CDCR's Week in Review Archives

CDCR Week in Review: September 8, 2023

What’s New

DAPO awards representatives

Parole employees honored at statewide awards ceremony

The California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association (CPPCA) recognized Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) employees for their work in helping formerly incarcerated people successfully reenter communities and enhancing public safety.

DAPO employees were honored in three categories at CPPCA’s annual awards ceremony.

“I’m proud of the honorees for their hard work and dedication to supporting our mission to enhance public safety by building partnerships that help lead to successful reintegration,” DAPO Director Jason Johnson said. “It’s gratifying to have our parole professionals’ significant contributions as a force for positive change recognized.”

Visit to read the full press release.


CMF ISUDT group photo

CDCR and CCHCS observe International Overdose Awareness Day

Across the state, Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT) Ambassadors and other program support staff facilitated in-prison events and messaging to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) on Aug. 31.

CDCR/CCHCS staff at California Medical Facility hosted a collaborative event with Center Point Inc. and Urban Alchemy that included basketball trivia, a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” themed quiz, poetry and artwork. Participants also received IOAD flyers, newsletters, and engaged in discussions with staff from various program areas.

Prisons across the state shared messages with staff from institution leadership, donned special IOAD colors and shirts, hosted staff/population information booths, displayed posters, distributed flyers and welcomed community partners to spread awareness.

At California State Prison, Los Angeles County, ISUDT Ambassadors welcomed formerly incarcerated people to share personal experiences of strength found in recovery with the prison population.

Check Inside CDCR later this month for additional details.

Labor Day 2023 logo

Labor Day

Labor Day celebrates the social and economic achievements of American workers. In the late 19th century, labor activists demanded a federal holiday to recognize workers’ contributions to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. These include the 40-hour work week, sick time, and paid time off, more equitable workplaces, and more.

Labor Day was first recognized by individual states as early as 1887. President Grover Cleveland signed a law, making Labor Day a national holiday on June 28, 1894. This was followed by the establishment of the Department of Labor, the first department led by a woman: Frances Perkins.

Today, Labor Day weekend symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans. Folks celebrate with barbecues, parties, and parades. These celebrations bring communities together to celebrate workers and their families.

Submission by GARE Ambassador Ginger Wiseman

Suicide prevention month logo

Suicide Prevention Awareness

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The intent is to raise awareness about suicide and help people feel more comfortable talking about mental health struggles.

Suicide affects people of all ages, races, genders, and ethnicities. Every 11 minutes, a life is lost to suicide. Suicide and mental health issues are often considered taboo. However, research shows that just listening without judgment can be effective. Listening helps someone who is experiencing mental health issues feel less depressed and less alone.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support, call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.  988 is free, confidential, and available 24/7/365.

Submission by GARE Ambassador Lori Reimers

To encourage employees to expand their knowledge and gain new experiences, CDCR/CCHCS GARE Ambassadors are sharing awareness throughout the year.  To learn more about the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts visit the GARE website

California Model

CCI Azteca Seńor De Los Milagros performers at staff appreciation day

CCI Staff Appreciation Day

California Correctional Institution’s (CCI) Employee Association hosted the Delores Huerta Foundation to provide a staff appreciation event. CCI Community Resource Manager Alexis Quiles led the event. The Azteca Seńor De Los Milagros treated staff to traditional Aztec dancing and invited volunteers to participate.

Multiple comedians performed a free comedy show for staff. Freshly made chicken and asada tacos served as lunch for the event. First watch staff received doughnuts and cold brew coffee early in the morning.

“I appreciate all the hard work our staff in every area of our institution put in to make CCI successful. This is just one small gesture to say thank you,” said Warden Brian Cates.

This was the first large-scale staff appreciation event hosted at CCI since the pandemic began.

Deep Heart Tour performing at PBSP

Deep Heart Tour performs at PBSP

Deep Heart Tour visited Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) and performed for incarcerated people and employees. The group provided music, magic, comedy, theater, and dance.

