Monday, December 28, 2015

Governor Brown appoints new California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary

Office of the Governor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Governor's Press Office
Monday, December 28, 2015
(916) 445-4571

Governor Brown Appoints New California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Scott Kernan as Secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“Scott started as a correctional officer and worked his way up through the ranks to become warden at California State Prison, Sacramento and Mule Creek State Prison and more recently, undersecretary of operations,” said Governor Brown. “He has the experience and the know-how to do what needs to be done.”

Kernan, 55, of West Sacramento, has served as undersecretary for operations at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation since March 2015. He was owner at Kernan Consulting from 2011 to 2015. Kernan served as undersecretary for operations at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2008 to 2011, where he was chief deputy secretary of adult operations from 2007 to 2008 and deputy director of adult institutions from 2006 to 2007.

He served as warden at California State Prison, Sacramento from 2004 to 2006 and warden at Mule Creek State Prison from 2003 to 2004, where he served as a chief deputy warden from 2001 to 2003 and as a correctional administrator from 2000 to 2001. Kernan served as a correctional captain at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 1991 to 2000, where he was a correctional lieutenant from 1987 to 1991, an associate budget analyst from 1986 to 1987, a correctional sergeant from 1985 to 1986 and a correctional officer from 1983 to 1985. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1979 to 1982. 

This position requires Senate confirmation and the salary is $243,360. Kernan is a Republican.

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Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CSP-Solano inmates transform their hustle to job finding



CSP-Solano Warden Eric Arnold thanks the volunteers and inmate participants

Article and photos by Krissi Khokhobashvili, CDCR Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications
At some point, former offenders will be in the position where they will have to explain their past. In an interview, the answer to that question may be the deciding factor in whether someone is hired.
At a recent employment-readiness event inside a state prison, one expert shared her advice for answering that question.
“Put it out there, turn the corner and zoom right through it.”
Catherine Hoke is the CEO of Defy Ventures, a national nonprofit that assists offenders by offering intensive leadership development, business plan advice and mentoring. During the first-ever Defy Executive Coaching event recently at California State Prison-Solano (SOL), Hoke and a team of nearly 60 volunteers shared tips for acing job interviews.
“Take ownership” of your past, Hoke advised. “Make sure you take ownership: ‘I did time. But here’s how it changed me. Here are the things I can bring to your company that many others cannot.’”
In the months leading up to the coaching event, more than 100 SOL inmates – known as Entrepreneurs-in-Training, or EITs — have been going through Defy’s intensive book and DVD coursework, learning not just about how to find jobs and start businesses after prison, but how to transform themselves from the inside out.
“It’s based on a lot of wellness,” said Cotton, the inmate facilitator of the program. “Defy is not really one program. Defy is three programs – it’s an entrepreneurship program, then it’s an employment-readiness program, then it’s a personal wellness program.”
To get started, inmates had to answer a long questionnaire about themselves, their pasts and their future plans.
The questions go so deep, Cotton said, that many inmates decided they weren’t ready for the program yet. But those who are have been learning key steps to employment, including how to talk to potential investors – what many business experts call the “elevator speech.”
“You have 200 words to sell yourself,” Cotton said. “And if you lose that opportunity, you’ll realize how big of a chance you just lost, but you should learn from that experience. Even though you might lose a chance, it just lets you know that you need to practice a little bit more.”
Defy volunteers are realistic and hard-hitting when it comes to dispensing advice. During the coaching event, experts worked one-on-one with inmates, discussing their resumes and personal statements.
The first part of the in-prison program focuses on job readiness, and then will switch gears to entrepreneurship and developing business ideas.
On the outside, men and women who stay with Defy can take part in their “incubator,” in which entrepreneurs are paired with trainers and investors to create profitable businesses.
“We won’t let them start just anything,” Hoke said. “There are a lot of things that we will not support, for all types of reasons. If it’s not viable, we’ll say no. If their idea isn’t feasible, we tell them that.”
In its five years of existence, Defy has certainly seen success. Graduates include the owners of several successful businesses, including a commercial cleaning company, event planning service, a mobile barbershop and even a wildly successful “prison boot camp” fitness company.
Hoke said she was inspired to start Defy after touring a prison and meeting inmates who sincerely wanted to change their lives, but didn’t know where to start.
“I realized that so many of them were accomplished hustlers in their drug dealing and gang activity that they actually have business skills,” she said.
“That’s why our slogan is Transform Your Hustle. People think these people are no good for anything, but they actually have a lot of potential. What if they were equipped to go legit with their skills?” she said.
Defy volunteers came to SOL from across the country, including many who work for Google, which recently awarded $500,000 to Defy.
Warden Eric Arnold thanked them all for coming, and said he was happy the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was able to bring the program to SOL.
“I’ve talked to some men in the program and they’re very excited about it,” he said. “I hope it makes a difference in your lives, and I hope we can expand it.”
The idea originated in the Office of Correctional Education, which was approached by Defy with the idea to expand the post-release program into an in-prison one.
Dr. Kenya Williams, principal at SOL, said Defy representatives met with staff and a group of inmates for a focus group, after which the only question was “when do we start?”
“What Defy has done is stimulate hope,” Williams said, adding that even inmates serving life sentences are eligible to participate, because if they are one day found suitable for parole, they’ll have a head-start on a better life.
“You can’t say, ‘Oh, you’re a lifer, you’re never going to get out so we can’t do this program for you,’” she said. “A man without hope is a dangerous thing. … We know that lives change every day, and we know that once they get out they have to be ready.”
A perfect example of that is Huynh, who will parole soon after serving 15 years in prison. He hopes to one day start a personal development business, building on the things he learned while enrolled in many self-help programs in prison. Defy, he said, is helping him become more marketable and confident.
“It gives me already a huge network that I can tap into once I go home,” he said. “People who know my past, or know that I have a past, and are willing to at least hear me out.”

