All Inside CDCR stories

A Day in the Life

Officer Webb and Warden Robertson in a decorated prison lobby.

Meet Officer Michael Webb, gate keeper

For over two decades, Correctional Officer Michael “Mike” Webb has helped CDCR fulfill its mission. As the General Population Entrance Gate Officer for Pelican Bay State Prison, he is the first line of defense.

Woman smiles at camera while other photos shows aerial view of a prison and Folsom Lake.

Correctional Business Manager duties goes beyond numbers

Since 2006, Sarah Shepherd has charted a unique career path, now serving as Correctional Business Manager at California State Prison, Sacramento. Someone unfamiliar with the job classification may think it is solely about number crunching. To reach her current position, Shepherd has gained experience working in different areas of the department, ranging from parole to the Division of Adult Institutions.

CDCR plant operations featured images with woman wearing cowboy hat, pink tie and sunglasses.

CDCR plant operations keep institutions running

CDCR plant operations keep the institutions running. From lights to water, they provide infrastructure for staff and incarcerated residents.

Appointments & Promotions

Retiring CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison and incoming Secretary Jeff Macomber.

Governor announces CDCR Secretary to retire

Governor Gavin Newsom today announced CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison will retire by the end of 2022, following more than three decades of service to the people of California.

New correctional officer holds a baby while a woman pins on his badge.

CDCR welcomes 218 new correctional officers

CDCR welcomed 218 new correctional officers after they successfully completed the Basic Correctional Officer Academy.

Grandfather, son and grandson wearing CDCR uniforms representing three generations.

Three generations honor CDCR badge

When 218 cadets graduated from the Academy earlier this month, one family added to their generations of public service with CDCR.

Awards & Appreciation

Medal of Valor logo.

2023 Medal of Valor nominations are open

Nominations for Medal of Valor will be accepted through January 31, 2023. The awards recognize employees who distinguished themselves the previous year. The awards recognize heroism, bravery, or service beyond the normal demands of correctional/community service.

Santa and Christmas tree with people standing in front.

DJJ holiday tradition returns for last time

How sweet it was as a long holiday tradition of managers serving staff a sumptuous holiday feast resumed at the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) this year, marking the last holiday gatherings before closure in June.

SCC staff and warden serve food during employee appreciation event.

SCC shows appreciation for employees

Showing appreciation for employees, Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) hosted a special event Nov. 2 to thank staff for all their hard work.

Beyond the Badge

CDCR recruiters with others at a Martin Luther King event in Sacramento.

Recruiters join Martin Luther King event

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr, CDCR recruitment teams joined thousands of community members at the March for the Dream event on Monday, January 16. The annual event is one of three walking rallies in Sacramento to celebrate the civil rights leader.

CALPIA

Reentry hiring event at CCWF with CALPIA and warden.

Reentry hiring events prove successful at CCWF

A recent civil service exam and hiring event organized by multiple State agencies at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) proved successful as a reentry program.

Secretary Allison speaks at a graduation for CALPIA.

CALPIA graduates recognized at RJD

Rain couldn’t dampen the spirits at a graduation ceremony hosted by the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) at RJ Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) in early November.

Incarcerated students hold certificates and job certifications at California Men's Colony.

CALPIA graduates receive job certifications, apprenticeships

The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA), in partnership with CDCR, recognized 56 incarcerated individuals with accredited job certifications and/or apprenticeships at the California Men’s Colony (CMC).   

CDCR Time Capsule

A female correctional sergeant and female cadets.

1987: Department publication highlights need for females in corrections

Revisit this 1987 story originally published in Correction News. — When Daniel J. McCarthy first became a correctional officer in 1949, the California Department of Corrections prohibited women from working inside a prison. In fact, women weren’t even allowed to tour prisons.

Five mugshots of three men and two women.

By the numbers: History of the inmate numbering system

A mid-1990s report penned by San Quentin Associate Warden Dick Nelson looks closer at the inmate identification numbering system and how it got started in California. Some who have been assigned numbers include stagecoach bandits Black Bart, Rattlesnake Dick and Charley Dorsey. Inside CDCR revisits Nelson’s report to put the number system into context.

A sign for Corcoran Prison features drawings of a prison tower and buildings.

