Monday, December 28, 2015

Governor Brown appoints new California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary

Office of the Governor
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.

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.