Jobs and Training

New sergeants receive guidance through mentorship program

By the CDCR Advanced Learning Institute

CDCR is taking significant steps to better prepare its staff with the implementation of the new Correctional Sergeant Mentorship Program (CSMP).

This program will ensure that newly promoted sergeants receive guidance and direction consistent with the Department’s mission and vision while incorporating instructional elements designed to provide newly promoted sergeants with the greatest opportunity for success.

The CSMP will foster leadership development for mentors and mentees by creating a relationship where personal and professional challenges are met with guidance, support, and encouragement to improve knowledge and exposure.

Mentors will share critical knowledge and experience with mentees in order to foster teamwork-oriented philosophies and develop future leaders, while ensuring the legacy of the Department.

It is the policy of CDCR to develop competent sergeants capable of performing and maintaining essential services. The CSMP is an introductory program that assists with the transition to the sergeant classification by providing new sergeants with the resources and guidance to be successful.

The development of this program has involved numerous stakeholders of varying classifications and locations throughout the state.

“This has been something that is very near and dear to me. Several years ago, I was presented with the concept of this program and immediately recognized the impact it would have on newly promoted sergeants, staff serving as mentors, and the culture of the Department.

“This program will provide staff with the training, resources, and support they need to be successful. As the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions, I can tell you that I am very excited for the implementation of this program — truly a labor of love,” said Connie Gipson, Director, Division of Adult Institutions.

Upon appointment, sergeants will attend three weeks of training, which will include allotted time for job shadowing. At the completion of training, the newly promoted sergeants will report to their institution where they will be partnered with a lieutenant or experienced peer and will spend the duration of their probationary period working with their mentoring partner.

Experienced staff interested in being a mentor will have the opportunity to participate by submitting a letter of interest to their Hiring Authority indicating their interest in participating, as well as describing their personal attributes and qualifications. The Commission on Correctional Peace Officer Standards and Training (CPOST) will complete the vetting and final approval for all nominations.

“CPOST fully supports and is encouraged by the launch of this program! This is one of the most important investments the Department can make in the development of our first-line supervisors who then have direct impact on the training and morale of our line staff.

“With the incorporation of job shadowing and the mandate to provide training upon promotion, we strongly believe this program will begin to shift culture, and the expectations of how we support the transition of new staff at every level within the Department,” said Annemarie Del Mugnaio, Executive Director, CPOST.

The CSMP will be coordinated by a coach and assistant coach who are managers designated by the Hiring Authority at each institution. The coaches will be personally and actively involved in the program in order to assist with program management and to provide guidance and support.

The coach and assistant coach will provide a vital role in ensuring the program is successful. This will also provide newly promoted sergeants with the opportunity to have regular interaction with their management from the beginning of their new role.

The ultimate goal of the CSMP is to inspire and sustain cultural change throughout the Department, while better preparing our staff. The success of this program will be the model for future mentorship programs in the Department.

By providing training upon appointment with a year of ongoing mentorship, this program will contribute to the growth of our most important resource: our staff.