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CDCR, CCHCS advancing race and gender equity in 2020

Men and women stand under a CDCR logo while holding a framed certificate.
Some of the CDCR/CCHCS GARE team.

GARE completes second year

By CDCR/CCHCS Race and Gender Equity Team

CDCR and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) have completed their second successful year in the Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE) Capitol Cohort, sponsored by Race Forward and the Health in All Policies, Strategic Growth Council. Now, they are looking forward.

2018 – The Learning Year

During the first GARE cohort, titled the Learning Year, the CDCR/CCHCS team was introduced to the core concepts of racial equity and its applicability to state government. Concepts included a training curriculum on the history, language, practices, and tools that embed racial equity approaches into institutional culture, policies, and practices. Also included were core themes for communicating about racial equity and how it is connected and vital to the mission of our organization.

2019 – Implementation Year

People stand under a screen that says GARE California Convention.
The CDCR/CCHCS team participate in GARE.

With the momentum building on this work and the continued commitment from executive leadership, the CDCR/CCHCS team had the opportunity to participate in the GARE 2019 cohort.

This second year, entitled the Implementation Year continued with training sessions, data research, strategic discussion, planning and communication on a blueprint to move the department forward on its mission to advance race and gender equity within the department.

The second year concluded with a team commencement in November highlighting the assiduous work and accomplishments of the individual state departments.

CDCR/CCHCS, one of the largest departments in the cohort and the only law enforcement agency completed the year with various achievements that will support the department’s efforts for its continued work in 2020. The team was successful with finalizing a 5-year strategic action plan to guide practices and core strategies. 

The team hosted facilitated presentations and conversations to inform management and staff about GARE and the work to normalize the conversation around race and gender equity.

The presentations offered awareness and emphasized the validity and significance of this work and the resulting impact it will have on the overall department. The team reviewed available data, identifying intervention points to improve equity in recruiting, hiring and promotional processes.

Team leaders also completed the Advancing Racial Equity T4T, participated in a mid-year Cohort Panel discussion on the importance of racial equity, and ended the year with a two-day workshop to reflect on the year’s work and strategize on next steps moving forward.

2020 – Next steps and a clear vision

Race and gender equity work is intentional and multi-generational which means it must be sustainable if the department is to affect committed change. To accomplish this, the work must have a permanent home within the department. The creation of a dedicated unit within the Office of Civil Rights is underway to standardize and operationalize the work towards diversity and inclusion.

Additionally, a website will be developed to assist with communication and provide a point of access for information. A newsletter will be published periodically to provide updates and important information on the progress of the departments’ equity work.

The third year will also focus on engaging the workforce of CDCR/CCHCS. Given the size and magnitude of both departments, CDCR/CCHCS is seeking to recruit individuals who can be ambassadors assisting with communication to our diverse workforce. If you support, are committed to and passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion, we need you to join this effort.