Reservations open for free bus trips for visiting
As part of CDCR’s commitment to increasing access to visiting for incarcerated people and their loved ones, the department has partnered with transMETRO to provide free bus transportation to all 34 adult institutions in California.
TransMETRO is now accepting reservations for rides to take place the weekend of September 30.
Buses depart Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday from four California regions: Central, Southern, Northern, and the Bay Area. Each region schedules service to all institutions on a rotating basis. All trips are subject to change and based on demand and health and safety factors.
Visit the “TransMETRO Bus Service” page for important details.
COVID-19 quarantine and programming updates
CDCR and CCHCS have released revised guidelines for incarcerated people who are on quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.
Anybody who is in quarantine, asymptomatic and not quarantining due to movement (i.e. transferring institutions, outside medical appointments) may now program so long as they remain asymptomatic, consent to regular rapid COVID-19 testing, and consistently wear a procedure mask while out of their housing. This includes work, school, religious services, library, canteen, yard, health care appointments, mental health group, and ISUDT programming. This also applies to in-person visiting, but not overnight family visiting.
People who are in quarantine and asymptomatic but refuse to test will be placed on “S time,” which allows an incarcerated person to remain in their current credit-earning workgroup until medically approved to return to programming. Read the full memo.
Article highlights vaccine fair success
The American Journal of Public Health has published NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Strategies for Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy Within California State Prisons in 2021 and Beyond. The article was written by Ilana R. Garcia-Grossman, MD, Brie Williams, MD, MS, and Liz Gransee, BA. Gransee is the Deputy Director, Communications, for California Correctional Health Care Services.
The article highlights CCHCS’ efforts to educate incarcerated people about the COVID-19 vaccine through information fairs focused on information, interactive events, and the opportunity to get vaccinated on site.
The article begins: “Although widespread vaccination in correctional facilities is crucial for preventing COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in these institutions and their surrounding communities, there are little data on how to effectively perform vaccine outreach to people experiencing incarceration who remain unvaccinated. In this article, we describe lessons learned from a successful vaccine education initiative in California state prisons and describe opportunities for application to other correctional settings.”
Staff can read the article here.
HeForShe celebrates eight years of equality advocacy
September 20 marks the eight-year anniversary of the United Nations’ creation of HeForShe when Emma Watson, actor and UN Women goodwill ambassador, stood before the UN to encourage men to play their part in creating an equal world. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for the advancement of gender equality in communities, workplaces and universities. The movement recognizes that gender inequality affects all people socially, economically, and politically.
The HeForShe Champions is an alliance comprising global leaders across government, business, nonprofit and academia who are committed to accelerating progress toward gender equality. They demonstrate this commitment by focusing on the advancement of gender equality both within their own organizations and beyond. They issued Proven Solutions guides which describe clear and actionable steps that can be implemented in any organization. Learn more.
Submission by GARE Ambassador Samantha Bruton. 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
Honor Guards participate in 9/11 commemorations
Hundreds gathered in Clovis recently to honor and remember those we lost during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Members of law enforcement, military agencies, and first responders from across Fresno County gathered at the memorial to pay their respects during the event. There was a special helicopter flyover as speakers broadcast audio calls from first responders on the day of the attack.
The commemoration also included a wreath-laying ceremony wherein each wreath represented an agency who lost a first responder during the attacks. The Valley State Prison and Central California Women’s Facility Honor Guard was on hand to assist with the Commemoration Ceremony.
Honor Guard Member Correctional Officer L. Mendoza, who volunteered on her day off in order to attend the event stated, “I am proud and extremely honored to represent Valley State Prison during this 9/11 Memorial Tribute.”
The Commemoration Ceremony was held at the California 9/11 Memorial Park located on Never Forget Lane. The Memorial Park includes various statues and monuments from the 9/11 attacks. A special thanks to the VSP/CCWF Honor Guard, who always answer the call.
“These memorials are always tough but also very touching,” shared Honor Guard Member Correctional Sergeant T. Clark, who also volunteered on her day off stated. “Even after all these years, it is still heartbreaking to hear audio or watch video of the 9/11 attacks.”
The Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) Honor Guard was requested to attend and present the colors during the opening ceremony for the River Cats game this past Sunday, September 11.
Wasco holds overdose awareness event
Wasco State Prison (WSP) custody staff along with Chief Executive Nurse D. Buford and DRP CCIII A. Garcia spent the day with incarcerated people at the Minimum Support Facility and Facility A during National Overdose Awareness Day. This was a day to not only bring awareness to substance abuse overdoses, but to allow the population to speak and share stories of how drug overdoses have impacted their lives and remember family and friends they have lost to drug overdoses. The staff created posters for the population while they placed the names of their loved ones who they lost to an overdose on the heart to memorialize and spread awareness. In addition, information on how to reach out for help with substance abuse was also provided on the posters along with educational books.
CCTRP participants learn about jobs, California history
Interested participants of the Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program (CCTRP) were recently able to attend a Union Trades Awareness Career Fair in Sacramento.
