Inside CDCR

FEATURED STORIES

family photo with four people.
CDCR employee’s son graduates West Point

CDCR employees often open their wallets and hearts to those in need. For one family, they also opened their home and welcomed an additional son. Before joining CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education as the Supervisor of Academic Instruction, Marla Clayton Johnson was a vice principal at a Sacramento area high school. That’s where she met student Adrian Albin, a young man struggling with his grades.

VIDEOS

Incarcerated people wear face coverings during pandemic.
In this together: Insights, best practices for wearing masks

Incarcerated people serving on the Inmate Advisory Councils at several CDCR prisons share their reasons for wearing cloth facial barriers.


Special agent achieves goals in Command College

The desire to accomplish two major goals confronted Lucas Abarca, Special Agent of the CDCR Office of Internal Affairs. He wanted to encourage more people to consider CDCR as a law enforcement career and he wanted to improve his advancement opportunities. He found answers to both his desires in the Command College

Men and women run around a dirt track.
Embracing the inevitable – using cognitive computing to recruit police

Most efforts to address workforce shortages focus on recruitment strategies to solve the crisis. Changes to peace officer retention programs will have the most significant long-term impact to staffing needs. Only when retention challenges are prioritized and addressed will agencies reap the rewards from improved recruitment methods. Effective retention strategies, augmented by Cognitive Computing, may forge a symbiotic relationship between recruitment and retention to resolve long term challenges.

REHABILITATION

Aerial photo of a medical prison.
Correctional educators adapt to COVID-19 challenges

Schools across California faced challenges during the statewide shelter-in-place orders. Those same challenges were also faced by schools inside the state’s prison system. Correctional educators turned to communication, cooperation and innovation to achieve rehabilitative educational goals.

Photo of crocheted masks of different colors, characters and sizes.
Pelican Bay turns to mask-making

Crafts for Community (CFC) at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Facility D, Level II, has turned to crocheting masks. Volunteers include 10 inmates who are busy crocheting the much-needed items. In a week-and-a-half, they made over 50 masks to be distributed in the community. They hope to make hundreds more.

A round of applause for correctional educators

As CDCR celebrates education staff during National Teachers Week, Office of Correctional Education Superintendent Shannon Swain and her team gathered remotely to share their thanks for the people who make learning happen within state prisons.

ABOVE THE CALL

An officer puts handcuffs on a man.
Alert Parole Agent links high-risk parolee to sex crime

Sex-Offender Parole Agent Javier Cosme has a tough beat supervising high-risk sex offenders in the community. Mandated to wear GPS tracking devices on their ankles, these offenders are closely monitored.

Officer stands near a flag pole.
Correctional Officer headed for job interview talks down jumper

With thoughts of a Sergeant interview running through his mind, Correctional Officer Ranato Benitez-Sanchez was heading to Ironwood State Prison when he spotted a woman sitting on an overpass, looking down at traffic. Pulling over to ask if she was OK, he soon realized she was contemplating suicide.

Photos of a scarred head, a woman and man smiling, a crushed car and a helicopter at an accident scene.
Calipatria prison employee saves coworker in wreck

In the early morning hours on Friday, Sept. 6, the lives of two individuals would be drastically changed. While driving to work on Highway 111, Rosalie Cota came upon a huge cloud of dust blowing on the roadway, obscuring her vision, forcing her to slow down to a crawl. As the dust settled, Cota was able to see a vehicle on the opposite side of the road, flipped over and resting on the passenger side. The severely injured driver happened to be a correctional sergeant.

BEYOND THE BADGE

family photo with four people.
CDCR employee’s son graduates West Point

CDCR employees often open their wallets and hearts to those in need. For one family, they also opened their home and welcomed an additional son. Before joining CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education as the Supervisor of Academic Instruction, Marla Clayton Johnson was a vice principal at a Sacramento area high school. That’s where she met student Adrian Albin, a young man struggling with his grades.

Man in tuxedo with a closer mugshot superimposed in the corner.
CDCR employee finds balance through Mark Twain

A 19th century literary figure serves as inspiration for Northern California native B. Clay Shannon, a CDCR Case Records Analyst. He’s worked for the department since July 2018. Shannon’s interest in Samuel Clemens, better known as author Mark Twain, began at an early age. Inside CDCR caught up with Shannon to discuss how he strives to achieve work-life balance.

Retired San Quentin Associate Warden Richard Nelson smiles as he sits in the prison museum.
Retired Associate Warden Dick Nelson helps keep California prison history alive

San Quentin State Prison is the oldest state correctional facility in California and one man has made it his mission to help others remember its history. Associate Warden Richard “Dick” Nelson began his preservation efforts in 1986 while he was still employed at San Quentin. Inside CDCR recently caught up with Nelson in the San Quentin Prison Museum.

HISTORY

Eleanor Roosevelt walks near the photography department at San Quentin prison in 1943.
Behind the Photo: Explaining Eleanor Roosevelt’s San Quentin visit

CDCR’s photographic archive often leaves staff with more questions than answers. One such photo is that of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt at San Quentin State Prison. No additional information is provided with the image. Warden Clinton Duffy is shown walking alongside the First Lady. Given her status, it didn’t take long for Inside CDCR to uncover the story behind the photo.

A prison gate in the background with two grainy photos of a prison guard.
Correctional Officer survived slashed throat, shooting during 33 years of prison service

Correctional Officer Charles H. Jolly gave up his first career as a grocer after a devastating fire destroyed the Folsom business district. Already in his mid-50s, he went to work at Folsom State Prison in 1893. By the time he passed away in 1926, he held the record as the longest serving employee of the state prison system, logging 33 years.

Bandit mughsot of Tiburcio Vasquez and camels.
Notorious bandit’s fate tied to failed Army camel corps

Tiburcio Vasquez, an outlaw who plundered Central and Southern California for two decades, may owe his capture to a long forgotten military experiment. This latest installment of Unlocking History looks closer at a failed attempt by the U.S. government to settle the west with camels. It’s also a story about the outlaw who served as the inspiration for “Zorro.”