Friday, October 29, 2010

CDCR Conducts 18th Annual “Operation Boo” Sex Offender Checks during Halloween Night

Parole agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will be out in force Halloween night to ensure sex offenders are in compliance with the law. “Operation Boo” is conducted to ensure that sex offenders comply with the following strict limitations:


• A 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew during which parolees must remain indoors.

• All exterior lights of their homes must be turned off so that it looks as if no one is home.

• No offering of candy and absolutely no Halloween decorations are allowed.

• During the curfew, sex offender parolees can only open the door to respond to law enforcement, such as parole agents who are patrolling their caseload to ensure compliance.


“It is our mission to provide public safety and this operation ensures that families can enjoy the evening without coming into contact with any paroled sex offender in the community,” said Robert Ambroselli, Director of CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations.

CDCR imposes its most stringent parole conditions on sex offenders Halloween night, but CDCR has strict conditions and limitations on these parolees year-round. Each and every one of these parolee sex offenders is also monitored by Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to track their everyday movement.

Contact:
Cassandra Hockenson

(916) 324-4586

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CDCR Gives Local Charities Hundreds of Contraband Cell Phones

CDCR Safe Cell Phone Program donates phones to victims of abuse

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has developed a way to donate thousands of cell phones to domestic violence organizations throughout the state in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate delivered cell phones and chargers Thursday to Beth Hassett, the executive director of Women Escaping a Violent Environment, to mark the beginning of the project. The cell phones will be distributed to victims of domestic violence to call 911 in an emergency.

Building on the success of programs such as at Ironwood State Prison, CDCR is working with all institutions to expand the donation project statewide.

In 2007, CDCR staff collected nearly 1,400 contraband cell phones – either confiscated from inmates or discovered on prison grounds — and in 2008, approximately 2,800. By 2009, that number had grown to 6,995, and so far this year, more than 7,835 cell phones have been collected.

With thousands of contraband cell phones sitting in boxes, CDCR officials are pleased the donation project presents a viable solution beyond simply contributing to a landfill.

Finding an ultimate good use for the phones, however, does not mitigate the concern about their initial presence in the prisons. Contraband cell phone usage is a problem that CDCR takes very seriously.

Cell phone use by inmates poses a security risk as it circumvents a prison’s monitoring processes. Modern cell phones can record video images, record conversations, provide Internet capability and be used to commit crimes. CDCR officials are concerned they can be used to plan escapes; coordinate riots in multiple institutions; or conduct drug trade outside the prison.

To combat the use of contraband cell phones, CDCR is implementing new methods of detection, including the use of dogs specially trained to sniff out a cell phone.

CDCR’s Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) and Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) are proud to be working with domestic violence organizations to put the contraband cell phones into the hands of a vulnerable segment of society.

OCP works in conjunction with Community Partnership Managers at each institution and with volunteer organizations, law enforcement agencies, schools, corporations and other agencies to build a working relationship between the CDCR and the community. The OCP strives to create strong partnerships with community-based providers and the communities in order to provide services critical to an offender’s success on parole.

OVSRS provides advocacy services, as well as support for rehabilitative opportunities for offenders. Specifically, the OVSRS maintains a comprehensive victim services program and supports justice practices to ensure offender rehabilitation and accountability to victims, the community and to themselves.

For more information about OCP, please call (916) 327-4901.

For questions and/or services, please call OVSRS toll-free at 1-877-256-6877.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Terry Thornton

(916) 445-4950

News Advisory: CDCR Conducts 18th Annual “Operation Boo”

Sex Offender Checks during Halloween Night

WHAT:         Operation Boo, Sunday, October 31, 2010, Halloween Night
WHERE:      Throughout all four Parole Regions in California
WHEN:         From 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.

SACRAMENTO – Parole agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will be out in force Halloween night to ensure sex offenders are in compliance with the law. “Operation Boo” is conducted to ensure that sex offenders comply with the following strict limitations:

• A 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew during which parolees must remain indoors.
• All exterior lights of their homes must be turned off so that it looks as if no one is home.
• No offering of candy and absolutely no Halloween decorations are allowed.
• During the curfew, sex offender parolees can only open the door to respond to law enforcement, such as parole agents who are patrolling their caseload to ensure compliance.

