Week in Review

CDCR Week in Review: August 26, 2022

What’s New

Potential data breach information

In early 2022, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Information Technology (IT) professionals discovered a potential data breach following routine maintenance on one our information systems. The breach potentially included medical information on everyone who was tested for COVID-19 by the department from June 2020 through January 2022, including staff, visitors, and others. It did not include COVID-19 testing information for the incarcerated population.

The breach also potentially included mental health information for the incarcerated population in the Mental Health Services Delivery System going as far back as 2008.

At this time and as a result of our forensic analysis, CDCR does not have any collaborating evidence which suggests the data exposed has been compromised or misused.

Despite this, CDCR is notifying potentially impacted people out of an abundance of caution so they may take any steps they think they need to do to protect themselves. Learn more.


Update to Roadmap to Reopening Tracker

Spreadsheet of Institution Roadmap to Reopening

CDCR and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) have issued changes to the public-facing COVID-19 Population Tracker to bring areas of the report into alignment with current public health guidelines, as follows:

  • Outbreak status on the Roadmap to Reopening tab is now reported at housing unit level.  Prior to July 2022, a group of linked COVID-19 cases in one part of an institution yard or facility triggered outbreak status for the entire yard or facility, resulting in disruptions in programming and limited access to services such as visitation. Institutions are now able to assign outbreak status at the housing unit level, minimizing disruptions to programming while also continuing to protect incarcerated people and staff from infection where required. The Tracker now shows outbreak status for about 1,000 distinct housing units statewide.
  • The definition of “up to date” vaccination for CDCR staff now reflects the most recent guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In June 2022, the CDC changed the definition of “up to date” vaccination status to incorporate a second COVID-19 booster for those over 50 years of age or those who are immunocompromised. “Up to date” vaccination status on the Tracker now aligns with the CDC definition for both staff and patient categories.  Please see Figure 2.

To view the updated report pages described above, please click here:  COVID-19 Public Tracker.

Please direct any questions about the Tracker to the Office of Public and Employee Communications at OPEC@cdcr.ca.gov


Observations

3 Questions with…Heidi Wippel, Recreations Coordinator and Coach

Recreational Coordinator Heidi Wippel , woman wearing blue shirt. Standing in front of mural of the LA Dodgers, showcasing three players.

As part of Back to School Month, educators throughout CDCR are sharing their thoughts on the importance of correctional education. Meet Heidi Wippel, recreation coordinator, physical educator and “coach” at California State Prison, Corcoran. Working in various capacities under the Office of Correctional Education for 18 years, Wippel has served at California State Prison-Corcoran (COR) since September 2014. She has transformed empty gym rooms that were once overflow dormitories into functional recreation spaces, also improving the equipment available on yards and in fields. In addition, she has recruited outside volunteers to enhance the “Rehabilitation through Sports” concept at the prison. Coach Wippel has been an active member of the Coaches’ Leadership Council, Strategic Plan Team, and a vital member of the leadership at Visions Adult School. Wippel truly believes sports and recreation are much more than just games, but actually a metaphor for life.

What does a normal day look like for you?

You can find me on most days making visits to the various yards, dayrooms, and program offices, carrying my notebook to keep track of the recreational needs in each facility. As the sole Recreational Coach I am responsible for the procurement, delivery, tracking and facilitating of all recreational equipment within the facility. This includes social games such as chess boards, pinochle cards, dominoes, Scrabble, and various board games. As the coach, I also facilitate recreation within the gyms and on the fields for soccer, basketball, softball, handball, pickleball, yoga (mats), table tennis, horseshoes, flag football, volleyball, badminton, Frisbee, Hacky sacks, bocce ball, and fitness including pull-up bars, medicine balls, heavy bags, speed bags, resistance bands, sand bags, and dip bars.