Employment opportunities included jobs in electrical, plumbing, HVAC, health care, iron working, and more. Employers at the fair provided on-the-spot interviews and were ready to provide job opportunities immediately for qualifying candidates with great wages and benefits. The participants left with plenty of contact numbers and information for apprenticeships and job opportunities.
In August, participants took a field trip to the California State Capitol to learn about California architecture and history. Participants had the opportunity to learn about California’s electoral processes and historic pieces of legislation, providing the participants with a unique educational experience and an opportunity to bond throughout the outing. The women had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and saw some Assembly bills getting passed.
Department educates students about careers
Specialized Recruitment & Outreach, Peace Officer Recruitments, CCHCS and the California Prison Industry Authority partnered Thursday, September 8, to educate students on the various jobs the department offers during the Twin Rivers Unified School District’s Career Fair.
CDCR tables were placed at by the entrance that allowed recruiters to be the first organization students engaged with. The recruiters spoke to students about the department and career opportunities. Students learned about Correctional Officer positions along with duties of K9 and CERT teams. The ability to show specialty teams/gear, pass out swag, display recruitment videos on the tablets, and provide printed materials gave the department a prominent presence during this event.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) graciously donated items specifically for this event to hand out to students (backpack, sunglasses, stickers, etc.).
Hiring workshop is a hit
The Recruitment team was back on the road again, this time to Susanville, where they hosted a joint hiring workshop for High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and California Correctional Center (CCC).
HDSP was kind enough to allow the workshop to happen at their institution. The event was hiring for all non-custody classifications. The Exams unit came along and did a wonderful job administering 13 different examinations and screening for minimum qualifications for those exams as well as others not being offered.
The most popular classifications were Office Technician (Typing) and Case Records Technician, although we had a variety of different classification with interest.
Join us September 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the CDCR Open House event at CDCR’s EIS Birkmont Campus, 1920 Birkmont Drive, Rancho Cordova.
JumpStart events scheduled
CDCR will host two Correctional Officer Jumpstart events. At these events, attendees can take the written exam, physical fitness test and Live Scan, and start the background process all in one day.
The northern event will be held Saturday, Oct. 8, at Delta College, 5151 Pacific Ave., Stockton. The Southern event will be held at Otay Ranch High School, 1250 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista.
First apply, then register by Oct. 2 to be eligible for this event. Learn more.
Meet the Policy & Procedures/Labor Relations Unit
The Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) is strongly committed to protecting the public and assisting parolees in their reintegration to society. Their mission could not be achieved without the tireless efforts by the dedicated staff assigned to the Policy and Procedures Unit (PPU) and Labor Unit. With hundreds of projects and shifting priorities, PPU and Labor staff continue to successfully initiate, develop, manage, negotiate, and implement policies and procedures to guide DAPO staff in safely and effectively performing the functions of their job. In today’s society, transparency is more critical than ever, and in order to ensure we maintain transparency with our community partners, stakeholders, and the public, we must have policies and procedures in place that properly align with the department’s mission, vision, state and federal regulations and statutes to govern what we do.
The PPU and Labor Unit is responsible for collaborating with internal and external stakeholders, working closely with subject matter experts, and serving as a direct resource to DAPO staff statewide on anything policy- and labor-related. The PPU team of analysts and parole agents assume the role of project managers for everything from forms development to newsletter creation and design to legislative analyses to daily incident reporting to policy and procedures development and implementation.
The Labor Unit reviews the workload impact of policy and regulations, and responds to grievances and public record requests. Additionally, they act as the DAPO liaison to the Office of Labor Relations and various bargaining units. In this role, they facilitate mutually accepted agreements between management and labor unions on workload and/or work conditions or other collective bargaining conditions.
PPU and labor staff work in a fast-paced environment with varying roles and responsibilities, but as a team, they are able to successfully carry out their duties by supporting one another and working collaboratively to meet the needs of their unit and the division as a whole.
In the Media
Richard Alcala still remembers when his brother left for Navy boot camp more than 20 years ago.
Their sobbing mother ran after the car that had Benny Alcala Jr. inside while their father stood tall and proud watching his son leave to defend America. Richard Alcala, a sophomore in high school, cried because his best friend was going away. The brothers did everything together, down to wearing matching outfits as young boys.
But it was a fitting send-off for “the strongest, smartest and most honorable Alcala going off to fight for our country,” Richard Alcala said Tuesday while Benny Alcala’s son, Maxx, stood next to him.
Richard Alcala spoke about these memories and more to a sea of grieving faces Tuesday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church during a memorial for Benny Juarez Alcala Jr., who was shot and killed Aug. 24 while charging his electric car near Target at The Shops at River Walk. Read the full story.
Nearly 100 men and women at the California Institution for Men and the California Institution for Women, both in Chino, received job certifications or apprenticeships during graduation ceremonies last month.
The California Prison Industry Authority graduates were honored for their completion of job training programs.
At the men’s prison, graduates were honored in healthcare facilities maintenance, pre-apprentice construction labor, commercial diving, and laundry. Read the full story.