All Inside CDCR stories

A Day in the Life

Woman smiles at camera while other photos shows aerial view of a prison and Folsom Lake.
Correctional Business Manager keeps institution running

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.

Above the Call

Avenal Prison visiting area featuring characters from Monsters Inc.
Visiting room gets kid-friendly facelift thanks to Avenal State Prison artists

Incarcerated artists at Avenal State Prison gave the Facility B visiting room a facelift. Now kid-friendly, the children’s area will be more welcoming for young family members during visits.

Appointments & Promotions

California capitol building.
Governor appoints three to key CDCR posts

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the following appointments on April 14: Katie James as Chief of the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services; Giselle “Gigi” A. Matteson as Warden at California State Prison, Solano; and Matthew Atchley as Warden at Salinas Valley State Prison.

Awards & Appreciation

Women’s history honored at Chuckawalla Valley prison

Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (CVSP) recently hosted its first National Women’s History Month celebration. Carie Covel, Associate Warden of Business Services, coordinated the March 24 event with several others, highlighting this year’s theme, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be silenced.”

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

Man stands beside Caltrans truck.
CALPIA graduate finds success at Caltrans

Maynard Walker, who was incarcerated at the California Institution for Men for several years, took part in CALPIA’s Commercial Dive Program. He learned commercial diving, underwater welding, physics, physiology, blueprint reading, among other valuable job skills.

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.

Community Involvement

Avenal prison painted skateboard featured three portraits.
Avenal prison skateboard artists’ work helps kids

For the second consecutive year, Avenal State Prison incarcerated artists painted skateboards for Fresno Skateboard Salvage. Thanks to their creativity, $10,500 was raised to help children.

DAPO

Firefighters training by a truck with supervisors.
Parole reentry efforts highlight public-private partnerships

CDCR Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) will be starting a quarterly newsletter highlighting the many reentry services provided by the Adult Program Unit (APU). These services are designed to aid formerly incarcerated individuals while they’re on parole. APU strives to provide parolees with the tools to successfully reintegrate into society and provide them with the opportunity to give back to the community.

Division of Juvenile Justice

DJJ staff donated a car load of frozen turkeys.
Division of Juvenile Justice rallies to help communities

The holidays in 2020 were very different due to the pandemic, but that didn’t stop Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) staff and youth from helping families in need.

Dog News

A dog wears a support animal vest.
When New Life K-9 dog needs surgery, participants pitch in to help

When one of the New Life K-9 program dogs needed help, Pleasant Valley State Prison’s incarcerated population was ready.

Employee Health & Wellness

Two men and one woman stand in front of the Wasco State Prison Reception Center holding wellness challenge prizes.
Wellness challenge accepted at Wasco State Prison-Reception Center

Wasco State Prison-Reception Center has implemented a way to help employees achieve work-life balance: a monthly Employee Wellness Challenge.

Firefighters

Firefighter wearing gear, one of them a Susanville uniform.
Susanville names Correctional Officer as Firefighter of the Year

When Correctional Officer Mark Jones isn’t working at High Desert State Prison, he volunteers to fight fires. His dedication to public safety, even while off the job, was recognized March 27, 2021, by the City of Susanville when he was named Firefighter of the Year.

Inside CDCR Videos

CDCR staff bow heads in moment of silence for crime victims.
CDCR acknowledges National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2021

Since 1981, Crime Victims’ Rights Week has served as a reminder to renew our commitment to serving all victims of crime, to acknowledge the achievements in victim services and allied professions, to honor those who have gone above and beyond in their service to others, and to remember crime victims and survivors.

Jobs & Training

California Correctional Center aerial view.
CDCR to deactivate California Correctional Center in Susanville

On April 13, the CDCR announced the upcoming deactivation of California Correctional Center (CCC) in Susanville by June 30, 2022. The prison is comprised of four facilities and serves as a hub for incarcerated firefighters who are trained for placement into one of 14 Conservation (Fire) Camps in Northern California. Those fire camps will now be part of the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown and will continue supporting local, state, and federal agencies responding to fires, floods, and other natural or manmade disasters.

Obituaries

Head and shoulders view of Mark Hargrove
Mark Hargrove, retired CIM lieutenant, passes away

California Institution for Men (CIM) announced the passing of retired Correctional Lt. Mark Hargrove. He passed away March 28, 2021.

Prison Health Care

Woman wearing jacket.
Behind the job: What is a Psych Tech?

Meet Juliet Gomez, a Psychiatric Technician at CSP-Sacramento. “Throughout my career, I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘What is a Psych Tech?”

Rehabilitation

Avenal Prison visiting area featuring characters from Monsters Inc.
Visiting room gets kid-friendly facelift thanks to Avenal State Prison artists

Incarcerated artists at Avenal State Prison gave the Facility B visiting room a facelift. Now kid-friendly, the children’s area will be more welcoming for young family members during visits.

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

Early female prison staff supervised women at San Quentin, like in this early courtyard image.
Early female prison staff ranged from support to custody

The first female correctional officers were hired to work in California’s male prisons in the early 1970s. But, women have held other positions or supervised incarcerated females for well over 100 years. In honor of Women’s History Month, Inside CDCR takes a closer look at some of the early female staff.

Victim & Survivor Rights

Office of Victims and Survivors staff stand in a park.
Supporting Victims and Survivors: CDCR collects, disperses $16 million in restitution

Through CDCR’s restitution collection process, an average of $2.1 million in court-ordered restitution is collected monthly. In 2020, OVSRS disbursed a total of $16,363,415.07 in restitution to victims, surpassing that of 2019 by more than $4 million.