Interactive Data Points report now available online
The Office of Research (OR) is excited to announce the CDCR Offender Data Points (ODP) dashboard!
This dashboard replaces the traditional ODP report, which included a hard-copy report and a PDF version available on the CDCR website. The report was only produced twice a year. As such, in an effort to provide more current data related to CDCR’s incarcerated and parolee population, OR developed the ODP Public Data Dashboard. This dashboard reflects virtually all of the data points included in the traditional ODP report such as gender, age, ethnicity, sex registration, sentencing details, California Static Risk Assessment Score, mental health designation, admissions, releases and parole. Additionally, the ODP Public Data Dashboard offers features such as date filtering options, interactive maps, trend indicators and charts, and tool-tips containing pertinent information about the data. The ODP Public Data Dashboard also provides end-users with current data as early as prior month-end, which includes data for year-to-date along with two full prior calendar years in one environment.
April is National Volunteer Month, when we recognize the people who give their time and expertise to make the world a better place. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison shares words of appreciation in this letter to all staff who volunteer in their communities, and the many volunteers who give their time and talents to support people incarcerated in state prison.
3 Questions With..
Vickie Jones, Accounting Administrator II
While the COVID-19 pandemic curbed much travel for CDCR and CCHCS employees, things are picking back up. Accounting Administrator II Vickie Jones, who works in the Accounting Services Branch (ASB) Corcoran Travel Unit, shared her thoughts on CDCR’s travel program, the importance of customer service, and how state employees can benefit from programs designed to help ease the cost of commuting.
Jones began her CDCR career in 1995 as an Office Assistant at California State Prison, Corcoran (COR). In 1998, she transferred to the ASB Corcoran office as an Account Clerk II.
Over the years she worked her way through the accounting classifications as a first and second line supervisor, where she found her passion for supervision. Jones was an Accounting Administrator I (Supervisor) for just over seven years. In 2020, she promoted to an Accounting Administrator II at ASB-Corcoran.
What do you love about your job?
I enjoy the fast-paced and constantly changing work environment. On a daily basis, we are presented with questions or challenging situations that require us to find a solution to assist programs with their travel needs. This has given me the opportunity to collaborate and establish working relationships with various programs throughout CDCR/CCHCS and external agencies. Building positive relationships with our customers and representing the ASB team is one of the most satisfying parts of what I do, and what I love the most about my job!
What services are available to CDCR employees to help save money commuting?
Commuter-related benefits available to all CDCR/CCHCS employees include Mass Transit/Vanpool Subsidies, and the Bicycle Commuter Programs (taxable benefit). For additional information, see CalHR Commute Program, bargaining contracts, Travel Portal – Travel Bulletins or email Travel.Help@cdcr.ca.gov.
What is a fact about CDCR’s travel program that would surprise people?
Some might be surprised to know the Travel Unit consists of a team of 20 staff members assigned to processing travel and employee reimbursement claims for CDCR/CCHCS. Last year, they processed 46,983 travel expense claims, received 11,700 travel calls (some calls ranging 5-10 minutes) and answered 97,000 emails.
When staff are not busy assisting travelers or processing claims, they are maintaining our Concur and CalATERS databases as needed, issuing Travel Bulletins and working on various projects to improve CDCR/CCHCS employee’s travel experience.
Providing exceptional customer service is our top priority. I am thankful to work with such an amazing team. Like many, they are juggling multiple responsibilities daily. They come together to support each other. This has allowed us to succeed in an ever-changing environment. It is an honor to lead this resilient, hard-working and innovative group of individuals.
We are here to help, please contact us at (559) 992-7011 or Travel.Help@cdcr.ca.gov for any questions you have.
Do you know a staff member who should be highlighted in our weekly update? Submit their name, title, contact information and a brief description of their work to Cal_ExternalAffairs@cdcr.ca.gov.
Gena Jones has been assigned as Acting Warden for California Health Care Facility (CHCF).
