CDCR's Week in Review Archives

Week in Review: March 3, 2023

What’s New?

Tech advancements take CDCR into the future

CDCR unlocked logo

In this week’s episode of CDCR Unlocked, two dedicated CDCR employees share how years of teamwork, collaboration and thinking outside the box are resulting in major advancements for the department. Jaclyn Padilla, Deputy Director of Human Resources, and Emily Bither, Information Supervisor II at Enterprise Information Services (EIS), are excited to discuss Human Resources Technology Success (HRTS), a new initiative to streamline and improve HR practices. HRTS targets the recruitment and onboarding processes to make them faster, as well as improve the candidate experience.

(Listen to the CDCR Unlocked episode.)


Women's History Month graphic

Women’s History Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions of women. By celebrating women and their accomplishments and recognizing gender inequality, Women’s History Month seeks to create a brighter, more equitable future. 

Women’s History Month began as Women’s History Week in 1980, declared by President Jimmy Carter for March 8-14. In 1987 President Ronald Reagan declared March as Women’s History Month.

The 2023 Women’s History Month theme is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories. This year, women who have been active or were active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media will be recognized for their achievements.

This article was submitted by GARE Ambassador Katherine Roach. To encourage employees to expand their knowledge and gain new experiences, GARE Ambassadors are sharing celebrations throughout the year.  To learn more about the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts visit the GARE website.

Upward Mobility

Jill Johnston has been assigned as Chief of Case Records Services, Division of Adult Institutions.

Health Care

A woman is interviewed while sitting on a bench in a courtyard.

CMF hospice at center of new correctional training program

The hospice program at California Medical Facility was a spotlight for an expanded training program on providing improved patient-centered geriatric and palliative care for the incarcerated.

A film crew from Amend at UCSF spent three days interviewing correctional officers, medical staff and patients about the cross-disciplinary success of the hospice program. Interviews focused on the importance of enabling staff to provide improved patient-centered geriatric and palliative care.

These interviews will be part of a learning program for correctional centers across the United States focusing on improved communications between staff as well as the incarcerated individuals. The goal is to create a healthier environment for everyone involved with better patient outcomes and better health and well-being for staff.

The training modules are expected to be published later this year.

In Our Institutions

A group of people wearing Mardi Gras attire stand in front of a lake.

SCC dives into chilly Lake Tulloch for a good cause

The chilly winter weather of the foothills did not deter the dedicated team from Sierra Conservation Center (SCC). Volunteer CDCR employees joined local law enforcement and business leaders in the annual Polar Plunge to support Special Olympics Northern California, in what has been dubbed the coldest plunge ever held at Lake Tulloch.

Joining the fundraising plunge were the California Highway Patrol, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department, Sonora Police Department, and the California Highway Patrol, to name a few.

The event raised well over $30,000 to support Special Olympic athletes in their training and travel costs.

The water was chilly as it was snowing just down the road but the cause was definitely worthwhile and fun. This year SCC had the largest turnout of staff participating in this event.  SCC was able to raise and donate $1,650 to the cause and will definitely participate again next year. Once the team thawed out they began brainstorming fundraising ideas and costumes for next year’s event. 

A row of youth in red jumpsuits walks on a prison yard next to a row of incarcerated people wearing Tshirts that say "Youth Diversion Program" on the back.

VSP helps at-risk youth learn to make good choices

A group of at-risk students from Madera County schools recently visited Valley State Prison (VSP) for some insight regarding life inside prison walls. Seventeen youth arrived at the VSP front entrance building at 8 a.m. sharp. Youth Diversion Program (YDP) custody facilitators Officer J. McKesson, Captain R. Boozer and Sergeant B. Davi greeted the YDP students upon their arrival.

Custody staff along with selected incarcerated mentors escorted the attendees as they toured multiple recreation yards, dining halls, and housing units. Concluding the tour, attendees were escorted to the Main Yard Gymnasium where lunch was served and attendees had the opportunity to meet and speak with YDP mentors.

The most impactful part of the YDP day occurred when YDP mentors facilitated a powerful victims’ impact class. Several mentors shared personal stories explaining how the choices they made as young teens not only affected their own lives but also the lives of their victims and their families.