“It is our mission to provide public safety and this operation ensures that families can enjoy the evening without coming into contact with any paroled sex offender in the community,” said Robert Ambroselli, Director of CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations.

CDCR imposes its most stringent parole conditions on sex offenders Halloween night, but CDCR has strict conditions and limitations on these parolees year-round. Each and every one of these parolee sex offenders is also monitored by Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to track their everyday movement.

Media interested in additional information please contact Cassandra Hockenson at (916) 445-4950.

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
Contact: Cassandra Hockenson or Terry Thornton
(916) 445-4950

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sister Terry Dodge One of Five Winners of 2010 Minerva Award at California First Lady Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference

Sister Dodge’s program, Crossroads, provides substance-abuse treatment for female parolees

SACRAMENTO – Sister Terry Dodge, whose program, Crossroads, provides services for women parolees released from prison after extended periods of incarceration, is one of five 2010 Minerva Award winners being honored this evening at California first lady Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference in Long Beach. Crossroads is a community based substance-abuse treatment provider under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

“Sister Terry provides the second chance that many women need to turn their lives around and successfully reunite with their families and communities,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “She truly deserves this honor for providing these women with a helping hand and the support they need to start a new, fulfilling life.”

Women who have been incarcerated for a long time face unique obstacles to adjusting to life on the outside. Crossroads offers long-term transitional housing where newly released female parolees learn how to adjust to life outside prison. They are taught substance-abuse avoidance and life skills, as well as being provided education and employment-related services.

The Minerva Awards, created by Maria Shriver in 2004, recognize extraordinary legacies of service and contributions to California and the country. This year's Minerva Award other honorees are Oprah Winfrey; former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Carolyn Blashek, who launched Operation Gratitude to send personalized care packages to deployed soldiers; and Oral Lee Brown, who began a foundation to provide educational assistance and financial scholarships to at-risk school children. Minerva Award winners receive $25,000 grants from the conference to further their work.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is among the many state and national opinion makers participating in The Women’s Conference 2010.

For additional information, visit the 2010 Minerva Awards website at: http://www.womensconference.org/the-minerva-awards-201/

For Immediate Release
Contact: Peggy Bengs
(916) 445-4950

Inmate Death at Corcoran State Prison

CORCORAN – On October 24, 2010, at approximately 3:00 a.m., a Los Angeles County inmate was pronounced deceased at Corcoran State Prison’s (CSP-C), John D. Klarich Memorial Hospital.

The deceased inmate, Arturo Avila, 44, began serving a multiple life term from Los Angeles County on July 31, 1989, for first-degree murder and had been housed at CSP-C since June 30, 2010.

The cause of death has not yet been determined; however, it is being investigated as a homicide by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. The prison’s Investigative Services Unit is cooperating with the investigation and the Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review has been notified.

The suspect in this case is a 35 year-old inmate serving a 30 year plus two months to life term from Sacramento County for second-degree murder. He has been incarcerated in state prison since September 12, 1996, and has been housed at CSP-C since June 30, 2010.

CSP-Corcoran opened in 1988 and is a complex multi-mission institution located five miles south of Corcoran. The prison houses nearly 5,500 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. The Kings County prison offers academic classes and vocational programs as well as community programs and work crews. The prison employs approximately 2,320 people.

For immediate release
October 24, 2010
Contact: Maria T. Cisneros
(559) 992-6104

Thursday, October 21, 2010

CDCR to Close Preston Youth Correctional Facility

Move will improve cost efficiency; reflects lower offender population

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced that it will close the state’s oldest operating facility for juvenile offenders, the Preston Youth Correctional Facility in Ione. The move is in response to a declining population as more youth are remaining at the local county level.

“These changes will allow the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to operate more effectively and efficiently as the state adapts to changes in our youth population,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “We have made great strides in developing improved treatment and rehabilitation programs for juvenile offenders, and it is important that DJJ operate as cost-effectively as possible to continue that progress.”

Cate noted that the 224 youth currently housed at Preston will be incorporated no later than June, 2011 into the DJJ’s remaining facilities: the O.H. Close and N.A. Chaderjian youth correctional facilities in Stockton, the Southern Youth Reception Center and Clinic in Norwalk (Los Angeles County) and the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility.