Friday, December 4, 2015

Gov. Brown thanks retiring Secretary Beard for his service

CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard on Thursday announced his intention to retire at the end of the year. Gov.  Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued the following statement:
“Secretary Beard took charge of California’s prison system at a time of great challenge, including overcrowding and numerous federal lawsuits,” said Gov. Brown. “Thanks to his outstanding leadership, today’s California correctional institutions are safer and more focused on rehabilitation.”
Jeff Beard
Secretary Beard
Here is text of the letter Secretary Beard released to CDCR employees:
Dear Friends and Colleagues at CDCR,
I am writing to you all with the news that I will soon be stepping down. I have informed Governor Brown of my intention to resign my position as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, effective January 1, 2016.
I am proud to have been a part of the CDCR team for the last three years. It has been a real pleasure to serve with so many hardworking, dedicated people. We have accomplished so much together and I believe that CDCR is well placed for the future and the credit for that goes to everyone who works here.
It is not easy to leave such a great organization and such great people, but we all have other responsibilities in our lives. As some of you know, my family is on the other side of this country. After three years in California, it is time for me to return there. Knowing the commitment among you all to ensure CDCR is the finest correctional agency in this nation makes the decision to leave somewhat easier.
When I became Secretary in December 2012 we faced many challenges. Working together, we have made great progress and I’ll take a moment to reflect on that.
Our prison population is now below the court cap, and we got there early. While the Three-Judge Court case is not yet over, we are working on creating the conditions so that it can end. We have also resolved the Mitchell and Ashker cases, and made significant progress in others, includingPlata, Coleman and Farrell. The drop in the prison population has also allowed us to stop housing thousands of California inmates in other states.
Responsibility for medical care has started to shift back to CDCR, and we’ve made rehabilitation a true priority with the addition of programs, and our commitment to effective reentry. We’re also making our prisons safer by focusing on drug interdiction, and improving training and operations. Everyone who works in CDCR’s prisons knows there’s been a steep reduction in lockdowns.
Thank you all for your support and hard work. I wish you the best and look forward to hearing about the continuing success of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Jeffrey A. Beard, Ph.D.
Secretary

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

BSCC: Calls on Community Members to Serve on Executive Steering Committee


The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) recently named two existing board members to develop and lead program criteria for the agency’s future Proposition 47 grant opportunities.

The board elected Scott Budnick, founder of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which leads advocacy support services for previously incarcerated men and women. The state Assembly appointed Scott Budnick to be its representative to the BSCC on June 27, 2014.

Leticia Perez has served as Kern County Board of Supervisor since 2013 and previously was an attorney at the Kern County Public Defender’s office. She has worked to advance economic development and employment opportunities in the region and serves as an advocate for formerly incarcerated individuals. They will lead the limited-term Executive Steering Committee that will develop grant program criteria for final Board approval. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Leticia Perez to the BSCC on August 26, 2015.

