Week in Review

CDCR Week in Review: September 2, 2022

What’s New

Take steps to limit energy use

Cell phone with Flex Alert homepage up

As temperatures rise, it is more important now than ever to be conscious of our energy usage. California is facing a major heatwave in the coming days, and state employees — including those teleworking at home — are encouraged to take steps to save energy and stay cool. Here’s a special message from two state leaders encouraging you to do your part and sign up for Flex Alerts to be notified when there’s an urgent need for conservation.

Please review the actions that can be done at work and at home to reduce energy consumption.  Of special importance over the holiday weekend is making sure lighting and equipment are turned off at the end of the workday.

In extreme heat wave, know your heat-related illnesses

Heat Stroke

  • Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Seizures
  • Very high body temperature

Heat Exhaustion 

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • Excessive sweating and skin becoming pale and clammy or getting a heat rash
  • Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • Fast breathing or heartbeat

Heat Cramps

  • Heat cramps are muscle pains and spasms triggered by heavy activity
  • They usually involve the stomach muscles or the legs


Protect Yourself:

  • Keep hydrated
  • Seek shade
  • Recognize the signs of heat related illnesses—get emergency response staff attention immediately.
  • Use cooling towels
  • Place ice packs between vest and body to assist cooling

Protect Others:

  • Help monitor those susceptible to heat-related illness (obesity, the elderly, those on certain medications).
  • Recognize the signs of heat-related illness—get emergency response staff attention immediately.

Protect Power:

  • To assist in energy conservation, set home thermostats to 78 degrees or higher
  • Avoid using large appliances
  • Turn off unnecessary lights.

CDCR seeks to learn about reentry providers

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is pleased to announce that a Request for Information (RFI) is now open to potentially offer services at a Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP) in Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Ventura, Santa Barbara, or San Luis Obispo counties. Responses are due October 3, 2022.

This RFI is for informational purposes only and the location, timeline, and other details about a new MCRP are not available at this time. Obtaining information about the services available in these counties will assist CDCR in determining where and how to open a new MCRP to better serve returning citizens.

MCRP allows eligible participants committed to state prison to serve the end of their sentences in the re-entry center and provides them the programs and tools necessary to transition from custody to the community. The program links participants to a range of community-based rehabilitative services that assist with substance use disorders, mental health care, medical care, employment, education, housing, family reunification and social support.


Observations

International Overdose Awareness Day: Message from the Secretary & Receiver

Purple ribbon graphic

By CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison and CCHCS Receiver J. Clark Kelso

This month, please join CDCR and CCHCS leadership and communities around the globe in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day, a campaign seeking to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.

Today’s observance also follows National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day recognized on August 21 in remembrance of those lost to fentanyl poisoning and to acknowledge the devastation this drug has brought to hundreds of thousands of family members and friends.

Overdose is not a far-away crisis.

Tragically, it happens in our communities and in our homes. Recognizing the signs and understanding steps you can take to help yourself and those around you are key to ending this crisis.

You don’t have to be experiencing Substance Use Disorder (SUD) yourself to learn more about the disease. Take a moment to review CDCR’s Health and Wellbeing Employee and Family Resource Guide to learn more about resources provided by the Office of Employee Wellness.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our staff across the state for your dedication in increasing access to substance use disorder treatment for our population through the Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT) program. This care is now being provided to over 19,000 CDCR residents. After implementation of ISUDT, the rate of overdose deaths declined 58% statewide in the first year.

The impact of action is real. Please join us in taking steps to end overdose in our prisons, our communities and our homes.

​​​​​​​Thank you.


Employee Spotlight

Meet Brianna Carter, Staff Services Analyst, HR

A woman with brown hair, glasses, and a nose ring. She is wearing a blue shirt and smiling.

I was hired onto state service as an Office Technician in February 2021 with Talent, Acquisitions & Career Services (TACS). My passion and drive to learn aided in expanding my knowledge and progress in CDCR’s Human Resources for upward mobility. I mustered up the courage to apply for the out of class (OOC) opportunity assisting the Associate Director. To my delight I was selected to assist as a Staff Services Analyst (SSA) in December of 2021.

During that time, I discussed my goals with management and explored the SSA Transfer Exam. I took the exam January 29, 2022. Upon waiting for the results, I applied to positions in different units in hopes of performing as an analyst. I was filled with excitement to receive an offer in the Executive Appointments Unit (EAU) in March 2022. This is a truly amazing place to be. A place where I  can take on a plethora of responsibility and professionalism that add to my continuous growth. A place that is rewarding in its entirety.

Do you know an employee who should be spotlighted? Email Kristina Khokhobashvili, Chief, Strategic Communications and External Affairs (email address in Global).


In our Institutions

Watercolor paintings in a glass display case

ASP teacher develops creativity with Haiku Project

A person whose face is not in the frame paints a watercolor of a grassy hill.

Haiku is a form of poetry that originated in Japan. It has three lines, no more or less. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables.

Students enrolled in Adult Basic Education II on Facility C at Avenal State Prison (ASP) learned the process of how to write their own haiku. They then created a watercolor painting representing the theme of their haiku poem. For all students, it was the first time using this type of art medium – watercolors. Many students found it relaxing and exciting to try a new skill. It connected the concept of writing poetry with art therapy.

