Message of appreciation and direction

Addressed to all CDCR/CCHCS staff

Updated 3/17/20

Let us begin by expressing our sincere appreciation to every person working for CDCR and CCHCS in these unprecedented times. We could not be more proud, or more humbled, to be leading this agency.

Every day, our custody and non-custody team members are going above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of our staff, inmates, and all who come into our institutions. This has meant making hard choices – including conducting verbal screenings at entrances, canceling visiting statewide, and other measures that impact our day-to-day operations. You are seeing it through with the patience, professionalism, and creative problem-solving skills this Agency is known for.

Our health care staff are to be commended. We know that every day you put the health of your patients first, and that is never more apparent than in these trying times. We are doing everything we can to prevent this virus from entering our institutions. I know that if and when it arrives, you will step up even further to combat its spread and treat our patients with excellent care and compassion.

We appreciate each and every one of you for your work and personal sacrifice. Your service to the State of California and the needs of the population in our care is valued and underlines the reasons why we all chose to work in our own capacity at CDCR and CCHCS.  During times like these, it is imperative that our managers and supervisors are continually communicating with their staff along with the population to keep them informed the best way possible.  We are only two individuals and we truly need all the managers and supervisors to be leading from the front right now.  The energy and support you pour into the staff and population is truly how we will make it through this.

We must stress to all of you the seriousness of the threat we are facing. As we are watching other countries, states, and cities combat this virus, understand that where they are today could be where we are tomorrow. This possibility must be taken seriously and all instructions for preventive measures must be followed. Current health care guidelines must be adhered to and now more than ever we must work cohesively to keep everybody safe. This is no easy task in an Agency of some 65,000 employees – but we know we are up to the challenge. Our peers are looking to CDCR and CCHCS to set the example, and we are doing just that.

Public health leaders in the United States and other countries have expressed that if we do this right, afterward it will look and feel like we overreacted. Keep that in mind in the coming days and weeks. When we get to the other side of this – and we will – we will all take a look back and understand how serious this was, and how each and every one of our actions contributed to our success in preventing what could have been much worse.

Remember to take care of one another, if even in small ways. The most important asset we have as an Agency is our staff. We are the finest correctional professionals there are, and we are truly honored to serve you and this great State of California.


RALPH M. DIAZ, Secretary

J. CLARK KELSO, Receiver