At the meeting the Board also voted to begin accepting statements from members of the public interested in serving on the Executive Steering Committee. That process began Nov. 16, 2015 and ends Feb. 15, 2016.

A limited-term Executive Steering Committee appointed by the Board will develop the grant program criteria for final Board approval. The BSCC is calling on diverse community members from California to provide variety of perspectives, backgrounds, professional expertise, life experiences and geographic representation.

The voter initiative reduced from felonies to misdemeanors the penalties for some low-level offenses. Proposition 47 called for spending the state court and incarceration savings on treatment programs. Assembly Bill 1056 provides additional programmatic priorities for the types of recidivism-reduction services that would be funded, such as reentry housing assistance for offenders who have served their sentences and have been released from incarceration, and employment-related services such as job skills training.

The Department of Finance will determine a preliminary estimate of the state savings by January 2016. The proposition voters approved established that public agencies will be the lead agencies applying for Prop 47 grants. These public agencies can work in cooperation with local service providers.

The BSCC is a multi-faceted organization that provides assistance to the counties on community corrections issues. The agency annually administers competitive grants designed to reduce recidivism, sets standards for the training of local corrections officers and the operations of local corrections facilities, and administers the current lease-revenue bond process for local jail improvements.

To submit a statement of interest for the ESC please visit www.bscc.ca.gov and click on the Executive Steering Committee icon on the right side of the page. For more information please contact Tracie Cone at tracie.cone@bscc.ca.gov or at (916) 322-1054.

For information about the CDCR, please call Albert Rivas, Deputy Chief, Office of External Affairs at (916) 445-4950.

Monday, November 9, 2015

CDCR Announces Public Comment Period for Lethal Injection Regulations


In order to comply with California’s capital punishment laws, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has developed lethal injection regulations.

CDCR’s submission of its lethal injection regulations are part of the rulemaking process pursuant to the state’s Administrative Procedure Act, and pursuant to the stipulation in Winchell and Alexander v. Beard. CDCR submitted on October 27, 2015, its notice of proposed adoption of lethal injection regulations for publication in the Office of Administrative Law’s California Regulatory Notice Register. The OAL published it in its register on November 6, 2015.


Any member of the public, including inmates, may participate in the adoption of state regulations to ensure that regulations are clear, necessary and legally valid. The rulemaking process mandates a minimum 45-day initial public comment period. CDCR established a 75-day public comment period that is open until 5 p.m. on January 22, 2016.

Members of the public may review the rulemaking file by visiting the following link:
Proposed Lethal Injection Regulations. The public may also review and/or copy desired regulation documents in person at the following location:

CDCR Headquarters
1515 S Street
Room 105-North
Sacramento, CA 95811

Public access is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding state holidays.

Any person, including inmates, may submit public comments about the proposed regulations:

By mail:
Regulation and Policy Management Branch
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283-001

Members of the public can also submit public comments by email or fax:


By fax: (916) 324-6075

A public hearing is scheduled for Friday, January 22, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Department of Health Services Auditorium, East End Complex, 1500 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95814.

For additional information, please contact Timothy M. Lockwood, Chief, Regulation and Policy Management Branch at (916) 445-2269 or back-up contact, Joshua Jugum at
(916) 445-2228.

You may also contact Albert Rivas, Deputy Chief, Office of External Affairs at (916) 445-4950 or by email at
Cal_Externalaffairs@cdcr.ca.gov

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015 Medal of Valor


SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) honored 92 employees today during its annual Medal of Valor Ceremony. The Medal of Valor is earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service. The Medal of Valor is the highest honor CDCR bestows upon its employees.

Silver Star recipients include Correctional Officer Alex Pizarro of California State Prison, Sacramento (SAC), whose fast actions and quick thinking saved a fellow officer from being trapped in a cell with three inmates armed with a weapon. Correctional Lt. Dean Shankland, Correctional Sergeants Daniel Lightfield and Kenneth Blessing, and Correctional Officers Christopher Drake, Desmond Browne, Joel DeFazio, Josef Johnson, James Lewis, Kenneth Heal, Mark Churray, Matthew Orpesa, Paul Bettencourt and Tyrome Johnson, also from SAC, were honored with a Unit Citation for safely removing a violent inmate from a cell in which he had started a fire.

