The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation won the top awards recently for the best newsletter and the best web page along with the second-highest award for a media campaign in a contest sponsored by the California State Information Officers Council (SIOC).

For the second consecutive year, Inside CDCR, the agency’s newsletter, won SIOC’s Gold Award for newsletters.

“This is an outstanding newsletter, filled with informative features for CDCR employees,” one judge wrote of the online newsletter,

“Our newsletter is a unifying force for the more than 50,000 men and women who work at CDCR’s facilities across the state,” said Deborah Hoffman, CDCR Assistant Secretary for Communications and External Affairs.  “The newsletter is also a wonderful way to inform the public about the great work being done in our Department.

“Inside CDCR is a team effort and is only successful because personnel throughout CDCR take the time to send us reports about their many contributions and achievements,” she said. “The newsletter is also a wonderful way to inform the public about the great work being done in our Department.”

CDCR’s Internet site also won SIOC’s Gold Award for the top State government website.

One judge wrote that the site is “well executed.” He said is an “easy to navigate site.” Another judge wrote the site was “successful, both in design and information delivery.”

The site is jointly operated and maintained by Hoffman’s department – the Office of Public and Employee Communications and by Enterprise Information Services, CDCR’s IT department.

Hoffman said the site’s redesign and a number of features designed to deliver information online, such as the Peace Officer recruiting job application, helped increase page views by more than 45 percent and unique visitors by more than 63 percent over the year before.

Joe Panora, Director of Enterprise Information Services, pointed to the addition of online features, such as the Visitor Processing Appointment Schedule System (VPASS) that allows people to schedule visits with inmates.

“VPASS provide benefits to all Californians through efficiency and effectiveness, both within the CDCR facilities and with the families of CDCR’s inmate population,” Panora said.

CDCR TV Specialist Jeff Baur was honored with a Silver Award for a Media Campaign. Baur shot and edited a series of videos about CDCR’s vocational rehabilitation efforts.

One judge wrote that the Baur produced “powerful, moving video pieces.” Another wrote that the videos were impressive because they were “very good — objective and informative.”

Hoffman said Baur is continuing to work on videos that show CDCR’s varied and successful rehabilitation efforts.

Baur is a member of OPEC’s Multi-Media Unit, which creates training videos for CDCR programs, shoots still photographs and videos of important CDCR events and live-streams events as warranted.

Here are YouTube links to the videos that earned Baur the honor:


Hooks and Needles:


DJJ Merit Partners:

Miniature House:


Here are links to more rehabilitation videos Baur shot this year:




Puppies for autistic children: