By Everardo Silva, PIO/AA
Calipatria State Prison

Calipatria State Prison observed National Crime Victims Memorial Ceremony last month by honoring De S.  Guillory-Chavez, as she shared her personal story of surviving domestic violence.

Ms. Guillory-Chavez explained to the crowd of staff and guests how her picture-book romance descended into a nightmare after she married a former heavy-weight boxer who became a wife and child batterer. Ms. Guillory-Chavez shared how her husband of only two years severely beat her and her oldest child, inflicting physical, emotional and mental abuse.

“There comes a time when you can’t take it anymore and you need to fight back”, Ms. Guillory-Chavez, said. “But it’s never enough because I found my own child repeated the cycle of violence years later. It needs to be voiced so that way we can survive these things and thrive once we’ve gotten through them. People are suffering in silence because they are ashamed of these things, but you need to have support to know that it’s OK.”

Warden Warren L. Montgomery told the crowd: “The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s mission crosses over, honoring victims by being good partners in the community, providing services and resources to victims and victim advocates, safely and securely housing offenders and providing effective rehabilitation and treatment; reducing victimization and recidivism.”

Community Resource Manager Claudia Saldana said: “The theme of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week this Year, ‘Serving Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope,’ emphasizes the role of the entire community – individually and collectively – as we support victims of crime and empower them to direct their own recovery.”

California Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia said: “The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation system is able to change lives by our investment in this institution by turning around broken lives so they transform into society’s partners and ultimately become productive … ”

The ceremony also featured the posting of colors by the Calipatria State Prison Honor Guard, the singing of the National Anthem by Alexia J. Pankratz a student at Billy E. Young Middle School and a playing of taps by Correctional Sgt. Robert Silvas.