Friday, January 25, 2008

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Opens New Family Foundations Program Facility in Fresno

FRESNO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today held a formal dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its third Family Foundations Program (FFP) facility. It is located at 2855 W. Whitesbridge Avenue, Fresno. It will be operated under contract by WestCare California Inc., a non-profit organization founded in 1973, and serve up to 35 women and 40 children up to the age of six.

This smaller community-based program for female offenders is one of the key components of our prison reform efforts,” said CDCR Secretary James Tilton. “By providing the opportunity for these women to live with and be parents to their children, we hope to break the intergenerational cycle of incarceration that we see all too often. By opening the third such program in California’s Central Valley, we will be able to provide the type of wrap-around services commonly provided by community-based programs. It also allows for more family visiting with inmates’ families and friends within closer proximity.

The contract award was for $7.2 million over a five-year term. WestCare California, Inc. has nearly 35 years of experience operating therapeutic community drug treatment services in community-based, residential, and in-prison treatment environments. WestCare’s comprehensive experience includes substance abuse treatment and relapse prevention programs; parenting skills development; child development services; vocational skills training; ancillary services; and services to special populations that includes pregnant, post-partum and parenting women.

This is a wonderful opportunity for West Care to collaborate with the CDCR, said Maurice Lee, Regional Vice President for WestCare California, Inc. There is a tremendous benefit to working together to serve our clients in this community-based setting.

The Family Foundations Program is a community-based residential-type setting for non-serious, non-violent female offenders, the majority of whom have been convicted of drug-related offenses. On-site services include parenting skills, health services, child development services, and vocational skills training. Residents have the benefit of support groups and assistance to establish and enhance close ties with their young children. Additionally, the mothers share cooking and cleaning chores and learn life skills to help improve their employability.

The Family Foundations Program was created by the State Legislature in 1994 when then-Sen. Robert Presley (R-Riverside) sponsored legislation establishing The Pregnant and Parenting Women’s Alternative Sentencing Program Act. Each facility houses 35 women and up to 40 children. Overseeing each facility is a CDCR Correctional Counselor III, who supervises a staff of vocational and academic instructors, substance abuse counselors, and others. Sen. Presley, as Secretary of the Youth and Adult Corrections Agency, oversaw implementation of the first two programs. They are located in Santa Fe Springs (Los Angeles County) and in San Diego.

Learn more about Governor Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive prison reform package at:
http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/PrisonReform.html


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Governor’s Rehabilitation Strike Team Releases Report

January 24, 2008

OVERVIEWThe Governor’s Rehabilitation Strike Team report provides a significant and detailed roadmap that is vital to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s efforts to successfully implement rehabilitation programs for inmates and parolees under our supervision. This report builds on the work of the expert panel and the mandates of AB 900, and lays out much needed guidelines and a reasonable time-frame to integrate a new approach to the California corrections system that ultimately improves the operation of our prison and parole system while enhancing public safety.

Over the past two years, CDCR has worked steadily to refocus its efforts in providing rehabilitative programs to inmates and parolees. The department is fully committed to implementing such reforms as detailed in various reports, including this Strike Team Report on Rehabilitation. CDCR has been working hand-in-hand with both the Rehabilitation and Facilities Strike Teams, and has mutual goals to provide significant and sensible rehabilitation services that have proven to be successful.

BACKGROUND

In May 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law historic prison reform legislation, AB 900, or the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007. To assist CDCR in implementing AB 900, the Governor established two strike teams composed of more than 30 experts from universities, community organizations, and state government.


  • Facilities Strike Team focused on prison construction issues
  • Rehabilitation Strike Team focused on developing and implementing prison and parole programs
INITIATIVES TO BRING REHABILITATION BACK TO CDCR

Since September 2007, the Rehabilitation Strike Team began pursuing a four-pronged strategy for bringing rehabilitation programs back into the California corrections system. These initiatives include:

  • Offender Accountability and Rehabilitation Plan – assesses inmates’ needs at intake (an effort already begun by CDCR) and directs inmates to appropriate rehabilitation programs and services in prison and parole;
  • Rehabilitation-oriented Training Curriculum – identifies training curriculum for correctional and rehabilitation staff, and a method for delivering that curriculum via the California Community College Districts;
  • Prison to Employment Program – designed to facilitate offenders’ successful employment after release, initially using California’s existing Workforce Investment Boards, and eventually implementing a comprehensive “New Start” employment program;
  • Parole Reform – anchored in the structural possibility of earned discharge or banked caseloads, and guided by a new risk assessment tool and a parole violation decision making matrix.
These recommendations require partnerships agreements, the timing of which is not totally in CDCR’s control. CDCR needs sufficient resources to implement these recommendations. Although the Strike Team believes CDCR has enough resources currently to begin implementation, further resources will be needed as programs expand and program priorities surface.

In addition to these broad initiatives, the Strike Team Report made specific recommendations on ways to:

  • Develop case management to “get the right inmate, to the right program, at the right time”
  • Identify rehabilitation curriculum and appropriately train CDCR Personnel
  • Assist prisoners to prepare for and obtain employment after release Realign parole resources with offender risks and needs
CAN AND WILL CORRECTIONS REFORM HAPPEN?