“The employees we are honoring today are testaments to the genuine concern, compassion and commitment of which we are all capable,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard, “While facing danger or adversity, several of these men and women have demonstrated split-second decision-making, bravery and integrity. Others have shown a level of teamwork so very necessary to rise to the unexpected challenges that life can bring. In all cases, their actions were above and beyond the call of duty. Today’s honorees, their noble acts and innovative ideas are an inspiration to us all.”

Staff members from state prisons, parole offices and various divisions received awards at the First Baptist Church of Elk Grove Community Center. In addition to the Medal of Valor, CDCR awarded Distinguished Service Medals, Unit Citations and Bronze, Silver and Gold Corrections Stars.

The following is a complete list of 2015 award winners:


 Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor is CDCR’s highest award, earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service.  The employee shall display great courage in the face of immediate life-threatening peril and with full knowledge of the risk involved. The act should show professional judgment and not jeopardize operations or the lives of others.

Youth Correctional Counselors Sean Copeland and Richard Glassman, Ventura Youth Correctional Facility

Correctional Sergeant Benny Diaz, Pleasant Valley State Prison (Coalinga)

Gold Star Medal

The Corrections Star (Gold) medal is the department’s second-highest award for heroic deeds under extraordinary circumstances.  The employee shall display courage in the face of immediate peril in acting to save the life of another person.

Correctional Officers Dominic Reed and Benjamin Ledesma, North Kern State Prison (Delano)

Silver Star Medal

The Corrections Star (Silver) medal is the department’s third-highest award for acts of bravery under extraordinary or unusual circumstances.  The employee shall display courage in the face of potential peril while saving or attempting to save the life of another person or distinguish himself/herself by performing in stressful situations with exceptional tactics or judgment.

Parole Agent I Ben Somera and Parole Agent II Jason Bradshaw, California Parolee Apprehension Team (San Diego)

Correctional Officer James Paterson, California Rehabilitation Center (Norco)

Correctional Capt. Richard Smith and Correctional Lt. Thelma Wooldridge, Ironwood State Prison (Blythe)

Correctional Officer Antonio Virrueta, Salinas Valley State Prison (Soledad)

Correctional Officer Alex Pizarro, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer Ricardo Luna, Centinela State Prison (Imperial)

Bronze Star Medal

The Corrections Star (Bronze) is the department’s award for saving a life without placing oneself in peril.  The employee shall have used proper training and tactics in a professional manner to save, or clearly contribute to saving, the life of another person.

Correctional Officer Jose Perez, California Men’s Colony (San Luis Obispo)

Correctional Sgt. Cristobal Gonzalez Jr. and Correctional Officers Eric Martinez, Jaime Garcia, Olga Martinez and Sergio Gonzalez, Avenal State Prison

Correctional Officers Carlos Chavez, Veronica Rendon and Maria Beltran, Valley State Prison (Chowchilla)

Correctional Officer and K-9 Handler Ernest Trujillo, Calipatria State Prison

Correctional Sgt. Jack Dougery and Correctional Officer Steve Arana, San Quentin State Prison

Correctional Officer John Atkins, California Correctional Center (Susanville)

Correctional Officers John Farnetti and Chad Painter, Deuel Vocational Institution (Tracy)

Correctional Sgt. Owen Spencer, Pelican Bay State Prison (Crescent City)

Correctional Officer Walter Moorer, California Medical Facility (Vacaville)

Deric Johnson, Senior Estimator of Building Construction and Project Manager, Facility Planning, Construction and Management

Registered Nurses Zachary Eaton and James Wenker, California Correctional Center (Susanville)

Correctional Officer Todd Gillis, California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison-Corcoran

Correctional Sgt. Humberto Vera, Correctional Officer Daniel Bjorn and Registered Nurses Martha Jimenez and Dianna Seta, Correctional Training Facility (Soledad)

Chief Deputy Warden Joel Martinez and Case Records Technician Leon Mize, Sierra Conservation Center (Jamestown)

Correctional Officer Thomas Mireles, California Training Facility (Soledad)

Correctional Sgt. Lorenzo Abella, Correctional Officers Sergio Martinez and Shaneel Prasad, and Registered Nurse Michelle Morin, California State Prison-Solano (Vacaville)

Correctional Officers Jorge Limon and Aristeo Punzal, Centinela State Prison

Youth Correctional Officers Gustavo Camberos and Sue Perales, N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (Stockton)

Parole Agent I Jose Montiel, Redwood City Parole Unit


Unit Citation

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

Correctional Lt. Dean Shankland, Correctional Sgt. Daniel Lightfield, Correctional Sgt. Kenneth Blessing and Correctional Officers Christopher Drake, Desmond Browne, Joel DeFazio, Josef Johnson, James Lewis, Kenneth Heal, Mark Churray, Matthew Orpesa, Paul Bettencourt and Tyrome Johnson, all from California State Prison-Sacramento.


