Distinguished Service Medal

2021 Distinguished Service Medals Awarded

CDCR distinguished service medal with white and green ribbon

Distinguished Service Recipients

The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded for an employee’s – or group of employees’ – work conduct with the Department for a period of months or years, or involvement in a specific assignment of unusual benefit to the Department.

Dustin Stegall, Correctional Officer, Wasco State Prison

If you need to find an example of what it means to give back to the community, look no further than Wasco State Prison Correctional Officer Dustin Stegall.

For the past four years, Officer Stegall has volunteered with the Kern County Search and Rescue Team on his own time. Officer Stegall has acquired several certifications including rescue diving, SCUBA diving, and water recovery operations. He also has Type 1 certification for hiking rescues, a specialty in ground searching and tracking.

Type 1 hikers carry enough gear to stay overnight or up to a few days at any altitude or any terrain and are also certified in wilderness first aid.

As a result, Officer Stegall has been involved in dozens of water rescues, helping save 10 survivors and providing closure to family members by recovering six victims from the dangerous upper Kern River.

He has helped save lost and injured hikers and was needed in the desert where he helped find injured hikers, ATV enthusiasts and people trapped in abandoned mines.

Officer Stegall also supported State emergency operations and responded with the Kern County Search and Rescue Team to the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County to assist in the search and recovery of two victims in the aftermath of the devastating blaze that destroyed the town of Paradise.

He and the team also responded to the Northern Complex fire in Butte County and other fires, helping to evacuate residents and assisting in recovery operations.

Officer Stegall also serves as a Peer Support team member and an EEO counselor at Wasco State Prison.

Two DJJ teams recognized

In late 2020, the first-ever High Core Trial program was implemented. This program provides treatment and interventions to the most violent, resistive, behaviorally challenged and gang-entrenched youth in DJJ.

The mission of the program is to focus on rehabilitation by fostering a therapeutic environment that supports, promotes and encourages positive change in youth. This is done in a pro-social manner with the goal of reducing the level of violence, gang activity, student absenteeism, and overall behavioral management issues.

Owens Treatment Team, NA Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility, Stockton

  • Mark Miranda, Program Administrator
  • Zenaida Agtarap, Treatment Team Supervisor
  • Daniel Torres, Senior Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Tiffany Yee, Parole Agent
  • Larry Banks, Parole Agent
  • Satkar Dhakal, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Jamesray Gillon, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Susan Gosal, Parole Agent with the Division of Adult Parole Operations
  • Hector Hernandez-Garcia, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Teri Isola, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Oscar Lopez, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Skylynn Murillo, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Deanna Pulido, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Kenneth Simmons, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Dr. Saema Rahmany, Psychologist

Alta Vista Treatment Team, Ventura Youth Correctional Facility

  • Cynthia Brown, Program Administrator
  • Rashad Rigard, Treatment Team Supervisor
  • Ryan Pitts, Senior Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Tracee Agee, Parole Agent
  • Alexander Chavez, Parole Agent
  • Willie Bowden, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Darrin Duncan, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Khalil Ealy, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Don Greene IV, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Sade Jenkins, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Jasmine Pena, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Raymond Peralta, Youth Correctional Counselor
  • Daniel Perez, Youth Correctional Counselor, and
  • Adrian Arzola, Youth Correctional Officer
  • Dr. Deborah Leong, Psychologist

Transgender policy team

The team oversaw the development and implementation of policies, procedures, training, and education on the housing and searching of the incarcerated transgender community.

For the past two years, the workgroup has met regularly to review and develop policies to protect some of the most vulnerable people in the state’s prison system.

The workgroup researched other correctional departments’ policies and took an in-depth look at how CDCR can align itself with national best practices.

Their work will result in safer, more manageable institutions, prevent sexual abuse, create more respectful environments, improve outcomes for reentry, improve medical care, and prevent and reduce staff discipline and was commended by the Office of the Inspector General.