Joseph Stewart has been assigned as Acting Chief for the Office of Internal Affairs, Allegation Inquiry Management Section (AIMS) Unit.
OPOS reports Jumpstart and Fast Track successes
The Office of Peace Officer Selection (OPOS) piloted two new processes, Jumpstart and Fast Track, in February 2022. The new processes are designed to reduce the selection process time for correctional officers. The combined pilot processes are already showing signs of success, particularly for candidates electing the Fast Track option, which requires a commitment to accept assignment to a priority institution.
To date, seven candidates out of the Southern and Northern regions who participated in Jumpstart and Fast Track have cleared the background investigation process after completing their initial written exam on February 26. The first two candidates cleared the background process within four weeks of their written exam, and five more completed within five weeks of their exam. Assuming fairly routine medical histories, this pilot group of Fast Track candidates is projected to be eligible for hire within four to five months of completing their written exam.
The Jumpstart events are a one-day program combining the written exam, physical fitness test, Live Scan, and creation of the candidate’s Electronic Statement of Personal History (eSOPH) profile. With creation of the eSOPH profile candidates are beginning the background investigation on their first day in process. The overall process time for candidates from their Jumpstart date to eligible for hire is expected to be in the seven- to nine-month timeframe, depending on the complexity of the candidate’s legal and medical history.
Fast Track adds an expedited background investigation to the Jumpstart event and is designed for candidates who have had minimal or no law enforcement contacts, and have not moved around a lot. Captain Dennis McTaggart explained “Fast Track is ideal for younger candidates, who may still live with their parents and haven’t had a lot of legal issues.” He added that “Fast Track can work for all candidates with clean records, but the more complex their history the more time investigating it takes.”
Captain McTaggart credited Lieutenant J. Hunter and Sergeants K. Drouillard and J. Gomez from the Southern Selection Center, and Lieutenant J. Schmidt and Sergeant D. Vitoria of the Northern Selection Center, for their diligence and hard work as primary factors in the success of the Fast Track process.
OPOS Chief Rob Calderon observed, “There are a lot of parts to executing the Jumpstart and Fast Track processes. It takes the coordination of the testing team, background staff, and our medical and psychological exam units to move candidates this fast.”
“It also takes the cooperation of the candidate providing information when requested,” added McTaggart. “Candidates who are not responding timely have to be removed from Fast Track.”
For more information on Correctional Officer careers visit JoinCDCR.com.
COR goes big with Project Hope
Last week, incarcerated volunteers at Corcoran State Prison donated $5,446 to Project Hope CA‘s Restorative Mentoring Program. The funds will help provide free mentoring, family engagement, meals, clean clothes, educational services and more to struggling youth and their families. To celebrate, actor Danny Trejo and friends visited the prison for a special concert and meet-and-greet!
Danny Trejo was joined by Trejo’s Angels – singers Amoraa, Twixxy, and Tarah New – Bad Vic & The Good Intentions of Los Yesterdays, DjCheatos, Sleepy Malo, and comedian Concrete. Project Hope Founders Jaime and Roberta Espinoza also attended to accept the donation in person.
During the meet-and-greet, Trejo posed for photographs, offered words of encouragement, and signed shoes designed by some of the incarcerated volunteers that will be donated to Project Hope to be auctioned off to raise even more money for the organization.
Long Beach MCRP holds family reunification event
The Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP) in Long Beach recently hosted a Father/Child Dance. Approximately 15 children between the ages of 5 and 17 attended the event. Fathers greeted their children with a rose boutonniere or hand corsage and escorted them down the red carpet to their assigned seat in the reception area. The formal reception featured a three-course dinner, DJ entertainment and a special father/child dance.
Each father read a heartfelt personalized letter to their child and presented them with a keepsake necklace. The messages on the pendants read, “To my daughter, I can’t promise to be here for the rest of your life. But I can promise to love and support you the rest of mine. Love, Dad” or “To my son, I might not be with you but I know that I believe in you. You were and always will be the best thing that ever happened to me. Love, Dad.”
