Inside CDCR

FEATURED STORIES

Office of Victims and Survivors staff stand in a park.
Supporting Victims and Survivors: CDCR collects, disperses $16 million in restitution

Through CDCR’s restitution collection process, an average of $2.1 million in court-ordered restitution is collected monthly. In 2020, OVSRS disbursed a total of $16,363,415.07 in restitution to victims, surpassing that of 2019 by more than $4 million.

VIDEOS

CDCR staff bow heads in moment of silence for crime victims.
CDCR acknowledges National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2021

Since 1981, Crime Victims’ Rights Week has served as a reminder to renew our commitment to serving all victims of crime, to acknowledge the achievements in victim services and allied professions, to honor those who have gone above and beyond in their service to others, and to remember crime victims and survivors.


Avenal prison painted skateboard featured three portraits.
Avenal prison skateboard artists’ work helps kids

For the second consecutive year, Avenal State Prison incarcerated artists painted skateboards for Fresno Skateboard Salvage. Thanks to their creativity, $10,500 was raised to help children.

California capitol building.
Governor appoints three to key CDCR posts

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the following appointments on April 14: Katie James as Chief of the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services; Giselle “Gigi” A. Matteson as Warden at California State Prison, Solano; and Matthew Atchley as Warden at Salinas Valley State Prison.

REHABILITATION

Avenal Prison visiting area featuring characters from Monsters Inc.
Visiting room gets kid-friendly facelift thanks to Avenal State Prison artists

Incarcerated artists at Avenal State Prison gave the Facility B visiting room a facelift. Now kid-friendly, the children’s area will be more welcoming for young family members during visits.

A Cyber High student and staff at Avenal State Prison stand in front of computers.
Avenal State Prison’s Cyber High sees first graduate

CDCR has made Cyber High available to students at all 35 prisons. Students who have 40 units or left to complete receive priority to enroll in high school courses. CDCR’s goal is for all students to leave prison one day, prepared for college and a career readiness for successful reentry into the communities. The Office of Correctional Education hopes to increase the number of high school diplomas earned statewide from 266 in FY 2018/19 to 500 in 2022/23.

A tablet with a rubberized case.
Tablet project enhances communications for incarcerated population

CDCR has embarked on an innovative program to help remove barriers for those in our care. Reduced and free telephone phone calls, combined with access to tablets statewide, will give incarcerated people the ability to communicate with family, access rehabilitative information and learn new technology.

ABOVE THE CALL

Two CDCR employees stand in front of a State of California seal.
CDCR employees rescue mom, child from sinking car

It wasn’t a typical Valentine’s Day for Matt and Andrea Jones when the CDCR employees came across a car sinking into a canal. Their story is another example of CDCR employees going above the call to help those in need.

Correctional Counselor stands in front of a prison building.
Correctional counselor’s quick actions save incarcerated person

The day seemed like any other Friday, but Correctional Counselor Ross Scott soon had to put his training to the test. He was sitting in his office at California Institution for Women (CIW) on Feb. 26 when he heard cries of help coming from the nearby dayroom.

Woman who pulled people from burning wreckage stands in front of a California flag.
Valley State Prison employee helps pull people from smoking wreckage

It was 1 p.m. Dec. 19, 2020, when Sgt. Veronica Escamilla and her spouse spotted the accident. Two damaged vehicles were pulling to a stop on the side of the road. Wisps of smoke curled out from under the hood of one of the more damaged cars.

BEYOND THE BADGE

Correctional Officer Ronald De Jesus rides the track at the 2020 Fire Police Motocross races.
Correctional Officer takes top honors at 2020 Fire Police Motocross races earlier this year

Not only is Ronald De Jesus passionate about his daily duties as a Correctional Officer at California Health Care Facility (CHCF), he’s also racked up years of wins at motocross events. At just 13, he started racing and still hits the off-road tracks every chance he gets. “I will keep racing until my limbs stop working,” he said.

Jason Anderson holds a bonsai tree.
Nature in miniature helps employee find work/life balance

Lt. Jason Anderson has worked for CDCR for more than two decades. After suffering two strokes, he made a decision to find ways to reduce stress. Inside CDCR caught up with Lt. Anderson to discuss his hobbies and life beyond the badge.

Brian Coates holds a book called A Gladiator's Journey.
Associate Warden writes book to cope with childhood trauma

For more than two decades, Brian Coates has worked for the department. Currently, he’s Associate Warden for CDCR’s Contract Bed Units. Coates recently penned a book, “A Gladiator’s Journey,” and says he’s preparing for the next chapter of his life — retirement.

HISTORY

Early female prison staff supervised women at San Quentin, like in this early courtyard image.
Early female prison staff ranged from support to custody

The first female correctional officers were hired to work in California’s male prisons in the early 1970s. But, women have held other positions or supervised incarcerated females for well over 100 years. In honor of Women’s History Month, Inside CDCR takes a closer look at some of the early female staff.

A female correctional sergeant and female cadets.
1987: Department publication highlights need for females in corrections

Revisit this 1987 story originally published in Correction News. — When Daniel J. McCarthy first became a correctional officer in 1949, the California Department of Corrections prohibited women from working inside a prison. In fact, women weren’t even allowed to tour prisons.

Woman sits in an office near flowers.
Inspiring Hope: Female volunteers help incarcerated population

Since establishing the state prison system in the 1850s, good-hearted neighbors have voluntarily stepped inside to help the incarcerated population. Without recognition or fanfare, they’ve improved the lives of countless people living in the state’s penal institutions.