Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CDCR Investigation Finds that District Parole Administrator Inappropriately Altered Parolee Discharge Recommendations

Takes corrective action immediately
SACRAMENTO – An internal investigation by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has found that a district parole administrator inappropriately altered reports made by agents and unit supervisors to recommend the discharge of parolees from state supervision. This action was a violation of CDCR protocol and possibly state law.

“We launched an internal audit and took preliminary corrective action as soon as suspicion was raised over whether parole protocols were being followed. The audit identified a problem in one of the department’s 25 districts,” said Scott Kernan, Chief Deputy Secretary of Adult Operations for CDCR. “We are now taking steps to determine if this incident is isolated.”

CDCR reassigned the district parole administrator under review and removed his authority over unit discharge recommendations while CDCR’s Office of Internal Affairs conducts an investigation. The administrator oversaw a district covering six parole units in Northern California.

The preliminary audit revealed a number of instances where unit supervisors’ decision boxes on parole activity reports were altered with whiteout by the district parole administrator. In some cases a parolee’s agent and unit supervisor filed recommendations to “retain” the parolee, though the district parole administrator under review altered the activity report to change their recommendations to “discharge.”

While district administrators have the authority to make decisions to retain or discharge parolees, altering recommendations by subordinate staff is inconsistent with departmental protocols and may be a violation of state law.

“We take public safety extremely seriously, and expect our district administrators to use sound public safety judgment in thousands of parole decisions each month,” said Kernan. “We will continue this investigation to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Using district administrators to evaluate subordinate staff discharge recommendations is a critical element that helps ensure consistent decision making throughout the corrections and rehabilitation system. Review by supervisors is consistent with law enforcement practices throughout the nation. CDCR also has a review process in place to allow the four regional parole administrators to sample a percentage of cases from each the 25 district offices to ensure that consistent decisions are made.

All of the cases included in the audit were immediately reevaluated by parole administrators following the district parole administrator’s breach of protocol. In some instances parole administrators recommended different decisions, resulting in parolees being recommended to be retained on parole. Those cases were referred to the Board of Parole Hearings for retain consideration. In instances where offenders have been legally discharged from parole, modifications to previous decisions cannot be made.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CDCR Investigates Former Contract Pharmacists for Nearly $1 Million in Fraud, Embezzlement and Drug Felonies

Internal Affairs Investigation Results in Criminal Charges Filed Today


FRESNO - A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Office of Internal Affairs investigation has found evidence that two contract pharmacists at Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) may have embezzled nearly one million dollars from the State of California, among other felonies. While the suspects had previously been arrested for lesser crimes, eighteen charges relating to grand theft, perjury, commercial burglary, corrupt performance of an official act, tax evasion and possession of a controlled substance were filed in Fresno County Superior Court today.

“Our internal affairs unit has worked diligently with local law enforcement and outside agencies to coordinate this intensive investigation into allegations of fraud, misuse of taxpayer dollars and possible felony violations of state law,” said CDCR Undersecretary Steve Kessler. “CDCR investigators have done a masterful job of working with staff at the prison, the district attorneys office, the Franchise Tax Board, and the Receiver’s office, to gather the evidence needed to prosecute this case. Our staff should be commended for their professionalism.”

The subjects of the investigation, Ronald Juliana and his wife Joyce Rutan-Juliana, were previously employed as the Pharmacist-in-Charge and Pharmacist respectively, at Pleasant Valley State Prison. An internal affairs investigation of records they submitted to the state shows numerous irregularities that suggest the couple billed the state for regular hours, on-call hours and overtime hours, totaling 24 hours a day, seven days a week, between 2004 and 2007.

CDCR’s internal affairs unit also looked into allegations that Joyce Juliana-Rutan worked concurrently at the prison as a contractor and as a state employee for the Department of Health Services/Department of Health Care Services from Sep. 2004 through Feb. 2007. If true, this could potentially be a felony violation of California Public Contract Code Section 10410.

A search of the suspect’s homes during the investigation resulted in the seizure of over 30,000 prescription drugs and other controlled substances. During a home search in Coalinga, four bags of medication were found with “PVSP Pharmacy” labels affixed to each bag. As a result of this seizure, on Nov. 8, 2007, the Juliana’s were arrested and booked into Fresno County Jail on a number of felony charges involving illegal possession of prescription drugs. The Juliana’s posted bail and were arraigned in Fresno County Superior court.

Monday, December 17, 2007

INMATE DEATH AT CORCORAN STATE PRISON UNDER INVESTIGATION

Corcoran - On December 16, 2007 at approximately 9 p.m., a 21-year-old San Bernardino County inmate was found deceased in his assigned cell at Corcoran State Prison (CSP-C).

The deceased inmate, Reuben Quesada Galasso, was received from San Bernardino County on March 16, 2006, and was serving a five-year sentence for assault with a firearm. He was pronounced dead at 9:17 p.m. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

The case is being investigated as a possible homicide by the Kings County District Attorney's Office. The CSP-C Investigative Services Unit is cooperating with the investigation and the Office of the Inspector General's Bureau of Independent Review has been notified.

The suspect in this case is a 27-year-old inmate received from San Luis Obispo County on May 28, 1999 with a life sentence for attempted first-degree murder.

CSP-C opened in 1988 and houses nearly 5,700 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. The Kings County prison offers academic classes and vocational programs as well as community programs and work crews. The prison employs approximately 2,300 people.

For Immediate Release
December 17, 2007
Contact:
M. Theresa Cisneros
(559) 992-6104

Friday, December 14, 2007

CDCR Employee Named in Statewide Green Energy Award Efforts Reflects Lifetime Passion for Energy Efficiency

A longtime CDCR employee with a passion for energy conservation was recently honored when the unit he created to monitor the correctional agency’s use of energy was awarded the “Energy Innovations Award” at its innaugural Green California Leadership Awards.

Specifically, CDCR’s Energy Management Program won the Energy Innovation Category for developing a comprehensive energy conservation approach for California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s more than 41 million square feet of prisons and juvenile facilities.

The conservation efforts have included the replacement of high-pressure sodium lamps at facilities with more efficient fluorescent lamps, the installation of a solar farm, development of cogeneration facilities, the creation of partnerships with local and public utility providers, and the ongoing peak load reduction plan that ramps down energy consumption at institutions during peak energy consumption periods.. This effort has dramatically reduced energy demand across CDCR’s vast network of facilities and has saved the millions of dollars.

During the ceremony, Harry Franey, Chief of the Energy Management Section, and an 18-year CDCR employee who has been focused on energy conservation issues since his arrival at CDCR in 1989, was singled out for his near two decades of effort.

