All Inside CDCR stories

A Day in the Life

Woman wears cowboy hat, pink tie and sunglasses.
CDCR’s plant operations keep institutions running

Every day, CDCR and CCHCS employees maintain public safety through incarceration, supervision and rehabilitation. To accomplish these goals, staff require functioning infrastructure. That infrastructure is kept running thanks to the efforts of those working in plant operations. Plants operations is a vital part of the state prison system, according to Avenal Correctional Plant Manager Catherine Lowas.

Above the Call

California Institution for Men aerial view.
CDCR to offer user-friendly scheduling app for video visits

As part of its continued effort to improve the video visiting experience, CDCR will provide a user-friendly app to help friends and family schedule video visits with incarcerated people.

Appointments & Promotions

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility aerial view.
Warden named at Richard J. Donovan

Governor Newsom recently appointed Marcus A. Pollard warden of the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. He has served as acting warden since 2019.

Awards & Appreciation

Medal of Valor loog.
Nomination period open for Medal of Valor honors

The nominating period for Medal of Valor is open through Jan. 31. The annual awards recognize employees and community members who distinguished themselves. The awards recognize heroism, bravery, or service beyond the normal demands of correctional/community service.

Beyond the Badge

Correctional Officer Ronald De Jesus rides the track at the 2020 Fire Police Motocross races.
Correctional Officer takes top honors at 2020 Fire Police Motocross races earlier this year

Not only is Ronald De Jesus passionate about his daily duties as a Correctional Officer at California Health Care Facility (CHCF), he’s also racked up years of wins at motocross events. At just 13, he started racing and still hits the off-road tracks every chance he gets. “I will keep racing until my limbs stop working,” he said.

CALPIA

Female inmates and others pose with large oversized checks.
Offenders give back to crime victims’ groups through CALPIA’s Joint and Free Venture Programs

CDCR inmates who participate in California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) programs are giving back to various crime victims’ support groups throughout the state for a total of more than $74,000. The money comes from offenders participating in CALPIA’s Joint or Free Venture Programs at five California institutions.

CDCR Time Capsule

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.

Community Involvement

VSP staff collected toys and clothing to be donated to needy families.
VSP staff donated food, clothing in multiple drives

Valley State Prison (VSP) staff donated toys, clothing, food and sleeping bags gathered in at least five drives to help the needy in December.

DAPO

CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz attends a meeting of the Transgender Housing and Search Workgroup.
Governor Newsom signs Senate Bill 132 to respect gender identity during incarceration

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 132, The Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act, legislation that will allow incarcerated transgender, non-binary and intersex people to be housed and searched in a manner consistent with their gender identity. The new law will become effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Division of Juvenile Justice

Supervising Cook Barbara Moreau sits at a desk at Pine Grove camp.
Supervising Cook Barbara Moreau keeps crews fed at Pine Grove camp

Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (PGYCC) Correctional Supervising Cook Barbara Moreau helps feed fire crews and those who stay behind to support the camp.

Dog News

Dog sits in passenger seat of car.
CMF staff take in dogs from Paws For Life program

When cases of COVID-19 started spiking at California Medical Facility (CMF) leaders made the painful decision to evacuate the dogs in the Paws For Life (PFL) program. The problem was finding people who could take them on such short notice. The staff at CMF stepped up to re-house the animals.

Employee Health & Wellness

Three woman stand behind a table of food.
CCWF staff raises awareness to prevent suicides

As part of Suicide Prevention Week at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) staff are bringing awareness to suicide and suicide prevention by providing informational handouts from local mental health and suicide prevention agencies.

Firefighters

Michael Gebre fights a fire.
Ventura Training Center cadets return from 2 months on fire line

As wildfires continue to sweep through California, current and past Ventura Training Center (VTC) cadets are doing their part to keep communities safe. On Oct. 14, crews 1 and 2 demobilized after 60 straight days responding to fires. To welcome them back, staff and cadets at VTC lined the entrance, cheering them as they returned.

Inside CDCR Videos

Paula discusses her battle with COVID.
CMF psychiatric tech battles to recover from COVID

Please take a moment to watch this short video of Paula Meyer, psychiatric technician at California Medical Facility sharing her story about battling COVID-19.

Jobs & Training

Mule Creek State Prison staff help in the kitchens during quarantine.
With Mule Creek kitchens shorthanded, other staff stepped in to help

When many buildings at Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) went on quarantine in December, Facilities D and E satellite kitchens were left without incarcerated support teams. To fulfill the basic needs of those kitchens, staff from various disciplines stepped up to feed the incarcerated population.

Obituaries

Michael Pisecki

Deuel Vocational Institution reported the Aug. 31, 2020, passing of Radiological Technologist Michael Pisecki.

Prison Health Care

Incarcerated people wear face coverings during pandemic.
In this together: Insights, best practices for wearing masks

Incarcerated people serving on the Inmate Advisory Councils at several CDCR prisons share their reasons for wearing cloth facial barriers.

Rehabilitation

California Institution for Men aerial view.
CDCR to offer user-friendly scheduling app for video visits

As part of its continued effort to improve the video visiting experience, CDCR will provide a user-friendly app to help friends and family schedule video visits with incarcerated people.

Secretary's Corner

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.

Sports

Female officers stand at attention while holding flags.
CIW Honor Guard presents colors at Clippers vs Kings game

On Jan. 30, the California Institution for Women (CIW) Honor Guard participated in presenting the flags for the National Anthem during opening ceremonies at the Staples Center for the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Sacramento Kings game. The center was full as it was also a memorial for the nine lives lost in the helicopter crash. Two of those killed were retired basketball player Kobe Bryant and his young daughter.

Other stories

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.

Unlocking History

Prison guard Henry Herrill and his wife along with a photo of Herrill in an early Knights of Pythias uniform.
Early prison guard HC Herrill exemplified community involvement

As part of an ongoing effort to tell the forgotten stories of early prison staff, Inside CDCR takes a closer look at Henry C. Herrill. The California native served as a guard at San Quentin and Folsom prisons, followed by a career as a county deputy constable. Despite devastating personal losses, Herrill volunteered his time to improve the community.

Victim & Survivor Rights

Individual using computer keyboard
CDCR’s Victim and Survivor Rights and Services enhances communication

CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) announced a new online service. Beginning July 27, victims and family members will be able to chat and directly instant message an OVSRS Victim Advocate to check the status of their case.