CDCR's Week in Review Archives

CDCR Week in Review: May 5, 2023

What’s New

A man speaks at a lectern while others stand behind him and look on

Governor Newsom names leading criminal justice and public safety experts to San Quentin Transformation Advisory Council

Harnessing the expertise of distinguished criminal justice, public safety, and rehabilitation professionals, along with justice-impacted individuals, representatives of crime victims, and survivors, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced the members of the San Quentin Transformation Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is tasked with assisting the administration in delivering on the Governor’s announcement to transform San Quentin State Prison by 2025 into a one-of-a-kind rehabilitation center focused on improving public safety through rehabilitation and education via a scalable “California Model” that can be utilized across the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

“In order to transform San Quentin into the nation’s most innovative rehabilitation facility focused on building a brighter and safer future, we need a deep and diverse bench of expertise,” Newsom said. “That’s exactly what the members of this Advisory Council deliver. Through their time and talent, these leaders will help us build a scalable model across California that will advance justice, safer communities, and true rehabilitation.”

Learn more about the California Model.

Meet the Advisory Council.

CDCR to provide three days of in‑person visiting at all institutions

CDCR, in line with the Legislature’s intent to expand in-person visitation, has announced institutions statewide will move to three days of in-person weekend visiting on July 7, 2023.

“The expansion of three in-person visiting days a week, while offering free transportation statewide, will allow us to meet demand at our busier institutions and provide more opportunities for people to see their loved ones — enhancing public safety by promoting successful community reintegration,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber said.

Weekend video visiting will no longer be offered at any adult institution as of July 7, 2023. Conservation camps will continue hybrid video visiting and in-person on Saturdays and Sundays as they do not have three days of visiting.

CDCR will continue to provide ways to communicate with friends and family through tablets and phone calls. Incarcerated people are eligible for 15 minutes of free video calls from their tablet every two weeks. Audio calls made from standard institution wall phones and tablets are always free of charge.

In-person visiting will be offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at all adult institutions and will continue to be scheduled online through the Department’s Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA). Camp visits are scheduled through email or phone.

(Read more about third-day visiting.


2023 National Crime Victim’s Rights Week

As CDCR recognized National Crime Victim’s Rights Week (NCVRW) April 23-29, institutions and offices around throughout the department held events in honor of the victims and survivors. Here’s a short roundup of some of those activities:

2023 NCVRW symposium

The California Victims Resource Center at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law hosted the 2023 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week symposium. The event honored crime victims and those that work with victims throughout the state. The symposium featured:

Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services Chief Katie James spoke on the governmental victims’ assistance panel. Topics covered included:

  • victims role, constitutional rights, and voice during the post-conviction process
  • legally mandated victim rights
  • courtesy services OVSRS provides.

James clarified the office works with victims, victim family members, and witnesses, as well as the incarcerated population and their families regarding restitution education and collection..

Victims March

OVSRS employees attended the Victims March at the Capitol to show their support. The office set up a booth to answer questions and help direct those who needed victims help assistance. Hundreds of crime survivors, family, and friends took part to march on the Capitol in a show of support.

CCTRP victim awareness event

man squatting towards fire week in review

OVSRS managers Robert Love and Elwina Rivera attended the Victim Awareness Event at the Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program (CCTRP)-San Diego.

Participants wrote anonymous letters to their victims or about being a victim. They placed the letters in a box with no name for another participant to read or hold on to. The group passed the box around and invited anyone to select a letter to read. The participant was to read the letter and place it in a fire pit that represented a time to heal and let go.

Yellow ribbons and clothing were worn in honor of victims. The goal of the event was to bring unity and awareness to the victims. The program is intended to provide a safe place to heal and safely transition back into the community, starting within the community at CCTRP-SD.

Princess Book Club tea party

woman speaking into mic at podium

Elizabeth Shafer and Maria Flores of OVSRS attended the Princess Book Club Tea Party for Domestic Violence Awareness.

Sunni Harley from the Division of Adult Institutions Director’s Office attended the event.

Speakers from multiple organizations and programs discussed topics ranging from domestic violence to sex trafficking.

CTF honors victims

Correctional Training Facility (CTF) staff, incarcerated population, and volunteers held four events for their 11th Annual National Crime Victims Week recognition. 

The Amity Foundation hosted the events. Throughout the week, CTF incarcerated population and staff listened to the stories of victims from various backgrounds. The victims shared their personal experiences of how crime impacted their lives.

Members of the incarcerated population spoke about their crimes to show first-hand. They explained the trauma, physical pain, and emotional suffering victims and their family sustained due to the actions of individuals who commit crimes.

The goal of this event was to:

  • Give victims a voice.
  • Effect change in participants
  • Provide the incarcerated population an educational experience to change their attitudes and perceptions about their crimes.


CCJBH Juvenile Justice Workgroup Meeting

When: May 12, 2023, 12:45-2:45 p.m.