Opened in 1894 as the Preston School of Industry, it was California’s second facility built to specifically house and rehabilitate juveniles. It followed the construction of the Whittier State Reformatory (later known as the Fred C. Nelles School) in 1890. Prior to the construction of those two schools, juvenile offenders had been housed in adult prisons. Preston’s original building, a castle that dominates the town’s skyline, accepted the first seven youth who were transferred from San Quentin State Prison.

The juvenile offender population increased steadily as the Division of Juvenile Justice, previously known as the California Youth Authority, accepted youth for a wide range of criminal offenses.

The number of youthful offenders in the DJJ has declined over the last decade from a peak of nearly 10,000 to its current population of approximately 1,350. The decrease in population is largely due to legislation (Senate Bill 81 and Assembly Bill 191) that narrowly defined the offenses for which youth may be committed to the DJJ. This is part of the fundamental shift of keeping lower level offenders at home near local treatment services and it also facilitates support from their families and the community at large.


Although the DJJ population represents less than half of one percent of all youths arrested in California, it includes those with the most violent criminal backgrounds and who have exceptional treatment needs that cannot be addressed by county programs. Also, unlike nearly all other juvenile justice programs in the nation, the DJJ has jurisdiction over the most serious offenders to age 25. DJJ also houses prison commitments up to age 18 at which time they are transferred to state prison.

Another distinction of the juvenile system is its network of accredited schools that provide youth with the same educational and vocational opportunities they would receive in public schools. The DJJ also provides a variety of mental health programs, including a comprehensive Sexual Behavior Treatment Program.

Since 2006, the DJJ has been reforming its programs to meet requirements outlined in a series of six remedial plans, the result of a legal settlement supervised by the Alameda County Superior Court. The plans set treatment and staffing requirements for medical care, mental health care, education, sexual behavior treatment, safety and welfare of youth, and accommodating youth with disabilities. To comply with these requirements, DJJ is developing a new, comprehensive integrated behavior treatment model. The new model will provide for a single comprehensive individualized treatment plans for each youth with the overall goal of reducing recidivism and successful re-entry to the community.

The closure of the Preston Youth Correctional Facility is necessitated by the juvenile justice system realignment and the decline in the division’s population the past decade. The DJJ has closed nine institutions and conservation camps in recent years. The most recent closure was the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino in early 2010. That facility is currently being repurposed to house adult inmates.

Other DJJ closures include facilities in Stockton, Whittier, Mariposa, Nevada City, Santa Cruz and Paso Robles in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008 respectively.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Bill Sessa
(916) 205-9193

Inmate Death at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and Prison at Corcoron Under Investigation

Corcoran – An inmate at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran (CSATF/SP) died today, Oct. 20, 2010, as a result of injuries he received when assaulted by another inmate. The victim and suspect shared a cell at the prison.

The victim was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. by an on-duty physician at the prison. The specific cause of death is unknown at this time.

The deceased inmate, Fredrick Madrid, 47, was received from Los Angeles County on Oct. 28, 1998, and was serving a third-strike sentence of 25-years-to-life sentence for receiving stolen property.

The case is being investigated as a possible homicide by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. The CSATF/SP Investigative Services Unit is assisting the District Attorney’s Office during the investigation. The Office of the Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review was notified by prison officials due to the seriousness of the incident.

The suspect in this case is a 39-year-old inmate who was received from Tulare County on June 6, 1991, and is serving a 19-years-to-life term for second-degree murder.

The California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran, a maximum-security prison, is five miles south of Corcoran. The prison, which was opened in 1997, houses approximately 6,600 medium- and maximum-custody inmates and employs approximately 2,050 people.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephen Smith
(559) 992-7154
(559) 331-6856

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Riot at Calipatria State Prison Under Investigation; Inmates Injured

CALIPATRIA – Calipatria State Prison investigators and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Deadly Force Investigation Team are investigating a riot that broke out at the prison late this morning.

The incident involved approximately 120 inmates in the Facility A general population maximum-security yard. No staff was hurt during the incident, which drew trained response teams from other areas of the prison.

