Beyond the Badge, California Model

Lieutenant Monique Williams stays active in CDCR

CO Lt. Monique Williams
Lieutenant Monique Williams

Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) Lieutenant Monique Williams, with 22 years at CDCR, exemplifies dedication to the department’s mission.

Williams began her career with the department in 2001 at Northern California Women’s Facility. When the facility closed, she transferred to California State Prison-Solano, then to Ironwood State Prison in 2003. She finally transferred to CCWF in 2008 where she currently serves as the institution’s Administrative Assistant/Public Information Officer. Williams recently completed a 34-month out-of-class assignment as Correctional Captain.

She has held the following positions:

  • Correctional Substance Use Counselor
  • Correctional Officer
  • Out-of-class Correctional Counselor
  • Correctional Sergeant
  • Correctional Lieutenant
  • and out-of-class Correctional Captain.

Williams has been a Peer Support member since 2010. She joined the CDCR Recruitment Team in 2019 and guest lectured at Fresno State University. She has also served as an Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment Ambassador since 2020. This year, she joined the Government Alliance on Racial and Equity (GARE) team.

As a CDCR Amend Ambassador, Williams traveled to Norway to observe Norwegian Correctional Services practices in April 2022, visiting different Norwegian male and female institutions. Williams and fellow CDCR staff took their observations and brought them back to implement into what has become the California Model.

“The California Model is excellent. It provides our staff with additional tools and resources on improving staff safety and wellness. We are simultaneously assisting the incarcerated individuals to become better neighbors and promoting public safety as they return to our communities. We are seeing a reduction in rules violations and incidents in the Psychiatric Inpatient Program, Youthful Offender Rehabilitative Communities, and the Rehabilitative Programming Units,” said Williams.

Q&A with Lieutenant Monique Williams

What motivated you to become a correctional officer?

I was motivated to become a correctional officer by a sweet woman in our local church who would gently recruit me every Sunday. My cousin in CDCR impressed me with her ability to take care of her family while enjoying her career.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy being a positive, motivating, powerful force in the world, affecting change by being a part of the solutions. I enjoy the family atmosphere, wisdom, and personal growth I have experienced in the department.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis? How do you overcome them?

I believe overcoming challenges requires staying connected to the wealth of knowledge shared by peers, subordinates, and leadership. Some of the greatest daily challenges come in the form of maintaining our professionalism and positive attitudes.

We must navigate the great changes occurring in the department as we are making the working and living environments better for all. Remaining abreast of the implementation of new policies, professional development, and training have been a great way I have overcome challenges. Allowing myself to learn from those knowledgeable individuals has been key. My personal relationship with my Creator and my faith has been a stabilizer and overcoming force.

How has your role as a correctional officer evolved over the years? What changes have you seen in the corrections industry?

My role as Correctional Officer has evolved over the years from providing safety and security of the institution by ensuring the individuals in our care remain housed. We have now evolved into providing meaningful rehabilitation, education, treatment, and restorative justice programs. These are all in a safe and humane environment. We are no longer just housing the population.

CDCR ensures the individuals in our care reintegrate into our communities as drug-free, healthy, and employable members of society. We have to remember to take care of (ourselves, too, as we’re) working hard day in and day out. Ensuring the health of the helper is the foundation. Accountability, transparency, and care is how we maintain the safety and security of the areas we are blessed to govern.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I love working for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. I have an excellent career, which has afforded me great benefits and unending opportunities.

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