Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CDCR Joined by Fresno Law Enforcement Agencies to Launch Major Gang Sweep

Operation “Gang Zero Tolerance” Places GPS Devices on Known Parolee Gang Members in Fresno, Clovis

FRESNO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), joined by a task force of regional law enforcement agencies, conducted a major gang sweep in the cities of Fresno and Clovis, and increased the use of Global Positioning System technology to track gang members.

The increased use of GPS monitoring of gang members was made possible through recent legislation (SB3x18) passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that expands the use of GPS monitoring to 1,000 gang members statewide this year.

“California has taken a bold step in focusing its attention and resources on those gang members identified as posing the highest risk to the public,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “We are committed to improving supervision of gang members which will help increase public safety.”

During operation “Gang Zero Tolerance”, 61 gang associated members were returned to custody for violating their parole terms, nearly 200 known gang members and associates on parole were visited by agents, and 80 GPS tracking devices were strapped onto identified gang members. In Fresno alone, the parole unit is expanding by an additional three GPS gang caseloads as part of the reform efforts.

“The positive results from this sweep are a testament to the dedication of CDCR and our partners in law enforcement who made it a success,” said Robert Ambroselli, Director of CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations.

Operation “Gang Zero Tolerance” was comprised of 10 teams of CDCR parole agents and agents from its Office of Correctional Safety, Fresno Police Department, Clovis Police Department, Department of Fish and Game (K-9), Madera Police Department, Madera County Gang Task Force, California Highway Patrol’s Investigative Service Unit Team, CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions (CDCR Transportation, Institutional Gang Investigators), U.S. Marshals, and the Fresno County Child Protective Service Team.

The objective of Operation “Gang Zero Tolerance” was to assist in protecting the community by assuring parolees are in compliance with their special conditions of parole. The teams conducted home contacts with parolees and searched their residences to ensure compliance with parole and possible involvement in criminal behavior.

In October 2005, CDCR began implementing a High Risk Gang Offender Pilot Program using GPS technology as a tool to monitor and track the movements of known gang members. GPS is one of many tools CDCR parole agents use to monitor high-risk parolees who are deemed likely to re-offend.

CDCR’s parole division currently monitors nearly 160 high risk gang members on eight caseloads (or 20 gang members to one agent ratio), in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Fresno, and Sacramento. The program will increase this year to 1,000 gang members statewide.

Recent parole reforms reduces supervision of parolees who the Penal Code classifies as non-serious, non-violent and non-sex offenders and who are low risk to reoffend. The reduced supervision of these individuals allows agents to improve its supervision of those deemed higher risk to society.

The GPS Gang Program is restricted to parolees who have been identified as having a history of gang involvement, activity and/or association. Parole staff will be expected to utilize field experience, information from law enforcement agencies, and other relevant case factors in determining the appropriate use of GPS on gang members posing the greatest risk to the community.

Additionally, the new law provided more than $5 million in reallocated funding for the California Parole Apprehension Team to actively search and apprehend high-risk parole absconders. The Governor’s budget realized cost savings from implementing Non-Revocable Parole but reinvested a portion of the savings to strengthen programs that focus on the higher-risk parole population.

View photos of the gang sweep 

Operation "Gang Zero Tolerance" Results


Link to CDCR Electronic Monitoring Unit Website:

New Superintendent of Prison Education Appointed


Gordon Hinkle/Peggy Bengs
(916) 445-4950

Glenn Brooking takes helm during transformation of education programming

Glenn Brooking has been appointed Superintendent of the Office of Correctional Education (OCE), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), by CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. Mr. Brooking is the first permanent superintendent appointed to lead rehabilitative education programs for inmates since 2006.

“During these challenging budget times, we have to better leverage the resources we have to deliver rehabilitative educational services in our prisons, said Elizabeth Siggins, Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Programs. “We are pleased to have an education leader with Superintendent Brooking’s vast expertise and capabilities to take on this responsibility. With his leadership, we are pursuing innovative approaches to serve as many offenders as possible with quality education programming despite reduced funding.”

For more than 32 years, Mr. Brooking has provided education and administration services in the public school system and for CDCR’s Division of Juvenile Justice. Since February 2010, Mr. Brooking has served as Acting Superintendent of OCE. For three years prior to assuming that position, Mr. Brooking was the principal of California State Prison, Los Angeles County in Lancaster, where he elevated academic learning gains by 500 percent and increased General Education Development (GED) certificates earned by students by approximately 300 percent.

