Inside CDCR

FEATURED STORIES

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.

VIDEOS

Video message supports dedicated efforts of CDCR, CCHCS

This past week, we’ve shared messages of appreciation in honor of Public Service Recognition Week, National Correctional Officers Week, Teacher Appreciation Week and National Nurses Week.

These video messages and Inside CDCR stories extend gratitude and thanks to all CDCR and CCHCS staff as they go about their professional duties in these difficult times.

This wrap-up video message from executive teams, leadership, institution staff, parole, and various other essential programs, supports the dedicated and determined efforts of our organization.

Thank you for providing a safe, sanitary and secure environment for all in our facilities and surrounding communities.


Five correctional officers hold a sign saying "best mask".
Contests highlight Correctional Officers Week at CHCF

This year’s Correctional Officers Week at the California Health Care Facility (CHCF) has been nothing short of eventful. The daily activities ranged from managers having a cookout for the officers, photo opportunities, a Suited and Booted Contest, and a Best Mask Contest.

Nuns work in a library to make masks.
Community supports CIW staff through donations

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the communities near California Institution for Women have come together to help the prison’s employees. Organizations donated material to make masks while others provided completed masks.

REHABILITATION

Photo of crocheted masks of different colors, characters and sizes.
Pelican Bay turns to mask-making

Crafts for Community (CFC) at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Facility D, Level II, has turned to crocheting masks. Volunteers include 10 inmates who are busy crocheting the much-needed items. In a week-and-a-half, they made over 50 masks to be distributed in the community. They hope to make hundreds more.

A round of applause for correctional educators

As CDCR celebrates education staff during National Teachers Week, Office of Correctional Education Superintendent Shannon Swain and her team gathered remotely to share their thanks for the people who make learning happen within state prisons.

A prison inmate speaks into a microphone with others listen.
First-ever prison town hall gives incarcerated population a voice

For the first time, candidates for Los Angeles County District Attorney held a town hall meeting for incarcerated men at the county’s only state prison. Hosted by CSP-Los Angeles County and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), the town hall’s goal was to provide incarcerated individuals and crime survivors the opportunity to let their voices be heard by the candidates who could impact their futures. The event was held at Facility A Visiting.

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.

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.

BEYOND THE BADGE

Man in tuxedo with a closer mugshot superimposed in the corner.
CDCR employee finds balance through Mark Twain

A 19th century literary figure serves as inspiration for Northern California native B. Clay Shannon, a CDCR Case Records Analyst. He’s worked for the department since July 2018. Shannon’s interest in Samuel Clemens, better known as author Mark Twain, began at an early age. Inside CDCR caught up with Shannon to discuss how he strives to achieve work-life balance.

Retired San Quentin Associate Warden Richard Nelson smiles as he sits in the prison museum.
Retired Associate Warden Dick Nelson helps keep California prison history alive

San Quentin State Prison is the oldest state correctional facility in California and one man has made it his mission to help others remember its history. Associate Warden Richard “Dick” Nelson began his preservation efforts in 1986 while he was still employed at San Quentin. Inside CDCR recently caught up with Nelson in the San Quentin Prison Museum.

Woman leads a group of equestrians in a memorial parade.
CDCR employee bucks bull-riding stereotypes

CDCR employee Kimberly Henson knew from an early age she had an affinity for bovines. Now, she directs that passion toward education, community involvement and rustling support for the longhorn steers’ forgotten contributions to settling the American West. When she’s not working at CSP-Sacramento, you will often find her on the back of her saddle-broke Texas longhorn steer, Cowboy Jazz.

HISTORY

A prison gate in the background with two grainy photos of a prison guard.
Correctional Officer survived slashed throat, shooting during 33 years of prison service

Correctional Officer Charles H. Jolly gave up his first career as a grocer after a devastating fire destroyed the Folsom business district. Already in his mid-50s, he went to work at Folsom State Prison in 1893. By the time he passed away in 1926, he held the record as the longest serving employee of the state prison system, logging 33 years.

Bandit mughsot of Tiburcio Vasquez and camels.
Notorious bandit’s fate tied to failed Army camel corps

Tiburcio Vasquez, an outlaw who plundered Central and Southern California for two decades, may owe his capture to a long forgotten military experiment. This latest installment of Unlocking History looks closer at a failed attempt by the U.S. government to settle the west with camels. It’s also a story about the outlaw who served as the inspiration for “Zorro.”

Drawing of California Institution for Women in 1930.
Photo Timeline: California Institution for Women

From the days of the first prison ships, CDCR has adapted to incarcerate females sentenced to state prison. Originally housed at San Quentin State Prison, the Women’s Ward went through many changes until the state’s first female prison was activated in 1933. In honor of Women’s History Month, Inside CDCR takes you inside California’s first women’s prison.