Friday, May 28, 2010

CPOA Annual Training Symposium

This week the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA) held its Annual Training Symposium in Los Angeles. Secretary Cate updated the CPOA Board on what is going on at CDCR including an update on the budget. Additionally CPOA swore in a new slate of officers which includes Chief Jim McDonnell from the Long Beach Police Department as President. John Standish, the immediate Past President, was a great partner this past year. I want to thank John for his collaborative approach and his dedication to public safety on behalf of CPOA. Today, more then ever, working together is crucial and I look forward to working with Chief McDonnell in the coming year and know that he will work hard on behalf of CPOA.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Superintendent of Prison Education Appointed

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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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

The 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.

Click here to view a video of the event.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CDCR Staff Recognized for Efforts During 2009 Riot

On May 14, The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) 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 with the August 8-9 2009 riot were honored with Unit Citations.

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. In addition to the more then 60 Unit Citations the Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Mark Hargrove. 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.

Aside from our remarkable staff, we cannot forget to thank our local partners that provided mutual aid during this catastrophic event. The coordination between CDCR and these agencies resulted in no escapes and no deaths and their hard work is to be commended. The agencies that provided aid were: the Chino Police Department, Chino Valley Independent Fire District, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (Chino Hills Police Department, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana Stations, The West Valley Detention Center, and the Aviation Division), Ontario Police Department, Upland Police Department, American Medical Response, CALFIRE – Prado Conservation Camp.

Furthermore, Acting Warden Aref Fakhoury was officially sworn in as Warden, which was a surprise to those attending. Many local elected officials and community leaders attended the event to show their support to our brave staff and CDCR appreciates the support of these influential members of the community. Overall it was a great day for CDCR.

Welcome to External Affairs

What is The Office of External Affairs?

Before the Office of External Affairs (OEA) was created there was disconnect between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and its stakeholders. The OEA was established to function as a liaison between the CDCR and its external stakeholders, fostering a streamlined approach to information sharing. These stakeholders include local and statewide law enforcement groups, community and faith-based organizations, city and county government officials, nonprofit organizations, and any other community group or organization. The OEA serves to keep CDCR stakeholders up to date with events and news concerning the Department and values the input of each of their stakeholders. In addition, the OEA is responsible for identifying surrogates from media market to back CDCR when support or clarification is needed.

The OEA is a small division consisting of a Chief, Erin Sasse, and a Deputy Chief, Laura Enderton.

For External Affairs related questions email: cal_externalaffairs@cdcr.ca.gov