Inside CDCR


Restorative Justice Symposium builds community, understanding

As CDCR moves even more toward a model of restorative justice and rehabilitation, a healing-focused nonprofit is bringing together people from all aspects of the criminal justice community to learn from one another.


Two people, in profile, view something off screen.
Woman puts second chance to great use

Pamela Thompson came to prison in 1995 with a life term as a third-striker. She never thought she would get out, but because of the numerous rehabilitative programs she was involved in and her exceptional behavior while in prison, she was recommended for resentencing by CDCR and was released by the court in October 2018. Inside CDCR recently caught up with Thompson to share her story.

A woman holds scissors to cut a ribbon while two others watch.
SATF reopens two revamped health care clinics

On Dec. 20, 2019, the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran (SATF) celebrated the reopening of two health care clinics. The renovations were part of the Health Care Facility Improvement Project, a concerted effort by staff throughout the institution, Regional Office and Headquarters staff, and inmates.

Large group of people pose in front of the California State Seal.
Over 150 attend DRP statewide conference

From Dec. 10-12, 2019, the Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP) hosted its statewide conference at the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center in Galt.


High school students listen to a prison inmate talk about rehabilitation.
Sacramento students tour California’s oldest prison

Anthony Ammons was 16 years old when he took a life and earned a sentence of 102 years-to-life in prison with the possibility of parole. It’s the same age as the youngest students in Florin High’s Law Academy, who toured San Quentin State Prison in November.

Youth offenders sit in a circle with professional basketball players.
Ventura Youth meet the Lakers, movie star Michael B. Jordan

Eleven high performing youth from the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) in Camarillo spent a day with the Los Angeles Lakers at their practice facility in El Segundo Dec. 23. They were mentored by former Lakers players and shared their stories of hope and redemption with actor Michael B. Jordan.

Back of chaplain at lectern addressing a group of prisoners who are standing
CDCR chaplains promote Day of Peace and Reconciliation

One of the primary passions of CDCR’s chaplains is the rehabilitation of the inmates in our care. In a combined effort to promote respect and rehabilitative peaceful co-existence among the prison population, staff chaplains of the various faiths and Native American Spiritual Leaders, there will be combined “Peace and Reconciliation” ceremonies in every institution statewide Jan. 26-31.


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.

Officer stands near a flag pole.
Correctional Officer headed for job interview talks down jumper

With thoughts of a Sergeant interview running through his mind, Correctional Officer Ranato Benitez-Sanchez was heading to Ironwood State Prison when he spotted a woman sitting on an overpass, looking down at traffic. Pulling over to ask if she was OK, he soon realized she was contemplating suicide.

Photos of a scarred head, a woman and man smiling, a crushed car and a helicopter at an accident scene.
Calipatria prison employee saves coworker in wreck

In the early morning hours on Friday, Sept. 6, the lives of two individuals would be drastically changed. While driving to work on Highway 111, Rosalie Cota came upon a huge cloud of dust blowing on the roadway, obscuring her vision, forcing her to slow down to a crawl. As the dust settled, Cota was able to see a vehicle on the opposite side of the road, flipped over and resting on the passenger side. The severely injured driver happened to be a correctional sergeant.


Woman speaks to room full of people.
Q&A with retired Undersecretary Kathleen Allison

Since starting in 1987, Undersecretary Kathleen Allison has seen a lot of changes and has had an impact on the department. As she looks at retirement, she hopes to continue making a difference in the community.

Two men stand in a busy building. One is holding a certificate.
CIW Captain helps coworker become U.S. citizen

A casual conversation at a party ended up fulfilling one man’s dream of becoming a U.S. citizen thanks to the help of a Correctional Captain.

Kid and man watch baseball game.
Bigs with Badges fosters friendship, fun, mentorship

Every day, the men and women of CDCR give back to their communities. Captain Chance Andes is no exception. The California Medical Facility Captain spends his spare time volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sacramento Area (BBBS), spending quality time with his “Little Brother,” Christian.


Photo of old prison library and chapel with two photos of early prison chaplains.
Having faith: A look back at California prison chaplains

Chaplains have long served the state to provide spiritual and moral guidance to those in California prisons and jails. They’ve officiated at funerals, helped inmates plan their education and baptized incarcerated congregants. Participation in religious observances is voluntary, but through the years chaplains have found themselves acting as librarian, counselor and therapist.

Robert Wadlow towers over five other people in front of Folsom prison.
Remembering when the world’s tallest man visited Folsom State Prison

Thirty years before Johnny Cash’s concerts at Folsom Prison, the “Alton Giant” visited the institution while touring the west coast. Robert Wadlow, who today still holds the record as the world’s tallest man, was 21 when he went to the prison on a sales call for a shoe manufacturer.

Four mugshots and a Folsom Prison gate.
Notorious stagecoach bandits crossed paths with California prisons

This is the story of the choices made by those wearing a badge and the stagecoach robbers fleeing the law. Their paths often crossed again at one of California’s state prisons.