Firefighters graduate from Ventura Training Center
Twenty-six men recently graduated from the Ventura Training Center (VTC), an 18-month program where formerly incarcerated fire crew members can continue their enhanced firefighter training. Seventeen graduates have already accepted positions with CAL FIRE and other municipal departments and will serve as wildland firefighters in California.
CDCR Undersecretary of Operations Jeff Macomber, Executive Director of the California Conservation Corps (CCC) Bruce Saito, CAL FIRE Battalion Chiefs Jeremy Brant and Timothy Davis, and Nicholas Reiner representing Executive Director Sam Lewis of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition addressed the graduating class.
“Graduations like this one are monumental considering the VTC program is still in its first few years of operation. We look forward to the many lives—and generations—changed precisely because of this innovative program,” said Undersecretary Macomber.
CDCR/CCHCS put spotlight on accessibility
In honor of the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on Thursday, May 19, CDCR, CCHCS and special guests from Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) hosted a week of daily informational sessions about accessibility.
The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than one billion people with disabilities/impairments.
Sessions covered what accessibility is and how assistive technology can help everybody, ensuring documents and webpages are accessible, incorporating accessibility into the authoring phase of creating documents, and creating accessible PDFs. On Thursday, Peter Dawson, Monica Handley, and Matthew Morgan from DOR shared their personal stories of using assistive technology and their work to educate others on the importance of creating an accessible world.
CDCR and CCHCS websites are viewable to everyone with internet access, including the general public, so they need to abide by legislation. For those who rely on assistive devices or software, our adherence to the laws regarding accessibility is crucial. Inside CDCR Editor Don Chaddock caught up with Accessibility Coordinators Jennifer Corcoran and Ann Alejandria to share how their work – and that of content managers across CDCR and CCHCS – keeps the Department’s public-facing materials accessible.
3 Questions With..
Dr. Mariana Dominguez, Staff Psychologist, DJJ NCYCC
Dr. Mariana Dominguez began her career with CDCR in 2014 at California Medical Facility (CMF). She was able to collect post-doctoral hours and was an Enhanced Outpatient Psychologist. She transferred to Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in 2018, where she had a very supportive supervisor and was able to get licensed her first year.
After DVI closed, Dominguez worked in a temporary assignment at California Health Care Facility (CHCF). She was then offered a position with the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). She wanted to get back to working with youth since she’d worked with juveniles at San Francisco Juvenile Hall, giving her great experience, since treatment was integrated into everything they do there.
Dominguez came to DJJ in March 2021, and is currently working at the Northern California Youth Correctional Center (NCYCC).
What do you enjoy about your work at DJJ?
First and foremost, I really like and am impressed how involved Mental Health is at DJJ. I’m actually on a mental health unit. We attend weekly meetings with custody staff. We attend discharge consideration hearings and write mental health summaries. We talk about process and goals and what would benefit the youth. Our caseloads are bit smaller and I’m able to see a youth a couple of times a week. It’s very youth-centric, mental health focused, and that’s what I really like about it.
As DJJ moves through the process of Realignment to counties, what are your goals?
Regarding youth, I think for me just trying to be consistent, available and open to them. Making sure that they know that. I’m just being a grounding force for them, helping them navigate this. Really trying to reinforce the idea of encouraging them to do well while they are at DJJ. I’m trying to help them be mindful of the decisions they are making, encouraging them to make better choices, and make good decisions.
It helps that I’ve already gone through the anxiety of a closure process. I feel since I’ve been through it, I don’t feel as anxious as I did the first time. Sometimes my colleagues will ask me questions about aspects of the process. If I know, I’ll let them know. So it’s definitely helping me.
What brings you joy?
Spending time with my family. I’m very close with my mom. Spending time with friends. Taking care of my cat, Quincy. I also like music and movies. I just saw The Batman. I thought it was really good. A bit long. I also love going to Broadway shows and because I drive so much, listening to audio books.
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.
Parole Agents participate in Operation No-Fly Zone
CDCR Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) parole agents, as part of the Fresno Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC) that included local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, executed “Operation No-Fly Zone” earlier this month, targeting Fresno and Central Valley gangs responsible for significant violence in the area.
The investigation into the Flyboys and Hoover 107 criminal street gangs concluded with the takedown of 37 targets, 42 search warrants for multiple murders, conspiracy to murder, gang shootings, pimping/pandering, and street terrorism.
“DAPO agents are out there working hard to make our communities safer,” DAPO Director Guillermo Viera Rosa said. “I recognize our dedicated agents in Fresno, and across the state, for their professionalism in coordination with other law enforcement agencies, their skills in tracking down public safety threats, and their sacrifice for doing it day and night.”
Marvin Speed has been appointed as Deputy Director for the Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO).
Speed has an extensive career in public service, having worked for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Department of Defense as an Attorney Advisor and Deputy Chief Counsel. Speed has also worked as a Deputy Commissioner, Associate Chief Deputy Commissioner and Executive Officer for the California Board of Prison Terms. He transitioned from the Parole Board to DAPO in 2006, where he has held the positions of District Administrator, Chief Deputy Administrator, and Assistant Deputy Director. More recently, Speed served as acting Deputy Director, providing executive-level operational, administrative, and policy direction throughout the division.
He earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from Syracuse University and a Juris Doctorate from the Washington College of Law at American University.
“Mr. Speed’s vast experience, knowledge, and educational background well qualifies him to be appointed as DAPO’s Deputy Director,” said DAPO Director Guillermo Viera Rosa. “His history and experience will serve as assets to the Department. Please join me in congratulating Mr. Speed on his well-deserved appointment.”