 
Distinguished Service Medal

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.

Loran E. Sheley, Research Program Specialist III, and Denise M. Allen, Research Manager, Office of Research

Correctional Sgts. Guyler Tulp and Daisy Tamayo, Avenal State Prison

Robbi Geyser, Recreation Therapist, Mule Creek State Prison (Ione)

Youth Correctional Counselor Deborah Brady, Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp

Juan Guajarado, Treatment Team Supervisor, and Michael Trotter, Casework Specialist, O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility (Stockton)

Marty Giannini, Treatment Team Supervisor, N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (Stockton)

Thomas Foster, Parole Agent, Antelope Valley GPS Unit

Tariq Aquil, Community Resource Manager, Correctional Training Facility (Soledad)

Employee Recognition

Administrator of the Year: Loran E. Sheley, Research Program Specialist III, and Denise M. Allen, Research Manager III, Office of Research.

Health Care Services Professional of the Year: Amy Eargle, Ph.D.

Division of Juvenile Justice Professional of the Year: Youth Correctional Counselor Deborah Brady, Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp

Division of Rehabilitative Programs Professional of the Year: Matika Rawls, Associate Governmental Program Analyst, Office of Correctional Education

Division of Parole Operations Professional of the Year: Denise LeBard, Parole Administrator I

Correctional Officer of the Year: Correctional Officer Joanne Vice, California Correctional Center (Susanville)

Correctional Supervisor of the Year: Correctional Lt. Matt DeForest, High Desert State Prison (Susanville)

Executive of the Year: Vincent S. Cullen, Assistant Deputy Director, Division of Adult Institutions, Operations.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CDCR Honors employees for bravery and heroism at the 2015 Medal of Valor Ceremony



The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will honor 92 employees from across the state at 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, during the 31st annual Medal of Valor Ceremony.
During the ceremony, three employees will be recognized with the highest award given by CDCR – the Medal of Valor.

The Medal of Valor is earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service.

This year’s Medal of Valor recipients include youth correctional counselors who fought off an attack by inmates trying to get keys, and a correctional sergeant who saved the lives of motorists by shooting an armed carjacker who had already killed two people.

In addition to the Medal of Valor, CDCR will award Distinguished Service Medals, Unit Citations, Bronze, Silver and Gold Corrections Stars and Correctional Officer and Supervisor of the Year awards.

A live stream of the ceremony will be available at http://MEDIA.cdcr.ca.gov/OPEC/CDCRLIVE01 beginning at 10 a.m. Sept. 17.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

California Rehabilitation Oversight Board Releases its 16th Report


The California Rehabilitation Oversight Board released the 16th report regarding the progress made by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to provide and implement various reentry, parole, mental health, substance abuse, education, and employment programs.

The report covers CDCR’s progress between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and commends the department for implementing all four recommendations contained in last year’s report. The Board also provided four new recommendations to improve rehabilitative programming statewide.


To view the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board report, please visit the following link:  http://www.oig.ca.gov/pages/c-rob.php 
For information regarding CDCR, please contact Albert Rivas, Deputy Chief, Office of External Affairs at (916) 445-4950.

Monday, September 14, 2015

CDCR Accepting Applications for Innovative Program Grants

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will award a total of $3 million in grants to enhance innovative programs and increase volunteerism in prisons.  The grant funding is intended to provide volunteers and nonprofit organizations  who currently operate rehabilitative programs in California prisons with the resources necessary to replicate the programs at one or more other prisons. 

“Programs that focus on the rehabilitation of inmates have proven to reduce recidivism substantially,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard said.  “We hope to continue to expand the positive influence of these programs to prisons that have fewer volunteer resources.”

Up to 50 percent of the grant will be awarded after March 1, 2016, and the remainder will be disbursed on or after November 1, 2016, upon request of the grantee and upon confirmation by CDCR that satisfactory progress is being made as demonstrated through mandatory progress reports. 

At the end of the grant period, it is expected the programs will have been implemented, additional volunteer resources developed, and the programs will be sustainable in the future through the normal prison budget.

