we have stockpiled enough fireproof material to guarantee that every firefighter who needs this life-saving gear will have it, no matter how bad the fire season gets," he added. "And our inmates are willing to work 24 hours a day, just like the firefighters themselves, to make sure we meet everyone's needs."

The fireproof clothing is manufactured by inmates in three prisons. Pants and jackets are produced at Mule Creek State Prison in the city of Ione and at the California Institution for Women in Chino. Fireproof gloves are manufactured at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo.

CALPIA's largest customer is CalFire, the California state agency responsible for battling forest fires, although other customers include local fire and sheriff departments and other public safety agencies that put personnel on the fire lines. Forest fire fighting agencies in other states also purchase fire-proof protection gear from CALPIA.

CALPIA is a self-financed state agency that receives all of its revenue from the sale of products it manufactures, and that provides inmates with job skills that can enhance their rehabilitation when they are released on parole. Recent research shows that the recidivism rate among CALPIA inmates is 25 percent lower than the general prison population, a success attributed to the job skills that they receive by working on the assembly line.

Ed Note: Tours of the CALPIA manufacturing facilities in Ione, San Luis Obispo or Chino, including interviews with CALPIA managers and inmates on the assembly lines, can be arranged by calling 916-445-4950.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Information on CDCR Integrated Housing Program Now Online

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has launched a special web page to provide the public with information about the Department’s new integrated housing program. Found at, the website contains fact sheets about the program, background about the case that resulted in new integrated housing procedures, brochures which have been given to offenders, a video shown to offenders about the program, and the regulations for integrated housing. Other content may be added as implementation proceeds.

“We expect to begin implementation of the next phase of the integrated housing program this month. This new web page is designed to help answer some of the questions that many people have about the program,” said Suzan Hubbard, CDCR Director of Adult Institutions. “Our goal through this program is to ensure that we are providing an environment where inmates are not pressured into dividing among racial or other groups out of fear of retribution or violence from gang or disruptive influences.”

Background on Court Case
In 1995, inmate Johnson filed a complaint in the United States District Court, Central District, alleging that CDCR’s reception center housing practice violated his right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment by assigning him cellmates on the basis of race. CDCR prevailed in the District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Inmate Johnson filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. After clarifying the constitutional standard that applies to racial classifications imposed by government, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the Ninth Circuit in 2005 for application of that standard. The parties agreed to participate in mediation, which resulted in a Settlement and Release Agreement and the development of new integrated housing program policies.

Overview of New Policy
The integrated housing program is not about desegregating prisons. Classrooms, programs, work assignments, yards, visiting, dining rooms, dorms, female offender housing, and conservation camps have long been integrated. The integrated housing program ensures that inmate housing assignments in cells and dorms are made using rational objective criteria. New procedures will utilize all available information and take into consideration inmates’ safety, security, treatment and rehabilitative needs in assigning inmates to cells and beds. It also ensures that race will not be the sole determining factor in housing inmates.

In developing new policies and regulations for implementing the integrated housing program CDCR carefully reviewed other states that have integrated inmates in cells and dorms, and received input from national experts. The review of policies and procedures will continue throughout implementation.

“We will be implementing the integrated housing program in a thoughtful and measured manner and will be monitoring results closely every step of the way. Protecting the safety and security of inmates and staff in our institutions is our top priority,” said Director Hubbard. “Based on research from national experts and the experience of other states we believe that this program will ultimately help to curb the influence of gangs and disruptive groups once fully implemented, and will help to better prepare inmates to reenter society upon release.”

For more information on the program, visit:

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CDCR Streamlines Accounting, Goes Live with Improved Business Information System

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) goes live this week with its Business Information System (BIS) enterprise software solution, which will allow the agency to streamline data and information systems to increase efficiency. The computerized system will provide immediate information on spending compared to an authorized budget, eliminating a 45 day lag in reporting.

"This new system is a major milestone for the department that will eliminate a lot of hand processing and achieve efficiencies in our business practices. The end result will be improved management of the Department's valuable financial and human resources," said Heidi Lackner, Director of CDCR's Division of Support Services. "This new approach will provide our staff with real-time data on a consistent platform. Once fully deployed the Department's business processes will significantly improve in the areas of financial management, sick leave and overtime tracking, and procurement and contracting."

BIS is an enterprise-wide system that replaces hundreds of standalone databases, legacy systems, and manual processes with an integrated, proven solution for achieving operational efficiencies. BIS will streamline the administrative processes of the Department, including financial, supply chain, and human resources management. The new system will provide CDCR with more efficient, automated business processes as well as real-time reporting.

