Chaplains, Jobs, Training and Facilities, Rehabilitation

CDCR Native American Spiritual Leaders guide with purpose

Man in front of Native American tribal flags while holding feathers.
CDCR Native American Spiritual Leader Michael Hermann said working with the incarcerated population is very rewarding.

Native American Day allows applicants to learn about CDCR

As Native American tribes gathered to celebrate their shared heritage and culture, CDCR staff were on hand to answer questions about working for the department.

Michael Hermann is one of many spiritual leaders who come from all faiths to guide those incarcerated in a CDCR facility. Hermann is a Native American Spiritual Leader working at Sierra Conservation Center. He began at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI). Between the two institutions, he’s been employed with CDCR for eight years. Prior to being hired full-time, he volunteered for a year at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla.

For anyone considering a chaplain/Native American Spiritual Leader career in CDCR, Hermann advises they do the same.

“Before I started coming inside the institution, the only thing I knew about prisons came from movies or television,” he said. “The biggest surprise was how most of those serving sentences in prison are just people who made mistakes in life.”

If people volunteer first, it helps them understand the culture and unique needs to provide spiritual guidance in a prison setting, he said.

As a spiritual leader, Hermann said his job is to help get people back on what’s called the Red Road.

“The Red Road is the term we use in Native American culture about living a better life and making healthier choices. Sometimes people get off the Red Road through bad life decisions and I help get them back on the right path,” he said. “We meet people where they are at the moment, not where they were in the past.”

At the start of the event, Hermann cleansed two CDCR recruiters with smoke from sage and cedar, an act called smudging.

“It keeps away the bad spirits and invites the good spirits,” he said.

Soon, a small line formed at the booth with others wanting to be smudged.

Recruiters discuss CDCR job opportunities

At the CDCR recruitment booth, Crysta Peele and Corina Zamora answered questions and provided information about career opportunities. Peele is the section manager for CDCR Recruitment and Career Services while Zamora is a Recruitment and Inclusion Analyst.

“We’ve had a good turnout so far,” said Zamora.

Peele said people are surprised to learn there are a variety of positions available.

“They’re really excited to see it’s not all custody positions,” she said.

Many other state agencies had recruitment booths at the event, ranging from the California Conservation Corps to CHP and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Open house career event is Sept. 28

CDCR is hosting an open house Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Enterprise Information Services (EIS) Campus, 1940 Birkmont Drive in Rancho Cordova. The event will help job seekers learn more about the department, job vacancies, and how to navigate the state civil service process.

EIS will also be offering same-day testing and interviews for information technology associates and specialists.

Make a reservation for the open house.

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