“While this department has sought to retool the organization to focus on bringing back more rehabilitative resources for the last couple of years, Mr. Franey has single-handedly focused on finding ways for this department to become more energy efficient, and has gathered the necessary sponsorship within our facilities management division to achieve those goals,” said Secretary James E. Tilton. “This passionate pursuit serves as an inspiration to me as I marshal this department's resources to incorporate rehabilitation.”

“Harry really knows his stuff, and is more than willing to make his case for an environmentally friendly way of tackling tasks that come his way,” said Deborah Hysen, Chief Deputy Secretary, Facilities, Planning and Construction. “His passion and interests in saving energy and being environmentally sensitive is a real benefit to the facilities management branch. I consider his advice and efforts as a real asset to this division, and this department. This award was well-deserved.”

Hysen said that Franey is an expert in his field, and is relied upon and respected by the Department for his expertise in energy related matters. Franey came to the Department in August 1989 as an Energy Resources Specialist I. In May 1991 he became an Energy Resources Specialist II and began to create a section of the department that would later become known as the Energy Management Section. Until that time, Franey was the only professional at CDCR who dealt with, or considered the impact of energy management. His present assignment is Departmental Construction and Maintenance Supervisor, as the Chief, Energy Management Section.

Upon receiving the award at the October 2007 ceremony Franey said the award motivates him to try harder.

“It provides a nice boost to want to do more and do better,” Franey said. “It encourages us to take stock of the program and even reflect a little bit. Just as every journey begins with a first step, energy efficiency and cleaner air begin with replacing a single light bulb.”

CDCR is counting on Harry and his staff to do more in the coming years in the area of green design. In August of this year, the CDCR joined the Climate Action Registry Team and it will be up to Harry to measure, report and improve CDCR’s carbon footprint through continued energy conservation efforts and reduced carbon emissions through cleaner operations. Hysen believes that Harry is the right man for the job.


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Board Significantly Increases Preference for Jail Bond Funds to Reward Counties Siting Secure Community Reentry Facilities

Corrections Standards Authority Unanimously Approves Amendments to Double Reentry Facility Preference Points

SACRAMENTO – The Corrections Standards Authority (CSA) today agreed to significantly increase the preference in their formula for distributing jail bond funds to reward counties that site secure community reentry facilities. At a Board meeting in Sacramento, CSA members unanimously approved amendments to a preliminary request for proposal that will double the preference awarded to counties who site a reentry facility. Counties that assist the state in helping parolees get mental health services will also receive increased funding preference.

"Today's action by the Corrections Standards Authority is consistent with the goals of our historic, bipartisan prison reform bill. AB 900 makes secure reentry facilities and rehabilitation the cornerstone of turning around our troubled prison system, to reduce recidivism and overcrowding. These facilities will house inmates who are close to their release date and give them the critically-needed counseling, services, job training and housing placement to help parolees return to society as law-abiding citizens," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Counties partnering with the state to host a reentry facility have earned the right to access jail bond funding."

The amended request for proposal increases the preference points for siting a secure community reentry facility from 150 to 300 points. It also increases the points for counties that provide mental health and aftercare services for parolees from 50 to 100 points. These factors, combined with evaluations of such factors as project need, average daily jail population, crime statistics, and others combine for a total of 1,325 points possible. The increase in the total points for siting a reentry facility and mental health and aftercare services will give counties who have taken those steps a significant advantage.

“The intent of the legislature and the Governor with the passage of comprehensive prison reform this year was to significantly reward those counties who site secure community reentry facilities with increased access to jail bond funds,” said James Tilton, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and CSA Board Chair.

“The Board’s actions will ensure that those counties who are working with the state to improve the process for transitioning their residents who are coming home by siting reentry facilities will be moved to the top of the list if they have a demonstrated need for jail beds as well. The Board’s unanimous agreement demonstrates a true partnership and cooperative spirit between counties big and small, local law enforcement, and the state. I commend the Board on conducting such an open process and on their willingness to consider input from all stakeholders. This type of coordination will be necessary at every step of the way to ensure that the new reentry model is successful.”

Assembly Bill 900, signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on May 3, 2007, authorizes a total of $750 million in bonds to relieve overcrowding in local jails in Phase I. Counties that site reentry facilities and assist parolees with mental health and aftercare services will receive funding preference. The preliminary request for proposal approved today will divide the Phase I jail bond funding between the counties as follows:

  • 14 large counties, with a population of more than 700,001 residents, and 13 medium counties, with a population between 200,001 and 700,000, will be eligible to compete for $650 million in funds. Large counties will have a $100 million maximum cap while medium counties have an $80 million maximum cap.
  • 31 small counties, with a population of less than 200,000 residents, will be eligible to compete for $100 million in funds. There will be a cap imposed of $30 million per project. There are 30 small counties with jails.
Phase II funding for local jails beds will provide an additional $450 million in funding, after Phase I benchmarks are met. Under AB 900, counties are required to match 25% of the total $1.2 billion (approximately $300 million) in funding for local jail projects. Counties with population’s less than 200,000 are eligible to have their matching funds reduced or eliminated, at the discretion of CSA.

“No one was under the impression that the jail bond funds allocated in AB 900 would be enough to meet the statewide needs for local beds,” said Secretary Tilton. “We are optimistic that the comprehensive reforms passed this year, which build beds that will focus on reentry and rehabilitation, will be a down payment on the statewide need, and help to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.”

To date, 16 counties have signed agreements to cooperate with the state to site a reentry facility. San Joaquin, Calaveras and Amador are the only counties that have a sited reentry facility, and will be converting the former Northern California Women’s Facility in Stockton into a secure community reentry facility. Following today’s meeting, the CSA will release a revised Request For Proposal. Proposals from counties applying for Phase I jail bond funds under AB 900 will be due on March 18, 2007.

The CSA works in partnership with city and county officials to develop and maintain standards for the construction of local jails and juvenile detention facilities and their operation. The CSA is composed of 19 members, including the CDCR secretary, four members designated by the secretary, and 14 members appointed by the Governor in consultation with CDCR and with the consent of the Senate. For more information on CSA visit: www.cdcr.ca.gov.

Monday, December 10, 2007

CDCR Staff, Inmates and Wards Host Holiday Food Drives, Fundraisers and Events Contributing to Local Communities

Rehabilitation Program Benefits Youth and Rescued Animals

 
Since mid-November, 25 adult and juvenile correctional institutions and parole offices statewide representing hundreds of individuals have contributed talent, time and money to their local communities this holiday season. Dozens of programs and activities ranging from refurbishing bicycles and repairing toys to holding fundraisers and holiday food drives have either already been conducted or are planned for the coming days and weeks by staff, inmates and wards.

