CDCR's Week in Review Archives

Week in Review: March 10, 2023

What’s New?

A man in a black suit and a woman in a red suit stand between two flags.
Secretary Macomber and Undersecretary Foss

Welcome, Undersecretary Foss!

Tammy Foss has been appointed Undersecretary of Operations for CDCR.

Prior to her appointment as Undersecretary, Foss served as the Director of Corrections Services at California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS). Foss has extensive experience within the department to include Associate Director of Female Offender Programs and Services, Associate Director of Reception Center Missions and Chief of Reception Center Missions and Program Support Unit for the Division of Adult Institutions.

She served as Warden and Chief Deputy Warden at Salinas Valley State Prison and Chief Deputy Administrator at High Desert State Prison. Undersecretary Foss also served as Community Resources Manager and Business Manager at San Quentin State Prison. Additionally, she held multiple positions at Pelican Bay State Prison including Procurement & Services Officer II, Budget Analyst and Correctional Officer.

“Please join me in thanking Undersecretary Foss for assuming this critical role,” shared Secretary Jeff Macomber. “With her knowledge and experience within both CDCR and CCHCS, she is an asset to our executive team.”

Upward Mobility

Lisa Heintz has been named Project Executive of the California Model for Corrections and Rehabilitation initiative.

Trent Allen has been appointed Warden of Salinas Valley State Prison.

Martin Gamboa has been appointed Warden of Avenal State Prison.

Leanna Lundy has been appointed Warden of California City Correctional Facility.

Anissa De La Cruz is assigned as acting Warden at Central California Women’s Facility.


Purple International Women's Day graphic

International Women’s Day was observed on March 8. That day and every day, the leadership at CDCR and CCHCS want to acknowledge the many women of our great Department. We would not be successful without your leadership and commitment to public service. Thank you so much.

Women’s history celebrated at Salinas Valley

A group of four women stand next to shelves full of gift bags.

Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) celebrated Women’s History Month with an inaugural event March 1 to mark the occasion.

Correctional Business Manager Jovia Barchacky, main event organizer, hopes this will become an annual event for the prison.

Anna Velasquez, the first female elected as Soledad mayor in 2022, was the keynote speaker.

Also speaking at the Women’s History Month event were Captains Naomi Davis and Gabriela Constantino.

There were also gift bags for prison staff and for those attending the event, lunch was provided.

*See more photos from the SVSP event.)

3 Questions With…

Jennifer Benavidez, Acting FOPS Associate Director

Jennifer Benavidez
Jennifer Benavidez

Mentorship, leadership, and understanding are key for Jennifer Benavidez, who has had a diverse career at CDCR. This Women’s History Month, Benavidez shares how important mentorship is for women in this field.

Benavidez began her career at the now-deactivated Northern California Women’s Facility in 1997. She has held many positions at CDCR, from Correctional Officer to Warden. She has worked at four different facilities and Headquarters. Working as an officer for four years at NCWF and as a Captain at Folsom Women’s Facility prepared her for her current role as acting Associate Director of Female Offender Programs and Services (FOPS) for the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI). The maturity, understanding, and knowledge she gained helped bring understanding and experience to the complex role.

You have a huge role overseeing the FOPS mission – what is your vision?

Although the title specifically reflects females, the position also oversees two health care facilities and Folsom State Prison. I will continue to improve and create a more normalized environment for the people in our care through visiting, education, and the overall daily living environment. I would also like the health care facilities to continue to build and nurture relationships and cooperation to allow the incarcerated population to participate in as many programs as possible. This will better prepare them for release or while continuing their stay in our facilities.

How did women support you as you “grew up” in the department?

I was and have always been very transparent. If I was not familiar with a process, I would not hesitate to ask for assistance. I was very eager to learn areas I was unfamiliar with and always inquisitive of the “what ifs.” People in this agency love to teach and be a part of your success. I consider myself very fortunate to have worked for strong, successful individuals who were a part of my success.

What advice do you have for women starting their correctional careers?

My advice to women starting out their careers is to stay true to yourself and not let the job or career change you. You will have an opportunity to work with so many individuals who will display different type of work styles and leadership traits. It’s important to learn from all types and model the way.

Personally speaking, I encourage women to forge ahead and move forward to the next step. Challenge is continual and continue to show your talent, experience and tenacity for future success. As we take opportunities out of our comfort zone, those challenges eventually become comfort. I encourage all women in CDCR to know all things are possible in this department, from providing mentorship to incarcerated persons to ascending to the position of Secretary and Director.


Graphic; March is Irish American Heritage Month

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared the month of March as Irish American Heritage Month – celebrating Irish Americans’ culture.

Today, more than 31 million Americans claim Irish ancestry. Irish Americans have made significant contributions to the U.S. and the world. Celebrating Irish American Heritage Month sheds light on the hardships Irish people faced and the obstacles they overcame. It also generates an appreciation for Irish American history and culture, while helping us better understand and appreciate America’s multi-cultural diversity.

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


DAPO receives Reach and Respond grant

The Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) has received a grant from the Department of Health Care Services to implement a Behavioral Health Justice Intervention Services project. The intent of the grant is to develop mechanisms to enhance the relationship between behavioral health and law enforcement to help reduce the overuse of crisis services and justice involvement.