The RAND Corporation will provide an update on the Juvenile Justice Compendium and Toolkit contract, funded by CCJBH. The presentation will include a detailed overview of the Evidence-Based and Emerging Practices and Programs Compendium, a compilation of current, relevant information regarding the established practices and programs designed to serve the youth population realigned per SB 823. The RAND Corporation will also provide comprehensive instructions on how the compendium can be used to support justice system partners.

Please share widely with all justice system partners serving youth.

(Register for the meeting.)

CCJBH Diversion Reentry Workgroup Meeting

When: May 12, 2023, from 3-5 p.m.

The workgroup will feature presentations from the system, community and individual level on the behavioral health workforce and successful programs that serve individuals with behavioral health needs who are involved with the justice system. CCJBH Councilmember Anita Fisher will present from a lived experience perspective on the needs of the behavioral health workforce. The California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) will present on the current state-level initiatives to strengthen the behavioral health workforce. The California Mental Health Services Administration (CalMHSA) will present on their work with peer certification. Kevin O’Connell, Principal Engineer at CSG Consultants, Inc. will present on a tool to estimate behavioral health workforce need.

(Register for the meeting.)


SQ puppy program

San Quentin State Prison (SQ) selected four incarcerated people to participate in their new puppy program. The assignment delegates two handlers to one puppy. Those selected will train their puppy to learn social skills within the institution prior to adoption. Following the program, the puppies are rehoused with an adult or child who suffers from a mental health condition.

CTF Path to Kinship program

Incarcerated members of the Phoenix Alliance Group at Correctional Training Facility (CTF) recently served as mentors to students from Palma High School for the Path to Kinship program.

The program connects incarcerated people who have life sentences at CTF with Palma students to discuss themes found in literature. Themes covered include:

  • How choices have contributed to where people are today
  • Common motivating factors of behavior
  • Common thinking errors
  • Interpretations of the world
  • Responsibility and choosing versus victim mindset
  • Proactive decision-making
  • Effective communication

CTF created the program with a focus on compassion, empathy, and restorative justice.

“We found through our experience that we have a lot in common with these young men from Palma. Teenagers are teenagers and we men in blue have experienced everything they are going through at one point or another. It is through a level of compassion that we create bonds and share our stories. Our stories are the mechanisms that create the value,” said Phoenix Alliance Mentor Vincent Rivera.


Thank you to CCHCS laboratory staff

This year marks the 48th Medical Laboratory Professionals week. This week recognizes clinical and public health laboratory professionals for their contributions to the health of our communities.  CCHCS celebrates laboratory professionals who protect our future. These professionals skillfully adapt to today’s evolving patient care and public health challenges with resilience, innovation, and expertise.  Thank you for all you do!

New public HCS dashboard update

CDCR and CCHCS offer comprehensive health care services to people incarcerated in California state prisons. Services range from primary preventive care services to end-0of life care.

Since 2011, the Health Care Services (HCS) dashboard has been a vital tool to provide information usually monitored by health care organizations. Organizational leaders and program managers use the dashboard to:

  • survey key performance indicators
  • identify opportunities for improvement
  • and trend performance over time.

The HCS Dashboard is now available as an interactive web-based tool, allowing end-users a more interactive and ADA compliant experience.

The new interactive report allows statewide and institution comparisons and trended performance over time for 286 measures organized into 12 domains.  

(Access the Health Care Services Dashboard.)

In the Community

NKSP fights cancer

group with banner

North Kern State Prison (NKSP) participated in the “Relay for Life-Delano” fundraiser to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.  NKSP raised over $17,000.

“As an institution, we participate in Relay for Life-Delano every year and help support the mission of Relay for Life. Whether it’s fundraising to assist a breakthrough in research or providing essential services throughout someone’s cancer journey, we are here to make a difference in the fight against cancer,” said Warden Kevin Hixon.

In the Media

Fire crews perform rigorous drills to get certified before wildfire season starts

Fire crews are testing their skills this week to make sure they are prepared for peak California wildfire season.

Tuesday was Cal Fire’s annual crew preparedness drill, Capt. Dan Collins said, explaining that this drill “is a very vital part of getting ready.”

They gathered at the Reader Ranch in Nevada County, about five miles south of North San Juan, aiming to get the highest level of certification as part of a Cal Fire Type I Fire Crew.

Read the full KCRA3 article.

New ‘Freedom Libraries’ in California institutions seek to inspire

The national nonprofit Freedom Reads is opening of 24 Freedom Libraries inside Correctional Training Facility (CTF) in Soledad, California. The Freedom Libraries will be placed in 22 of the facility’s housing units for unfettered access to the 500-book collection. In addition to the libraries placed in CTF’s housing units, 2 libraries will be placed for staff use.

The opening of these 24 libraries is a part of Freedom Reads’ ongoing partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Freedom Libraries have previously been opened at Valley State Prison (VSP) and Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, California. Freedom Reads returned to CCWF on May 1 with an additional 11 libraries.

Click here to read the full Newswire article.

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