These efforts by institutions and parole offices are intended to make the holidays brighter for those in nearby communities that are less able to participate in holiday activities. To date, donations of nearly $12,000 and more than 600 new and refurbished bicycles have either been distributed or await distribution. Nearly every facility conducts food or toy drives, with many facilities and parole offices adopting classrooms at nearly elementary schools.

“I wholeheartedly support these acts of selflessness on behalf of our staff and inmates. While our institutions strive to be good neighbors all year long, these events during the holidays are an expression of good will by staff and offenders made to some very deserving folks in their surrounding communities,” said CDCR Secretary James E. Tilton. “It is my hope that offenders carry this spirit of benevolence and community concern in their hearts and actions when they eventually leave our facilities and return to the communities from which they came. “

Division of Juvenile Justice Chief Deputy Bernard Warner noted that these activities – and other activities conducted by institutions and parole officers with the juvenile justice system have roots in a philosophy called “restorative justice.” The restorative justice philosophy assumes that when a ward committed a crime that got them referred to the DJJ, society lost something in that act of violence. Restorative justice allows that ward to perform a series of public service acts that restores, or gives something positive back to the community-at-large in a showing of “amends” for that past wrong.

“These worthy causes allow our staff and youth to give back to the community to show how we care for others. We are proud to be part of these programs,” said Warner.
In some institutions, staff sponsored “Shop with a Cop” programs where children-in-need from the community where escorted by correctional officers to a store for a shopping spree. Some wards created or refurbished community decorations for holiday celebrations. Some inmates sponsored Christmas parties for the children who come to visit, complete with toys and a visit from Santa.

It has become a long-standing tradition for CDCR staff, inmates and wards to give back to their local communities. “These charitable projects give everyone in the institutional and parole setting feelings of pride and goodwill during the season of giving,” said Scott Kernan, Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Programs at CDCR. “These efforts require teamwork, cooperation and generosity. The dividend of giving is the improved morale for those who may not see their own loved ones during the holiday season."
For more information, and to see the accompanying fact sheet listing activities at all participating facilities and parole offices as well as pictures of events that have already occurred, please visit the CDCR website at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/ Media is encouraged to visit this website to identify CDCR activities in your media broadcast or circulation area.

Holiday Fact Sheet

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp Wards Return From Southern California Fires To Make Christmas Decorations For Local Communities

PINE GROVE - On Monday evening, Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (YCC) wards returned from fighting fires in Southern California. By Tuesday morning the youth were making Christmas boughs for thirteen local communities. On Wednesday, the wards visited California’s historic Governor’s Mansion in downtown Sacramento to decorate the building with wreaths and other decorations.

It has become a long-standing tradition for the Pine Grove wards to provide this kind of decoration and community service. On average, the wards and staff of Pine Grove YCC produce more than 2,000 Christmas boughs for thirteen local communities.

“This program provides an innovative way for our youth to creatively enhance their skills, while working with their local community,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary of the Division of Juvenile Justice. “This is just one of the many rehabilitation programs offered to youth designed to encourage civic service, and build confidence and self-respect.”

The huge sugar pine cones are harvested upcountry by crews in October. In late November the fir and Ponderosa tree trimmings, left after crews trim trees in conservation operations, are brought to Pine Grove Camp, located just off of Highway 88, to be assembled with the pine cones and some red ribbon. The camp takes reservations for the boughs all year long, and recipients compensate the camp for the ward’s time for each bough.

“A trip through the Mother Lode will give visitors a warm welcome this time of year as our Christmas boughs to add to the holiday decorations in local communities,” said Mike Roots, YCC Superintendent. “These wards not only work hard protecting homes during fire season, but also give back to the community during the holiday season.”     


Last week, Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp sent a strike team of fire fighters to Southern California to be on standby for the extreme fire danger because of the expected high winds. It turned out to be a good call by CALFIRE to plan ahead and have crews on the ready. The fire that started in Malibu consumed 4,700 acres and 53 homes before firefighters could contain the blaze. A week later, Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp returned from Southern California and immediately started making more Christmas boughs. This flexibility shows the strength of public service brought by the CDCR Youth Conservation Camps.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Prison Inmates Graduate from Carpenter’s Training Program

Prison Industry Authority to Expand Rehabilitation Program for Women

Folsom -- The Prison Industry Authority (PIA) today announced that it will expand a rehabilitation program that prepares female inmates for careers as professional carpenters, supported by funds budgeted by Governor Schwarzenegger to reduce recidivism among prison inmates.

The announcement was made during ceremonies for 33 male inmates from two Sacramento area prisons who took a constructive step toward turning their lives around by graduating today from a similar training program conducted by PIA in partnership with Northern California’s Carpenter’s Union Local 46.

“These programs prepare inmates for real careers, not dead-end jobs, which can reduce the number of former inmates who return to prison,” said Charles Pattillo, general manager of the Prison Industry Authority. “Reducing recidivism saves inmate families by helping them stay together and saves taxpayer dollars by reducing the cost of a revolving door prison system.”

“The carpentry training program at Folsom has proven to be a path for success for male inmates and it has opened up a new career path for female inmates in Southern California, who up to now may have never considered working in the carpentry field,” said Pattillo.

Pattillo noted that, although research data is preliminary, it concludes that inmates who graduate from PIA technical education programs have a recidivism rate that is less than one-third that of the general prison population. “Of the 70 men who have graduated from the carpenter’s pre-apprenticeship training program and been paroled, only three have returned to prison,” noted Pattillo. “If this type of success rate can be replicated it will significantly reduce prison overcrowding, and save taxpayer dollars.”

The pre-apprenticeship program, operated in partnership with the carpenter’s union, trains inmates in all of the job skills they need to work as apprentices on a construction site. Inmates, who are trained by union members, are assigned to work sites when they are paroled. PIA provides each inmate with a tool belt that includes everything they need for the first day on the job and pays their union dues for one year to provide a financial cushion as former inmates make the transition back to their communities.

Male inmates at Folsom are rebuilding a former fire camp into a conference center and classrooms on the grounds of the prison and also work in PIA’s Modular Building Enterprise, which manufacturers building for use by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and other government agencies.

The expansion of the carpenter’s training program for women, funded with $3 million in anti-recidivism monies budgeted by Governor Schwarzenegger, will complement a program already underway for female inmates at the California Institution for Women in Corona. Inmates in that program are constructing a new classroom to be used by female inmate firefighting crews housed at that prison. The expansion will take place at one of two women’s prisons in the San Joaquin Valley, to be determined in the coming weeks.

Last month, the PIA signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 118 that will establish a similar pre-apprenticeship program and prepare inmates for professional careers as ironworkers when they are paroled.

