California Model, Rehabilitation

CCWF is ‘Bridging the Gap’ between incarcerated, staff

Correctional lieutenant and a volunteer with an incarcerated person having lunch at Central California Women's Facility.
Selfies at lunch with Lt. Monique Williams and incarcerated during Bridging the Gap at CCWF, an effort of the California Model.

Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) hosted a Bridging the Gap event, providing a normalized environment for staff and the population.

The event falls in line with one of the California Model’s seven pillars of change: “efforts to normalize the environment.”  

(Video by Jeff Baur, TV Director Specialist).

The May 16 Bridging the Gap CCWF event took two months of coordination. The outcome provided an opportunity for staff and incarcerated individuals to interact with one another as equals with a full day of activities. 

“We have staff and incarcerated people engaging by having lunch together, and playing games just to get that normalcy of the California Model,” said Warden Anissa De La Cruz. 

Approximately 25 staff and nearly 100 incarcerated individuals worked and played side-by-side throughout the day. Activities included grilling hamburgers and hotdogs, enjoying snow cones and cotton candy, listening and dancing to a DJ, and playing yard games.

However, the ultimate witness of normalcy throughout the day was staff and incarcerated individuals involved in ordinary conversations and laughing.

Interacting as people

“Today’s event was something long overdue, as we are transitioning from an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ culture,” says Lt. John Cuske. “Rehabilitation is interacting with people as people. What I saw today was a baby step. We are making progress to work in a more fulfilling environment.”

Additionally, 22 outside guests from various organizations were available to the incarcerated population to provide information.

Guests included:

  • Anti-Recidivism Coalition;
  • Insight Garden Program;
  • Life Support Alliance;
  • Woman II Woman;
  • Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Education Program.

“Today felt like a piece of freedom,” says Nora Igova, an incarcerated person. “Mentally, that piece of freedom goes all the way to being a service to others and to become human beings.”

Story by Todd Javernick, Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications

Read more rehabilitation stories.

Follow us on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.