“We know that education is crucial for inmates to succeed when they are released from prison and an important component of reducing recidivism,” said Superintendent Brooking. “I am committed to assuring that our new education models give offenders the best academic and vocational opportunities possible that use our resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

This month, CDCR began to phase in its new, streamlined academic education models based on best practices in adult education which use a combination of classroom instruction and independent study. CDCR is increasing access to literacy, promoting GED preparation and focusing on vocational programs with current industry-certified and market-driven trades that can be completed in 12 months – programs that have been shown to reduce recidivism.

For more information on CDCR’s education programs visit:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

WestCare Honors Ex-Offender Graduates of Substance Abuse Programs


Peggy Bengs (CDCR)
(916) 445-4950
Tim Scott (West Care)
(559) 251-4800

FRESNO: More than 30 men and women, including 29 ex-offenders, who have successfully completed substance abuse treatment programs administered by WestCare California, will be honored during the “Road to Recovery” celebration today in Fresno.

Graduates and their families from throughout the state are coming together to celebrate the graduates’ success in overcoming addiction and moving on to living productive, independent lives.

“By completing important substance abuse treatment, these graduates have paved a path to a promising future,” said Steve Hedrick, Deputy Director for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Office of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. “Successful treatment also helps keep offenders from returning to prison and makes our communities safer.”

Sheila Robinson, daughter of rhythm and blues and soul music great Ray Charles, will deliver a motivational address describing her battle with substance abuse and her recovery.

WestCare administers residential and outpatient community-based substance abuse treatment programs for men and women under contract with CDCR. It has been providing substance abuse treatment services in Fresno County for over 34 years.

“We are proud of these graduates who are transforming their lives and will be able to successfully reunite with their families and communities,” said Lynn Pimentel, Deputy Administrator of WestCare California.
According to CDCR’s newest recidivism data, the return-to-prison rate after two years for offenders who completed both in-prison and community-based substance abuse programs in FY 2005-06 was 35 percent compared to 54 percent for all offenders.

WestCare currently provides the following services to California offenders:
  • Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agency (SASCA) services in 33 counties throughout California with offices located in Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno and Corona, to assist with the transition from in-custody treatment to community-based treatment.
  • Community-based programs to provide outpatient, day treatment, residential and sober living environments throughout Parole Region I (33 counties in Central and Northern California), including:
    • SMART Model of Care-2 Program – risk reduction program for children and their substance-abuse caregivers that works to develop strong attachment and bonding.
    • Family Foundation Program – voluntary alternative substance abuse treatment and life-skills development program for incarcerated women and their children. 
  • Transportation Services for Parolees Released from the Substance Abuse Program at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran to Residential or Sober Living Continuing Care Services throughout the State of California.
Despite reduced funding for rehabilitation programs due to state budget reductions, CDCR has restructured its substance abuse programs to continue to provide quality services and reach as many inmates as possible. Under CDCR’s new model, the department will be able to serve 8,500 inmates in 12 prisons and one community correctional facility annually and an estimated 12,000 offenders in community aftercare.

Link to photos of WestCare substance abuse program: .

For more information on CDCR substance abuse programs:

Friday, May 14, 2010

CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Honors Employees for Heroism, Outstanding Service

May 14, 2010

Lt. Mark Hargrove (909) 606-7068
Jonathan Parsley (916) 445-4950

CDCR Staff Recognized for Efforts During 2009 Riot

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today recognized staff during a ceremony held at the California Institution for Men (CIM) for employees who exhibited extraordinary bravery and conduct in the 2009 riot at CIM where public safety was at risk. More than 60 employees from CIM and nearby institutions who participated in the crisis response team role with the August 8-9 2009 riot were honored with Unit Citations.

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate thanks local law enforcement for assistance during the Aug. 8-9, 2009, riot at CIM.

The Unit Citation is for great courage displayed by a departmental unit in the course of conducting an operation in the face of immediate life-threatening circumstances.

