National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
During the week of April 24-30, 2022, the country observes National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW). For over three decades, NCVRW has successfully promoted awareness of victims’ rights and services and honored countless crime victims and survivors. This year’s theme, “RIGHTS, ACCESS, EQUITY, for all victims” embodies the progress CDCR has made on behalf of the victim and survivor community and our guiding force for how we continue to transform victim services in California.
Watch CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison and Katie James, Chief of the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS), commemorate this national initiative honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf in this video.
3 Questions With..
Silvia Aceves, Staff Services Manager I, OVSRS
Silvia Aceves is a Staff Services Manager I with the CDCR Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS). She has worked within the criminal justice system for over 18 years. She has worked with victims and survivors for about nine years, five of which have been with CDCR, OVSRS where she worked with victims on their requests for notification of prison releases, deaths and/or escapes. She also assists victims in processing their participation in parole hearings.
As a manager she is still doing what she loves, which is helping and educating victims through the post-sentencing process, but also gets to motivate and assist employees to be the best they can be in order to provide the best possible service to victims.
What is the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services’ (OVSRS) main purpose?
The primary objective of OVSRS is to provide support to victims post-sentencing, as well as to ensure that victims and their families have a voice in the process. Whether it’s aiding with notification registration, explaining the parole hearing process and answering all of their questions, or directing those to local services, it’s all part of the job. Since 1988, OVSRS has been a part of CDCR’s mission to “facilitate the successful reintegration of individuals in our care back into the society equipped with the tools to be drug-free, healthy, and employable members of society by providing education, treatment, rehabilitative, and restorative justice programs, all in a safe and humane environment.” OVSRS collaborates with community partners to give grants and funding to provide services to the incarcerated population.
What is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW)?
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) honors crime survivors and victims while also promoting crime victims’ rights and services across the country. Since 1981, NCVRW has raised awareness about the impact of victimization on individuals, their families, and our community every April. The topic for this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is Rights, Access, and Equality for All Victims, and it takes place from April 24 to April 30, 2022. Traditionally during NCVRW institutions and offices show their support to victims and survivors by holding events, and ceremonies to commemorate victim’s rights.
How can staff get involved in Victims’ Rights?
Staff can participate in a variety of ways. There are numerous activities taking place across the country, not just in CDCR. Attending webinars raises awareness of the many victim organizations that aid victims, as well as those service providers who assist victims around the clock. Participating in local runs to raise awareness of victims’ rights in the community. Inquiring with an institution’s Community Resources Manager about volunteering for specific victim impact programs/fundraisers, as well as planning CDCR activities at each institution. Each institution also assists victims with the parole hearing process, and through the Classification and Parole Representative, you can volunteer to become a Victim Services Representative.
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.
Visiting training set for May 13
CDCR will close all visiting programs for one day to allow all regularly assigned visiting staff to receive mandated training. This closure will take place on May 13, 2022.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may create, but a one-day shutdown is the most effective way to ensure that all visiting staff receive this critical training. Using statewide facility notifications on the Visitation Information website, visiting room bulletin boards, visiting telephone hotlines, and CDCR social media, this information will be conveyed to all staff and visitors.
We understand the importance of visitation in sustaining family and community links as well as preparing people for successful reintegration into society. It is our responsibility to ensure consistent application and adherence to statewide policies and procedures in order to provide for the safety of visitors, incarcerated, and staff, as well as the security of the institution.
Court vacates vaccine mandate for all staff; CDPH order still in effect
This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision to vacate the mandate for all CDCR and CCHCS staff imposed last year by the federal district court in Plata v. Newsom to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This decision is separate from and does not impact the CDPH order requiring full vaccination or an approved exemption for workers regularly assigned to health care settings. As of today, 81% of the incarcerated population and 73% of the staff have been fully vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine and boosters are available at no cost to any staff member or incarcerated person who requests it.
SCC Recruitment Team ramps up efforts by attending local job fair
Sierra Conservation Center’s (SCC) recruitment team recently participated in a Community Job Fair at Columbia College in Sonora. The goal of the Community Job Fair is to showcase career pathways and current job opportunities within the community. Attendees included Columbia College students and alumni, local high school students, and job seekers in the community. About 60 vendors/employers participated in the event. SCC’s Education and Maintenance Departments participated in the recruitment efforts.
Additionally, California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) had a booth staffed by SCC nursing team members to recruit nursing, medical and mental health disciplines. The CDCR/CCHCS booths had a good turnout with some assistance from one of our partners in fighting crime, CDCR K9 Villain. Don’t let the name fool you, he is born to love, trained to serve, and loyal to the end!