The Prison Industry Authority is a financially self-supporting state government agency that operates manufacturing and agricultural facilities within the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which provides rehabilitation opportunities for inmates.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gov. Schwarzenegger Appoints Thomas Powers Director of the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services in CDCR

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Thomas F. Powers as director of the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services (DARS) within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

"My administration has taken immediate action to implement California's historic prison reform plan. As part of this plan, we are providing rehabilitative programs to our inmates so when they have served their sentences they can return to society as law-abiding citizens," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Tom's strong background and experience with substance-abuse treatment makes him the right person to ensure California's inmates have the right tools and knowledge they need when they return to our communities."

Powers has served as acting director of DARS since May 2007. He has also served as executive director of the Wolfe Center since 2006, where he directs the operation of an intensive, outpatient substance-abuse treatment program for teenagers that services the greater Napa County area. From 2000 to 2006, Powers served as chief deputy director for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, where he administered state and federal alcohol and drug treatment and prevention funds. Prior to that, he served as deputy director for the Crime and Violence Prevention Center for the Office of the Attorney General in 2000 and previously held the same position from 1984 to 1988.

In addition, Powers worked in various capacities for the California Conservation Corps (CCC) from 1978 to 1984 and from 1988 to 2000. He held the positions of division chief, regional deputy director, deputy director of programs and policy and regional deputy director at the CCC. As division chief, Powers directed the CCC member Development and Project Support Division with 57 staff and an annual budget of $18 million. He also supervised four Northern Region Service Districts as regional deputy director at CCC.

"It is a great honor to serve in this important role in Governor Schwarzenegger's administration," said Powers. "I will continue to work with the Governor and federal, state and local officials to provide the best tools and programs to rehabilitate and reform California's inmates and parolees to ease their transition back into society."

Powers, 58, of Napa, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego. This position does not require Senate confirmation.

DARS is a cornerstone of CDCR's overarching mission to improve public safety through crime prevention and recidivism reduction. CDCR established DARS, formerly known as the Office of Substance Abuse Programs, to reduce substance abuse by inmates and parolees. The division implements and manages CDCR's system-wide substance abuse plan for intervention and treatment that includes both prison-based and community programs. DARS is responsible for coordinating activities with federal agencies, state agencies and public and private non-profit organizations to ensure cooperation in providing substance abuse services to the inmate and parole population.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CalPIA, Ironworkers Union, Set Apprentice Training Program for Inmates

Education to help inmates start careers upon parole

Sacramento…..In an effort to reduce the state’s excessive rate of repeat crime among prison inmates, The California Prison Industry Authority (CalPIA) and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 118 today announced creation of an apprenticeship training program that will prepare inmates for professional careers as tradesmen when they are released on parole.

“If we can offer these people a career in the construction business that pays good wages with benefits, not just a job, these people likely will not come back to prison,” said John Rafter, business manager of the union.

“California’s prison population is higher than at any other time in its history and a 70 percent recidivism rate among inmates is one of the biggest reasons why,” noted Charles Pattillo, CalPIA general manager. “Giving these inmates an opportunity to rehabilitate their lives is the best solution to prison overcrowding by reducing crime in our communities.”

Under a formal agreement between the union and CalPIA, inmates will receive the same year-long pre-apprenticeship training that is provided to other aspiring craftsman, taught by a journeyman ironworker and union member. When graduating inmates parole, they will be enrolled in union apprenticeship programs throughout California.

CalPIA will provide each inmate with the basic tools they need for the first day on the job and will pay their union dues for one year to help them financially during their transition.

The training program will be conducted at CalPIA’s facility on the outskirts of Folsom Prison, where inmates will learn about safety laws, basic construction requirements, and welding techniques.

The curriculum includes classroom presentations and real world experience on a CalPIA assembly line that manufactures modular buildings that will be used to expand prison capacity and that will be sold to other governmental agencies.

CalPIA is a financially self-supporting state agency that employs approximately 7,000 inmates in manufacturing and agricultural businesses that offer opportunities for them to learn trades and to earn wages that can help them financially when they are released from prison.

The ironworkers training program is modeled after a successful and similar CalPIA program that has graduated approximately 120 inmates into carpentry apprenticeships in the last year. Preliminary data from that program indicates that approximately 16 percent of the graduates have committed new crimes and been returned to prison, compared to 70 percent for the general prison population.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Firefighter Wards Return to Camp to Earn Diplomas

DJJ Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp Graduates 34

PINE GROVE – Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp honored 34 young men in its 12th annual graduation ceremony today. The camp provides response to all types of emergencies including wildfires, floods, search and rescues, and earthquakes. In the last year 22 students have earned a full high school diploma, and twelve students have passed the GED exam.

Many of the wards honored in today’s ceremony spent the last six weeks assisting other state firefighters in battling some devastating wildland and urban fires. Most recently the wards were dispatched to a number of Southern California fires, in an effort to save lives and protect structures at risk from fire damage.

“Wards who leave our youth facilities and camps prepared with the right education can make positive contributions to the community. Giving these wards a chance to perform public service work can truly change their perspective on life. By equipping youth with the tools they need to succeed upon release we will reduce recidivism, and improve public safety,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for the Division of Juvenile Justice. “Strategies to reduce recidivism provide enormous public safety benefits and are key components of the Governor’s vision for long-term reform.”

“This is an incredible accomplishment for these young men and we are very proud of them,” said Pine Grove YCC Superintendent Mike Roots.” It takes a focused effort on their part to complete their schooling as well as keep up with the other demands on their day. They are responsible for working all day with CALFIRE captains on community service projects, responding to fires and other emergencies whenever they are called upon, and completing their board-ordered groups. At night, when all of us are at home relaxing, they are going to school and attempting to finish their education. Their graduation is truly a day to celebrate!”

Superintendent Roots noted that this is the largest group of graduates the camp has ever had.

“It is quite an accomplishment to have this many graduates out of the 80 wards assigned to the Camp program,” Roots said. “Not only should the ward be congratulated, but also the staff of this camp, from cooks to counselors, as well as the CALFIRE staff.”

Honorary speakers today included CALFIRE Captain Howard Drummond and Superintendent Mike Roots. Several dignitaries from Education Services Branch as well as our school Principal were also in attendance. Many family members joined the celebration with their graduates as well as members of the local Pine Grove community that donate service hours to the camp.

