All Inside CDCR stories
The goal of rehabilitation is to help inmates stop being prisoners of their past and become architects of their future. This philosophy resonated with Correctional Lt. Douglas Crenshaw. In his nearly 25 years at Avenal State Prison (ASP), Lt. Crenshaw built programs, adding a variety of rehabilitative components geared toward changing the hearts, minds, and behaviors of the inmate population.
COVID-19 could not stop the acknowledgment of so much growth at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP). For those students graduating in 2020, ceremonies needed to be adjusted to ensure health guidelines were followed.
Beyond the Badge
CDCR employees have sewn masks, donated personal protective equipment to hospitals and assisted non-profit organizations struggling during the pandemic. When a CSP-Corcoran TV Specialist wanted to help, he turned on his camera and got creative. To help reinforce physical distancing, Television Specialist Hugh M. Neely is crafting a web series called “Spooky Stories …to Keep You Six feet Apart.”
Above the Call
Sex-Offender Parole Agent Javier Cosme has a tough beat supervising high-risk sex offenders in the community. Mandated to wear GPS tracking devices on their ankles, these offenders are closely monitored.
Christmas arrived early this year for the staff and inmates at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility’s (RJD) dog-training program with the birth of nine wiggly and warm puppies. On Wednesday, Dec. 18, Patches, a black Labrador retriever, delivered a litter of nine pups at RJD’s Minimum Support Facility.
Law Enforcement Operations
CDCR parole and Special Services Unit agents assisted numerous federal, state, city and county agencies shutdown a deadly fentanyl distribution ring.
As area nonprofits continue to face challenges imposed by COVID-19, inmates and leadership at Ironwood State Prison (ISP) took the initiative to deliver needed support to three of Blythe’s nonprofit organizations.
A Day in the Life
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.
Jobs and Training
With more of our interactions becoming virtual, state employees now have the ability to check their leave and earning statements online through Cal Employee Connect (CEC). This secure web-based self-service portal is available to California state employees.
“Since mid-March CDCR and the nation have been nothing like ‘normal program,’ and I ask myself: Will we ever return to normal? Rather than attempt to find ways to make the normal we are all familiar with fit into the new realities, I have to be honest: I am looking forward to not going back to normal program. This pandemic followed by the national attention on law enforcement reform have thrust us into the perfect moment to recraft this great agency once again. This is not the time for yearning for the good old days – and need I remind you, those days were only 90 days ago. If we do not put thought into action and start this recrafting of CDCR for the better, others will.” — Secretary Ralph Diaz
CDCR Time Capsule
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 piece of art came to Inside CDCR’s attention. Originally believed to have been purchased at a San Francisco art show, the item turned out to be the work of an inmate artist in Folsom State Prison.
Division of Juvenile Justice
Hilarry White believes passionately in the power of giving back. Reflecting about his work at the non-profit outreach program, Women of Substance and Men of Honor (WOSMOH) in Newbury Park, he concludes, “That’s the most fulfilling thing: giving back, doing something that matters at the end of the day. I don’t want to get into anything that doesn’t matter.”
Employee Health & Wellness
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.
Retired Correctional Officer Henry Miranda passed away July 29, 2020.
Since 1994, Correctional Officer Henry Sanchez had been a calming influence, offering words of advice to fellow employees at Centinela State Prison (CEN). On July 24, 2020, those words fell silent. Sanchez passed away, leaving family, friends and coworkers to remember him.
Appointments & Promotions
On Aug. 27, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of William “Joe” Sullivan to the Board of Parole Hearings. Sullivan began his CDCR career at California Rehabilitation Center in 1984 and went on to work at CCI, Preston, CSP-LAC and headquarters.
Awards & Recognition
CDCR honored 98 employees today at its 2020 Medal of Valor Ceremony for their bravery in responding to life-threatening situations in the line of duty and in the community as well as exemplary work benefiting the department and the public.
California Prison Industry Authority
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.
Division of Adult Parole Operations
To minimize social contact and avoid the spread of COVID-19, the Northern Region Adult Program Unit (APU) began holding Peer Reentry Navigation Network (PRNN) meetings on Zoom.
CDCR’s firefighting personnel joined other agencies to battle wildfires raging across California. Fire camps, institution fire departments and other CDCR staff coordinated efforts with CAL FIRE, California Office of Emergency Services, California State Parks, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, federal agencies, out-of-state fire fighters, municipal fire departments and fire crews from other nations.
Prison Health Care
Victims & Survivors
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.
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.
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) authorities are investigating an inmate attack on six correctional officers and those involved could face charges of attempted murder of a peace officer.