Twenty participants of the Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP) at California State Prison, Los Angeles County (LAC) became the first group of Level 4 men to start and graduate an OMCP course operated by the Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP) on Feb. 28.
Graduates can now complete supervised internship hours to earn an AOD certification recognized by the California Department of Health Care Services.
Mentors assist DRP’s Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (CBI) contract staff in co-facilitating intensive substance use disorder treatment groups. Once released, graduates are often hired by nonprofits/community-based programs and even return to operate CDCR programs.
“When you are counseling someone and helping them to overcome addictions, you are changing their lives, their families’ lives, and all the peers around are watching, and it’s a big deal, DRP Director Brant Choate said during the ceremony. “We can’t do it without you.”
Updated furniture at several institutions demonstrates CDCR’s commitment to creating spaces conducive to rehabilitation while maintaining safety. The new seating is more comfortable and durable than the previous metal benches and tables. It is also easier to move around a dayroom or other area to facilitate different activities.
At Valley State Prison (VSP), the new chairs complement other efforts to create living spaces that more closely resemble the community. This includes new interior and exterior paint, game tables, bookcases and even barbecues. Families can use the barbecues when they visit their incarcerated loved one.
ASP has changed out the furniture in the housing dayrooms on four of six facilities for the new, highly durable polyurethane furniture. The prison will continue to replace the flat benches and metal tables that enforce the feeling of institutionalization. The new tables and chairs promote comfort, creativity and thought-provoking activities.
In this week’s episode of CDCR Unlocked, Sgt. Corey Ringer heads to Pelican Bay State Prison, where he sat down with three longtime CDCR employees. In a new take on recruitment, the group talks less about the job itself and dives into what makes living in the Crescent City area great. And it’s not just beautiful scenery, although that is also a draw! What it really comes down to is the people and the community, which this group assures is top-notch.
The Office of Peace Officer Selection will host an exclusive event in celebration of Women’s History Month. The one-hour virtual event will highlight women of CDCR who work in a variety of peace officer positions. They will share their perspectives and personal experiences as a woman working in CDCR. Positions include a Trainer, Camp Commander, Background Investigator, K-9 Officer, and leadership positions.
The panel will take place on Zoom from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29.
The panel will answer moderated questions candidly about their experience as a woman, challenges they overcame, and how they balance personal and family life in their career. The event will conclude with the opportunity for attendees to ask live questions from the panel. All are welcome to join us in honoring these extraordinary women.
In the Media
California’s oldest state prison will get overhauled into a “one-of-a-kind” correctional institution that borrows rehabilitation practices from places such as Norway, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said.
Under the proposed $20 million plan, San Quentin State Prison will be transformed from a maximum-security prison into one focused on rehabilitation and education to improve public safety and reduce recidivism rates in the state, Newsom said. More immediately, it would also be renamed San Quentin Rehabilitation Center.
Newsom visited the prison, located in Marin County on a peninsula north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Friday afternoon to announce the plan, which he said he hopes becomes a model for the nation and world.
This week, Gov. Gavin Newsom will announce that California will take its own leap forward, rethinking the purpose of prison by “ending San Quentin as we know it,” he told me Wednesday.
By 2025, California’s first and most infamous penitentiary, where criminals including Charles Manson and Scott Peterson have done time, will become something entirely different: the largest center of rehabilitation, education and training in the California prison system, and maybe the nation. No longer will it be a maximum security facility. Instead, it will be a place for turning out good neighbors, incorporating Scandinavian methods.