Background

The Conservation Camp Program is one of the most successful collaborations in California’s history and dates back to 1946. The CDF, and CDCR Adult and Juvenile facilities jointly operate 41 Conservation Camps statewide that house nearly 4,000 inmates and wards. When they are fighting fires or completing various conservation projects they are under the supervision of CALFIRE. There are 198 fire crews serving California year round under this system. These crews are available to respond to all types of emergencies including wildfires, floods, search and rescues, and earthquakes. When not responding to emergencies, the crews are busy with conservation and community service work projects for state, federal, and local government agencies. Fire crews perform several million hours of emergency response each year and more on work projects.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wards in New “Prison Pup” Program Train Abused and Neglected Dogs for Re-adoption into the Community

Rehabilitation Program Benefits Youth and Rescued Animals

CHINO – The Prison Pup Dog Shelter Program recently debuted at the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino. This is the first such program in a California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facility. On Oct. 30, the first four dogs planned for the program arrived at the institution and met their handlers – wards who have earned the privilege of perfoming community-service working with rescued animals from local animal shelters. Dogs in the program are rehabilitated from past neglect and abuse issues and then retrained for basic obedience and proper socialization for re-adoption into the community.

“This is a worthy cause for our youth to give back to the community and learn about caring and responsibility,” said Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary for the Division of Juvenile Justice. “We are proud to be chosen to be part of this program and are hopeful that the dogs in our care can be given to an appropriate citizen in need, to ease them in life’s challenges.”

The first dogs came from Santa Ana in Orange County via the Canine Support Team, Inc (CST). CST is a California based, non-profit organization that provides specially-trained dogs to people with disabilities other than blindness. Since 1989, CST started placing service dogs with people who use wheelchairs, walkers, crutches or canes.

Heman Stark YCF Superintendent Ramon Martinez noted that this service work is consistent with one of the basic tenets of the state’s juvenile system – restorative justice.

“One of the tenets of the DJJ and former California Youth Authority is the concept of restorative justice,” Martinez said. “The restorative justice philosophy assumes that when a ward committed a crime that got them referred to the DJJ, society lost something in that act of violence. Restorative justice allows that ward to perform a series of public service acts that restores, or gives something positive back to the community-at-large in a showing of “amends” for that past wrong.”

It will be the goal of the youth entrusted with these animals to care for these pets, rehabilitate them from past neglect and train them in basic obedience. The program is intense and based on positive reinforcement and social learning theory. The goal of the program is to teach youth about parenting, responsibility and respect for life. Once trained, these dogs then will be directly placed into a loving home.

The dogs will be trained by wards on a team coming from two programs at the Heman Stark facility. The OR Treatment Team currently has 67 wards assigned. The team is divided between two populations: R Company is a high-risk general population; O company is the Incentive Program, which consists of 36 wards. Wards on the Incentive Program must meet minimum criteria of possessing a High School Diploma or GED, or senior status, and be employed within the institution. They cannot accumulate any negative reports for any violent behavior(s) or gang-related activity. All wards on OR are expected to perform community service.

The Prison Pup Program was spearheaded by Sister Pauline Quinn and made its debut in the California correctional institutional system when then-Warden John Dovey approved the program to begin at the California Institution for Women in September 2002.

The Canine Support Team is a non-profit organization that provides service to people with disabilities. Nearly 20 years ago, CEO, Founder and Training Manager, Carol Roquemore started placing dogs with people who use wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, or canes. The success of the program has grown from 4 puppies to 20 with more than 50 California inmate participants training the animals for dedicated service in the community.

Recently CST was looking to expand the existing prison-based program. Research of the local animal shelters shows a high kill rate of unwanted dogs left in animal shelters for extended periods of time. The main reason for euthanizing pets is due to limited resources in caring for them. The overall neglect and abuse has left them in a desolate state.

The Prison Pup Program is partnered up with Prison Pup Program Manager, Donna Shawver and Janette Thomas, Chief Operating Officer and Training Supervisor, and Michelle Lee, Treatment Team Supervisor from Heman Stark YCF. The case managers working directly with the program are Jared Mory and Cedric Shiner, both Youth Correctional Counselors, along with support from all the counselors working on the OR Treatment Team.

The Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility is the largest youth correctional facility within the DJJ. This facility opened up in 1959 with an original mission to younger youth in need of reform. Nearly 49 years later, Heman G. Stark is housing some of the state's most violent and older wards with more serious offenses.



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

CDCR Regional Workshops Engage Officials in All 58 Counties on Secure Community Reentry Facilities







Over 800 local law enforcement, elected officials and stakeholders attended informational workshops and provided input on the Governor’s prison reforms

SACRAMENTO – Regional workshops held over the last four months on secure community reentry facilities created under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive prison reform legislation engaged over 800 officials from all 58 counties, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) reported today. CDCR Undersecretary for Adult Programs Kathy Jett summarized the goal of secure community reentry facilities and the success of these workshops to the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board (C-ROB) this morning during a board meeting at the Sacramento Convention Center.

"The Governor’s comprehensive corrections reforms aim to address severe inmate overcrowding at state prisons and local jails by funding new beds tied to rehabilitation, and creating secure reentry facilities in the local communities where inmates will be returning,” said Undersecretary Jett. “Inmates too often leave prison with $200 minus the cost of a bus ticket, and no prospects for success once they return home. The goal of a secure community reentry facility is to ease the transition of local residents and improve public safety.”

The Governor’s prison reforms fund 16,000 beds in secure community reentry facilities, which will house a maximum of 500 inmates and be located in the county where an inmate is legally required to be returned. Jett also spoke of the importance of having local communities participate in the process, since only those counties that apply for and cite a location will be considered to house a secure community reentry facility.

“The new model for Secure Community Reentry Facilities is one that will take an unprecedented amount of coordination between the state and local law enforcement, elected officials and stakeholders if it is to be successful. After meeting with all 58 counties, I am very confident that we can build the partnerships necessary to improve the way we transition inmates who are returning home so that they can be successful upon release,” said Undersecretary Jett. “The fact that so many local communities are becoming engaged in the reentry process is an optimistic sign that we can enact positive change to increase public safety.”

From July through October 2007 CDCR joined with the California State Sheriffs Association, the California State Association of Counties, the League of California Cities, the Chief Probation Officers Association, the California Mental Health Directors Association, the County Alcohol & Drug Program Administrators Association of California, and the Association of California Cities Allied with Prisons to conduct a statewide informational campaign on the benefits and responsibilities of bringing Secure Community Reentry Facilities into local communities.

The workshops were meant to educate, inform, and receive feedback from all 58 counties on the reentry facilities and jail construction funding - the centerpiece of the Governor’s prison reform legislation, AB 900. Approximately 800 local law enforcement, government officials, and stakeholders attended at these workshops. Each workshop received very positive feedback from the locals, and many communities took the next step of signing agreements to cooperate with the state to cite a facility. Input by the attendees from the workshops is being used by CDCR executive management to make policy decisions as the CDCR moves forward with the development of reentry facilities.

