Inside CDCR

FEATURED STORIES

Michael Gebre fights a fire.
Ventura Training Center cadets return from 2 months on fire line

As wildfires continue to sweep through California, current and past Ventura Training Center (VTC) cadets are doing their part to keep communities safe. On Oct. 14, crews 1 and 2 demobilized after 60 straight days responding to the River, LNU Lighting Complex, El Dorado, and Creek fires. To welcome them back, staff and cadets at VTC shined up the fire engines, hung banners, and lined the entrance, cheering them as they returned for some much-needed rest.

VIDEOS

Man in uniform discusses Badge of Brothers for the Our Promise campaign.
Our Promise: Badge of Brothers helps first responders in need

Like most CDCR and CCHCS staff, the members of Badge of Brothers prefer to keep a low profile, helping out behind the scenes instead of standing in the spotlight. But make no mistake: The organization has helped many families in need through financial support during crises.


Fall leaves and a clock.
Turn clocks back 1 hour at 2 a.m. Nov. 1

It’s time to “fall back” on Nov. 1 at 2 a.m. when clocks are turned back one hour to mark the end of Daylight Saving Time.

Jose Morales in firefighting gear.
Formerly incarcerated firefighter found success through training, reentry program

When Jose Morales began serving a five-year sentence for second-degree robbery in 2016, he discovered rehabilitative programs. His focus turned to the Firefighter Training and Reentry Program (FTRP).

OUR PROMISE

Man in uniform discusses Badge of Brothers for the Our Promise campaign.
Our Promise: Badge of Brothers helps first responders in need

Like most CDCR and CCHCS staff, the members of Badge of Brothers prefer to keep a low profile, helping out behind the scenes instead of standing in the spotlight. But make no mistake: The organization has helped many families in need through financial support during crises.

Amy Miller holds an "I Promised" sign.
What’s your why? CDCR Director shares her reasons for giving

“I give during the Our Promise campaign because I am going to give to my favorite charities anyway,” said Amy Miller. “By doing it this way, I don’t have to write a check or figure out how to give to them. Instead, it comes right out of my paycheck and then, when I hear about the great things those organizations are doing in our communities, I am thrilled that my contribution helped to make that happen.”

Type 1 to Type None: JDRF is on the path to a cure

Kim Eaton supports JDRF through Our Promise, a statewide campaign in which state workers can sign up to make voluntary payroll deductions to nonprofits of their choice. There are many ways to give, whether through financial donations, giving your time to causes you are passionate about, or sharing information about groups whose work is important to you.

REHABILITATION

A garden thrives at Pelican Bay State Prison.
Incarcerated gardeners beautify Pelican Bay State Prison

Artwork and murals aren’t the only ways to improve prison grounds, according to those involved in the innovative gardening program at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Level II Facility. “The garden is a living and thriving environment. It is symbolic of the positive changes and successes of this place,” said gardening program participant Jose Contreras.

Silhouettes of Ventura Training Center firefighters against blazes in the trees.
For over 50 days, Ventura Training Center fire crews have battled blazes

For 52 days, strike teams from the Ventura Training Center have protected property and lives by battling four of California’s devastating wildfires.

CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz attends a meeting of the Transgender Housing and Search Workgroup.
Governor Newsom signs Senate Bill 132 to respect gender identity during incarceration

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 132, The Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act, legislation that will allow incarcerated transgender, non-binary and intersex people to be housed and searched in a manner consistent with their gender identity. The new law will become effective Jan. 1, 2021.

ABOVE THE CALL

Crushed car.
Off-duty CDCR sergeant gives teen crash victim a fighting chance

When Sgt. William Eberly left work at San Quentin on Sept. 4, he checked his GPS navigator for the fastest way home. Instead of taking a quicker way, he chose to ignore the device and take his usual route. Because of that last-minute decision, he was able to stop and help a young driver critically injured in an accident.

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.

BEYOND THE BADGE

Photos show Dustin Stegall in a burned out fire area and in the water helping save a man.
Correctional Officer Dustin Stegall volunteers to rescue others

When Correctional Officer Dustin Stegall isn’t fulfilling CDCR’s mission of maintaining public safety, he steps into the role of rescuer. For four years, Officer Stegall has volunteered for the Kern County Search and Rescue (SAR) team.

Two men stand in front of a sign that says Not OK Project.
Correctional Officer helps others through suicide-prevention organization

For nearly seven years, Correctional Officer Jason Williams has helped fulfill CRCR’s public safety mission at California State Prison, Sacramento. In his off-time, he volunteers as the vice president of a charitable suicide-prevention group.

Bearded man wearing a hat.
CDCR employee records ‘Scary Stories to Keep You Six Feet Apart’

CDCR employees have sewn masks, donated personal protective equipment to hospitals and assisted non-profit organizations struggling during the pandemic. When a CSP-Corcoran TV Specialist wanted to help, he turned on his camera and got creative. To help reinforce physical distancing, Television Specialist Hugh M. Neely is crafting a web series called “Spooky Stories …to Keep You Six feet Apart.”

HISTORY

Five mugshots of three men and two women.
By the numbers: History of the inmate numbering system

A mid-1990s report penned by San Quentin Associate Warden Dick Nelson looks closer at the inmate identification numbering system and how it got started in California. Some who have been assigned numbers include stagecoach bandits Black Bart, Rattlesnake Dick and Charley Dorsey. Inside CDCR revisits Nelson’s report to put the number system into context.

A sign for Corcoran Prison features drawings of a prison tower and buildings.
Photo Timeline: CSP-Corcoran

During the 1980s and ’90s, California expanded the prison system. The original 12 prisons were supplemented with new facilities ranging from Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City to R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. Today, CDCR operates 35 adult institutions. One of those newer facilities is California State Prison, Corcoran. The men’s facility was activated in 1988 after two years of planning and another two years of construction.

A stamped piece of copper shows a cartoon character wearing a baseball uniform. In the background is an areal photo of Folsom Prison.
Behind the Photo: San Francisco Giants artwork was crafted at Folsom Prison

A piece of art came to Inside CDCR’s attention. Originally believed to have been purchased at a San Francisco art show, the item turned out to be the work of an inmate artist in Folsom State Prison.