By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a new series highlighting happenings around the department.)

Across the state, CDCR staff not only works to protect the public from those who are sentenced by the courts, but they also take the time to do good works in their communities. Benefiting from the generosity of CDCR staff were schools, hospitals, community parks and a college-bound student.

BLOOD BROTHERS AND SISTERS – Lt. Eduardo Mazariegos tells us Salinas Valley prison employees rolled up their sleeves to help others in need. On May 28, the prison’s Return to Work Department organized a Red Cross Blood Drive, generating 27 units of donated blood. “When you consider each unit can save up to three lives after it is separated into the different blood components, a total of up to 81 lives will be saved as a result of (this) blood drive,” said Red Cross Donor Recruitment Regional Manager Justine Mueller. Nice work, SVSP. …

FIREWORKS AND FUTURES – Those at California City Correctional Facility have been hard at work helping the community, according to Lt. Richard Jones. Warden David Long was on hand at the local high school in May to present a $32,000 scholarship check to graduating senior Shania Warner. From all of us at CDCR, we congratulate Ms. Warner and wish her well in her college endeavors. The staff also helped give a bright future to a special community event. A few of the correctional facility staff recently showed up at the local City Hall to donate $3,140.60 to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show. …

PLAY PLACE – The local newspaper recently inked a story on California Correctional Institution (CCI) and their efforts to help children. CCI Warden Kim Holland and Lt. Josh Tyree presented checks totaling nearly $2,000 to go toward Tehachapi Valley park improvements. “It’s important (for inmates) to give back to the community,” Warden Holland told the Tehachapi News. Lt. Tyree made sure to let the newspaper know there were no public funds used for the donation as all the money came from the inmates and their fundraisers. Nice work, CCI. Read the original story, https://www.tehachapinews.com/News/2016/06/17/CCI-inmates-donate-money-for-local-playground-equipment.html. …

COMPUTER CLICKS – Lt. Greg Crowe let us know about a good deed at High Desert State Prison. When California Correctional Health Care Services at the prison recently upgraded their computers and some monitors, the institution donated 105 computers with keyboards and mice, and 22 monitors to Plumas County Schools to create new computer labs and upgrade existing labs. We hear the donation really clicked with educators.

Submit items for First Watch by emailing don.chaddock@cdcr.ca.gov.