CDCR Ceases Division of Juvenile Justice Operations
On June 30, CDCR announced the last youths in the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) have been transferred to counties, completing juvenile justice realignment as required under Senate Bill 823.
Accordingly, N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (NAC) in Stockton and the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) in Camarillo have ceased operations as of June 30, 2023.
Traditional flag lowering ceremonies were held at NAC on June 27 and VYCF on June 29. The Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp, which trains eligible county youth in wildland firefighting skills, will remain open and is now managed by CDCR’s Division of Adult Facilities, along with its adult camps.
“Throughout this process, DJJ remained dedicated to its mission of providing trauma-informed services to youth, with the goal of transitioning each of them to a productive future in the community, and did so until its very last day,” said DJJ Director Heather Bowlds. “Toward that end, DJJ committed to a one-to-one transfer of care in coordination with local partners to ensure continuity of care and a smooth transition.”
DAI Director Retires after 35 years
After 35 years of dedicated service, Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) Director Connie Gipson is retiring.
Throughout her career, Gipson held various positions within the department and played a crucial role in shaping its operations. In an interview, she reflects on her journey, highlighting the importance of employee wellness and the California Model in achieving rehabilitation and equity. Over the years, Gipson witnessed significant changes within CDCR, with a major shift toward rehabilitation and reentry. She emphasizes the department’s commitment to employee wellness, acknowledging the toll of law enforcement work. She expresses gratitude for the hardworking staff who continue to advance the agency, despite challenges.
Read the full article here: Director Connie Gipson retiring after 35 years (ca.gov)
Recruiter of the Month
California Medical Facility (CMF) Sergeant Brandon Jones has been awarded Recruiter of the Month for June 2023. CMF recently went from staffing zero recruitment events a month to staffing 16 events in April, landing CMF as the top recruiting institution.
“I would like to thank Sgt. Jones for assisting our team in finding, staffing and organizing events. He goes above and beyond on a daily basis to ensure our team is taken care of. He represents the department well while out in our communities and I truly appreciate him as our team leader,” stated Lt. Priscilla Gonzalez.
CCTRP-SD celebrates Pride
Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program (CCTRP) San Diego celebrated Pride in June. Participants learned about the meaning of each “Pride Flag” and how each flag identifies individual self-identities. Participants created posters, conducted speeches, and shared personal stories of their identity. The participants learned the importance of recognizing each individual as a person.
Helen Keller Day
Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. The holiday observance was created by presidential proclamation in 2006, as well as by international organizations, particularly those helping blind and deaf persons.
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 the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, visit the GARE website.
In Our Institutions
CCWF welcomes cadets
Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) Warden (A) Anissa De La Cruz attended the Basic Correctional Officer Academy (BCOA) graduation. The institution welcomed 14 new correctional officers into the CDCR family. Class Class 4-23A graduated June 16 at the Richard A. McGee Training Center. In attendance was CCWF’s Field Training Sergeant, Ralph Contreras.
“Your role as a correctional officer is crucial in maintaining a just and fair society, and your graduation marks the beginning of a rewarding career that will make a positive impact on the lives of others,” stated De La Cruz.
Email address set up to share your perspective, insight
The CDCR/CCHCS California Model team wants to hear from you and to ensure your voice is heard.
The California Model represents a groundbreaking approach to corrections by fostering wellness and enhancing public safety.
At the heart of this transformative endeavor is the belief that active participation and feedback from our employees and stakeholders are vital to shaping and refining California’s prisons. The California Model teams wants to hear from you and your voice matters.
To ensure your voice is heard, we have established a dedicated email address: CAmodel@cdcr.ca.gov.
We encourage all staff members and interested parties to actively participate in this transformative journey. Your perspective matters, and by collaborating together, we can build a more compassionate and effective criminal justice system.
The CAmodel@cdcr.ca.gov email address is your direct line of communication to the CDCR/CCHCS team responsible for implementing the California Model.
Your emails will contribute to ongoing evaluations, drive meaningful discussions, and inform decision-making processes. Together, we can shape the direction of corrections, enhance public safety, and foster successful reintegration.
CHCF Father’s Day 2023
California Health Care Facility (CHCF) hosted a visiting event in honor of Father’s Day. The families filled the day with love, laughter, and appreciation for all the fathers present.
A photo booth filled with props allowed families to capture the moment together. The arts and crafts table was set up for children to unleash their creativity and craft personalized cards and ties for their dads. Live music performances added to the joyful and energetic atmosphere. Children took the microphone to express their heartfelt thanks and wishes to their fathers, making the event truly special.
Guiding Rage into Power (GRIP) Graduation
Correctional Training Facility (CTF) and Guiding Rage into Power (GRIP) celebrated the annual GRIP Graduation ceremony on June 15. This heartfelt event honored 33 program graduates and their families. GRIP is a transformative 52-week program in which participants gain a deep understanding of the impact they had on their victims and learn how to break the cycle of violence. They develop essential skills in mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and impulse management. The program equips them with tools to track and redirect destructive impulses, helping them comprehend the roots of their violent behavior. Among the graduates, 15 individuals successfully completed the rigorous 52-week program, earning their well-deserved certificates.