  • Amy Miller, Director, Division of Correctional Policy Research and Internal Oversight
  • Andrea Goldsmith, Strategic Offender Management System Contractor
  • Carrie Stafford, Assistant Chief Counsel
  • Chenoa Dill, Associate Warden, Central California Women’s Facility
  • Cherita Snelling, Associate Warden, California Medical Facility
  • Connie Vanenburg, Correctional Counselor II, Classification Services Unit
  • Delinia Lewis, Correctional Administrator, RJ Donovan Correctional Facility
  • Dionne Hudnall, Acting Chief Deputy Warden, Female Offender Programs and Services
  • Dr. Eddy Joelson, Chief Physician and Surgeon, California Correctional Health Care Services
  • Dr. John Lindgren, Senior Psychiatrist, California Correctional Health Care Services
  • Dr. Oliver Lau, Chief Medical Executive, Folsom State Prison, California Correctional Health Care Services
  • Dr. Shama Chaiken, Chief Psychologist, California Correctional Health Care Services
  • Dr. Trisha Wallis, Senior Psychologist-Specialist, California Correctional Health Care Services
  • Dr. Tristan Buzzini, Senior Psychologist Specialist, California Correctional Health Care Services
  • Elton Soriano, Associate Warden of Programs at Folsom State Prison
  • Erik Pedersen, Chief Deputy Warden, California Health Care Facility
  • Gary Turner, III, Captain, Division of Adult Institutions
  • Jamie Moss, Staff Services Manager III, Office of Training and Professional Development
  • Janel Campbell, Correctional Case Records Administrator, Correctional Case Records Unit
  • Jeff Nelson, Associate Warden, California Medical Facility, Retired
  • Jeff Reed, Correctional Counselor III, Enterprise Information Services
  • Kris Applegate, Deputy Appointments Secretary and Public Safety Advisor, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom; formerly Assistant Secretary, Office of Legislation
  • Lia Moore, Staff Services Manager III, Office of Fiscal Services
  • Mandi Hauwert, Correctional Officer, San Quentin State Prison
  • Margie McCune, Associate Director of Workforce Consolidation and Reduction Support
  • Megan Cherinka, Correctional Captain of Field Operations, California Correctional Health Care Services
  • Michael Stone, Staff Counsel III, Office of Legal Affairs
  • Nancy Hardy, Correctional Administrator
  • Rob Scicluna, Correctional Counselor III, SOMS
  • Roosevelt Whisenant, Parole Agent III, Division of Adult Parole Operations
  • Shannon Stark, Captain, Female Offender Programs and Services/Special Housing
  • Stephen Vang, Staff Services Manager I, Female Offender Programs and Services/Special Housing
  • Suzann Gostovich, Office of the Inspector General
  • Tami Falconer, Ombudsman, Office of the Ombudsman
  • Terry Thornton, Deputy Press Secretary, Office of Public and Employee Communications
  • Trent Allen, Chief Deputy Warden, Sierra Conservation Center
  • Xina Bolden, Ombudsman, Office of the Ombudsman

CDCR and CCHCS teams for COVID-19 Response

CDCR and CCHCS teams formed the data backbone of our COVID-19 response.

Responding to an emergency requires speed and the right information. CCHCS’s Quality Management and CDCR’s Office of Research partnered with public health agencies to provide critical tracking systems that were crucial to managing the COVID-19 outbreak.

These tools were vital for making decisions impacting the health and safety of patients and staff as we all worked to contain the virus’ spread. These efforts helped track the health status of all institutions while providing transparency to the public and external stakeholders.

Without this cooperation between CDCR and CCHCS, the fight against COVID-19 in our institutions would have been significantly more difficult. Their work is an example of the teamwork that brings the best care for our patients.

• Annette Lambert, Deputy Director, CCHCS Quality Management
• Fong Hodgdon, Associate Director, CCHCS Quality Management
• Michael Selby, Associate Director, CCHCS Quality Management
• John Dunlap, Deputy Medical Executive, CCHCS Quality Management
• Genifer Espinoza, Health Program Manager III, CCHCS Quality Management
• Spencer Puente, Research Data Supervisor II, CCHCS Quality Management
• Dr. Michelle Amaral, Research Data Supervisor II, CCHCS Quality Management
• KC King, Research Data Supervisor II, CCHCS Quality Management
• Katherine Yount, Health Program Specialist II, CCHCS Quality Management
• Marcus Dahlstrom, Physician & Surgeon, CCHCS Quality Management
• David Leidner, Senior Psychologist Specialist, CCHCS Quality Management
• Stephen Ellis, Research Data Specialist I, CCHCS Quality Management
• I-Cheun (Mark) Chen, Research Data Specialist II, CCHCS Quality Management
• Vikrant Rathore, Research Data Specialist I, CCHCS Quality Management
• Jorge Palamara, Research Data Specialist I, CCHCS Quality Management
• Cheryl Larson, Director, IT Services Division, CCHCS IT Staff
• Kevin Sutton, Deputy Director, CCHCS IT Staff
• Eric Merrill, IT Specialist II, CCHCS IT Staff
• Scott Davidson, IT Manager II, CDCR IT Staff
• Carrie Daves, IT Manager I, CDCR IT Staff
• David Hawley, IT Supervisor II, CDCR IT Staff
• Justine Hutchinson, Research Scientist III, CCHCS Public Health Subject Matter Expert
• Kimberly Lucas, Research Scientist III, CCHCS Public Health Subject Matter Expert
• Chris Chambers, Deputy Director, CDCR Office of Research
• Amber Lozano, Staff Services Manager III, CDCR Office of Research
• Louis Olgin, IT Supervisor II, CDCR Office of Research
• Chanya Bruno, IT Specialist I, CDCR Office of Research
• Chinh Tran, IT Specialist I, CDCR Office of Research
• Ashley Gabbard, Staff Services Manager II, CDCR Office of Research
• Yvonne Lawrence, Research Analyst II, CDCR Office of Research
• Sam Mooc, IT Specialist I, CDCR Office of Research
• Loran Sheley, Research Specialist IV, CDCR Office of Research
• Juan Villon, Research Specialist II, CDCR Office of Research
• Kendra Jensen, Research Specialist II, CDCR Office of Research
• Miguel Lizarde, Research Data Analyst I, CDCR Office of Research
• Paul Whiteley, Research Program Specialist II, CDCR Office of Research
• Corinne Slapnick, Information Technology Supervisor II, CDCR Office of Research
• David Weishahn, Information Technology Specialist II, CDCR Office of Research
• Anh Thornburg, Information Technology Specialist I, CDCR Office of Research
• Kevin Grassel, Information Technology Specialist II, CDCR Office of Research and
• Kyle Langowski, Information Technology Supervisor I, CDCR Office of Research