For some students, the watercolor art was frustrating and out of their comfort zone.  To overcome this, teacher Sabrina Hamilton and her students discussed the importance of resilience – not giving up – and how this activity transfers to similar life experiences when they parole. They will come to times in their life when it’s hard or difficult and they would rather walk away or not try. What’s important is to persevere, even if they are uncomfortable or they don’t live up to the expectations they have for themselves at what they are attempting to accomplish. Academics is not just reading and mathematics. It’s also teaching life skills that enable students to deal effectively with everyday demands and challenges.


Agents assist law enforcement at State Fair

Collage of uniformed Parole agents patrolling the state fair

Seventeen Capitol District Parole Agents and supervisors led a collaborative effort with Northern Region parole units assisting the Cal Expo Police Department (PD) during this year’s State Fair at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds. Agents have been working with Cal Expo PD and other law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety and establish positive interactions and rapport with community members.

Capitol District has received several accolades and appreciation from the Cal Expo PD Chief of Police, as well as their officers. The Capitol District’s collaborations and team efforts show in their willingness to assist the community and other law enforcement agencies in a time of need.

Thank you to all the employees from the following Parole offices who took part in this event.

  • Sacramento South
  • Sacramento Natomas
  • Sacramento Metro 1
  • Sacramento Metro 2
  • Sacramento Metro 3
  • Sacramento Metro 4

Recruitment

Correctional officer and K9 with text saying "One stop event. Recruitment presentation. Q&A Session. Apply onsite. Take the written exam."

CDCR hosts two officer One Stop recruiting events

CDCR is hosting two One Stop workshops in September for those considering correctional officer careers. Pre-registration is required to attend.

The first is Friday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m., at San Quentin State Prison.

The second is in Fairfield on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 9 a.m.

The CDCR One Stop Event is an in-person information session where you can apply and take the written test all in one stop. ‍‍‍‍

All in one day:

  • Recruitment presentation
  • Q&A sessions
  • Apply onsite
  • Take the written exam

Reduce your timeline and start a career with CDCR.‍

If you are interested in speeding up the process to hire, register for one of our One Stop Events.

Meet CDCR recruiters at upcoming community events

Graphic of the state of California with Native American designs and words

CDCR’s recruiters will be at upcoming community events to educate potential applicants of the many benefits of working for CDCR.

On September 9, Assemblymember Ken Cooley and CalHR will host an Employment Fair from 9 a.m. to noon at the Citrus Heights Community Center, 6300 Fountain Square Drive, Citrus Heights. Come prepared and dressed to impress. Job seekers will learn how to apply for state employment, develop interview skills, and practice resume writing. Employers from the public and private sectors will be on hand to interact with job seekers. CalHR will host workshops on how to apply to a state agency.

On September 23, CDCR joins the California Native American Day Celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the West Steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento. The legislative sponsor is Assemblymember James Ramos and the event is presented by the California Tribal Chairpersons’ Association.


In the Media

A crowd of people release balloons

Hundreds honor CDCR counselor at vigil

Hundreds descended upon the parking lot at Target at The Shops at Riverwalk on Sunday to remember a corrections counselor who was shot and killed at the same spot last week.

Portrait of a man in a gray suit standing in front of the American and California flags.
Benny Alcala

Benny Juarez Alcala Jr., 43, died Wednesday from multiple gunshot wounds near the chargers for electric cars. The Bakersfield Police Department is investigating the case.

“This was so senseless and tragic,” Joshua Farley, Alcala’s coworker at Wasco State Prison, said to those who gathered as he sobbed. Audible sniffles and deep sobs filled the air, as many expressed their grief and held candles.

“He was a hero in my eyes,” said Debbie Montoya, another coworker.

Stories poured out from those closest to Alcala, including his barber. Friends and family remembered his selfless heart, high school football skills, running ability and amazing dance moves. Alcala doted on his wife, Valerie, and cherished his two boys, Anthony, 17, and Maxx, 14, his family said. Read the full story.

An incarcerated person and a man in khakis, both wearing masks, make music together. The incarcerated person is wearing headphones and standing at a microphone.

Carmela Mose is spitting bars behind bars, and just met rapper Lecrae

Carmela Mose is incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility and the winner of the Securus original hip-hop track contest. Her song, “I Think,” was chosen as the winner by the rapper Lecrae, who joined Mose for a studio session – the only one in 10 years where Lecrae has ever cried. Read the full story.

The history of California’s inmate firefighter program

A firefighter in shadow with a burning building behind him

California is burning with greater frequency and ferocity. Nine of its ten largest wildfires on record took place in the past decade—a phenomenon driven by myriad climate-related factors. Last year, more than 2.5 million acres burned in the Golden State. This growing threat is placing heavy demands on the state’s resources, and it shows no signs of abating.

Since World War II, California has relied on a unique group of firefighters to battle its conflagrations: inmates. Prisoners who want to enter the Conservation Camp Program must meet security requirements and undergo two weeks of training. The all-inmate crews live in so-called fire camps and are led by personnel from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. They earn between $2.90 and $5 a day depending on their duties—and slightly more when actively fighting a fire. Though their numbers have fluctuated over the years, they have often comprised approximately one-third of California’s firefighting force. Read the full story.


Inside CDCR Top 5

7,458     181 cadets graduate Basic Correctional Officer Academy

4,427     Metal band is passion for CHCF correctional officer

3,458     Twins employed at CMF offer double inspiration

3,037     CDCR Crisis Response Teams train for active shooter

1,973     Virtual reality, re-entry combine at VSP


Social Media

Social media WIR - Aug 30