Inside CDCR News Blog

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CDCR librarian holds books.

CDCR Librarian Brandy Buenafe shares empowering love of books

Librarian Brandy Buenafe says her best childhood memory is riding her bicycle to her neighborhood library every morning during summer vacation. She was 10 years old. There, she would search for the library’s worn copy of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and continue to read the poignant story of an 11-year-old dealing with a troubled family.

VIDEOS

Men in caps and gowns at a graduation.

Seeking Safety graduation at Valley State Prison

A group of incarcerated men were celebrated at Valley State Prison (VSP) recently, where they completed 55 sessions of an evidence-based program designed to address trauma, combat substance use disorder, and focus on making positive decisions in the future.


Our Promise giving back campaign and a woman speaking.

Our Promise giving campaign kicks off today

Once again, CDCR and CCHCS are giving back in a big way via Our Promise: California State Employees Giving Back at Work. Through voluntary payroll deductions, staff can support a variety of nonprofit organizations of their choice.

San Diego community event with CDCR staff to help students.

San Diego students get help from RJ Donovan Correctional Facility

Richard J. Donavan Correctional Facility (RJD) recently teamed up with local community partners to distribute books and school supplies to underserved children.

REHABILITATION

CDCR librarian holds books.

CDCR Librarian Brandy Buenafe shares empowering love of books

Librarian Brandy Buenafe says her best childhood memory is riding her bicycle to her neighborhood library every morning during summer vacation. She was 10 years old. There, she would search for the library’s worn copy of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and continue to read the poignant story of an 11-year-old dealing with a troubled family.

Correctional education classroom with photo of superintendent superimposed.

Shannon Swain sees power of correctional education

It’s hard for Shannon Swain to pick the most memorable instance of the transformational power of correctional education. Swain is the superintendent in CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education. She oversees a swath of CDCR that many people don’t know exists – a dedicated school system of more than 50,000 students.

California Men's Colony mural shows landmarks of state.

California Men’s Colony mural honors state’s beauty

A nearly completed mural project exemplifies the cooperative nature of living in a non-designated programming facility, or NDPF. California Men’s Colony Facility B is just such a facility. In the Level III NDPF incarcerated participants are expected to live and work harmoniously with those around them, regardless of previous affiliations and convictions.

ABOVE THE CALL

Nursing staff with certifications

LAC nursing staff continue to receive praise for saving doctor

Registered Nursing staff at the California State Prison – Los Angeles County were honored  by executive staff for their swift action that contributed to saving a physician’s life.

A correctional officer with B Diaz on his uniform.

Off‑duty Correctional Officer helps capture escapee

Off-duty Correctional Officer Benny Diaz was at home when he was alerted to a stranger in his yard.

Three Ironwood prison staff.

Three Ironwood prison staff rescue infant from rollover crash

It is often said, heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary. That is what three Ironwood State Prison employees did earlier this year when they helped rescue a baby from a crash.

BEYOND THE BADGE

Correctional education classroom with photo of superintendent superimposed.

Shannon Swain sees power of correctional education

It’s hard for Shannon Swain to pick the most memorable instance of the transformational power of correctional education. Swain is the superintendent in CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education. She oversees a swath of CDCR that many people don’t know exists – a dedicated school system of more than 50,000 students.

School staff and guests at Dodger Stadium.

CCI Tehachapi Mountain Adult School staff bond during outings

The staff of Tehachapi Mountain Adult School (TMAS) at California Correctional Institute (CCI), along with those on the custody side, recently teamed up for a trip to Dodger Stadium. In all, 107 staff attended the outing, many of them experiencing their first Major League Baseball game.

first place medals and two prison staff members.

Two Solano staff take first place at US Police and Fire Championships

When it comes to shooting hoops, two CSP-Solano staff members slam-dunked a first-place win at the U.S. Police and Fire Championships.

HISTORY

A castle like building surrounded by overgrown trees.

1920s farm was early gender‑responsive rehabilitation

More than a decade before the California Institution for Women received its first residents, the state created the first reformatory for women. The 1919 effort, while short-lived, eventually led to constructing the new women’s building at San Quentin.

Mugshots of San Quentin inmate Frederick Charles Beck.

Behind the photo: Frederick Beck spirals into 1891 prison stint

An old saying claims a person’s eyes are the windows to the soul. Archival photos of those convicted of crimes can sometimes tell their own stories. One such photo is of California native Frederick Charles Beck, a 27-year-old convicted murderer sent to San Quentin State Prison in 1891.

Woman sitting at desk with California seal in the background.

Retired CCWF Warden Celestine ‘Teena’ Farmon passes away

Spanning a correctional career of more than three decades, retired Warden Celestine ‘Teena’ Farmon passed away July 18, 2021.