Photo Timeline: CSP‑Corcoran

During the 1980s and ’90s, California expanded the prison system. The original 12 prisons were supplemented with new facilities ranging from Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City to R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. Today, CDCR operates 35 adult institutions. One of those newer facilities is California State Prison, Corcoran. The men’s facility was activated in 1988 after two years of planning and another two years of construction.

Community Involvement

Two dogs rest at a New Life K-9 graduation ceremony.

CMC food sales raise $26k for New Life K‑9s

Two recent food sales generated $146,558 for the Inmate Welfare Fund, local businesses and the New Life K-9s program.

An artistic luminary on a prison track.

SATF population donate $16k to community

Recent fundraising activities saw California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran (SATF) donate $16,600 to the community.

CDCR recruiters with others at a Martin Luther King event in Sacramento.

Recruiters join Martin Luther King event

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr, CDCR recruitment teams joined thousands of community members at the March for the Dream event on Monday, January 16. The annual event is one of three walking rallies in Sacramento to celebrate the civil rights leader.

DAPO

People on parole get help with "treatment and housing" according to a sign hanging from a reentry fair booth.

CDCR, partners providing critical reentry help

The new Reentry Resource Center at Mather now offers weekly face-to-face help for registered participants with 300 visiting a reentry fair.

Parole agents stand outside a door for a compliance check during Operation Boo.

Operation Boo: Parole agents keep families safe

On Halloween night, parole agents from CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) arrested 49 people across the state for violations related to failed compliance checks during Operation Boo.   

Command College with Karen Reed and Chief Deputy Jason Johnson.

Reed is first from DAPO to graduate Command College

Karen Reed, acting Parole Administrator, is the first from the Division of Adult Parole Operations to graduate Command College.

Division of Juvenile Justice

Camp staff and leadership.

Pine Grove staff honored as DJJ transitions

After nearly 80 years, this month Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (PGYCC) transferred from the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions. The transfer is part of the realignment of juvenile justice treatment and rehabilitative services to counties.

Santa and Christmas tree with people standing in front.

DJJ holiday tradition returns for last time

How sweet it was as a long holiday tradition of managers serving staff a sumptuous holiday feast resumed at the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) this year, marking the last holiday gatherings before closure in June.

Two Pine Grove youth participants carry holiday trees through a lobby.

From Pine Grove, a holiday tradition continues

Every year, youth from the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp deliver fresh cut holiday trees to DJJ facilities and CDCR headquarters in Sacramento.

Dog News

Incarcerated dog trainer speaking to students touring a prison.

College students see rehabilitation in action

The California Medical Facility (CMF) Paws 4 Life rehabilitation program took aim at educating criminal justice students.

A woman presents a folded flag to a K-9 officer.

CDCR says farewell to K‑9 Tucker

Staff and friends said farewell to CDCR K-9 Tucker in a memorial service Dec. 14. Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) staff, along with Central Region K-9 Unit officers and the family of Tucker’s handler, gathered to honor the K-9s service to the department.

Puppies and volunteers on a parade float for the New Life K-9 Program.

CMC New Life K‑9 Program goes on parade

The California Men’s Colony (CMC) New Life K-9 Program brought in the holiday season by participating in the 46th Annual Downtown Holiday Parade in San Luis Obispo.

Employee Wellness

International Day of Yoga logo

Participate in International Yoga Day through CDCR Wellness App

June 21 marks the eighth International Day of Yoga. Originating in India, Yoga is an ancient practice. Its name is from a word meaning “to join or unite,” referring to an alliance of body and mind. This year’s theme is “Yoga for Humanity,” promoting a sustainable lifestyle in the world around us, including our families, friends, and co-workers.

CDCR recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month

Since 1949, the United States has observed May as Mental Health Awareness Month. First started by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization, Mental Health Awareness Month attempts to raise awareness and increase understanding about mental health.

Office of Employee Wellness

CDCR looks for ways to support retirees

To expand wellness resources available for all employees, the Office of Employee Wellness (OEW) is working to create and enhance programs, resources, and methods of support for CDCR and CCHCS employees and their families. In addition to overseeing the statewide Peer Support Program (PSP), the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the CDCR Wellness App, and Law Enforcement Chaplains (LECS/CCC), OEW provides psychosocial education and a pathway to departmental and professional resources when needed.

Firefighters

Camp staff and leadership.

Pine Grove staff honored as DJJ transitions

After nearly 80 years, this month Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (PGYCC) transferred from the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions. The transfer is part of the realignment of juvenile justice treatment and rehabilitative services to counties.