Preliminary reports indicate that 14 inmates were injured, with 10 being taken to outside hospitals for treatment of moderate to serious injuries.

Responding correctional officers used pepper spray in an effort to quell the violence as additional staff arrived on the scene. Four Mini-14 rounds were fired. Several of the inmates transported offsite sustained gunshot wounds. It is not known at this time if any injuries are life-threatening.

Per normal protocol, the Office of Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review and the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office have been informed of the incident.

At this time, the prison has been placed on lockdown.

Calipatria State Prison opened in 1992. The institution’s mission is to provide long-term housing for both minimum- and maximum-custody male inmates. The Imperial County facility houses more than 4,100 inmates and employs 1,280 people.


For immediate release
Contact: Jorge Santana
(760) 348-6002

Female Offenders Begin New Community Service Program in Ventura

Many Civic and Service Organizations Are Partners


SACRAMENTO – Female juvenile offenders from the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility will continue their tradition of community service in a new county-wide program created in partnership with local civic and service organizations.

The Community Labor Experience and Responsibility (CLEAR) program will provide opportunities for female offenders to work on clean-up and light maintenance projects that benefit Ventura County communities and organizations, such as Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and Project Understanding, which provides food and showers for the homeless. The CLEAR program’s first project was lauched last week, when the young women collected food donations for Food Share, a county-wide organization that provides food to low income residents, during a harvest celebration at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

The women chosen for the CLEAR program are former fire fighters at the S. Carraway Public Service Center and Camp, adjacent to the youth correctional facility. In recent years, the number of female juvenile offenders committed to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has declined. Only 10 females were enrolled in the fire fighting program, too few to maintain a full-sized crew. That prompted the creation of the CLEAR program.

“These are brave young women who volunteered to become wildland fire fighters as they work to change their lives,” said Rachel Rios, Chief Deputy Secretary (A) for the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). “Their service protected the community and this training also teaches lessons in responsibility, accountability and discipline. The rewards of doing a job well helps them build confidence and character, which will assist them when they leave the DJJ,” she noted. “Even though we were unable to continue the fire fighting program for these young women, we remain committed to community service as a way for all of our youth to make constructive contributions to society.”

Through the first nine months of 2010, offender fire fighting crews from Ventura have contributed 39,670 hours of community service, 9,600 of which were contributed by the females who now make up the CLEAR program.

Since 1991, more than 700 female juvenile offenders have been trained as fire fighters at Ventura and many have gone on to seasonal or full time employement as forest fire fighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) or the U.S. Department of Forestry.

The camp, which will continue to train firefighting crews for male juvenile offenders, will conduct a formal changing of the guard ceremony to mark the conclusion of the female fire fighting program on Wednesday, October 20.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Karette Fussell; (805) 485-7951, ext. 3256
Bill Sessa; (916) 205-9193

Two Inmates Escape from Minimum Support Facility at Folsom State Prison

FOLSOM – Two minimum-security inmates escaped from the Folsom State Prison (FSP) Minimum Support Facility this morning. The escape was discovered when the two failed to report to their work areas.


Inmate JEFFREY WILLIAM HOWARD, 43, is a white male, 5’ 11”, 205 pounds, shaved head/brown hair and brown eyes. He was sent to prison from Los Angeles County on July 13, 2009, to serve a four-year sentence for vehicle theft.


Inmate GARRETT DANIEL SUMMITT, 34, is a white male, 6’ 0”, 230 pounds, shaved head/blonde hair and blue eyes. He was sent to prison from Los Angeles County on Dec. 10, 2009, to serve a six-year sentence for possession of a controlled substance and firearm possession.


FSP correctional staff and CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety agents initiated escapee apprehension efforts. Local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol were notified and are assisting in the search.

Anyone seeing individuals who match the descriptions should contact law enforcement authorities immediately or call 911.

FSP opened in 1880 and is California’s second-oldest prison. It houses 3,526 minimum- and medium-security inmates and employs more than 1,100 people.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lt. Anthony Gentile (FSP)
October 19, 2010
(916) 351-3016
(916) 949-9583 (Mobile)

Friday, October 15, 2010

CDCR To Investigate Officer-Involved Shooting

In Full Cooperation with Bakersfield Police Department

SACRAMENTO –The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is working in cooperation with the Bakersfield Police Department to investigate a shooting incient this morning involving parole agents from its Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

The incident occured at approximately 10:30 a.m. at the DJJ's district parole office in Bakersfield.

