California Men’s Colony official recognized
By Michele Kane, CALPIA’s Chief of External Affairs
The California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) recognized California Men’s Colony (CMC) Warden Elvin “Val” Valenzuela as CALPIA’s “Warden of the Year.”
This annual award honors a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Warden who exemplifies CALPIA’s vision, mission and values and shows a true partnership in the management of CALPIA’s correctional industry enterprises.
“Val is a true advocate of CALPIA’s programs and helps to provide offenders every opportunity of training and job skills available,” said Charles Pattillo, General Manager of CALPIA. “He deserves to be recognized for his leadership and commitment to improving people’s lives with extraordinary results.”
Warden Valenzuela has served in multiple positions with CDCR since 1987. He has held posts including Chief Deputy Administrator, Associate Warden and Correctional Captain at the California Men’s Colony; Associate Warden at North Kern State Prison; Correctional Lieutenant, Correctional Sergeant and Correctional Officer at Corcoran State Prison; and Correctional Officer at Avenal State Prison.
In 2011, Valenzuela served as Acting Warden at CMC in San Luis Obispo and in 2013, Governor Jerry Brown appointed him as Warden.
From day one of his arrival at CMC, he was an immediate ally and staunch supporter of CALPIA’s programs. CMC joined CALPIA to form a unique partnership with the California Military Department at Camp Roberts in Northern San Luis Obispo County. CALPIA provides Camp Roberts with an Off Reservation Work Detail (ORWD).
This work crew has 10-15 offender workers, one staff supervisor and one correctional officer. The entire crew maintains very rigid training standards in Health and Safety, according to officials.
Warden Valenzuela continues to ensure that all CALPIA’s programs are staffed and operational at the institution. He provides daily support and includes CALPIA with decisions that may have an impact on the operations.
CALPIA is a self-supporting state entity that provides training and productive work assignments for approximately 6,400 offenders in California. CALPIA receives all of its revenue from the sale of the products it manufactures. The recidivism rate among CALPIA’s programs is 26-38 percent lower than the general prison population, a success attributed to the job skills and industry certifications obtained by participating in the program.