All applicants are required to submit a Notice of Intent to Apply by 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2015.
                                                                                     
For more information about the application process, please visit 
http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/OEA/docs/Request-for-Applications-Innovative-Programming-Grants-Round-2.pdf

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

San Quentin State Prison Legionnaires’ Disease Case Update

SAN QUENTIN – Administrators at San Quentin State Prison (SQ) continue to restore services to inmates as the institution deals with a number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease.

Inmates will be receiving hot meals in addition to boxed meals, and out-of-cell time for inmates has resumed. Inmates have been provided boxed meals only and have had limited movement since August 27 to help facilitate an investigation into an outbreak of the pneumonia-like disease.

All inmate services such as the law library and dental appointments have resumed, and officials are coordinating to get inmates back to their work and education assignments.

Inmates in the general population and reception center are still taking showers in portable units to avoid exposure to steam or mist that could contain the Legionella bacteria.

SQ officials are working to provide inmates in the Administrative Segregation Units and Condemned Row with access to the portable shower units.

Secondary water sources such as bottled water and water tanks will continue to be used for consumption until it is deemed safe to resume normal water use.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It's caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila carried via aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture. It is not transmitted from person to person and has a normal incubation period from two to 10 days after exposure.

As of Sept. 1, there are still only six confirmed cases of inmates with Legionnaires’ disease.

There are 85 inmates under observation for respiratory illness but who have not been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and are being treated at SQ’s on-site medical unit.

Staff and inmates at SQ have been sent educational material to inform them of what they should do if they begin to display symptoms.

There have not been any confirmed cases of staff with Legionnaires’ disease.

SQ officials have been in communication with the Men’s Advisory Council, a representative group of inmates who advise and communicate with the Warden and other staff on matters of interest and concern to the inmate general population.

SQ is a reception center for new inmates to the California prison system. Intake has been temporarily halted since Aug. 27 as the investigation continues.

All inmate visiting and volunteer programs have also been halted as the investigation is ongoing.

SQ houses approximately 3,700 inmates, including low-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates as well as condemned inmates. The prison also has approximately 1,800 employees.
 
For media , please contact Dana Simas at (916) 445-4950 and for community inquiries, please contact Albert Rivas at (916) 324-6508.

Monday, August 31, 2015

San Quentin State Prison Legionnaires’ Disease Case Update

SAN QUENTIN – Administrators at San Quentin State Prison (SQ) continue to restore services to inmates as the institution deals with a number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease. Out-of-cell time for inmates will resume; inmate movement has been limited since August 27 to help facilitate an investigation into an outbreak of the disease.

All inmate services such as the law library and dental appointments have resumed as well. 

Inmates are still receiving boxed meals and taking showers in portable shower units to avoid exposure to steam or mist that could contain the Legionella bacteria. 

Secondary water sources such as bottled water and water tanks will continue to be used for consumption until it is deemed safe to resume normal water use.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It's caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila carried via aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture. It is not transmitted from person to person and has a normal incubation period from two to 10 days after exposure. 

As of Aug. 31, there are six confirmed cases of inmates with Legionnaires’ disease. Five inmates are in outside area hospitals being treated for pneumonia-like symptoms but none are confirmed to have Legionnaires’ disease. 

There are 73 inmates under observation for respiratory illness but have not been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and are being treated at SQ’s on-site medical unit. 

Staff at SQ have been sent educational material to inform them of what they should do if they begin to display symptoms. There have not been any confirmed cases of staff with Legionnaires’ disease.

Officials have been in communication with the Men’s Advisory Council, a representative group of inmates who advise and communicate with the Warden and other staff on matters of interest and concern to the inmate general population. 

SQ is a reception center for new inmates to the California prison system. Intake has been temporarily halted since Aug. 27 as the investigation continues. 

All inmate visiting and volunteer programs have also been halted as the investigation is ongoing. 

SQ houses approximately 3,700 inmates, including low-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates as well as condemned inmates. The prison also has approximately 1,800 employees. 

For media inquiries, please contact Dana Simas at (916) 445-4950. For community inquiries, please call Albert Rivas at (916) 445-4950.

San Quentin State Prison Legionnaires' Disease Case Update

SAN QUENTIN – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, along with the Marin County Public Health Department and California Correctional Health Care Services, are continuing the investigation of the source of Legionnaires’ disease at San Quentin State Prison (SQ).
 
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It's caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila found in both potable and non-potable water systems. The illness is carried via aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture. It is not transmitted from person to person and has a normal incubation period from two to 10 days after exposure.
 