The reception ended with each family creating and decorating a scrapbook that included a family picture and a copy of the letter written to their child.
Several MCRP participants were selected to assist with setup and table service at the event. Lead server Tim Hagler said, “It was such an honor to be allowed the opportunity to be part of such a special event. Dressing up and trying my best to provide the best service was my top priority. All in all it was a beautiful experience to see the joy on the kids’ faces when they got to spend quality time with their dads.”
In response to the event, Victor Melgar wrote, “I know I speak for all the fathers here at MCRP when I say that the Father/Child Dance here in Long Beach was a great experience! For me, this was my first of many dances to come with my daughter. These types of events at MCRP have given me a greater bond with my daughter and family.”
“This year, I was fortunate to come to MCRP. In the last two months that I have been in this program I have gotten to know my daughter Haley,” shared Jovanny Reyes. “I got to experience the father/child dance. That day was the most nerve-wracking experience for me but the moment I walked in to see my daughter I felt at ease. To see her face light up as we walked into the decorated visiting room. Seeing her face as I put on her corsage. Everything about the event was perfect. My daughter has not stopped talking about it and wants to know when the next dance is. This is so vital in my rehabilitation and I am grateful.”
Joseph Bunkley wrote, “This dance definitely helped me solidify a tighter bond with my daughter by engaging in hands-on activities such as creating a memory book with her, taking pictures, and dancing with her, which all led to the most important part of the night, standing before her communicating how proud I am and how much I love her, which made her feel special.”
The event was a positive experience for everyone involved and created a space where young children and their fathers were able to focus on the importance of a healthy, strong relationship.
U.S. Senate confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court
The United States of America joins in the thousands of witnesses in support of the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as Supreme Court Justice. Ketanji Brown Jackson was an African-American attorney and jurist serving as a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the 116th Associate Judge of the U.S. Supreme Court. On April 7th, Judge Brown Jackson was confirmed by the Senate, and is the first African-American woman ever to serve on the nation’s highest court. The lack of racial and gender diversity on the bench is often most noticeable in the Supreme Court, given the relatively small number of justices who have served, compared to the rest of the court system and their much higher public profile. Judge Brown Jackson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, then attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Thanks to hard work and determination, Judge Brown Jackson’s family exemplifies a true American success story. Judge Brown Jackson was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Miami, Florida. Mrs. Brown Jackson’s parents attended segregated primary schools and experienced the Jim Crow South laws as children. However, the Jim Crow South laws did not stop her parents from completing higher education. Judge Brown Jackson’s parents graduated from Historical Black Colleges and Universities. After graduating, their careers started in the Miami-Dade public school district. They served as teachers and later became leaders and administrators.
Her father earned a law degree. And now, their daughter has become the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Brown Jackson came from a family of peace officers and worked as a public defender. She has also served on the bipartisan U.S. Sentencing Commission and a judge on the District Court and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal. Mrs. Brown Jackson is now the first public defender to serve on the Supreme Court. She will bring that experience and the same approach to the Supreme Court.
Judge Brown Jackson lives with her husband, Patrick, and their two daughters, in Washington, DC.
CDCR and CCHCS staff interested in joining the department’s efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion can learn more about becoming a GARE Ambassador.
In our institutions
CMF supports students in collaboration with Vacaville City Councilmember
The incarcerated population at California Medical Facility raised funds through its quarterly food sale with all proceeds donated to charitable organizations or local schools. One of the beneficiaries from the food sale funds was Fairmont Charter Elementary School in Vacaville. Fairmont serves about 600 students focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).
Recently, fifth grade students at Fairmont were given the opportunity to participate in a science project sponsored by CMF in collaboration with City of Vacaville Councilmember Michael Silva, who is also a Professor of Biotechnology at Solano Community College. Approximately 150 students learned the process of isolating DNA cells from strawberries. Not only were students expanding their knowledge of Bioscience, they were shown how various organizations and members of their community, from prison wardens to city councilmembers, can come together for one purpose – to support our youth and their education.