In addition, I coordinate all of these activities along with setting up tournaments and leagues in conjunction with the Inmate Advisory Council, custody, and administration. I oversee the recreation for a total of six separate main yards, multiple small management yards, dayrooms, and three gyms. This means I have to visit different yards and facilities on different days. COR has many different missions including Minimum Support, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Enhanced Outpatient Program, Long Term Restricted Housing, Short Term Restricted Housing, Protected Housing and more, therefore it is important I work directly with the Captains, Sergeants, and Correctional Officers on what is allowed for each mission. Together we develop policies that support the safety and security of the institution, but also use sports and recreation to provide a valuable piece of the rehabilitative puzzle.

What aspect of the physical education department could surprise a person who is unfamiliar with correctional facilities?

Most people don’t know the recreation coach works as the centerpiece of a flywheel between the incarcerated populations we serve, the institution and the staff, and the Office of Correctional Education under the Division of Rehabilitative Programs. Most people also don’t realize how important recreation is to our population. Sports and recreation can foster rehabilitation through the development of social skills (communication, teamwork, and leadership skills), improved physical, mental and social health, self-esteem and confidence, health education, and can even result in employment opportunities. The improvement of the climate in general within the prison contributes to a more positive atmosphere, and constructive use of leisure time, both in custody and after release, improving relationships between staff and incarcerated, and also among incarcerated persons themselves.

What was your best workday while working as a physical education instructor at COR?

My best day at COR was the day I brought in an outside volunteer basketball team called “Between the Lines.”  On Monday, March 3, 2020, and Tuesday, March 4, 2020, CSP Corcoran held its first ever, standing room only, high intensity “Between the Lines” event. In my eyes, I hope it will be remembered as part of my legacy as the first female coach ever to serve at CSP Corcoran. For incarcerated person Hernandez, it will also be part of his legacy as he sunk the game-winning basket, making his team the only team of the day to beat the pros from “Between the Lines.”

Co-founders Lamont “Tory” Stapleton and Darren Duncan bring the sport of basketball, and all the valuable life lessons associated with it, to the courts of rehabilitation centers throughout the country. It is their belief that even more so than any other sport, basketball can be used to teach constructive and beneficial lessons: lessons that stick with players, travel beyond the confines of the playing court, and translate into everyday life. Some of these lessons include but are not limited to belief in oneself, the value of discipline and hard work, responsibility, accountability, how to be a team player, overcoming obstacles and adversity, dealing with wins and losses, persistence, time management, making sacrifices, and an overall respect for others. The Between the Lines team featured World Famous Professional Dunker Chris Staples, who is best known for holding the all-time NCAA record for career three-point field goals, at 413. His record stood for nearly eight years after his career ended until J.J. Reddick of Duke University broke it on February 14, 2006.

Spectators and players were beyond thrilled at the competition, many saying it was the best day of prison they could ever remember. For most, the gym became a place where, for a moment, everyone could escape from the constraints of concrete walls and fences. A place where high fives, enthusiasm, smiles, and even laughter filled the prison walls.

Sports and recreation have the ability to bring people together. All who participated couldn’t express enough how the experience gave them hope … hope that someone cares enough to hear their stories, hope that one day they will have the chance to get out and show that they too can contribute to society in a positive way.


In our Institutions

Various backpacks that were donated

Calipatria Back to School Drive

Calipatria State Prison (CAL) recently collaborated with the Niland Chamber of Commerce and Calipatria Latin American Club (CLAC) to hold a back-to-school supply drive.

457 brand-new backpacks with school supplies were contributed to the Back to School Drive, including 108 backpacks from CAL. Students at the Calipatria Unified School District received free haircuts, snow cones, and backpacks.

Seven Valley state Prison Staff standing in front of sign holding backpacks ready to donate to local school.

Valley State Prison raises $2000 for local schools

Through its Badges with Bucket event, the Community Resource Office of Valley State Prison raised more than $2000. The Complex II Captain, J. Mensing, AA/PIO Lieutenant H. Gastelum, Officer G. Lopez, and Community Resource Manager (A) T. Costa arrived early to gather donations from staff members reporting for duty. School supplies for the 2022–2023 academic year were purchased using the money raised by the Badges with Buckets event.