“Sometimes a fresh perspective is all these youth need,” Captain Boozer said. “The YDP mentors did an awesome job in effectively communicating,” and gained the trust of the attendees by actively listening, showing respect and by expressing their concerns.

PBSP assists in search for missing hiker

Hikers walk through dense brush
CRT members make their way through the brush

The Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) Crisis Response Team (CRT), staff from the Del Norte Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and multiple other agencies joined the search for Vana Sisopha, a 71-year-old Washington woman who had gone missing in the mountains above Gasquet.

Sisopha was separated from her husband and adult daughter while hunting for mushrooms in the area on Feb. 3. Her husband reported both women missing at about 8 p.m. Searchers found the daughter at about 2 p.m. on Saturday and rescued her via a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. She was taken to Sutter Coast Hospital where she was treated for hypothermia. Sadly, after the search was put on hold for several days due to a snowstorm, Sisopha’s body was found when searchers returned.

It is estimated searchers spent about 6,600 hours combing the dense brush.

A group of graduates in caps and gowns stand with teachers.

100th grad gets diploma at ASP

Avenal State Prison (ASP) celebrated a huge milestone recently as the 100th student at ASP’s Golden Hills Adult School received their diploma.

Among the honored guests gathered to congratulate the 29 graduates was Warden (A) Martin Gamboa.  He expressed his pride and recognized the hard work required to earn their diplomas. He also encouraged the students to keep pushing forward toward their next academic goals. 

ASP Principal (A) Hugo Martinez congratulated the students on their achievement and wished them well with their ongoing education. Several students commented on the pride they felt for having received their high school diploma and their excitement in sharing their accomplishment with their families.

The high school diploma program at ASP currently has 80 enrolled students and two full-time teachers, Matt Moreno and Al Graham. In 2019, Moreno and his team began building the program with the full support of ASP administration. Graham joined as the second coordinator, and both he and Moreno shared that they truly believe the education department and custody staff at ASP go above and beyond the call of duty to provide an excellent rehabilitative program for all students enrolled in any educational/vocational programs. 

Pelican Bay dog-training program nears graduation

A gray dog

The dogs of the Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) Prison Paws Partnership training program will graduate on April 6. In this program, dogs without homes are paired with incarcerated trainers to get them ready to be adopted by their forever homes-to-be.

DNA tests have been conducted and will be shared on the organization’s social media. That’s where interested people can also learn more about how to adopt one of these dogs.

(Visit the Prison Paws Partnership Facebook page.)


Two men in correctional officer uniforms and a man in a black polo shirt stand behind a table covered in CDCR information and gear.

CDCR’s Specialized Recruitment and Peace Officer Recruitment units joined forces at the 35th Anniversary Sacramento Black History Month Expo.

This event provided CDCR an opportunity to engage with the community, help job seekers navigate the state hiring process, and share more than 60 open job opportunities.

CDCR offers jobs in both custody and non-custody environments to support the vision, mission, values and goals of our department.

(Learn more about how to apply.)

In the Media

LIFTED pilot program gives chance to pursue bachelor’s degree in prison

LIFTED, or Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Educational Degrees, is a pilot program giving incarcerated individuals a chance to pursue a bachelor’s degree at University of California-Irvine.

Even though all 35 California state prisons have offered associates degrees since 2014, LIFTED is the first opportunity for a bachelor’s degree in the UC system.

“People in prison tend to have lower literacy rates, have had a lower rate of education than the average person outside of prison,” explained Keramet Reiter, a professor of criminology, law and society and director of the program. “So this is a way to work on that and address those challenges that might have landed people there in the first place.”

Hip-hop healing: Music transforms lives in prison

Eric Abercrombie, Quincy Jones III and David Jassy discuss the San Quentin Mixtapes, a music project helping incarcerated people record music and find second chances while behind bars.

Top Inside CDCR Stories

AW Williams reflects on 20 years

Horses powered early prison construction

Restorative Justice: DJJ youth give back

Meet the CEN K-9 team: Arrow and Kendra

CALPIA graduates earn job certifications