At least three statewide commissions have endorsed similar proposals over the past five years, including the California Independent Review Panel, chaired by former Gov. George Deukmejian. The Strike Team has found that similar “best practices” proposals have worked in other states. CDCR has committed to getting this proposal done. Secretary James Tilton established several high-level administration positions, including Undersecretary for Administration and Undersecretary for Rehabilitation. In addition, aggressive recruitment efforts resulted in filling of 51 key managerial vacancies. These efforts set the stage for implanting needed reforms. The Strike Team concluded that such transformation requires the following:

  • Leadership to create clear and compelling vision;
  • Line staff participation to build internal support and overcome resistance;
  • Political and public support;
  • Sufficient resources; and
  • A realistic timeframe to implement.


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Inmate Kenneth Parnell Dies of Natural Causes

Vacaville – Centinela State Prison Inmate Kenneth Eugene Parnell, 76, a convicted sex offender known for the 1972 kidnapping of Steven Stayner, died of natural causes at 9:10 p.m. on Monday, January 21, 2008 in the G-1 Hospital Unit at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville. Inmate Parnell was on hospice status.

On Dec. 4, 1972, Parnell kidnapped seven-year-old Stayner in Merced, California. On Feb. 14, 1980, Parnell abducted five-year-old Timmy White in Ukiah, California. Stayner was not willing to have the young boy go through the years of torment he endured, and on March 1, 1980, he took White, hitchhiked to Ukiah, and went to a police station. This led to Parnell’s arrest.

Parnell was received in state prison on Feb. 10, 1982 from Alameda County with an eight-year eight-month sentence for one count of kidnapping and a one-year, eight-month sentence for another count of kidnapping. He was released to parole on April 5, 1985.

Parnell was received on April 22, 2004 from Alameda County with a 25-year-to-life sentence under California’s Three Strikes Law for solicitation to commit a felony. This conviction stemmed from a January 2003 arrest in which Parnell tried to coerce a caregiver into buying a four-year-old boy.


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Friday, January 11, 2008

Chowchilla Inmates Refurbish 1927 Service Ladder Truck, Return it to City of Turlock for Community Functions

Vocational Auto Body Students Involved in All Aspects of Restoration

CHOWCHILLA – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) today presented an inmate-refurbished 1927 American LaFrance Quadruple Combination City Service Ladder truck to Turlock Fire, Inc., a non-profit organization, during ceremonies held at the institution. The service ladder truck was completely refurbished and restored by six inmates participating in the Vocational Auto Body Shop program.
The restoration project began when a Turlock firefighter saw the 1927 truck sitting idle for several years, thinking that Turlock Fire could restore it to its original luster. After approaching others in their organization with the idea, it was determined that the organization would take on the challenge. But how to get it done was another matter. They learned that another fire department had a truck restored, and the department was contacted. It was then that they learned that female inmates from CCWF’s vocational program had done the work.

For almost a year, six inmates assigned to the class worked on the restoration. They were involved in all aspects of the restoration, including reconstructing parts no longer available to applying the final paint job. In November 2007, two CCWF inmates assigned to the Vocational Automotive Services class took the Automotive Services Excellence (ASE) test; the institution recently learned that one inmate passed the test. The test is nationally recognized in the auto repair industry, which will enable the inmate to seek gainful employment when she returns to her community

“We are excited to return the truck to Turlock Fire,” said CCWF Warden Deborah Patrick. “It’s important to the city of Turlock and to Turlock Fire as it will be used for parades, school programs and other community functions. It also provided several of our inmates the opportunity to put their vocational skills into practice, increasing their odds of success for eventual reentry to their community and future job prospects.”

Turlock Fire officials anticipate that the truck will be displayed at Fire Station No. 1 in Turlock, which is building a new fire station to replace the outdated station currently in use. The city of Turlock put the fire truck into service in 1927 at the same fire station, where it was used until 1966. After being taken out of service, the truck sat idle for several years until the plan was set in motion to restore it. It is one of the few remaining operational fire trucks of this make and model.

“This project was very important to the inmates who worked on it,” said Warden Patrick. “They are very proud of their accomplishments and are thrilled to see that they are able to give back to the community, even while they are incarcerated.”




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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008

Two Division of Juvenile Justice Facilities to Close Due to Shift in Juvenile Offender Population

Youth Facilities in Stockton, Paso Robles to Close Mid-Year

“The state’s juvenile offender population has been declining in recent years.” said James Tilton, CDCR Secretary. “Legislation signed last year will allow the Division of Juvenile Justice to focus on those youths with the greatest risk and needs while accommodating a shift in the population designed to keep most youth in their home communities.”

“The Division of Juvenile Justice is in the process of implementing significant reforms which will provide enhanced treatment services for youth in a safe environment. These closures will allow for the most effective implementation of the Court requirements,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice. “The move to keep juvenile offenders from revolving in and out of prison as adults is part of the state’s broader commitment to reducing recidivism and increasing public safety through rehabilitation.”

