CDCR's Week in Review Archives

CDCR Week in Review: July 14, 2023

What’s New?

Protect yourself during CA heat wave

Orange heat exhaustion tips poster

Temperatures are expected to be near or exceed records for the month of July this weekend. It’s important for everyone to take steps to protect themselves and keep an eye out for each other when it comes to heat-related illnesses. 

As California undergoes more frequent and severe heat waves, Governor Gavin Newsom has launched the Heat Ready CA campaign.

Incarcerated students now eligible for federal Pell Grants

Students in caps and gowns applaud at an outdoor graduation ceremony.
Cal State LA graduates at California State Prison-Los Angeles County.

All incarcerated students in California and throughout the country are now eligible for federal Pell Grants, a change that will help make higher education more accessible and affordable.

Pell Grants, available for incarcerated students starting July 1, 2023, open the opportunity for students in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to further their learning and meet their rehabilitative goals. Research shows that higher education reduces recidivism and provides a pathway for good paying jobs upon release.

“We know that college changes lives and can be transformative. CDCR is committed to grade school-to-grad school opportunities for all incarcerated individuals, and I am thrilled that the return of Pell Grants helps makes that possible,” said Shannon Swain, Superintendent of Correctional Education for CDCR.

Read the press release about Pell Grants.


SQ incarcerated playing ping pong

SQ’s hosts Incentive Day

San Quentin State Prison (SQ) hosted Incentive Day at the institution. SQ celebrated the transformation showing the change that happens in the Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT) program.

Attendees included:

  • Retired Correctional Counselor III (CCIII) C. Collins, who started ISUDT at San Quentin
  • CCIII’s Vang, Dilia Cortes, Shayla Scott, Jesse Lopez, Stephanie Sanchez
  • Lance Bohn, new Director of ISUDT
  • SQ staff.

“The goal for me as director is to encourage as many individuals as the parameters will allow becoming peer mentors,” said Bohn.

Incarcerated counselors in the program must have no Rules Violations Reports and complete 2,000 internship hours.

The celebration included tabletop games like dominoes, puzzles, and Scrabble. Attendees also played basketball and ping pong. Music filled the background and a karaoke machine brought out aspiring singers.

Those present enjoyed pizza, chips and drinks.

In Our Institutions

MCSP staff appreciation collage

MCSP staff appreciation

Mule Creek State Prison’s (MCSP) Employees Association hosted a Staff Appreciation Day at Howard Park in Ione. Friends and family arrived to this barbecue-themed day that included:

  • Barbecue lunch
  • Kona Ice truck
  • activities for all ages
  • Corn-hole tournament
  • live-band and DJ.

Various vendors from the community came out to show their support such as:

  • Aflac
  • Donny Tillery Foundation
  • MCSP ISUDT Ambassadors
  • CDCR Recruitment Team
  • California Retirees
  • Chicanos Correction Workers Association
  • CDCR K-9 Unit.
CMF fire crew standing with helicopter

CMF Fire, Helicopter Safety and Emergency Training

California Medical Facility’s (CMF) Fire Department hosted a training drill. In attendance for the training were:

  • Vacaville Fire Protection District (VFPD)
  • California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) H-30 Helicopter.

This training brought together the agencies that will be called to provide life-saving measures to members of the community. Firefighting staff and incarcerated individuals trained with CHP’s H-30 to understand the functions and capabilities that are available.

Members from CMF Fire Department and VFPD went over rope rescue equipment setup and four-wheel driver training. Both are crucial in providing fire protection or life-saving measures in the community.

In the Community

MCSP honor guard holding CA flag and American flag

Project 2000 XXXIII 

The Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) Honor Guard attended the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation (CPOF) 2022 Project 2000 XXXIII. The event was located in St. Louis, Missouri. Representing MCSP were Honor Guard members:

  • Correctional Counselor I R. Dawson
  • Honor Guard Commander, Sergeant E. Broussard
  • Honor Guard Commander, Officer A. Romero
  • Honor Guard Team Member
  • Lead Rifle Detail, Officer J. Hernandez and Sergeant J. Spaulding, Honor Guard Team Members. 

The MCSP team joined other CDCR Honor Guard teams from HDSP, CRC, and SQ. Other Correctional Honor Guard teams throughout the country were present for the CPOF Annual National Memorial Ceremony. The event honored and supported families of individuals who lost their life in the line of duty.  

Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services

OVSRS management conducts training

The Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services (OVSRS) management team conducted an office overview training. The training was for the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, covering the importance of victim registration using the Request for Victim Services form (CDC 1707) form. They also covered the Board of Parole Hearing process and policy changes, as well as the importance of restorative justice programs and opportunities available to victims and Restitution Policies.

In the Media

Solano State Prison radio dj's talking into mics

Radio DJ class inside Solano State Prison inspires real change

Life after lockup is the focus of nearly 100 re-entry programs at Solano State Prison in Vacaville. One of those classes is teaching prisoners a skill many never thought they would be fine-tuning: the art of becoming radio DJs.

“Uncuffed,” a prison radio training program and podcast where people in California prisons tell their stories, invited CBS13’s Ashley Sharp to see how the class and its positive impacts are changing the narrative when it comes to rehabilitation.

In many ways, there’s freedom found behind bars for those who spend time mixing up more than music.

Visit CBSNews’ website to read the full article.

photo of San Quentin State Prison

Building empathy and compassion through prison visits

I vividly recall the sensation of sitting in a courtroom.  I was young, terrified, and just 16-years-old, and I was shackled both physically and emotionally. It remains etched in my memory how the prosecutor branded me a monster, someone beyond redemption, and deemed me worthy of a lifetime behind bars.

At that moment, I viewed the prosecutor as a monster as well, an anonymous figure who knew nothing about me or my background except for my crime–the worst thing I’ve ever done. It never occurred to me that 30 years later I would be collaborating so closely with prosecutors.

Today, I’m working with the Prosecutors Alliance of California to make sure that when District Attorneys across the state look across the aisle at those they’re seeking to hold accountable, that they don’t see monsters–they see people. 

Visit The Orange County Register website.

SF marathon group of people ready to run

26.2 to Life Official Trailer Premiere

Jumping Fences Inc, the event organizer behind the renowned San Francisco Marathon, is thrilled to host the unveiling of the official trailer of “26.2 to Life,” an inspiring documentary film that delves into the profound impact of running on the lives of former San Quentin inmates. This groundbreaking documentary follows their personal journeys of redemption and self-discovery. Three San Quentin running club members will participate in the upcoming San Francisco Marathon races.

The film captures the stories of several individuals who have found solace and a path to personal growth through a dedicated running program within San Quentin State Prison. These remarkable individuals exemplify the transformative effects of physical activity, mental discipline, and camaraderie.

Visit Endurance Sportswire to read the full article.