The money allowed the VSP CRM’s Office to buy 360 backpacks and outfit them with necessary school supplies. The backpacks were distributed to five different educational institutions, including the Central Valley Regional Education Center, Chowchilla High School, Madera Unified School District, and Madera County Superintendents of Schools.

Nine men holding ribbons up in front of mural.

PBSP artists recognized at Del Norte County Fair

Some skilled residents of the D Facility at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) found happiness and smiles creating artwork for the Del Norte County Fair, which took place August 4–7, 2022. The artists entered 25 works of art in the county fair, including paintings, beaded crafts, and crocheted items. Ten received first-place ribbons out of the 25 submissions, five received second-place ribbons, and three received third-place ribbons. The overall number of ribbons won was announced on the local radio station. The artists received a total award of about $150, which was all given to the local Humane Society.

Project Rebound Seminar comes to Pelican Bay

A Project Rebound seminar on university transfers and a professional workshop for Facilities A, B, and D at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) were held at College of Redwoods. Under the direction of Tory Eagles, the Pelican Bay Scholars Program Coordinator, the guest hosts who flew in for the seminar and workshop have firsthand knowledge of the prison system, having served time in prison themselves. They currently work for Project Rebound and other statewide programs that aid in the successful reintegration of all who want to enroll in a California State University (CSU) or University of California campus.

Project Rebound programs, which assist students who have served time behind bars, are currently operating on 14 CSU campuses, including Los Angeles and CSU Fresno. The program gave students the encouragement and knowledge they needed to accomplish their college degrees both inside and outside of prison.

Since 2017, PBSP and College of the Redwoods have worked together to provide educational opportunities and alternatives to criminal activity in an effort to create a healthy institutional climate and a network of supports for successful reintegration into society. About 390 incarcerated persons are currently enrolled in College of the Redwoods, where they are working toward an Associate of Arts (AA) degree, and PBSP Tsunami Adult School hopes to open up more educational options for the PBSP population at nearby state colleges.


In the Media

Nation’s first standalone prison campus celebrates graduation

Student facing stage with Cap and Gown at graduation ceremony

Mount Tamalpais College (MTC) students graduated in an in-person ceremony in June at California’s San Quentin State Prison (SQ).

Family members and other outside visitors received permission to come to the facility for the June 24 event, which honored the MTC graduating classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022. Adorned in black caps and gowns, the 20 graduating students sat together toward the front of SQ’s chapel, where many of the institution’s biggest events are held. Read the full story

Sister Mary Sean Hodges has turned around thousands of lives in California prisons

Sister Mary Sean Hodges, a former Catholic school teacher and founder of the Partnership for Re-Entry Program, a Restorative Justice Program which provides in-prison coaching and self-development courses, prepares for a 20th anniversary party for her organization at St. Basil Catholic Church in Los Angeles on Friday, August 12, 2022.
(Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Kevin Waters, CEO of the Dream Live Hope Foundation in Inglewood, helps prisoners who are re-entering society, including veterans and those who can’t afford the skyrocketing Los Angeles rental market. He was one of them, not too long ago, doing 25 years of a life sentence in prison, and then sent to a transition house.

Waters wasn’t free to see his father who was sick with pancreatic cancer. But his parole agent knew someone who might be able to help, Sister Mary Sean Hodges, and Waters asked the sister if she could get him time with his father before he died.

“Within three days, I was taken from that facility to one she was partnering with, and from there I was able to spend the next 52 days with my dad,” Waters recalls. “She was instrumental in making that happen.” Read the full story


Inside CDCR Top 5

4,442     Artists transforming Corcoran prison gyms

3,827     Correctional Intelligence Task Force targets gangs, violent extremists

2,201     Secure laptops transform correctional education

2,099     Parole Agent Cardenas finds balance through bees

1,245     Meet staff behind secure laptops project


Social Media

Social media WIR - Aug 23