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.
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.
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.