Following are some quotes from attendees at the workshops from press releases and media covering the events:

“The State has made great strides at expanding partnerships and leading the charge to reduce recidivism. These reentry facilities will begin to address the missing pieces that have fostered the revolving door of recidivism. These reentry facilities must be designed according to the needs of the offenders as well as the needs of the community,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. “Last year the CDCR and LASD Community Transition Unit collaborated in an effort to create a Reentry Council for Los Angeles County. This project is in full swing, and it’s partnerships like these that show how a leveraging of funds and a strong partnership can lead to a safer community.”
CDCR Press Release, Oct. 5, 2007

Los Angeles County Assistant Sheriff Marvin Cavanaugh said he believes the time has come to look at giving pre-release inmates tools to survive in the real world. - "We are now at the brink where re-entry programs ... are exactly the right thing to do," he said.
Honig, Robert. “Inmate Reentry Facility Proposed.”
Pasadena Star News. Oct. 6, 2007.

“Parolees already return to our community,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier. “We must make sure they return marked by success and not chronic failure.”
Durand, Michelle. ”State pitches re-entry jail facility plan.
” San Mateo Daily Journal. Sept. 29, 2007.

Solano Sheriff Gary Stanton and District Attorney David Paulson both say they strongly support the idea of creating a re-entry facility in Solano. "My position is that these people are coming back to Solano County whether we do anything or not," said Stanton. "We can continue to give them $200 bucks and a bus ticket with no hope of success or we can have a re-entry program where they are exposed to programs that will help them succeed."
Miller, Robin. “How to help inmates back into society.”
Vacaville Reporter. Sept. 11, 2007

Elizabeth Egan, Fresno County district attorney stated, "I really like the consistency, the focus on providing the programs inmates need to successfully re-enter the community," Egan said. "If the programs help one inmate, if they result in one less failure of parole, this becomes a safer community."
Boyles, Denny. “State targets inmate rehab.”
The Fresno Bee. Sept. 6, 2007

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Gov. Schwarzenegger Directs CDCR to Utilize Inmate Fire Crews in Response to Major Wildfires

To view the video Click Here.
To read the press release Click Here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

CDCR Small Business and Disabled Veterans Contracting Achievements Earn Two Statewide Awards

Agency Accepts Governor Schwarzenegger’s Challenge; Contracts for $6.8 Billion with Small Business and $115 Million with Disabled Veterans

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was recently recognized for significantly increasing contracts with small businesses and disabled veterans pursuant to an Executive Order from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The agency was recognized for achievements over the last six years that have netted more than $6.8 billion in contracts with small businesses and $115 million to disabled veterans. CDCR received two awards during the annual State Agency Recognition Awards Ceremony held on October 25th by the Department of General Services (DGS).

“The recent awards and the recognition of CDCR’s small business efforts reflects this Department’s commitment to working with small businesses to best meet our public safety mission,” said CDCR Undersecretary for Support Stephen W. Kessler. “This department is fortunate to have dedicated professional staff who are committed to reaching out and working with our small business community statewide to ensure that critical services and products are procured in an efficient manner at the least cost to taxpayers. I want to congratulate our staff for their outstanding accomplishments.”

CDCR received the Silver Award for “Most Notable Improvement for Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Contracting in Fiscal Year 2006/2007.” The agency was also honored with the “Secretary’s Special Achievement Award,” presented by Secretary Rosario Marin of the State and Consumer Services Agency, for exemplary and sustained achievements in small business and disabled veteran business enterprise contracting during the last six years. CDCR was the only state department to be honored with the Secretary’s award for 2007. These achievements substantially impacted California’s small business participation goals.

CDCR has seen its efforts in this area develop into a formidable small business and disabled veterans business enterprise program. During the past six years, CDCR averaged over 38.5 percent small business participation in contracting, consistently surpassing the 25 percent goal set by DGS and referenced in Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-02-06. During this time period, CDCR awarded over $6.8 billion to small businesses throughout the state, and more than $115 million to disabled veteran business enterprises.

CDCR’s continual efforts to achieve business development participation goals laid out by the administration culminated in Fiscal Year 2006/07, when CDCR achieved 38.26 percent small business participation by awarding more than $1.5 billion, and 3.19 percent disabled veteran business enterprise participation by awarding $41.5 million.

CDCR is a very unique department since it has 49 locations capable of contracting on their own. These locations are not merely branch offices, most are adult institutions and juvenile facilities. Many of these locations contract out for more than $15 million per year. In Fiscal Year 2006/07, four of CDCR’s reporting locations had more than 50 percent small business participation and four locations reported more than 11 percent disabled veterans business enterprise participation, contributing over $29 million and $16 million respectively.

Keeping the 49 locations informed and educated on CDCR’s business development goals and programs is a tremendous task. To implement the program the agency has 42 small business advocates, one advocate for each of the 34 adult institutions and seven juvenile facilities. CDCR also has a small business and disabled veteran business enterprise Liaison/Advocate at Headquarters who is responsible for coordinating the activities and flow of information within the advocate network, and expanding and improving participation in the program.

For more information on CDCR’s small business and disabled veteran business enterprise program please visit the CDCR website at:

www.cdcr.ca.gov/DoingBusiness/index.html

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CDCR Parole Agents Enforcing Special Limits on Sex Offenders for Halloween

No “Trick or Treat” For Sex Offender Parolees
SACRAMENTO – Parole agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will be enforcing special limits on sex offenders to ensure that they stay home and away from children on Halloween night.

“Our agents will be out in force, checking on sex offenders, to ensure that they stay behind locked doors, in dark houses, with absolutely no contact with ‘trick or treaters’ on Halloween night,” said Tom Hoffman, CDCR Director of Parole. “Our goal is to make sure that children have a carefree night free of any potential contact with sex offenders.”

CDCR imposes its most stringent parole conditions on sex offenders, including mandatory curfews and treatment, and limitations on their behavior and where they live to prevent contact with potential victims. Even so, sex offenders are held to even stricter limits on their behavior on Halloween night, when children are on the streets and going door-to-door, sometimes through unfamiliar neighborhoods.

Among the Special Conditions of Parole imposed on sex offenders for Halloween night:

• A 5pm to 5 am curfew during which parolees must remain indoors;
• All exterior lights of their homes must be turned off so that it looks as if no one is home, which takes away any opportunity for children to be tempted to ring the door bell;
• No offering of Halloween candy and no Halloween decorations are allowed;
• During the curfew, sex offender parolees can only open the door to respond to law enforcement, such as parole agents who are patrolling their caseload to ensure compliance.