CDCR has assembled a team of specialists to locate opportunities for the estimated 800 staff impacted by the closures. In past efforts when downsizing occurred in both the juvenile and adult systems, nearly every staff displaced by closures was offered a position somewhere else in the state correctional system.

For several years, the DJJ has experienced a declining youthful offender population. In addition, the DJJ is currently undertaking a massive reform of its operations and services in conjunction with the settlement of the Farrell lawsuit, which lays out a plan to improve deficiencies identified throughout the Division.

In September, 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 81. The law realigns the types of wards the DJJ will receive and treat based on the severity of the offenses committed. Effectively this keeps offenders formerly referred to the DJJ for less serious crimes in their county of commitment, ensuring that juvenile offenders who have committed less serious offenses receive treatment closer to home and near family support. As of September 1, 2007, counties no longer refer new less serious offenders to the State.

As a result of SB 81, DJJ began to plan for the eventuality of a closure of one or more facilities as the population of offenders continues to drop. In July 2007, DJJ housed approximately 2,500 wards. By June 30, 2008, DJJ is projected to house 1,934 youth. This number is expected to decline to 1,703 wards by June 30, 2009. This projected decline necessities consolidating the remaining population in six DJJ facilities and two conservation camps. As the DJJ population drops, the result will be a higher concentration of youth who are sexual offenders, more violent, and/or gang entrenched.

Efforts are underway to develop a system-wide plan for appropriate long-term facilities. This system-wide plan is a key component to the Division’s commitment to meet mandates of the six remedial plans under Farrell.

Chief Deputy Secretary Warner along with DJJ Executive management met with staff at the DeWitt Nelson Youth Facility today, and with staff at El Paso de Robles Youth Facility on Jan. 3. The team advised staff on possible employment within CDCR at other adult and juvenile facilities.

Dewitt Nelson Youth Correctional Facility, and El Paso de Robles Youth Correctional Facility, are two of eight institutions serving juvenile offenders in the DJJ. Dewitt Nelson serve wards 18-25 years of age while El Paso de Robles serves youths ages 15 to 21. No specific reuse of either facility slated for closure has been identified, however CDCR has initiated a survey to see how the existing facilities could best serve the state and local communities.

For more information on the DJJ, please visit the CDCR website at www.cdcr.ca.gov.



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SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today that two Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities will close by July 2008 as a result of a trend of declining DJJ ward populations and recently enacted legislation.

The two facilities scheduled to close are Dewitt Nelson Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, San Joaquin County, and El Paso de Robles Youth Correctional Facility, in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County. The approximate population at DeWitt Nelson is 259 youth and at El Paso de Robles is 147 youth. The two facilities are proposed to be closed by July 31, 2008.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Court Upholds Corrections’ Finding that Contractor Misused One Million in Taxpayer Dollars

SACRAMENTO – A contractor for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) accused of misusing taxpayer dollars in violation of state protocols must return over $1 million in fees and equipment, according to a December 28, 2007 ruling by the Sacramento Superior Court. The court upheld earlier findings by an Administrative Review Committee (ARC) appointed by CDCR which found that the Amity Foundation must relinquish ownership of a half-million dollars in seized production equipment and pay more than a half-million dollars for unallowable purchases and operating costs.

“The court’s action was a resounding victory for state taxpayers, and should send a clear signal that contractors will be held accountable if they violate state protocols,” said Richard Krupp, CDCR Assistant Secretary Office of Audits and Compliance. “The Department is proactively reviewing our agency’s contracts to ensure that we are getting what we pay for. The Office of Audits and Compliance will be relentless in its efforts to help the department improve operations. The work of our audits staff and of our prosecution team in this case should be commended.”

On November 15, 2006, CDCR’s Office of Audits and Compliance completed an audit of the Amity Foundation sighting over $1,082,517 in un-allowable purchases and operating costs. The audit revealed that the Amity Foundation used CDCR funds to purchase video equipment, pay for executive moving expenses, purchase rugs, purchase air conditioners and add fringe benefits, all outside of the scope of the contract signed with CDCR. Amity appealed the audit findings, and CDCR assigned an Administrative Review Committee to further look into the matter.

The ARC determined that Amity was responsible for the following costs:

  • Amity purchased $441,277 in video equipment; ARC concluded $1,392 of that should be returned.
  • Amity had $288,995 in unallowable operating costs; ARC concluded $288,955 should be returned.
  • Amity charged $97,570 in sub-contractor costs; ARC concluded $97,550 should be returned.
  • Amity had $31,288 in subsequent costs; ARC concluded $31,288 should be returned.
  • Amity had $25,554 in excessive fringe benefits; ARC concluded $25,554 should be returned.
  • Amity had $3,772 in unallowable salaries; ARC concluded that $3,772 should be returned.
  • Amity claimed $194,101 in indirect costs and service fees; ARC concluded that $98,676 should be returned.
Ultimately, the ARC determined that Amity should return $547,207 to CDCR, in addition to the relinquishing any ownership of approximately $500,000 worth of video equipment that was confiscated by CDCR. The Superior Court Judge reduced amount of money to be returned slightly, but upheld that more than $500,000 was owed to CDCR.


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