“I want to commend CIM acting Warden Aref Fakhoury and the courageous CIM staff who responded to end this major disturbance,” CDCR Secretary Cate said. Cate also praised staff from nearby institutions for their assistance. He also thanked local law enforcement agencies who responded from the cities of Chino, Chino Hills and Ontario, along with the Chino Valley Independent Fire District for their assistance.

The investigation following the riot determined that racial tensions were the cause of the incident, resulting in the temporary loss of up to 1,300 reception beds, and an estimated $5 million in damages at the California Institution for Men Reception Center West Facility. CDCR transferred approximately 1,150 inmates who were displaced by the riot. Incredibly, no staff was injured during the melee that lasted nearly four hours.

Many families members and friends attended the event.
Matthew Cate swears in Warden Aref Fakhoury at the event. He had been acting warden.

The CIM Honor Guard posted and retrieved flags during the ceremony.

Several hundred were in attendance.

Secretary Matthew Cate thanks the CIM staff and others who responded for their bravery and commitment to public safety.

List of Today’s Honorees


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

Correctional Lieutenant Mark Hargrove, California Institution for Men


The Unit Citation is for great courage displayed by a departmental unit in the course of conducting an operation in the face of immediate life-threatening circumstances.

The following individuals from the California Institution for Men were recognized with the Unit Citation.

Supervising Registered Nurse II Russell M. Alano, Correctional Officer Erich A. Allen, Correctional Sergeant Daniel A. Alva, Correctional Sergeant Joshua A. Bain, Correctional Officer Jose M. Becerra, Correctional Officer Dwayne Bonffil, Correctional Sergeant Jesus J. Borbon, Correctional Lieutenant Cris J. Caldwell, Correctional Officer Arcadio Cancino, Correctional Officer Michael M. Capstic, Correctional Officer Kim C. Carson, Correctional Officer Eric F. Caver, Correctional Officer Devin O. Chavez, Correctional Officer Thomas F. Collins, Correctional Officer Luis Corona, Correctional Officer Leo Crawford Jr., Correctional Sergeant Shely E. Crosby, Correctional Officer Robert A. Culver, Supervising Registered Nurse II Karen A. Eke, Supervising Registered Nurse II Nick R. Evans, Correctional Officer Emilio E. Flores, Correctional Sergeant Dwayne M. Franklin, Correctional Officer Steven R. Frick, Correctional Officer Sean W. Gaston, Supervising Registered Nurse II Jorge F. Gomez, Correctional Lieutenant Vernon Grant Jr., Correctional Counselor I Ross K. Guerrero, Correctional Officer Carlos C. Gutierrez, Correctional Officer LaTanya D. Hall, Fire Captain Christopher T. Hassell, Correctional Lieutenant Eddie J. Hernandez, Correctional Counselor II Lewis R. Jeffers, Correctional Officer La Ron M. Jones, Correctional Officer Luisito S. Jose, Correctional Officer Timothy Lamb, Correctional Sergeant Jesse Lara, Correctional Lieutenant Andrew R. Lazarus, Correctional Sergeant George L. Liera, Correctional Sergeant Ricardo Matute, Supervising Registered Nurse II Patrick D. McMahon, Correctional Officer Dominic G. Mendoza, Correctional Officer Joseph L. Miller, Correctional Officer Steven R. Mohr, Registered Nurse Antoinette M. Montesa, Correctional Officer Calvin Mosley, Correctional Officer Raquel Olague, Correctional Officer Patrick T. Oneil, Correctional Officer Hector M. Perez, Supervising Registered Nurse III Elena Purcar, Correctional Officer Saul G. Ramirez, Correctional Officer Steven Rodgers, Correctional Officer Jose A. Ruiz, Fire Captain Gary M. Simoes, Correctional Sergeant Sombo Thon, Correctional Officer Monica Wise.

The following individuals from nearby institutions, who participated in the crisis response team role were also recognized with Unit Citations.

Correctional Officer Anthony R. Ramos, Sierra Conservation Center; Correctional Officer John B. Diyorio, California Institution for Women; Correctional Lieutenant James F. Barrera, California Rehabilitation Center; Correctional Officer Sammy L. Bell, California Rehabilitation Center; Correctional Officer Howard K. Dowdell, California Rehabilitation Center; Correctional Officer Michael B. Horta, California Rehabilitation Center; Lieutenant Dan A. Gonzalez, California Rehabilitation Center; Correctional Officer Alexander Lopez, California Rehabilitation Center; and, Henry S. Luce, Parole Agent I, Parole Region IV.