All CDCR parole agents will be enforcing these conditions on their caseloads individually. In some regions, such as Sacramento and Fresno, CDCR agents will conduct what has become an October tradition. During “Operation Boo,” agents and police will work together to knock on the doors of sex offenders who are on parole or probation to ensure they comply with all the special restrictions.


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Monday, October 29, 2007

CDCR Secretary James Tilton Addresses 15th Annual International Community Corrections Association Conference

Discusses Governor Schwarzenegger’s Comprehensive Prison Reforms and Efforts Underway in
California

SAN DIEGO – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary James Tilton addressed more than 500 attendees today at the 15th Annual Community Corrections Association (ICCA) conference in San Diego. Attending are representatives of 34 states, Canada, Scotland, Nigeria and China. No fewer than 19 California-based and other criminal justice partners worked with the ICCA to plan and organize this major exposition of research-based solutions to chronic issues in the criminal justice system.

“It takes a strong network of community partnerships to achieve success in the criminal justice field, and strong leadership to enact change” said Secretary Tilton in his opening remarks. “Under Governor Schwarzenegger, California is undertaking a seismic shift in our corrections system that will fundamentally re-focus how our state deals with offenders. The Governor’s reforms emphasize rehabilitation as a way to reduce recidivism and increase public safety. I anticipate that California will continue to be a national and international leader in criminal justice policy as the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation implements these reforms.”

Secretary Tilton gave an overview of Governor Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive prison reforms, AB 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007, signed in May 2007. He discussed the move toward evidence-based rehabilitation programs in prison. He also talked about the shift from remotely located prisons to Secure Community Reentry Facilities during the final months of inmates’ sentences, and the need for collaboration with local communities and service providers, among other issues.

The conference, titled “Collaborating for Community Justice: A Local Public Safety Imperative,” brought together researchers, city and county government representatives, the judiciary, community corrections professionals, the state sheriff’s association, and others to explore approaches to reducing recidivism through successful reentry programs. The San Diego Sheriff’s Department is the local sponsor, and the CDCR is among the many law enforcement and other community partners in presenting this conference.

Law enforcement and other related professionals from across the United States and Canada will conduct workshops throughout the week highlighting current programs that incorporate research-based practices into their daily operations. California panels will examine the implementation of a number of new legislative directives, including AB 900 and SB 618, the reentry program that has a pilot underway in San Diego County.

Other featured presentations will highlight new research studies from Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Those include an anthropological view of restorative justice practices, the cost-effectiveness of applying best practices in reducing recidivism, and classifying female offenders, the most rapidly growing segment of the prison population.

For more information on the Governor's focus on rehabilitation through the new reforms, please visit the CDCR website at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/PrisonReform.html

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Condemned Inmate Billy Ray Hamilton Dies of Natural Causes

Inmate Billy Ray Hamilton, 58, sentenced to death in 1981 for three counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances, died of natural causes at 3:18 p.m. on Monday, October 22, 2007 at a Kern County hospital.

He and crime partner Connie Sue Barbo murdered Douglas Scott White, Bryon William Schletewitz, and Josephine Linda Rocha on September 4, 1980 at Fran’s Market in Fresno. Hamilton shot the three at close range with a shotgun. Hamilton also attempted to kill two others, one a store employee, and the other a nearby resident who had heard the gunshots and responded.

In October 1980, Hamilton was arrested as a suspect in a Modesto robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Investigators then learned Hamilton had committed the murders at Fran’s Market on behalf of Clarence Ray Allen.

The two had been incarcerated at Folsom State Prison. Hamilton was serving a four-year sentence for robbery. Allen had been arrested, convicted of burglary, first-degree murder and conspiracy, and sent to prison with a life sentence in 1978 for the 1974 burglary of Fran’s Market and for planning to kill an accomplice. While in prison, Allen plotted to kill the people who had informed on him and gotten him prison time. Three days after Hamilton was paroled, he was picked up by Allen’s son at the bus station and obtained weapons to carry out the crimes.

The investigation led to the arrest of inmate Allen. He was convicted in Glenn County of three counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances and was received onto California’s death row at San Quentin State Prison on December 2, 1982. He was executed by lethal injection on January 17, 2006.

On October 16, 1981, Hamilton was sentenced to death in Contra Costa County and was received onto California’s death row at San Quentin on October 19, 1981.

Barbo was received on February 26, 1982 from Monterey County after she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for three counts of first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She is currently incarcerated at California Institution for Women.

Since 1978 when capital punishment was reinstated in California, 72 condemned inmates have died. Thirteen were executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, 39 died of natural causes, 14 committed suicide, and five died of other causes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gov. Schwarzenegger Mobilizes CDCR Strike Teams to Southern California Wildfires

CDCR Fire Captains, Engines and Equipment Readied for Deployment to Assist in Statewide Emergency Efforts

Responding to Governor Schwarzenegger's direction for state agencies to assist the firefighting efforts in southern California, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is mobilizing fire department emergency strike teams from prisons throughout the state. The strike teams' deployments are being coordinated through the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

"Consistent with state and federal emergency declarations, I am directing staff and fire departments at all of the state's prisons to mobilize and direct available firefighting resources to southern California immediately," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

The first CDCR strike team made up of six fire engines and 18 fire captains from the California Correctional Institution, California Men's Colony, California Rehabilitation Center, Centinela State Prison, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, Correctional Training Facility and Salinas Valley State Prison was deployed yesterday to assist in fire suppression activities. Additionally, personnel and one fire engine from Mule Creek State Prison joined a strike team deployed from Amador County to southern California and a fire captain from Calipatria State Prison is assisting the City of Calipatria Fire Department.

CDCR is also currently mobilizing another strike team from several Central Valley prisons to be ready for deployment. Engines, equipment and personnel are being assembled from Avenal State Prison, Folsom State Prison, California State Prison-Solano, Kern Valley State Prison, North Kern State Prison, Pleasant Valley State Prison and Wasco State Prison as part of this second wave.

In addition to the strike teams, the department has more than 2,640 trained inmate firefighters supervised by more than 170 custody staff from the Conservation Camp Program actively fighting the southern California wildfires today after being deployed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Friday, October 19, 2007

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Graduates Another Large Class of Correctional Officers

Work is important to prison reforms underway statewide

Galt – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today graduated the largest class this year of correctional officers at the R.A. McGee Correctional Training Academy in Galt. The correctional officer training is part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commitment to increase public safety in the state’s prison system.

CDCR Secretary James Tilton expressed his appreciation and congratulations to the cadets, “I applaud these newest correctional officers, who are committed professionals and dedicated to this honorable profession. We salute you as you begin this next phase of your career, by committing yourself to the public safety and service of California communities.”