ISUDT Graduation at CTF
On June 15 and June 20, Correctional Training Facility and the Division of Rehabilitative Programs hosted two Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT) Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (CBI) graduations on Facilities B and C. ISUDT is a comprehensive, evidence-based program that identifies incarcerated people at risk for Substance Use Disorder (SUD)-related harms and provides treatment which reduces risks of overdose and other complications associated with SUD. It’s an approach that includes enrollment in CBI and may include Medication Assisted Treatment.
A total of 525 graduates were required to complete a 14-week CBI Outpatient program and a 28-week CBI Life Skills Course. During the course, participants learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns which have a negative influence on behavior. Additionally, CBI participants receive one week of Milestone Completion Credits off their sentence for every 80 hours of participation and one additional week upon successful program completion.
Fermin Loza, Program Director, stated, “Our goal at CTF is continue to support the population by providing them with services and tools needed to assist them with integration back into society.”
At the graduation, participants shared what they learned about thinking patterns and how the lack of emotional knowledge has affected their life. They stated that by learning about their own thinking, feelings, and beliefs, they are now able to strive for a positive future.
In the Community
SCC staff escort ‘Flame of Hope’ for Torch Run
In a remarkable display of solidarity, Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) staff in Sonora joined forces with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department, Sonora Police Department, and the California Highway Patrol of Sonora to escort the “Flame of Hope” as part of the 2023 Law Enforcement Torch Run.
This symbolic torch, en route to the 2023 Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games held at Santa Clara University from June 23-25, was relayed through communities by law enforcement personnel from across Northern California.
SCC staff, comprising various roles and positions, collectively raised an impressive $3,545 and secured a commendable 23rd place out of 100 teams. The event not only highlighted the commitment and dedication of the law enforcement community, it also provided an invaluable opportunity for staff to instill these values in their children, fostering a sense of service and community. Participants expressed gratitude for the experience, emphasizing the privilege of representing their large department in their small county.
Division of Correctional Policy, Research and Internal Oversight
- Chris Chambers is assigned as the Acting Director of the Division of Correctional Policy, Research and Internal Oversight
- Jana Sanford-Miller is assigned as Acting Deputy Director within the Office of Research
- Amber Lozano is assigned as Acting Chief Risk Officer within the Office of Research, Enterprise Risk Management Unit
- Brandy Hernandez is assigned as Acting CEO at Calipatria State Prison
- Sircoya Williams has been appointed as Chief Deputy Warden, California Medical Facility
- Raul Morales has been appointed as Chief Deputy Warden, Substance Abuse Treatment Facility
Enhancing Victim Services: Empowering and Supporting Survivors
In an effort to bolster victim services, CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor and Restitution Services (OVSRS) management team organized a program overview training session for the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office. The training aimed to equip them with knowledge and resources, emphasizing the vital role of victim registration through the Request for Victim Services form.
Additionally, the session covered the Board of Parole Hearing process and policy updates, emphasizing the importance of restorative justice programs and the range of opportunities available to victims and survivors. The training also shed light on restitution policies, ensuring that victims receive the support they deserve. OVSRS hopes to take a proactive approach to demonstrate CDCR’s commitment to empowering and supporting victims and survivors throughout their journey towards healing and justice.
2023 NCVRW ceremony
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (CVSP) and Ironwood State Prison (ISP) hosted a joint National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) ceremony.
This year’s theme was “Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change.” The theme calls on communities to create safe environments where survivors are heard, believed, and supported.
Every year, millions of Americans are affected by crime. NCVRW is a time to recognize the progress achieved, raise awareness of victims’ rights and services, and stand together.
CCJBH Juvenile Justice Workgroup
July 14, 2023, from 12:45-2:45 p.m.
The workgroup will highlight current efforts that are underway to improve student behavioral health, particularly with regard to at-promise and justice involved youth.
CCJBH Diversion/Reentry Workgroup
July 14, 2023, 3-5 p.m.
The workgroup will highlight initiatives and programs that are supporting workforce development opportunities for individuals who are justice-involved.
In the Media
Thousands more prisoners across the US will get free college
The graduates lined up, brushing off their gowns and adjusting classmates’ tassels and stoles. As the graduation march played, the 85 men appeared to hoots and cheers from their families. They marched to the stage – one surrounded by barbed wire fence and constructed by fellow prisoners.
For these were no ordinary graduates. Their black commencement garb almost hid their aqua and navy-blue prison uniforms as they received college degrees, high school diplomas and vocational certificates earned while they served time.
Thousands of prisoners throughout the United States get their college degrees behind bars, most of them paid for by the federal Pell Grant program, which offers the neediest undergraduates tuition aid that they don’t have to repay.
Rising Scholars Edition from the Blue Devil Advocate
Discover the inspiring “Rising Scholars Edition” of The Blue Devil Advocate, a digital magazine published by the Merced College Foundation. This special edition highlights the exceptional achievements of Valley State Prison (VSP) and Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in providing educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals.
The stories showcase the resilience and determination of these students, who have overcome obstacles and transformed their lives through education. Join us in celebrating their success and recognizing the dedicated faculty, staff, and administrators who have made it possible.
Hospice in Prison Part 1: An interview with Michele DiTomas and Keith Knauf
In the early 1990s, California Medical Facility (CMF) created one of the nation’s first licensed hospice units inside a prison. This 17-bed unit serves inmates from all over the state who are approaching the end of their lives. A few are let out early on compassionate release. Many are there until they die.
Today’s podcast is part one of a two-part podcast where we spend a day at CMF, a medium security prison located about halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento, and the hospice unit housed inside its walls.