About the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH)

Vision

A true shift in the paradigm between criminal justice and mental health will embody an effective jail diversion system that fosters an ongoing and successful exchange of information among courts, criminal justice agencies, mental health professionals, government and non-government organizations to achieve a substantial positive change in the way individuals with mental illness are treated in our communities.

Mission

The leaders in criminal justice and mental health participating in this effort strive to end the criminalization of individuals with mental illness by supporting proven strategies that promote early intervention, access to effective treatments, a planned re-entry and the preservation of public safety.

Members

Chairperson: Ralph Diaz, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)

Ralph Diaz was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) in March 2019; prior he served as Acting Secretary from September 2018. He has over 27 years of experience in the field of corrections, serving in various leadership roles over the past five years, including Undersecretary of Operations, Deputy Director of Facility Operations, and Associate Director of High Security Institutions. Before that, Mr. Diaz served as a prison warden, correctional counselor supervisor, and correctional counselor, after starting his career as a correctional officer in 1991. He possesses in-depth knowledge of CDCR and public safety issues, as well as hands-on institutional skills. Mr. Diaz has been instrumental in developing policies and processes that focus on staff well-being and training, inmate rehabilitation and accountability, and communication with victims and families. His own personal history growing up in a small town in the central San Joaquin Valley, under the guidance of his mother and father who both worked in law enforcement, contributed to his unique perspective. Mr. Diaz is proud to be a leader in CDCR as it embraces its mission to rehabilitate the people entrusted to its care, understanding that this is key to the public safety of the people of the State of California, and to the future of the state.

Stephanie Clendenin, Acting Director, California Department of State Hospitals.

Ms. Clendenin has served as Acting Director for the California Department of State Hospitals since September 2018. The California Department of State Hospitals is the largest forensic inpatient mental health hospital system in the nation, serving over 11,000 patients annually across five state hospitals, jail-based competency treatments programs, community-based restoration programs, and conditional release programs.  Previously, Ms. Clendenin was appointed as Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) by Governor Brown in December 2014.  As Chief Deputy Director, she oversaw the operation of the five state hospitals responsible for providing inpatient mental health treatment for over 6000 patients daily.  Additionally, she oversaw DSH’s operating divisions including, clinical operations, forensic services, legal services, strategic planning, administrative services, and information technology. Previously, Ms. Clendenin, also served as the Chief Deputy Director for the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD).  She was appointed to this position by Governor Brown in June 2011.  She managed OSHPD’s operating divisions responsible for the building and financing of health facility infrastructure, the collection and analyses of healthcare data, and the development and expansion of healthcare professionals to serve and improve the delivery of healthcare, particularly in medically underserved communities in California.  Ms. Clendenin has over 28 years of experience with the State of California. Ms. Clendenin’s previous government experience includes positions with Cal-Fire, Department of Finance, the former Department of Health Services, and the Department of General Services.

Jessica Cruz, Chief Executive Officer, NAMI California

Jessica Cruz is the Chief Executive Officer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness California. Working with legislators, community members and government officials; she uses her passion to advocate for change in mental health legislation and systems across the state. Her desire to further NAMI California’s mission stems from lived experience of being a family member of someone with a mental illness. Jessica received her Masters of Public Administration with an emphasis in Health Services from the University of San Francisco, where she focused her studies on policies in health care. Her undergraduate studies in Mass Communication from California State University of Sacramento gave her the institutional knowledge to enhance her career in the public sector. She is a graduate of the USC Leadership Institute, Nonprofit Resource Center Executive Director Leadership Institute, and a member of the CalSWEC Board, California WET Advisory Board, Health Education Foundation Advisory Board, Sacramento Professional Women’s Association, the Nonprofit Resource Center, Associate Fundraising Professional, Capital Chapter and a past Board Secretary of the Sacramento Public Relations Association. Jessica also sits on the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health as a Governor’s appointee representing the Family and Consumer perspective.

Matthew D. Garcia, Field Training Officer, Sacramento Police Department

Matthew Garcia has been with the Sacramento Police Department since 1996. Officer Garcia has served in various capacities during his 20-year career. As a member of the Problem Orientated Policing team he was responsible for finding long-term policing solutions using non-traditional policing methods. He has also served as a Bank Robbery Investigator working with the FBI to identify, investigate and arrest offenders. Officer Garcia is currently a Field Training Officer (FTO) assigned to North Command. As a Senior FTO, Corporal Garcia is responsible for the training and supervision of new Police Officers in the field. From 1987-2002 he served with the United States Air Force; from 1990-1991 as a Security Forces member, Mr. Garcia was deployed to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in support of Desert Shield/Storm; from 1999-2002 he was assigned to the Security Forces Academy in San Antonio, Texas, where he was a Master Instructor. At the academy he taught and led a cadre of instructors in the training of Airman entering the Security Forces career field. Mr. Garcia has a Peace Officers Standard Training (P.O.S.T) Advanced Certification, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Leadership (MPA) from National University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento. Mr. Garcia was appointed to COMIO by the Senate Rules Committee in 2016.