On Aug. 26, a SQ inmate was transported to an outside hospital where he was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.
 
As of Sunday, there are six confirmed cases with five inmates currently at outside hospitals. The additional diagnoses are the result of tests conducted over the last few days after the exposure.
 
In addition, approximately 51 inmates are currently under observation for respiratory illness but have not been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. All unconfirmed cases are being treated at SQ’s on-site medical unit.
 
To eliminate the spread of the bacteria, SQ has limited water use at the prison.
 
After consulting with local, state and national public-health experts familiar with the transmission of Legionnaires’, the prison resumed the use of plumbed toilets inside the facility’s housing units. Secondary water sources such as bottled water and water tanks will continue to be used for consumption until it is deemed safe to resume normal water use.
 
SQ officials have been in communication with the Men’s Advisory Council, a representative group of inmates who advise and communicate with the Warden and other staff on matters of interest and concern to the inmate general population.
 
Inmates are currently being served boxed meals to avoid exposure to steam and mist during cooking operations.
 
Portable shower units arrived at the prison on Saturday. SQ administrators and custody staff are coordinating to provide all inmates with showers and hope to resume out-of-cell activity as soon as possible. 
 
SQ is a reception center for new inmates to the California prison system. Intake has been temporarily halted as the investigation continues.
 
All inmate visiting and volunteer programs have also been halted as the investigation is ongoing.
 
SQ receives its water supply from the Marin County Municipal Water District and stores the water in a three-million gallon tank on-site.
 
SQ houses approximately 3,700 inmates, including low-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates as well as condemned inmates. The prison also has approximately 1,800 employees.
 
For media inquiries, please contact Dana Simas at (916) 628-6033.
For community inquiries, please call Albert Rivas at (916) 445-4950.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

On the line: Inmate crews prep for busy fire season



Firefighters prove they’re ready at Ishi Preparedness Exercises

By Krissi Khokhobashvili, CDCR Public Information Officer
Photos by Eric Owens, CDCR Staff Photographer
Video by David Novick, CDCR Video Specialist
 
The firefighters were sitting on the ground, sweaty, dirty and tired. They had just hiked 4.2 miles along a rugged trail, the sun beating down on them as they trudged along. Each man was dressed head to toe in flame-retardant gear, lugging heavy tools and drinking water. The break was welcome, but short, and after 10 minutes they were gearing up once more, preparing for the grueling work of clearing brush for another hour.
They were all up to the challenge, and eager to put their training to the test.

Meet the inmate firefighters of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), men and women selected to join CAL FIRE and local crews in battling wildfires throughout the state. CDCR’s Conservation Camps program started in 1946 with the opening of Rainbow Camp in Fallbrook, and today more than 4,000 inmate firefighters work from 42 adult camps and one camp for juvenile offenders throughout the state.
“I’ve learned a lot – I’ve learned skills here I can use when I get out,” said Mike Jones, a firefighter at Ishi Conservation Camp #18 in Tehama County. “It teaches you accountability. You get with your crew and you learn how to work together, and all different races come together and it doesn’t matter.”
Because inmate fire crews work in communities, inmates must meet certain criteria to be eligible. This includes not being convicted of any sexual or arson offenses, no escape history and no life sentence. Inmates accepted into the program undergo intense physical fitness and firefighter training, provided by CAL FIRE, to prepare them for their work conditions.

Each year, CAL FIRE holds the annual Preparedness Exercises at Ishi Camp, where nearly 50 inmate fire crews undergo drills on safety, physical conditioning and firefighting knowledge. Throughout the day, crews are tested on their knowledge of tools, ability to deploy emergency shelters and their physical ability, culminating in the 4.2-mile hike and brush-clearing exercise.
The crews are also tested on safety, from wearing the appropriate gear to packing enough drinking water. While the crews are expected to complete the hike within 75 minutes, they must also take care not to over-exert themselves.
“You can’t do the hike too quickly, because then you get penalized,” explained CDCR Lt. Dan Billeci, who works at Trinity River Conservation Camp #3 in Lewiston. “If you hike it too fast, you’re going to be exhausted by the time it’s time to start cutting line for the fire. So there has to be a happy medium.”

During a fire, inmate crews are primarily tasked with clearing brush to stop the flames from spreading. Crews use picks, shovels, axes and chainsaws to tear intensely flammable brush down to bare mineral soil, fighting the clock as flames spread.