Incarcerated worker points while others lay plastic

CDCR crews keep storm damage at bay

When the storm hits, CDCR and its partners step up. As part of storm response efforts statewide, staff and crews from Delta Conservation Camp were hard at work Friday filling and stacking hundreds of sandbags to protect the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area.

Bautista canyon fire.

Residents thank fire crews for saving community

Hundreds of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles County conservation camp participants responded to the Fairview Fire near Hemet, which started on Sept. 5 in Bautista Canyon.

Inside CDCR Videos

Incarcerated person does bike refurbishing program at Folsom Prison.

Bike refurbishing program is year‑long effort

Throughout 2022, incarcerated person Frank Jachwak spent much of his time in the Folsom State Prison workshop in the bike refurbishing program.

Woman holding microphone performing stand-up comedy.

Amber Whitford offers wit through comedy

Amber Whitford, a longtime CDCR employee, finds comedy in work, life and even unseen disabilities.

Athletes in wheelchairs play basketball in a gymnasium

Wheelchair basketball rolls into CMF

The new wheelchair basketball program at California Medical Facility (CMF) is teaching sportsmanship, athletic skill, and acceptance.

Jobs & Training

DRP Staff Services Manager academy with people holding crisscrossed lines.

DRP launches Staff Services Manager Academy

A new Staff Services Manager Training Academy is part of the effort to train high quality supervisors and leaders at the Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP). The first session was held on Jan. 18. The academy consists of 12 in-person daylong sessions over the course of the year. Session topics include Crucial Conversations, Emotional Intelligence, Fostering a Team Environment, and Leadership.

Unlocked podcast equipment

Podcast focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion

The latest CDCR Unlocked podcast dives into diversity, equity and inclusion with Sarina Calderon, Associate Director of the Office of Civil Rights.

Woman at a whiteboard in a classroom.

Academic Coach Sutherland to visit Rwanda

Deanna Sutherland, an academic coach with CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education (OCE), has been selected to visit Rwanda as part of her doctorate program.

Obituaries

Officer Eduardo Arreola in uniform.

Officer Eduardo Arreola passes away at 38

Correctional Officer Eduardo Arreola, 38, passed away Jan. 24, 2023. He began his CDCR career in October 2016 at the Basic Correctional Officer Academy. After graduating, he reported to Ironwood State Prison, where he remained until his passing.

Obituary photo for Kenneth Ellison.

Kenneth Ellison, retired mechanic, passes away

Retired Maintenance Mechanic Kenneth Ray Ellison passed away Jan. 23, 2023. Ellison began his CDCR career as a Painter II in June 1998 at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran (SATF). In November 2002, he became a Maintenance Mechanic at SATF, where he remained until retiring in December 2022.

Man with microphone speaks in front of a photo of Officer Manuel Gonzalez at a memorial anniversary service.

18 years later, CIM honors Officer Gonzalez

In 2005, Correctional Officer Manuel Gonzalez was stabbed to death while on duty at California Institution for Men (CIM). To honor his memory, staff continue to gather on the anniversary of his death.

Prison Health Care

Graduation banner and a man speaking at a lectern.

ISUDT achievements at Sierra Conservation Center

In October, Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) facilitated its first Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT) graduation for 90 participants.

Officer supervises two incarcerated people stirring large kettles of food

Menu changes emphasize healthy diet

CDCR and CCHCS’ dedication to healthy eating is reflected in recent menu changes that put healthy choices front and center on everybody’s plate.

Three men at Correctional Training Facility at ISUDT graduation.

46 graduate ISUDT at Correctional Training Facility

On June 14 and June 30, the Correctional Training Facility and the Division of Rehabilitative Programs hosted two Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment (ISUDT) graduations on Facilities B and C.

Rehabilitation

A prison library with curved shelves.

Freedom Libraries empower prison residents

The national non-profit Freedom Reads has partnered with CDCR to open Freedom Libraries at Valley State Prison (VSP) and Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla.

Archbishop at San Quentin prison delivers a Christmas Eve Mass.

Archbishop delivers SQ Christmas Eve Mass

The Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone returned to San Quentin’s Catholic Chapel to celebrate the traditional Christmas Eve Mass for the first time since 2019. COVID-19 restrictions prevented the Archbishop from visiting the prison in 2020 and 2021.

Woman at a whiteboard in a classroom.