Tony Hobson, Director of Behavioral Health, Plumas County

Tony Hobson is the director of behavioral health, Plumas County Department of Behavioral Health since 2018 and contributing faculty at Walden University since 2006. Prior, he was the behavioral health director of the Sutter-Yuba Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services Department from 2014 to 2018. Hobson held several positions at the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health from 2010 to 2014 and from 2007 to 2008, including senior program manager, program manager and psychologist. He was a psychologist at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2008 to 2010 and served in the U.S. Navy from 1989 to 1993. Hobson earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in clinical psychology from Walden University and a Master of Arts degree in multicultural counseling from San Diego State University. Mr. Hobson was appointed to CCJBH by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018.

Mack Jenkins, Retired, Chief Probation Officer, San Diego County Probation Department

Mack Jenkins, former Chief Probation Officer of San Diego County Probation Department, held the post since 2007. Prior, he served in several positions at the Orange County Probation Department from 1977 to 2007, including division director, assistant director, supervisor and deputy probation counselor. Jenkins was an adjunct instructor of criminal justice at the Rancho Santiago Community College District from 1992 to 2007. He is a member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Board of Directors and the Judicial Council’s Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues. Jenkins earned a Master of Science degree in criminal justice from California State University, Long Beach. Mr. Jenkins was appointed to CCJBH formerly known as COMIO by Governor Jerry Brown 2015.

Jennifer Kent, Director, California Department of Health Care Services

Jennifer Kent has been the director of the California Department of Health Care Services since January 2015. Director Kent oversees a staff of 3,700 individuals at DHCS, which is responsible for the operation of Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The department manages the spending of more than $90 billion annually in public funds that support the health of more than 12.5 million Californians. Kent had served as executive director of Local Health Plans of California since September 2013. Prior to that, she was principal with Health Management Associates Inc., from 2011 through 2013, where she advised clients on issues of health care reform. Her previous California government service included leadership roles in legislative, intergovernmental, financial and health policy areas with the Office of the Governor, the Health and Human Services Agency, and at DHCS. Kent earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government/History at Saint Mary’s College of California, and received a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
**The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is represented by alternate representative Brenda Grealish, Acting Deputy Director, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services.  DHCS is the Vice Chair of the Council. ***

The Honorable Stephen V. Manley, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge

Stephen V. Manley is a Superior Court judge in Santa Clara County. He has served on the bench for over 25 years. He was a founder of the Drug Treatment Court in Santa Clara County as well as the Santa Clara County Mental Health Treatment Court. Judge Manley was appointed to the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health, formerly known as COMIO by Chief Justice Ronald M. George of the California Supreme Court in 2010.

Danitza Pantoja, Coordinator of Psychological Services, Antelope Valley Union High School District

Danitza Pantoja, currently is the Coordinator of Psychological Services for the Antelope Valley Union High School District, brings a unique and critical perspective to the Council which includes working with youth in a school setting, working as field staff for an Assemblywoman, and civic involvement as a local commissioner and board member. Danitza received her bachelor’s in Psychology and master’s in School Counseling degrees from Loyola Marymount University.

While working on education issues as a field representative for former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez from the 39th district, she returned back to school to earn a second master’s degree in School Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute.  Soon after she received her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from Alliant International University.  She has worked in the educational field for over 10 years in numerous roles such as Program Specialist and Bilingual and Lead School Psychologist in both traditional public school and charter school settings. Danitza also has a certificate from Cal State Northridge in Assistive Technology Applications and has served as a commissioner for the Parks, Wellness, and Community Service Commission and the Education Commission in the City of San Fernando. She also serves as a board member for Loyola Marymount University School of Education Alumni Board and El Centro De Amistad.  Ms. Pantoja was appointed to CCJBH in 2019 by Speaker Anthony Rendon.

Tracey Whitney, Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office

Ms. Whitney is currently a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She is a founding member of the DA’s Mental Health Advisory Board and the County’s Permanent Steering Committee. Prior to her nearly two decades in the DA’s office, Ms. Whitney served as a Deputy District Attorney in Orange County. Ms. Whitney also clerked for federal court judge Honorable Kim McLane Wardlaw. She began her career in private practice. Ms. Whitney received her Juris Doctor from USC Gould School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Duke University.  Tracey Whitney was appointed to the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH) in 2017 by Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Staff

Stephanie Welch
Executive Officer
Stephanie.welch@cdcr.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 324-7021

Monica Campos
Staff Services Manager III
Monica.Campos@cdcr.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 322-8015

Catherine Hickinbotham
Health Program Specialist I
Catherine.Hickinbotham@cdcr.ca.gov
Phone:  (916) 319-9803

Sheron Wright
Associate Governmental Program Analyst
Sheron.Wright@cdcr.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 319-9847