The suspect, identified by the Bakersfield Police Department as a 49-year-old man, was shot by a parole agent when he tried to attack a group of juvenile parolees and probationers in the parking lot who were attending a graduation ceremony for a vocational training program.

Specific information on the incident can be obtained from the Public Information Office of the Bakersfield Police Department, (661) 332- 0047.

CDCR will conduct an internal investigation to ensure that all of the department’s policies and procedures were properly followed.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Sessa (916) 205-9193

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

CDCR Launches Inmate Locator Web Page

For first time, public can locate incarcerated family members online

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today launched the Inmate Locator web page, an online database designed to help family members find an inmate in California’s prison system.

“Inmates who stay connected with family members are often more motivated to change their behavior, leading to an overall increase in public safety,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate.  “This new tool will make it more convenient for the public to locate, write and visit incarcerated family members and friends.”

Inmates in California are transferred from prison to prison for a number of reasons, including for their own protection, protection of other inmates or staff, or a change in their custody level. The database, which is updated daily, helps concerned family members keep track of an inmate’s whereabouts.

“This will be a tremendous benefit for families to remain in contact with an incarcerated family member,” said CDCR Associate Director Debra Herndon, who oversees the Department’s inmate family council. “Not only does it help the inmate, but it also helps children connect with a parent who may be in prison.”

Visitors to the website can search by an inmate’s last name or CDCR number to learn in which institution the inmate is currently housed. There are also driving directions. The website also includes helpful links on visitation guidelines.

Before traveling, visitors should contact the institution for current visiting information. If the inmate’s location cannot be found on the web page, the public should contact the Department's Identification Unit at (916) 445-6713. Historical information and release dates are not available.

The Inmate Locator page is available at: http://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov/


For Immediate Release
Contact: Terry Thornton
(916) 445-4950

Monday, October 11, 2010

Inmate Death at Salinas Valley State Prison Under Investigation

Soledad – Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) administrators are investigating the death of a inmate as a homicide. On October 11, 2010, custody staff found an inmate unresponsive in his cell. The inmate was pronounced dead at 8:51 a.m.

The inmate victim, 36, was committed from San Bernardino County in February 1998 with a a 36-year sentence for second-degree murder. The inmate had been at SVSP for two months. His identity is being withheld pending next of kin notification.

SVSP staff notified the Office of the Inspector Genera, which is at the facility. Investigators from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department have been contacted on the suspicious death.

Salinas Valley State Prison opened in May 1996 and is located on approximately 300 acres in Monterey County. The institutions mission is to provide long-term housing for both minimum and maximum custody male inmates.

For immediate release
Contact:  Michael Nilsson
(831) 678-5500, ext 5554

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Four inmates transported to local hospitals with multiple puncture wounds

California Rehabilitation Center

Four inmates transported to local hospitals with multiple puncture wounds

NORCO – The California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) was the location of a riot on Sunday morning, October 10, 2010. Approximately 10-15 inmates were involved in the fighting in Dormitory 107. The incident was quelled by Correctional Officers (first responders) assigned to the area.

Four inmates were transported to local area hospitals with serious injuries. These injuries consisted of multiple puncture and stab wounds, however, none are life threatening. The remaining inmates suffered scrapes, small lacerations, bruising and are being medically treated on grounds. All involved inmates will be transported to the California Institution for Men and placed in Administrative Segregation.

CRC remains on lock-down pending the results of an investigation identifying other participants and the reasons why the riot occurred.

CONTACT B. R. Davis (951) 273-2920 or (951) 712-5760 Blackberry

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

State Opens California Institution for Men West Facility Buildings

Damaged Dormitories Fully Restored in 13 Months

CHINO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today reopened eight dormitories at the California Institution for Men (CIM) in Chino that were damaged during a 2009 inmate riot.