“Without these guys out there cutting that line, a lot of fires would get a lot bigger,” observed CAL FIRE Capt. Tim Rader. “They go into areas that nobody else wants to go into, or that dozers are not able to get into. Without them, these fires would not stop.”

Rader, who has been working with inmate crews for six years, said when the men and women first arrive at camp, it’s often the first time they’ve ever seen the woods. Training begins with getting crews acclimated to being outdoors and exercising, beginning with short hikes and working up to longer treks.

In the classroom, inmate firefighters learn the terminology of the trade, how to stay safe on the job, first aid, map reading and fire behavior, followed by 29 hours of field training in tools, fire shelters, mop-up and fitness. Inmate firefighters are paid for their work, and earn extra credit for time served when on the fire line.

“It’s very helpful to have the crews there assisting us,” said Fire Prevention Specialist Cheryl Buliavac. “The manpower that they bring is unbelievable — the hard work, just having them there to help with cutting a hand line, getting the brush clear so the firefighters can get the hose in.
“The crews are really motivated,” Buliavac added. “They take a lot of pride in their work.”

When not fighting fires, inmate fire crews participate in community service and conservation projects such as clearing fire breaks, restoring historical structures, park maintenance, sand- bagging and flood protection and clearing fallen trees and debris. This work, combined with manpower on the fire lines, saves California taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

“They’re the backbone of our department when we get to our large incidents, because as the incidents grow it takes a huge workforce,” said Dave Russell, CAL FIRE Division Chief at Ishi Camp.

Robert Shelton, a firefighter at Intermountain Conservation Camp #22 in Lassen County, said that for him, fighting fires and doing service projects is a chance to give back.

“I’ve been a liability for a lot of years, and it finally feels good to give something back to the community and improve myself,” he said.

Shelton commented on the brotherhood of camp, where racial and social backgrounds fall away. Living and working together, the firefighters become a family of sorts, relying on one another to get the job done.

“You get to work together as a team, and it’s no longer black, white or Mexican,” he said. “It’s all one unity. You’re just one orange caterpillar and you have to work together to get up the mountain.”

Female inmates join firefighting corps

By Bill Sessa, CDCR Public Information Officer
As summer heat and a historic drought have set the stage for what could be a record year for wild land fires in California, a dozen female inmates from the California Institution for Women are among the most recent to step up to that flame-fighting challenge.
The newest of CDCR’s wild land firefighters were cheered on by future graduates and their trainers from CALFIRE at “Camp New Beginnings” on the grounds of CIW as they received their certificates in June documenting that they had completed the same grueling training program as the male inmates who make up the majority of the state’s fire crews.
It may be a surprise to some people that there are female firefighters, since most of the media’s coverage of forest fires highlights the work of male inmates. But females have worked on the fire lines since 1983, when the Rainbow Camp housed the first all-female crews. Currently, as many as 300 females work on the fire lines each summer, comprising slightly less than 10 percent of the nearly 4,000 inmates housed in the state’s 43 fire camps. Following their graduation at CIW, the newly minted firefighters were assigned to one of three camps that house females in San Diego and Los Angeles counties.
When it comes to battling flames that can rise 30 or 40 feet tall, the work is gender neutral. Armed with hand tools, such as chain saws and shovels, female fire crews work in the same rugged terrain as their male counterparts, cutting containment lines to slow the spread of large forest fires. When they are not on the fire lines, female crews spend their time working on the same fire prevention project, such as brush clearing, as their male counterparts.
Crews from the Rainbow Conservation Camp, for example, recently spent weeks clearing a large stand of Torrey Pines infested with beetles, which increases the chances they would be volatile fuel in a fire.  It was a job that needed a lot more than a weed-whacker.  A CALFIRE captain supervising the crews at the time noted the trees “weigh tons” so removing them was an industrial-sized project.
“The trees we had to take out are big and thick and take a long time to die,” noted Stephen Scatolini, a restoration specialist for California’s state parks.
Inmate Patricia Meyers said she was “excited” for her new assignment and “proud of what I’m doing,” a sentiment undoubtedly shared by her classmates, eager to join the veterans in their assigned camps.
Media inquiries related to the firefighting corps may phoned Bill Sessa, Public Information Officer at (916) 445-4950. For community inquiries or county cooperative partnership information, please call Albert Rivas, Deputy Chief, Office of External Affairs at (916) 224-8137.