Upcoming Juvenile Justice and Diversion Reentry Workshop
Join the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH) for the upcoming Juvenile Justice Workgroup and Diversion Reentry Workgroup on May 13, 2022.
The Juvenile Justice Workgroup will be held from 12:45-2:45 p.m. This workgroup will feature presentations from county programs where probation and behavioral health work collaboratively to provide convenient behavioral health services to justice-involved youth to optimize successful outcomes, followed by Councilmember and participant discussion. Presenters include Los Angeles County’s Multisystem Therapy, Sacramento County’s Juvenile Justice Diversion and Treatment Program, and Glenn County’s Probation and Behavioral Health Partnership.
The Diversion and Reentry Workgroup will be held from 3-5 p.m.. This workgroup will focus on presentations related to the implementation of Senate Bill 317, followed by Councilmember and participant discussion.
Both workgroups are open to the public and can be attended in person, virtually, or by phone.
In-person meeting location:
Board of Parole Hearings, 1515 K St., Suite 550
Sacramento, CA 95811
Via phone at:
Conference ID: 492 573 632#
In our institutions
RJD serves up fresh burgers to benefit local nonprofits
Richard J. Donavan Correctional Facility (RJD) recently teamed up with the Habit Burger Grill to raise funds for this year’s Sports Training Academics & Recreation Police Activities League (STAR/PAL) Law Enforcement backpack drive to be held in August.
Over a course of five days, two catering trucks and a team of chefs cooked up delicious burgers for the population. In total, 2,221 Double Char Burgers, 1,118 barbecue chicken sandwiches and 1,324 sirloin steak burgers were served up on site. It was the first time in RJD history fresh grilled burgers were served to the population. The event raised $35,643.78.
In addition to the backpack drive, proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego and Home Start. Home Start, Founded in 1972, is a nonprofit agency that provides services to children living in poverty who require immediate, comprehensive solutions to ensure safety and healthy development and to effectively prevent and treat child abuse, “we address the conditions that put children in risky or abusive situations such as poverty, unsafe neighborhoods, lack of affordable housing and unemployment, while addressing individual self-sufficiency and emotional needs” Laura Tancredi-Baese, Chief Executive Officer.
This was a good morale boost not only to the individuals we serve but also to the officers and line staff. In all the event was a huge success.
SCC correctional employees show support at local law enforcement benefit
On April 18th, twenty employees from the Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) participated in a benefit golf tournament held at Oakdale Golf and Country Club. This tournament was a benefit golf tournament to raise money for local law enforcement officers and their family members in need. All proceeds from this event will benefit Officer Michael Rokaitis (Modesto PD), Landan Stever (Oakdale PD) and Elyse Denton (Stanislaus SO). It’s great to see CDCR employees involved in community law enforcement events.
VSP shows up to help Special Olympics
The Valley State Prison (VSP) Freezin’ for a Reason team participated in the 2022 Special Olympics Polar Plunge at Millerton Lake and made a splash this year, collecting over $3,000.
This event kicked off the first in-person fundraiser benefitting Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) and the local SONC Madera Howlers. SONC provides sports, education, leadership and health programs to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families and peers, as well as promoting awareness and inclusion of this amazing program and athletes to our local community.
Additionally, VSP supported the Special Olympics with their Badges with Buckets fundraiser. VSP officers, staff and Madera Howler athletes collected donations for Special Olympics at the gate house and staff visitor entrance. With the help of generous staff,more than $2,500 was collected, a great start to this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR).
The goal of the LETR is to partner with communities to support Special Olympics programs through raising funds and public awareness while enhancing the quality of life for athletes. CDCR officers and staff are truly amazing in their generosity to our community. VSP was also recognized as the third-highest fundraising institution within SONC.
In the media
California Medical Facility celebrated the relaunch of its longtime bike donation program with a special ceremony Wednesday.
The Bike Project, which went on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, allows people to donate bikes to the prison, where incarcerated people refurbish them and donate them back to the community. This process will continue, now with the participation of Volunteers of Vacaville, but the key difference is that the program is now named after the man who made it all possible more than three decades ago: the late CMF Sgt. David Cueva.
In addition to the restart of the Bike Project, the ceremony was also a celebration of the life of Cueva, who died of cancer in 2017. Family and associates spoke of a man who was very generous in spirit, with the bike program being just one part of his legacy.
CMF Recreation Supervisor Jeremiah Holland was very happy to have the program back, largely because of what it provides for the participants.
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