“The tragic and senseless destruction during the riot of 2009 will not be forgotten,” said CIM Warden Aref Fakhoury. “Rebuilding the damaged West facility using the Inmate Ward Labor program has contributed to a safer prison environment, all while teaching and motivating these inmates. I would like to commend everyone who took a part in this rebuilding effort.”

Eight housing units were heavily damaged when inmates in Reception Center West dormitories rioted on the evening of Aug. 8, 2009. There were no hostage situations, no escapes and no fatalities during the riot, but extensive repairs were necessary to return to the structures to use.

Immediately after the riot, CDCR began working to rebuild the critically needed inmate housing units. Several of the units were renovated and occupied within 10 months.

The design, construction and reactivation of the entire West facility was completed within 13 months at a cost of $5.2 million.


Following the riot, CDCR began moving inmates from CIM to nearby Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility, eventually converting it to a temporary reception center for adult male inmates. All inmates have since been moved from Stark.

Cost to rebuild the dormitories was reduced significantly by using inmate labor from the Inmate Ward Labor program. The program teaches inmates vocational skills that can be used to gain employment once they are released from prison. Inmates learned how to operate heavy equipment and were taught trades such as masonry, concrete mixing, drywall installation, wall texturing, carpentry, welding and general construction techniques.

The rebuilding effort also incorporated improved safety features.

“The materials used during the rebuilding and some of the systems built into the facility will provide a safer and more secure environment for inmates, staff and the public,” said Deborah Hysen, CDCR’s Chief Deputy Secretary for Facilities, Planning and Construction Management. “For example, porcelain sinks and fixtures, which can be broken into sharp pieces, were replaced with durable stainless steel.”

After the repairs were completed, CDCR changed the mission of CIM West from a reception center to a Level II facility, and the inmate population was reduced from 1,298 before the riot to an estimated 960 in October 2010.

“The mutual aid and cooperation by the city of Chino, law enforcement and surrounding fire departments were invaluable during this emergency," said Fakhoury. "We appreciate the long-standing partnership we share with our surrounding community,”

CIM is one of 33 prisons operated by CDCR. It opened in 1941. The peak population at CIM was 6,665 inmates in October 2003. It currently houses 4,751 minimum- and medium-security inmates and employs 2,327 people.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Juvenile Offenders Receive Diplomas, GED’s in Ventura

68 Youth also Enrolled in Community College Courses




SACRAMENTO – Fifty-one juvenile offenders from the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility will achieve a major academic milestone Friday, October 1, when they receive either a high school diploma or a GED during graduation ceremonies from Mary B. Perry High School.


They join 116 youthful offenders who have earned diplomas or GED’s from Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities in Stockton and Ione earlier this summer, bringing the year’s total of graduates to 167.

“A high school education is critical for youthful offenders to build successful lives as they prepare to return to their communities,” said Rachel Rios, Acting Chief Deputy Secretary of DJJ, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “An education opens doors for our youth to have more opportunities to turn their lives around and become productive members of society” said Rios. “Those opportuities reduce recidivism, which improves public safety.”

The graduation day is also an opportunity for the youth to share their success with family members, many of whom are expected to attend the ceremony, reflecting the importance of family involvement in the state’s juvenile justice programs.

DJJ operates a high school in each of its youth correctional facilities that is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The accreditation ensures that youth receive the same education they would receive in their communities, including special education. Those standards require youth to be in classrooms for the state-mandated 240 minutes a day, 210 days a year.

The educational needs of each youth are assessed when they are committed to the DJJ. Youth are enrolled in a curriculum to receive a high school diploma or a GED for those who are not expected to remain at DJJ long enough to earn a diploma, ensuring that every youth receives a high school education before they are discharged.

Since March 2005, when DJJ adopted a remedial plan for education, approximately 5,000 youth have achieved some level of academic performance, from high school diplomas or GEDs, to enrollment in vocational or continuing education classes. That represents a 300 percent increase over previous years, despite a significant decline in the number of youth who are committed to the DJJ by the courts.

In addition, approximately 50 percent of youth who are eligible have enrolled in college classes, including 68 males and females at the Ventura facility who are taking distance-learning classes offered by Coastline College and Ventura Community College.

More information regarding Division of Juvenile Justice programs is available at www.cdcr.ca.gov/Juvenile Justice.