DAPO is fortunate to have an existing relationship between mental health and law enforcement, given that Behavioral Health Reintegration (BHR) staff are embedded in parole complexes. With this grant award, DAPO partnered with the National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW) to develop and implement a course designed to educate DAPO staff in reentry research and best practices. In doing so, the foundations of DAPO’s existing collaborative structure will be reinforced while exploring reentry barriers and research-based solutions that could further DAPO’s mission toward successful reentry. In addition, the course also provides insight into several of DAPO’s guiding principles such as trauma-informed care, family systems, advocacy and staff wellness.

The Reach and Respond trainers are NOFSW board members who are expert practitioners, educators and researchers in the field. NOFSW modified its existing forensic certificate-training program to more specifically speak to DAPO’s organizational structure and collaborative expansion efforts. All BHR clinicians and Agents will participate in the Reach and Respond course as a component of the 2023 annual training. Those who participate will be provided with a certificate of completion from NOFSW.

Victims’ Services

Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services Manager Robert Love attended a Resource Workshop of the LA Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children recently. The workshop was held at the LAPD Harbor Division Police Station in San Pedro.

Love provided information on navigating the post-sentencing process and resources to assist not only those in the LA chapter but also those who reach out to the chapter for assistance. 

In Our Institutions

A group pf people in dress uniform pose

Honor Guards present colors at Clippers game

Honor Guard Members from Avenal State Prison, Calipatria State Prison, Wasco State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, California Institution for Women and California Rehabilitation Center stood on the hallowed court of the NBA Los Angeles Clippers at the Crypto.Com Arena, where they were invited to present colors.

The Clippers were scheduled to play against the Memphis Grizzles, who they ended up defeating 135-129. Lieutenant Jamie Jacquez has been the ASP Honor Guard Commander since 2014, and has been on the team since 2005. Jacquez expressed what an amazing experience it was to be on the court, walking right next to the players he has watched on TV: “I really don’t have the words to truly describe the honor of being invited.

Jacquez also expressed his appreciation to ASP Warden Martin Gamboa for his approval to attend the event and continued support of the team. Seven ASP Honor Guard Members participated, with the majority of the remaining members showing their support from the stands.

NKSP shares love of literacy with local students

A man reads a book to a group of students.

Representatives from North Kern State Prison (NKSP) shared their love of reading with students at Fremont Elementary and Nueva Vista Language Academy Elementary.

The Read Across America event supports early childhood literacy. NKSP officials read to the students as part of the annual event celebrating reading and Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

“Read Across America is more than just celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss, it is about supporting early childhood literacy,” shared Warden (A) Kevin Hixon. “It is important for children to use their imaginations and see the pages come to life. NKSP staff were really excited to show them how fun reading can be.”

In the Media

A diver welds equipment underwater.

Dive school military training proves to be effective in rehabilitation

It is a remarkably unusual sight to see men in a distinctly military environment, operating in tandem and with precision, while also knowing they are incarcerated at the California Institution for Men in Chino.

But that is what is happening at the CALPIA Dive School.

“A lot of times you’re being talked to through another inmate who might be yelling at you, so those are the things that you have to overcome and that shows your growth as… rehabilitation,” said Kenyatta Kalisana, the Lead Instructor at the CALPIA Dive School.

(Read more about the dive program.)

Where redemption and service have no walls

Quan Huynh

The funny thing about redemption is that it can look completely different depending on the lens in which it’s viewed.

Quan Huynh was sentenced to 15 years-to-life for the murder of a fellow gang member in Los Angeles in 1999. He served 12, turning his life around in prison and eventually being granted parole.

To most people, his redemption started the day he turned his life over to helping people both avoid devastating life-altering decisions and recover from said situations. He wrote a book and spends most of his days sharing his story with groups of people all over the country, including an upcoming stop at Cal State San Marcos on Monday.

But Huynh’s redemption actually came recently. It came after years of contemplating his fate. Thousands of hours spent sharing his story. Hundreds of stops at prisons, community centers, rehabilitation houses and schools. And every single interaction with a prisoner trying to figure out how to be human again.

*Read Quan’s story.)

Steven Hensley describes his unique road to Berkeley Law

A bearded man in a backward baseball cap wearing a blue long-sleeve Berkeley Law shirt.

Like many Berkeley Law 1Ls, Steven Hensley can point to several glittering achievements on his resume. At Fresno State University, he was named the president’s undergraduate medalist and the dean’s medalist for the College of Arts and Humanities, co-founded a nonprofit, completed two honors projects, and held leadership positions in student organizations.

But other stops on Hensley’s path — incarceration, homelessness, hunger — are decidedly different.

While in prison, he saw a flier for Project Rebound, a California State University system program that helps people reintegrate into the education system. Launched in 1967, the initiative has helped hundreds of formerly incarcerated students attend and graduate from 14 Cal State campuses. The Underground Scholars Initiative, created in 2013 and now active on all nine UC undergraduate campuses, offers similar support.

*Read Steven Hensley’s story.)

A man in a red shirt and a woman in workout attire run with kettlebells.

CDCR kettle bell workout

CDCR is always on the lookout for new hires and recruits, here’s an example of a fitness routine performed by CDCR.

(Watch the complete video.)

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Social Media

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