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

The first release of BIS is core financial functionality including general ledger accounting and basic budget reporting capabilities. It also represents the successful collaboration among CDCR, the California Department of Technology Services, and the system integrator, IBM, in establishing a robust and scalable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution that not only provides significant business benefits for CDCR but also is a model for other departments and agencies in the state. Several California state agencies are already using or are implementing SAP solutions including the Department of Water Resources, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the State Controller's Office 21st Century project. This initiative also is consistent with the State Chief Information Officer's vision for integrated solutions for the State of California.

Over the next 18 months CDCR expects to continue to benefit from future BIS releases which will add integrated functionality for purchasing, contracts, fixed assets and inventory management, grant management, budget management, personnel administration, shift scheduling, employee time keeping, travel expense processing, and budget development and planning.

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CDCR and LA County's Sheriff's Department Team-Up to Track Gang Members via GPS

SACRAMENTO - Today, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) Division of Adult Parole Operations, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD), activated 20 Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) bracelets on parolees known to have been involved or previously associated to gang activity. The effort is an attempt to deter parolees from being involved with gangs and serves as a way to track the activity of those who fail to stay away from them.

"We have had previous successes in monitoring gang activity by GPS and we are proud to be working closely with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department to assist them in curbing illegal gang-related actions in their county through this program," said Thomas Hoffman, Director of CDCR's Parole Division. "Either an individual is going to be afraid to engage in illegal activity because of the bracelets or they are going to lead us to other criminals. No matter how you look at it, it is a win-win and worth the effort."

Last year, authorities were able to solve the murder of a young woman killed in a drive-by shooting after one of the seven gang members involved was wearing a GPS bracelet issued to him by the Los Angeles Police Department. In November 2007, authorities started tracking the movements of about 20 paroled gang members by GPS. After a call came in for the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Nelly Vergara Hernandez, officers checked the computer that tracks the 20 gang members and noticed that one of the gang members was at the address the same time the shooting occurred. A police helicopter was able to use the parolee's GPS readings and tracked him down in Compton, CA. Police were then able to arrest all seven gang members involved in the murder and bring them to justice.

"Our partnership with CDCR and the use of GPS for gang members on parole will serve to strengthen public safety in Los Angeles County, potentially deter gang activity and will also complement our ASAP (Advanced Surveillance and Protection) plan at Century Sheriff's Station," commented Sheriff Lee Baca.

California already leads the nation in the monitoring of sex offenders with GPS systems, and is using the same technology to combat gang activity in the state. The CDCR and LASD are hopeful to implement more GPS gang tracking case loads as soon as more GPS units become available for use and as the technologies associated with them continue to improve.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

De Witt Nelson Youth Correctional Facility Shutters Doors in Final Closing Ceremony

STOCKTON - Today, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) De Witt Nelson Youth Correctional Facility near Stockton conducted a closing ceremony before more than 300 current and former employees, including members of the community. The facility had been in operation for 36 years.

The Dewitt facility opened in December 1971, with the focus primarily on vocational pursuits and an emphasis on pre-forestry training. In later years the facility moved away from a vocation mission and focused on specific treatment needs such as substance abuse treatment and anger management.

“While this experience is bittersweet, the closure of this facility has been known for some time and the staff here have been remarkably professional in the months leading up to today” Warner said. “It is extremely difficult to close this facility, but the reality we face with the DJJ is that we have a declining population and we have made a commitment to the courts on treatment for juveniles that remain with us.”

Recent declines in the DJJ population were hastened by recent legislation effective in September 2007, that is expected to reduce the existing DJJ population of 1,936 wards to around 1,500 wards. Effectively many offenders that would have previously been referred to the DJJ for less serious crimes will now remain with the county of commitment.

De Witt was the third facility at the Stockton complex to open, following the opening of the O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility, and the Karl Holton Youth Correctional Facility (closed in 2003) in the late 1960s. Both the Close facility and the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility remain open.

De Witt Superintendent Michael Minor thanked the remaining employees for their courage and honesty during the last six months following the January announcement that De Witt would close.

“Despite all the stress and uncertainly, De Witt Nelson employees have always strived to do their best to provide public safety and public service to this state and the surrounding community,” Minor said.

Following these remarks, the Preston Youth Correctional Facility Color Guard retired the two flags gracing the stage. The Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility Color Guard took down the institution flag for the final flag folding and retirement ceremony. After, the final institution count was announced (no wards in the facility), the closing ceremony ended.

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