Parole agents and South Coast District staff lauded for work helping formerly incarcerated people with successful community reentry
ONTARIO – The California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association (CPPCA) recognized California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) employees for their work in helping formerly incarcerated people successfully reenter communities and enhancing public safety.
DAPO employees were honored in three categories at CPPCA’s annual awards ceremony today.
“I’m proud of the honorees for their hard work and dedication to supporting our mission to enhance public safety by building partnerships that help lead to successful reintegration,” DAPO Director Jason Johnson said. “It’s gratifying to have our parole professionals’ significant contributions as a force for positive change recognized.”
DAPO’s South Coast District, led by Parole Administrator Rajesh Talwar, received the John B. Clark award for outstanding contributions to the field of corrections. Staff at DAPO’s South Coast District, which covers Orange County, were recognized for their effective engagement with formerly incarcerated people and connecting them with community partners and resources to help ensure their successful reentry into the community.
“I have the privilege of working with the most innovative, passionate and determined group of individuals who constantly provide the highest level of support and service to the clients we serve and the community we protect,” Talwar said. “The professionals I work with every day make a positive impact for the community, without recognition. To be recognized amongst our peers, there are no words that can describe the admiration.”
Parole agent Ricardo Bautista earned the Ruth Rushen Award, which is awarded to a person working in CDCR who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication, and who has significantly contributed to make a difference in the field of corrections. In 1980, Rushen became the first woman and first African American to serve as department director. Bautista was honored for his contributions and leadership throughout the unprecedented challenges faced by CDCR during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bautista, based in Sacramento and currently assigned to the Community Transition Program, played an integral role in the implementation and oversight of the Project Hope (PH) program, which was created to protect individuals released from prison during the pandemic and the California communities where they were returning.
This voluntary initiative provided free hotel accommodations, transportation and meals to individuals released from state prison who needed to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 exposure or positive status. With Bautista’s leadership and guidance on the day-to-day operations, the PH team served approximately 2,300 individuals returning to the community.
“It’s always an honor to receive any type of positive recognition, but I really accept this award on behalf of everyone who was involved in the Project Hope Program,” Bautista said. “We had a great team who put in endless hours to ensure its successful operation.”
Central District Parole Agent Juan Rendon was named the Parole Agent of the Year, which is awarded to a parole agent, state or county, working with adults or juveniles, who has made a significant contribution to the field of corrections and/or has exhibited exemplary job performance. Rendon has made a difference in the community through his willingness and ability to network with community programs and facilitators. His efforts include helping to establish a community partnership with UEI College in Fresno, which has resulted in UEI representatives participating in Parole and Community Team orientation meetings, where they have successfully enrolled recently released paroled individuals into a UEI certification program. Rendon has also represented CDCR and DAPO at career days at local elementary schools.
“Most people say their job has been done if they knew they at least made a difference in one person’s life,” Rendon said. “I strive to make a difference and positive impact on as many as I can throughout my career.”
CPPCA, the only organization in the state which represents adult and juvenile, state and local, field and institutional corrections professionals and those citizens interested in the professionalism of corrections, held the ceremony as part of its 90th annual training conference.
Contact: CDCR Press Office OPEC@cdcr.ca.gov