International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
August 9 is International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. This day is celebrated globally to honor the role of Indigenous societies as stewards of cultural and biological diversity. Observing Indigenous International Day of the World’s Indigenous People promotes protecting their rights and acknowledges the lasting and damaging impact of colonialism on Indigenous cultures.
Let us recognize Indigenous cultures and reflect on the need for Indigenous societies to achieve full autonomy and equal rights.
Submission by GARE Ambassador’s Malisa Warner and Leandro Diego. To encourage employees to expand their knowledge and gain new experiences, CDCR/CCHCS GARE Ambassadors are sharing celebrations throughout the year. To learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, visit the GARE website.
CRC back to school event
California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) hosted the first “Dads & Bags” back to school event August 5. Visiting children had the opportunity to design, draw, and decorate lunch bags with their incarcerated family members.
This was all in preparation for the first day of school. The children were gifted various school supplies, cookies, and ice pops on their way out. Staff placed family pictures on buttons to pin on the children. Everyone was very excited, grateful, and ready to jump-start the new school year.
“I like to see events such as this one that focus on enhancing the relationships between the children, visitors, and incarcerated people. These events play a huge part in their rehabilitation and encourages them to thrive,” said CRC Warden Glen Pratt.
CMF enjoys new Book Nook reading space
California Medical Facility (CMF) opened a new “Book Nook” within the Education Department. The Community Resource Manager’s (CRM) office solicited donations for any new or gently used soft-cover books and wooden rocking chairs.
The CMF Book Nook shelves are full and three wooden rocking chairs are being put to good use. The area is designed to be a quiet place where incarcerated individuals can come enjoy a book. The incarcerated population expressed their gratitude for everyone’s donations to the Book Nook.
“It is wonderful to see our staff and the incarcerated population come together and create things such as this. They were very excited and grateful to have an area where they could read a variety of books in peace,” said CRM Emily Haley.
VSP celebrates DEFY graduation
Incarcerated people at Valley State Prison (VSP) recently graduated from the Defy Ventures Entrepreneurship program. Defy Ventures has been helping formerly incarcerated individuals transform their lives through entrepreneurship for nearly a decade.
Defy has been providing the program at VSP since 2016. This is the sixth cohort graduation. To date, 230 people incarcerated at VSP have completed the program and received a Certificate of Completion. The graduates participated in a Business Pitch Competition where they practiced selling and pitching business ideas to Defy staff and invited guests.
Defy provides business education, mentorship, and training to equip individuals with the skills they need to become entrepreneurs. Defy recognizes the potential in every individual, regardless of their past mistakes. By leveraging entrepreneurship as a tool for economic empowerment, Defy is changing the narrative around incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals.
Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services
Military, Veteran & First Responder Appreciation Day
Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services representatives attended the California State Fair Military, Veteran & First Responder Appreciation Day. Staff spoke to members of the public and answered questions of what their office does. Those in attendance had a wonderful day of spreading awareness and information. First responders, officers, and fire Marshalls also attended the event.
Andre Green has been appointed as Chief Deputy Warden, Ironwood State Prison.
Sam Venero has been appointed as Chief Deputy Warden, Calipatria State Prison.
In the Community
SAC school supply drive
California State Prison, Sacramento (SAC) held a school supply drive from July 14 through August 7. The institution collected supplies for a local elementary schools and delivered on their first day of school. Supplies included:
- and everything needed for a successful school year.
This has become one of SAC’s annual drives that everyone looks forward to.
CCWF attends Merced Night Out
The Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) recruitment team attended the 2023 Merced Police Department National Night Out. The team welcomed and invited many potential candidates to the CDCR family.
CCWF’s Crisis Response and Investigative Services Unit attended with gear, allowing candidates to try it on. Merced Chief of Police Craig Gunlach hosted the event. The combined command of law enforcement from all agencies gathered at Applegate Park in Merced to share career opportunities. Food vendors set up for attendees to enjoy hot dogs and tacos.
“This a great event where we get a chance to connect with local law enforcement and potential candidates for CDCR. There were many who visited our booth interested in the great opportunities the Department offers,” stated Lt. Rudy Diaz, CCWF Recruitment Coordinator.
Peace Officer Selection and Employee Development (POSED) with the Office of Peace Officer Selection (OPOS) invites all CDCR staff to be recruiters.
PBSP hosts golf tournament
Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) put on the annual golf tournament organized by the Pelican Bay Athletic Organization (PBAO). Staff and anyone wanting to play were welcome to attend. Eighteen teams played in this year’s tournament. The event featured a barbecue. A trophy and medals were presented at the end of the tournament.
In the Media
California Battles Fentanyl With a New Tactic: Treating Addiction in Prison
In blistering 100-degree heat one recent afternoon at Valley State Prison in California’s Central Valley, incarcerated people crowded around small windows in a prison yard to pick up their daily doses of buprenorphine, an opioid addiction medication.
At one window, Quennie Uy, a nurse, scanned identification cards, then retrieved strips of the medication, slipping them through a sliding panel below the window. One by one, incarcerated people deposited the strips in their mouths, then flashed their palms — proof they had not pocketed the drug that was helping to stanch their cravings.
The daily ritual is part of a sprawling health experiment in California that aims to unwind the often lasting damage of opioid use before, during and after incarceration. The state’s efforts also reflect the beginnings of a potential transformation in the nation’s approach to treating addiction in a part of American society that is often neglected.
Why fighting California wildfires was the best prison job I ever had
In 1985, I decided to move from New York to California without knowing anyone in the state. I was caught up in the hype of what I saw on TV. With its beautiful women and rolling hills, Los Angeles looked to me like the promised land.
When I arrived, I got a job working at Los Angeles International Airport unloading planes. In my shallow genius, I decided to take some of the merchandise I was unloading home with me. I used the money I made selling stolen items to buy drugs to deal.
Why professionalism matters to one San Quentin media maker
The media center at San Quentin state prison is one of a kind. Our program, Uncuffed, is just one of a number of organizations publishing work from incarcerated media makers. From newspapers to magazines to webs series, that media center has it all. Alum have gone on to host podcasts, start their own businesses, and win documentary film awards.
On any given day, there will be dozens of people hard at work creating stories for incarcerated people across the country and for the general public. Brian Asey is one of the men responsible for building this space from ground up. Uncuffed producer Steve Brooks brings us this story on how Asey learned how to be a professional in an environment where he might work with everyone from fellow incarcerated reporters to outside media makers.