CMF Warden (A) Jennifer Benavidez attended the event and explained, “Spending time with the children within our community was such a gift. We have two hands, and one of those is to give to the community and the best way is to do this is through our children. Our young children are the future and if CMF can have some positive impact on their lives we will continue to do so.”
CMF looks forward to continuing to give back to the Vacaville community through future food sale efforts.
PBSP hosts Safety Day at local elementary school
Members of the Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP), Crisis Response Team (CRT) participated in the annual Mary Peacock Elementary School Safety Day. The annual event was cancelled due to COVID-19 for the past two years. Students and staff were excited to participate in demonstration from the California Highway Patrol, Del Norte Ambulance, Crescent City Fire and the PBSP CRT.
Here, Sergeant Tony Harris demonstrates an inverted rappel technique to students at Mary Peacock Elementary with Officer A. Ortiz assisting.
HDSP has busy week helping others
The Family2Child Literacy Program, which is sponsored by The Place4Grace, held a workshop on Facilities C and D at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). The program aims to keep families impacted by incarceration connected through reading. Men and women are recorded reading a book of their choice to their children. Each book includes a loving personalized inscription. The books, along with the audio recordings. are mailed to the children, allowing them to hear the voice of their loved one and read along with the recording. The program is present in 16 prisons throughout the state, and since 2011 more than 8,700 people have participated, reaching more than 18,000 children as far away as New York, Mexico and India.
Lifeline Global Ministries hosted a Malachi Dads graduation in the Facility A Chapel. Malachi Dads is designed for incarcerated fathers and teaches them about healthy communication, authority, and more. Each graduate received a graduation program, Bible, Malachi Dads book, and certificate. The graduates’ friends and family participated via Microsoft Teams. This was HDSP’s first Malachi Dads graduation and first time hosting a virtual event.
HDSP’s incarcerated population held a food sale on Facility A. As a result of the sale, they donated approximately $5,500 to multiple local organizations including Lassen High School Wrestling Booster Club, Lassen Lightning 12u, Special Olympics Northern California, Susanville Future Farmers of America, Susanville Future Business Leaders of America, and Susanville Community Church.
In the media
Hanford family pleads for kidney donor
Arnold Perez has been living with type two diabetes since he was just a teenager.
But his need for a new kidney, hit overdrive last year.
“I’m only 38 years old. And I’d like to live as long as I can,” Perez said, from his home in Hanford Friday afternoon.
The Materials & Stores Supervisor II at Avenal State Prison was diagnosed with renal failure last January.
Meet pioneering Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Rudolph Coffee, in this history piece from Tablet magazine. Coffee was ahead of his time in ushering in services for Jewish prisoners in the early 20th century at some of the country’s best-known prisons: San Quentin and Folsom state prisons in California, as well as Alcatraz, the maximum security federal prison on an island in San Francisco Bay.
When the late John Irwin emerged from Soledad State Prison in the 1950s, after a stint for an armed robbery, he was determined to lay out a path for formerly incarcerated people to break the prison cycle.
He realized education was the best route and, after earning a doctorate and joining the Cal State San Francisco faculty, Irwin founded Project Rebound in 1967. The program helps those coming out of prison earn college degrees and navigate the often treacherous post-prison world.
The program, now on 14 Cal State campuses, has been a standout success, boasting a zero-recidivism rate, and was named 2021 Nonprofit of the Year for the 65th California Assembly District by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva.
The program has worked primarily with adults leaving the prison system — until now.
Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla is one of 10 prisons in the state that gives incarcerated people the chance to connect to the natural world through the Insight Garden Program. Led by previously incarcerated individuals, the Insight Garden Program uses ecotherapy and mindfulness to help people in prison cultivate gardening skills and improve self-esteem. To learn more, Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke with program volunteer Katerina Friesen and formerly incarcerated gardener Michele Scott, who lobbied to bring the program to Chowchilla.
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