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.