CDCR Secretary Honored By State IT Chief for “Innovation and Vision”

For Immediate Release
May 14, 2010

George Kostyrko (916) 445-4950

Award Given During Annual Government Technology Conference

SACRAMENTO – Matthew L. Cate, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), was honored May 12 with the “Innovation and Vision Award” by Government Technology Magazine at a special ceremony conducted during the GTC West Government Technology Conference.

“I am thrilled to announce that Secretary Matthew Cate is being honored with the Innovation and Vision Award for his leadership and dedication,” said California Chief Information Officer (CIO) Teri Takai, who presented the award to Cate. “Secretary Cate has been a technology champion and great inspiration to us.”

CDCR is the largest California state agency with approximately 67,000 employees. CDCR enhances public safety through safe and secure incarceration of offenders, effective parole supervision, and rehabilitative strategies to successfully reintegrate offenders into our communities. The Department has initiated a number of large scale efforts to use technology to manage, coordinate and improve operations at 200 statewide locations.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of this department and the many IT professionals we employ who strive daily to improve services we deliver to offenders, parolees, and our own staff,” said Cate. “I continue to encourage innovation and best practices in our information technology efforts and appreciate this recognition.”

“I salute Secretary Cate on his accomplishments in support of California’s IT agenda,” e.Republic CEO Dennis McKenna said. “His support of innovation and change is an example to other leaders in California and throughout the nation.”

The Innovation and Vision in Government Award is presented each year at e.Republic’s GTC West Conference. This prestigious award recognizes the leadership, dedication and tireless work of public officials to improve citizen services through the use of information technology.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hundreds of Children Visit Incarcerated Moms for Mother’s Day

For Immediate Release
May 07, 2010

Peggy Benggs (916) 261-2282
Gordon Hinkle (916) 445-4950

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Center for Restorative Justice Works (CRJW) are again bringing together hundreds of children to visit their incarcerated mothers to celebrate Mother’s Day during this 11th Annual Get On The Bus event.

Thirty buses and three airplanes filled with more than 700 children and their caregivers traveled early this morning from major cities across California to one of three female institutions: California Institution for Women in Corona and Central California Women's Facility and Valley State Prison for Women, both in Chowchilla. The buses arrived between 8 and 10 a.m. to accommodate the greatest number of visitors in visiting rooms with limited space.

"Get On The Bus brings incarcerated mothers and their children together for a memorable visit,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. "Keeping family bonds strong helps these women when they are released successfully transition back to their homes and communities."

Approximately 200,000 children in California have an incarcerated parent and live with relatives or in foster care, according to CDCR. Approximately 75 percent of female inmates are mothers.

"Seldom do people ask, ‘What about the children?’” said Get On The Bus Executive Director, Sister Suzanne Jabro. “These are the hidden victims of crime and punishment.”

For many of these children, this is the only time during the year that they will see their mother. Children with mothers in prison are usually cared for by relatives, often grandparents, who are unable to make the drive due to distance or expense.

Get On The Bus provides children and their caregivers with travel bags for the children, comfort care bags for the caregivers, a photograph of each child with his or her mother, and meals for the day. The meals include breakfast, snacks on the bus, lunch at the prison and dinner on the way home. On the bus trip home following the visit with the mothers, each child will receive a teddy bear with a letter from his or her mother as well as post-event counseling. The program is funded by donations from churches, schools, family foundations, grants and other organizations; and the transportation provided by Silverado Stages Inc., funded by CDCR

"A child needs to see and know their mother is safe, to be held by her and told they are loved,” added Sister Suzanne, who has spearheaded this event for 11 years. “A child needs to see their reflection in a mother’s eyes.”

The Get On The Bus program sparked the weekly bus service known as the "Chowchilla Family Express” for the families and loved ones of women incarcerated at the Central California Women's Facility and Valley State Prison for Women. This program, also a partnership with CRJW, is funded by CDCR to promote family reunification.

Get On The Bus will also reunite children with their dads for Father's Day. Thirty five buses carrying children and their caregivers will visit four men’s institutions: California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo on Saturday, June 5 and Saturday, June 12; and Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad and California State Prison-Sacramento on Saturday, June 19.