The 408 graduates of the program have already been assigned to specific adult correctional institutions where they will begin their careers as correctional officers. Cadets receive 640 hours of instruction during the 16 week academy, including classes in leadership and ethics, crime scene investigation, inmate supervision, emergency operations, first aid, and physical fitness training. Upon graduation from the academy, new correctional officers earn more than $45,000 per year. Top level correctional officers can earn more than $73,000 per year.

The Department is making progress toward meeting its goal to select and hire correctional officers to fill every established position vacancy, including new court required positions. CDCR has intensified its recruitment efforts to increase the number of correctional officers who are needed throughout the state. CDCR receives approximately 7,500 correctional officer applications per month. Typically, only four percent of the potential candidates pass the selection process, which includes psychological, academic, background investigation, medical and physical fitness evaluations.

During the last calendar year, approximately 2,595 cadets have graduated from the academy. CDCR currently has approximately 23,260 correctional officers. For more information visit: http://www.joincdcr.com/

Friday, October 12, 2007

CDCR Hosts Regional Workshop in Downtown Santa Barbara for Ventura, Santa Barbara Counties on Secure Community Reentry Facilities

Event held to educate local officials and stakeholders on new reforms
Santa Barbara - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) hosted the tenth and final in a series of regional workshops today on Secure Community Reentry Facilities, a key component of recently signed legislation by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to reform California’s prison and jail systems. The workshop, held in downtown Santa Barbara, included representatives from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

“The Governor’s comprehensive corrections reforms aim to address severe inmate overcrowding at state prisons and local jails by funding new beds tied to rehabilitation, and creating secure reentry facilities in the local communities where inmates will be returning,” said Marisela Montes, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary, Adult Programs. “Inmates too often leave prison with $200 minus the cost of a bus ticket, and no prospects for success once they return home. The goal of a secure community reentry facility is to ease the transition of local residents and improve public safety.”

“By law, inmates are returned to their county of last legal residence. In practice, offenders come back to local cities and towns whether they’re rehabilitated or not. It is in the public’s interest to give these returning residents the tools to be law-abiding citizens,” said Sheriff Bob Brooks, Ventura County. “This county has a vital interest in partnering with the state to improve our process for transitioning our residents back home, and exploring the use of secure community reentry facilities.”

”The number-one concern of the public is neighborhood safety,” said Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long. “The public expects their elected leaders to provide safe communities. The transition services for parolees to return them to the community must provide job training, counseling and other services so that certain inmates can successfully re-enter and integrate into society as productive and contributing individuals. Such services not only enhance public safety and improve our communities, but also save taxpayers' dollars in the long term."

In May of this year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007, a historic prison reform agreement. Chief among the provisions of Assembly Bill 900 are funding for 16,000 beds in secure community reentry facilities.

Secure community reentry facilities will enable CDCR and local communities to create an unprecedented continuity of care to provide support services. Reentry facilities will be built in cities, counties or regions willing to partner with CDCR, to assist local residents who are required to be returned to the county where they committed their offense upon release.

These facilities will provide programs and services such as: Intensive substance abuse treatment; Vocational training and job placement; Education and GED coursework; Anger management classes; Family counseling; Housing placement; and,Targeted services to help ease the transition from incarceration to a crime-free life on the outside.

This regional workshop was the final in a series of 10 statewide regional workshops that have been organized since July 30. In addition, on July 16 CDCR hosted an online web seminar to discuss why community reentry facilities are important to public safety.

Invited participants to the regional workshops were local government officials, sheriffs, boards of supervisors, mayors, city council members, chief probation officers, mental health professionals, drug/alcohol professionals, county administrative officers, police chiefs, district attorneys, county public works, community-based agencies, victims’ advocates, chamber of commerce, legislators, and association representatives.

Participants attended workshops discussing parolee programming needs, jail construction funding, and standards for reentry facilities.

For more information on secure reentry centers, and the Governor's focus on rehabilitation through the new reforms, please visit the CDCR website at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/PrisonReform.html

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Parole Agents Begin Active Enforcement of 2,000 Foot Jessica’s Law Residency Restrictions for Sex Offenders

CDCR Agents to Begin Violating Sex Offender Parolees in Non-Compliant Housing as 45-Day Extension Ends

SACRAMENTO – Starting today, sex offender parolees found living within 2,000 feet of schools and parks who are subject to Jessica’s Law residency restrictions will begin to be arrested for potential revocation to state prison. Sex offender parolees released from prison on or after November 8, 2006, have been prohibited from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks since the day the law was passed via initiative.

Parolee sex offenders subject to Jessica’s Law were delivered in-person notifications of the 2,000 foot residency restrictions by agents of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Division of Adult Parole Operations beginning on August 17, 2007. Agents measured the distance from parolees’ residences to schools and parks by GPS device, and those found to be in violation of Jessica’s Law were given 45-days to find appropriate housing. Legal challenges filed after the notifications were made extended the time to comply for some parolees.

Starting today, parole agents began meeting with sex offender parolees who have exhausted the extra time afforded to them to comply with the law, and will arrest those who are in violation. These parolees will be referred to the Board of Parole Hearings for possible revocation to state prison.

“Jessica’s Law clearly states that sex offenders who are released from prison are not to live within 2,000 feet of schools and parks, among other restrictions. Following the passage of this new law, the state has been working aggressively to enforce these residency restrictions, and to utilize new technology such as GPS to monitor sex offenders more effectively,” said CDCR Secretary James Tilton. “California’s parole division is working closely with law enforcement at the local level to implement Jessica’s Law, and to better monitor sex offenders released from prison.”

Since August 17, 2007, all sex offenders released from prison who are subject to Jessica’s Law have been notified of their residency restrictions as terms and conditions of their parole. Beginning October 12 parolees will no longer be given 45-days to comply with Jessica’s Law. They will be expected to be housed in compliance with Jessica’s Law immediately upon release, and parole agents will verify during home contacts within six days of release that their proposed residence is not within 2,000 feet of a school or park using GPS.

Of the nearly 3,000 sex offender parolees released between November 8, 2006, and August 16, 2007 who are subject to Jessica’s Law and are currently under residential supervision, agents from CDCR’s parole division found that approximately:

  • 2,100 were in compliant housing; and,
  • 850 were non-compliant.
“Parole agents will be sweeping the state in the coming weeks to ensure that sex offenders who were notified to move are in compliance with Jessica’s Law once their time is up,” said Tom Hoffman, Director of the Division of Adult Parole Operations. “From here on out, every sex offender released from prison will be officially notified of their residency restrictions as a term of parole. The responsibility is on the sex offender to follow Jessica’s Law, and the state will be working closely and aggressively with local communities to see that this law is enforced.”