All Inside CDCR stories

Videos

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

Aerial photo of a medical prison.
Correctional educators adapt to COVID-19 challenges

Schools across California faced challenges during the statewide shelter-in-place orders. Those same challenges were also faced by schools inside the state’s prison system. Correctional educators turned to communication, cooperation and innovation to achieve rehabilitative educational goals.

Beyond the Badge

family photo with four people.
CDCR employee’s son graduates West Point

CDCR employees often open their wallets and hearts to those in need. For one family, they also opened their home and welcomed an additional son. Before joining CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education as the Supervisor of Academic Instruction, Marla Clayton Johnson was a vice principal at a Sacramento area high school. That’s where she met student Adrian Albin, a young man struggling with his grades.

Above the Call

An officer puts handcuffs on a man.
Alert Parole Agent links high-risk parolee to sex crime

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.

Dog News

Closeup photo of puppies born in a prison.
Puppy Love: Patches safely delivers nine pups at RJD

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 officers gather at CSP-Los Angeles County to conduct cell searches.
CDCR anti-gang efforts foil Mexican Mafia’s CSP-Los Angeles County plans

Across the state, CDCR officials work to prevent gang-related criminal activity in the state’s correctional institutions. One such effort involved California State Prison, Los Angeles County (LAC). With investigations completed, details are being released regarding the efforts of LAC’s Institutional Gang Investigations unit (IGI), the Investigative Services Unit (ISU) and CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety’s (OCS) Correctional Intelligence Task Force (CITF).

Community Involvement

Woman unloads bags of food from the back of a pickup truck.
Incarcerated men give back to community

On May 4, a group of 10 incarcerated men, housed on the Progressive Programming Facility (PPF) at the California State Prison, Los Angeles County (LAC), came together to discuss how they can be of service to the community. They are part of the Leadership Legacy Council.

A Day in the Life

Two men flank a woman. All are wearing military style clothing.
Special Agent Karen Mory shatters preconceptions

For a quarter century, corrections veteran Karen Mory has worked to dismantle preconceptions and stereotypes in her own life as well as those of offenders.

Jobs and Training

Special agent achieves goals in Command College

The desire to accomplish two major goals confronted Lucas Abarca, Special Agent of the CDCR Office of Internal Affairs. He wanted to encourage more people to consider CDCR as a law enforcement career and he wanted to improve his advancement opportunities. He found answers to both his desires in the Command College

Secretary's Corner

female and male correctional officer uniforms.
Now is the time to not be silent

“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

Two drawings and a painting of three California politicians.
1858: San Quentin’s first ‘Rules for Convicts’ issued

San Quentin State Prison’s early years were rife with escapes, attacks and scandal. In 1858, Governor John B. Weller, Lt. Governor Joseph Walkup and Secretary of State Ferris Forman issued the first Rules for Convicts at the State Prison. The three comprised the original Board of Prison Directors. As part of CDCR’s Time Capsule series, those rules are republished as written and have only been edited for clarity.

Unlocking History

Eleanor Roosevelt walks near the photography department at San Quentin prison in 1943.
Behind the Photo: Explaining Eleanor Roosevelt’s San Quentin visit

CDCR’s photographic archive often leaves staff with more questions than answers. One such photo is that of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt at San Quentin State Prison. No additional information is provided with the image. Warden Clinton Duffy is shown walking alongside the First Lady. Given her status, it didn’t take long for Inside CDCR to uncover the story behind the photo.

Division of Juvenile Justice

Seven inmate firefighters stand beside a large bulldozer.
Proposition 57 gives offender a second chance

In January 2020, Derrick Williams became the first Proposition 57 CalFIRE Wildland Firefighter I graduated from Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp. When he was 15, Williams was convicted on serious charges in adult court. He was sent to an adult institution. Now, due to voter-approved Proposition 57, he qualified to be retried as a juvenile. He was re-sentenced, this time receiving a two-year term to be served in the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), where he was received March 11, 2019. When he is released in fall 2020, he will be 25.

Employee Health & Wellness

Man and woman smile while standing over masks.
CIM dental assistant, officer fire up sewing machines to make masks

A mother-son team, both employed at California Institution Men, have turned on their home sewing machines to make masks for coworkers.

Obituaries

Aerial photo of a prison.
CDCR mourns death of High Desert State Prison Correctional Officer Richard Bianchi

High Desert State Prison Correctional Officer Richard Bianchi died in a single-vehicle crash early in the morning on June 25 while on his way to provide security coverage at a Redding hospital. The California Highway Patrol responded to the crash on Highway 44, four miles east of Old Station Road in the Redding area. CHP officers found Officer Bianchi’s overturned state vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Law enforcement vehicles follow a hearse.
CDCR Correctional Officer dies after testing positive for COVID-19

CDCR announced the May 30 death of California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) Correctional Officer Danny Mendoza. He had recently tested positive for the coronavirus. “I am deeply saddened by this dedicated officer’s passing,” CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz said. “My prayers are with the Mendoza family during this challenging time, and I know that everyone at CDCR sends their condolences and support.”

Appointments & Promotions

Man in jacket and tie.
Governor appoints DAPO director

Governor Gavin Newsom May 27 announced Guillermo Viera Rosa has been appointed director of the Division of Adult Parole Operations at CDCR.

Awards & Recognition

Men and women hold a sign thanking nurses at a prison.
Across California, CDCR/CCHCS honor nurses

Nurses across the state were thanked for their hard work during Nurses Week in mid-May. The following is a compilation of celebrations from Mule Creek State Prison, California Health Care Facility, California Correctional Center, CSP-Solano, Central California Women’s Facility, Ironwood State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, California City Correctional Facility, California Men’s Colony, Sierra Conservation Center, Centinela State Prison, RJ Donovan Correctional Facility and California Correctional Institution, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison and CSP-Los Angeles County.

California Prison Industry Authority

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.

Division of Adult Parole Operations

Woman smiles at the camera, while sitting in a beauty salon chair, sporting a new hairdo.
Positive attitudes shine at Women Empowerment parolee meeting

On Feb. 6, the San Gabriel Valley Parole District hosted a Women Empowerment Meeting for the female offender population at America’s Job Center of California — Hacienda La Puente Adult Education Cosmetology School. Twenty-five women were treated to a day of motivational morale boosting, which included their choice of make-up, hairstyle or manicure. The day began with a lot of skepticism, but quickly shifted to a more positive outlook.

Firefighters

Firefighters hike on a trail in Ventura County.
First young adult DJJ firefighters accepted to Ventura firefighter training program

A pair of young adults from CDCR Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) are among the first firefighters from Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp accepted into a training and certification program for parolees and probationers with past firefighting experience at camps run jointly by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and CDCR. The two youth, ages 20 and 22, joined the fourth cohort of 25 trainee cadets at the Ventura Training Center (VTC) in Camarillo.

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.

Victims & Survivors

Four prison staff member stand with heads bowed. Flags fly above them.
CDCR, CCHCS observe moment of silence

CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz asked all who work and live inside CDCR facilities, those in our headquarters and regional offices, and those teleworking in these unprecedented times, to recognize the victim and survivor community with a moment of silence during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

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

CDCR shoulder patch.
Correctional officers recognized for their efforts

Often working without recognition or thanks are California’s correctional officers. These officers maintain public safety and ensure rehabilitative programs are held in a manner consistent with institutional safety. They perform their duties around the clock, seven days a week. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan recognized their efforts by designating the first full week in May as National Correctional Officers Week.