CCWF Warden Deborah K. Johnson and prison staff past and present recently celebrated the facility's 25-year anniversary.

CCWF Warden Deborah K. Johnson and prison staff past and present recently celebrated the facility’s 25-year anniversary.

By Lt. Brian Davi, AA/Public Information Officer
Central California Women’s Facility

On Oct. 1, Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) staff past and present gathered in Chowchilla to commemorate the prison’s 25th anniversary.

CCWF activated on Oct. 1, 1990, and was designed as the largest female prison in California.

A Madera Tribune article, dated Sept. 20, 1990, quoted then-Warden Teena Farmon as saying, “I’ve told people on Wednesday and Thursday you have free access in and out.  At 7 p.m. on Thursday, I am shutting the doors and it won’t be easy to get in and even worse to get out.”

Since activation, CCWF has had five confirmed Wardens.

A banner marking 25 years was posted on the Administration Building at CCWF.

A banner marking 25 years was posted on the Administration Building at CCWF.

The anniversary celebration included the local community, local law enforcement representing the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, Madera Police Department, Chowchilla Police Department, Madera County Probation Department, Sen. Anthony Cannella and Assemblyman Frank Bigelow’s Office.  Also in attendance were CCWF staff retirees, some who activated CCWF in 1990. Other attendees included retired CCWF Warden M. Lattimore, Deuel Vocational Institution Warden Jerome Price, Valley State Prison Warden R. Fisher, California Rehabilitation Center Warden Cynthia Tampkins, representatives from the Female Offender Program Services/Specialized Housing (FOPS/SH) and the local media. The special event also honored the 44 CCWF staff members who assisted with the activation and are still present to date.

The CCWF Honor Guard posted colors in the beginning of the opening ceremonies, followed by an opening prayer and the singing of the National Anthem by Melissa Espino.

“There is no way I could do this job by myself. You need to have a good team and I have a great team,” said Warden Deborah K. Johnson.

Chief Deputy Warden (CDW) Sonja Bodiford, who was among the 44 staff members recognized for their 25 years of service to the institution, joined the Warden in thanking all of the staff and their families for their dedication, hard work and patience throughout the years.

The anniversary ceremony was followed by a Family Night event consisting of a K-9 Search demonstration, CCWF Fire Department Jaws of Life rescue demonstration and several Crisis Response Team scenarios.  There was also a car show, prison tours, two disc jockeys, a live band, a Chinese lion dance, which honored special guests, and approximately 50 staff/local business vendors and a large prize drawing, with proceeds supporting Breast Cancer Awareness.

CCWF staff raised $4,000 to donate to the American Cancer Society.

Community participation was evident. The staff also raised $4,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Community participation was evident. The staff also raised $4,000 for the American Cancer Society.