Academic Coach Sutherland to visit Rwanda

Deanna Sutherland, an academic coach with CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education (OCE), has been selected to visit Rwanda as part of her doctorate program.

Secretary's Corner

Heroes work here sign with the CDCR logo and an American flag.

Secretary, Receiver thank staff for service

As we enter the month of May, and reflect on the year behind us and the one before us, we wanted to send a collective thank you to all of our incredible staff across the state. Whether you are in one of our 35 prisons, working in a parole office, in DJJ, in a field office, or in headquarters, thank you for your hard work. Thank you for your dedication and for serving the people of our great state, your communities, and your families with love and unwavering commitment, even as we faced the biggest health crisis our world has seen in a century.

Photo of Kathleen Allison, Secretary of CDCR.

Important COVID‑19 message from Secretary Allison

On Dec. 3, Governor Newsom announced a new regional stay at home order as COVID-19 numbers continue to climb statewide. The new order will be tied to intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in the state’s five regions if it falls below 15%. Too many families are being impacted, including many in CDCR. As Secretary, I am committed to ensuring our more than 60,000 employees do their part to avoid this scenario.

Woman facing camera

Thanksgiving message from Secretary Allison

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, albeit in a different way than in years past, and as the holiday season begins, I would like to express my gratitude for each and every one of you, our hardworking staff at CDCR and CCHCS, for your tireless work and commitment to our department and to the people we serve.

Sports

A man wearing a SF 49ers sweater visits kids and their incarcerated parents at San Quentin prison.

49ers visit San Quentin to Inspire Change

The 49ers recently brought joy to the children of incarcerated men at San Quentin State Prison as part of the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.

Athletes in wheelchairs play basketball in a gymnasium

Wheelchair basketball rolls into CMF

The new wheelchair basketball program at California Medical Facility (CMF) is teaching sportsmanship, athletic skill, and acceptance.

Basketball goes into net at San Quentin as referee holds up three fingers.

Golden State Warriors return to San Quentin

The Golden State Warriors faced off against the San Quentin Warriors for the first time since the pandemic. On Friday, Sept. 16, Golden State Warriors staff ranging from players and coaches to support, returned to San Quentin State Prison to continue their decade-long face off.

Other stories

Daylight saving time graphic shows clock and fall leaves.

Remember to set clocks back one hour Saturday night

Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2 a.m., Sunday, November 7, 2021, when the clocks “fall back” one hour. To best follow the time change, it is recommended to set the clock back an hour when heading to bed Saturday night.

A decorated cake has the words Happy 245th Birthday Marine Corps.

Avenal prison staff honor Veterans Day, Marine Corps birthday with cakes

Avenal State Prison Correctional Lt. and former Marine John Mendiboure continued an annual tradition of honoring the institutions’ veterans by holding a cake-cutting ceremony in the snack bar.

Staff-carved pumpkins are displayed at California Institution for Women.

Pumpkin carving spurs staff competition at CIW

Staff from the California Institution for Women (CIW) put their creative skills to the test by carving pumpkins to display at the institution. The friendly contest was judged by their peers.

Unlocking History

Prison cemetery with images of two men superimposed.

Cemetery Tales: A ranch hand and a burglar

As part of the Cemetery Tales series, Inside CDCR takes a closer look at the stories behind two grave markers housed at the San Quentin Prison Museum.

Prison guards stand near guard house.

Walking the Walls: A history of custody staff

In honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, Inside CDCR takes a closer look at the history of custody staff and how their roles have evolved.

Herbert Repsold San Quentin booking photos with prison in the background.

Peculiar case of the Perfumed Burglar

Perfume, purloined jewelry and a millionaire’s son form the complex story of Herbert Repsold, also known as the Perfumed Burglar.

Victim & Survivor Rights

CTF guest speaker discusses victims and crimes.

CTF events give victims a voice

Near the end of April, the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) held their 10th annual National Crime Victims Week events, hosted by the Amity Foundation.

Ironwood prison raises money by walking for victims of the Ukraine war.

Staff, incarcerated walk for Ukraine war victims

Ironwood State Prison’s incarcerated population, led by Warden Neil McDowell and Chief Deputy Warden John Merchant, walked to raise funds for victims of the war in Ukraine.

Ironwood Redemption and Forgiveness workshop seeks to heal

For National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Ironwood State Prison offered a Redemption and Forgiveness workshop, helping serve victims of crime.