Amid rising COVID-19 cases across the country, the California Department of Public Health is reminding all state agencies to review this important information:
Vaccines and boosters. Get vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19. Governor Newsom received his second Moderna booster at a clinic in Bakersfield, and encouraged all eligible Californians to get boosted to keep their immunity strong against COVID-19. State employees may use up to two hours of Administrative Time Off (ATO) to get vaccinated and boosted.
Workplace exposure and positive cases. In workplaces, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) or in some workplaces the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements. A fact sheet provides employers and workers not covered by the ATD standard with information on when and for how long workers must be excluded from the workplace if they test positive or are exposed to someone who has COVID-19. Importantly, exposed but asymptomatic employees must test within 3 to 5 days of contact (unless infected with COVID-19 in the prior 90 days) and wear a mask for 10 days.
Testing. The requirement for state employees working on-site who have not verified their vaccination status to test at least weekly for COVID-19 has not changed. Exemptions to weekly testing remain in place. This includes, having COVID-19 in the prior 90 days or teleworking full-time in a week.
Monitor local conditions. Local health jurisdictions may issue additional public health guidelines tailored for the situation in their communities. Departments should continue to monitor local public health announcements in counties where you have offices and employees.
In making any changes to employee working conditions to respond to state or local health directives, please coordinate with your labor relations office to ensure appropriate, timely notice is given to labor organizations and adhere to labor contract agreements.
In Our Institutions
SOL partners with Red Cross for Blood Drive
California State Prison, Solano (SOL) recently partnered with the Red Cross to host the first staff Blood Drive at the institution.
Staff donated 25 units of blood, which can potentially save up to 75 lives, according to the Red Cross.
SCC updates: Pup Program reopens and hosts ISUDT cross-training event
Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) welcomed the first round of dogs since reopening after a lengthy suspension due to COVID-19. The incarcerated population was so excited to see this program return to the institution. Five members were appointed as the primary handler to these rescue dogs. The dogs will remain with their handlers for 90 days, and undergo extensive training to be ready for a permanent home.
The dogs within the program are Beretta, a two-year-old female German Shepherd who is obsessed with her tennis ball; Bear, a two-year-old male German Shepherd-Husky mix with one blue eye and one brown eye; Jacob, a one-year-old male German Shepherd; Carmen, a nine-month-old female pit bull who was found on the railroad tracks in Chico; and Teddy, a 2.5- to three-year-old male Great Pyrenees.
In addition to welcoming the Pup Program back, SCC recently hosted an Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT) cross-training event.
Several guest speakers from SCC participated and provided feedback on their division’s role pertaining to the ISUDT program. The training consisted of multiple CDCR disciplines throughout the state coming together to provide various perspectives on the program. The trainees used their various roles and expertise to collaborate throughout the training developing an overall better understanding of the program and its many successes. The three-day training event was held at the Courthouse Building in Town Square at Copper Valley in Copperopolis, California. It was a great turnout and well received/hosted by the local community.
CTF honors fallen staff members
On May 6, Correctional Training Facility (CTF) hosted the first Memorial Event to honor all fallen staff members (current and retired) who passed away within the past year. The event included the Presentation of Colors by the CTF/SVSP Color Guard, guest speakers, honor guard presentation, 21-gun salute and four blasts from the institutional horn.
This Year CTF honored 16 fallen staff members:
- Ernesto Medina, Correctional Officer, EOW 1/15/2021
- Daniel Castaneda, Correctional Officer, EOW 1/16/2021
- Ryan Patterson, Correctional Officer, EOW 1/22/2021
- Mert Whitcomb, Teacher, EOW 1/21/2021
- Daniel Reyes, Vocational Instructor, EOW 2/17/2021
- David Lizama, Electronics Technician, EOW 4/30/2021
- Pamela Benabides, Office Technician, EOW 6/27/2021
- Hignio “Willie” Salcido, Plumber III, EOW 3/13/2022
- Jesus “Chuy” Esparza, Retired Correctional Lieutenant, 1/8/2021
- Boris “BC” Roberts, Retired Correctional Captain, 8/29/2021
- Aaron Shinault, Retired Correctional Captain, 9/27/2021
- Raul Cavazos, Retired Correctional Officer, 2/17/2022
- Maricela “Mari” Rubio, Retired Parole Service Associate, 9/14/2021
- Dale Mulhern, Retired Superintendent I, PIO, 12/5/2021
- Sylvia Tzitz, Retired Case Records Analyst, 12/22/2021
- Rogelio “Roger” Baez Sr., Retired Warehouse Manager II, 2/18/2022
In the Media
On Thursday, May 12, 2022, The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA), in partnership with the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) recognized fifty-three incarcerated individuals as apprentices at Mule Creek State Prison.
Through DIR’s Division of Apprenticeship Standards, incarcerated individuals received their apprenticeship completion certificates earned while working for CALPIA. The men took part in one of two ceremonies which were held to recognize the CALPIA graduates in Healthcare Facilities Maintenance, Fabric Products and Coffee Roasting programs.
“What an honor to congratulate you all for a job well-done,” said CALPIA’s General Manager Bill Davidson while speaking to the graduates. “The apprenticeship completion certifications exemplify dedication, knowledge, and the opportunity for meaningful employment when you return home.”
Inside CDCR Top 5
#1 with 3,537 views: Section of highway dedicated to memory of Correctional Officer Bianchi
#2 with 2,736 views: Associate Warden Glucksman retires after 27‑year career
#3 with 2,705 views: Stephanie Griffone makes a difference at CIW
#4 with 1,743 views: Future Fire Academy fosters firefighting careers
#5 with 1,734 views: CDCR, 12 state agencies host law enforcement career fair