The color pink may not be the first thing you expect to see on a CDCR uniform, but correctional staff statewide are donning pink patches in a show of strength against breast cancer.
Through the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all uniformed Correctional Officers are authorized to wear approved pink patches to support breast cancer awareness, according to the 2020 Uniform Handbook. Each institution chooses a nonprofit organization to support via patch sales, meaning proceeds from CDCR staff statewide support a wide variety of nonprofits helping find a cure for breast cancer.
Ironwood State Prison (ISP) in 2017 became the first CDCR institution to join the global Pink Patch Project, through which hundreds of partner law enforcement agencies throughout the world raise funds for scientific research and awareness.
ISP Sgt. Amanda Johnson was the driving force behind joining the movement, realizing after losing her grandfather to cancer that an organization as large as CDCR could support cancer research in a big way. With the support of Warden Neil McDowell, a patch was designed and ISP began supporting the Blythe Cancer Resource Center. Interest spread, with institutions statewide joining the cause. Today, CDCR institutions offer pink patches, t-shirts, wristbands, and other items that can be sold to officers, family members, and friends.
“As custody staff, we go to an academy to prepare us for what may happen inside the prison, but often the real battles are fought at home,” Johnson said. “You cannot prepare yourself to find out that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer. Working for a department that cares about its employees and their families is one of the best feelings.”
Patches must be removed from uniforms by November 1, 2021. For more information, visit pinkpatchproject.com.
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