Attendees had smiles throughout the event. PBSP thanks Deep Heart Tour for their visit and show.


SAC mindfulness course participants with certificates

SAC participates in mindfulness course

Incarcerated people at California State Prison, Sacramento (SAC) participated in a four-week mindfulness course. Dr. Milin led the course.

These skills will benefit patients while incarcerated and help improve relationships with others. Incarcerated people learned to achieve goals and even promote success with reentry into the community.


MCRP LA participants attend baseball game

MCRP LA attends baseball game

Los Angeles Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP-LA1) attended the Los Angeles Angels vs the Cincinnati Reds baseball game.

Eighteen MCRP participants accompanied by staff had the opportunity to attend the Angels baseball game. For many, it was their first experience attending a sporting event. 

Visit DRP’s webpage to learn more about MCRP.

Upward Mobility

Edward Borla has been assigned as acting Warden, Correctional Training Facility.


CCJBH logo

CCJBH Juvenile Justice Workgroup

When: September 15, 2023, 12:45-2:45 p.m.

Where: Board of Parole Hearings, 1515 K St., Suite 550, Sacramento, CA 95811 or virtually via Teams

Description: Discuss implementation of Senate Bill 823 from state and local perspectives.

Click here to register for the virtual webinar via Microsoft Teams.

CCJBH Diversion and Reentry Workgroup

When: September 15, 2023, 3-5 p.m.

Where: Board of Parole Hearings, 1515 K St., Suite 550, Sacramento, CA 95811 or virtually via Teams

Description: Discuss efforts and resources to support the behavioral health/justice-involved population in getting streamlined access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Click here to register for the virtual webinar via Microsoft Teams.

In the Media

San Quentin incarcerated  filmmaker Ryan Pagan

Dreaming in a dark place: Becoming a filmmaker in prison

Growing up, Ryan Pagan was obsessed with movies. When he played outside, he pretended he was in one, making up everything from the plot line to the sound effects. But, as he grew older, fewer people supported that childhood dream.

He didn’t think going into film was even an option. It wasn’t until he walked into the media lab at San Quentin State Prison and picked up a video camera that he realized what was missing.

Visit KALW website to read the full article.

Roger BelAir, pickleball instructor, holding a paddle

Edmonds pickleball crusader teaches game in prisons and gyms

EDMONDS — Roger BelAir bounces from prison yards to suburban gyms.

What’s up with that?

BelAir believes in the power of pickleball for people on the inside and out.

This year, so far, he taught the booming sport to inmates at San Quentin and Folsom state prisons in California, four prisons in Florida and a Washington correctional center.

“I’m not reimbursed. It’s my way of giving back to society,” said BelAir, 76, a former bank executive and investment broker. “The money would go to charities when I’m gone, but I’d rather spend it this way. At my age, I don’t buy green bananas.”

Visit the HeraldNet website to read the full article.

visual concept of Taylor Swift singing and an incarcerated individual

Listening to Taylor Swift in Prison

The first time I heard about Taylor Swift, I was in a Los Angeles County jail, waiting to be sent to prison for murder. Sheriffs would hand out precious copies of the Los Angeles Times, and they would be passed from one reader to the next.

Back then, I swore that Prince was the best songwriter of my lifetime, and I thought Swift’s rise to teenage stardom was an injustice. I’d look up from her wide-eyed face in the Calendar section to see gang fights and race riots.

Visit The New Yorker to read the full article.

gate with barbed wires at a prison

A first for California’s incarcerated students: Now they can earn master’s degrees

Achieving a college degree in prison is rare, but now a select 33 incarcerated people in California can earn their master’s degrees. 

California State University, Dominguez Hills, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced a partnership Thursday to launch the state’s first master’s degree program for incarcerated people. Corrections Secretary Jeff Macomber said the partnership furthers the state’s prison system’s goal to expand “grade school to grad school” opportunities. 

Visit EdSource to read the full article.

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