Alicia Ginn is longtime Division of Juvenile Justice employee
By Joe Orlando, CDCR Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications
Alicia Ginn has worked for the CDCR Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) for most of her adult life, but her new position as Superintendent at Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (PGYCC) is unlike any she’s had in her career.
Youth offenders at PGYCC must be at least 18-years of age to be eligible to work at one of the four fire crews. They are trained by CAL FIRE, and are certified to engage in wild land firefighting operations. When not fighting fires, the crews typically work in state and county parks performing stream clearance, wild land fire prevention tasks, and trail restoration work, among other things.
What is your background at CDCR?
I’ve been with the CDCR and the Division of Juvenile Justice (formerly the California Youth Authority) for almost 27 years. I started out as a youth correctional counselor, and then I became a parole agent. During that time, I worked at two DJJ facilities. With the closure of DeWitt Nelson, I moved to DJJ headquarters, where I was a program administrator for eight years. Then this position as superintendent at PGYCC opened up, and I knew I would be the right fit.
What challenges lie ahead for you in this particular position?
I think the uniqueness of this facility because it’s a fire camp, and the collaboration with CAL FIRE, are going to be the most challenging and interesting parts of this job. But I am looking forward to leading this operation, and learning from everyone who is a part of Pine Grove. I also have the opportunity to work closely with the community, and certainly be a part of it, because the youths who work here provide so many lifesaving services to the residents. I certainly feel like it’s going to be very rewarding.
Will you be trained by CAL FIRE? If so, how different will your training be from the guys fighting the fires?
CAL FIRE offers a training course for the youth, so I’ve been going to those classes, and I’m learning what they learn. I will leave the firefighting to our trained youth, but I also think it’s very important for me to know as much as I can about Pine Grove, so I can be a more effective superintendent.
Mike Roots ran Pine Grove YCC for years. Are those pretty big shoes to fill?
Absolutely and he did a tremendous job. What I’d like to do is use my experience and knowledge to build on what we already have at the camp, and certainly see what I can add to it. So far, I’ve been amazed at everything the staff does here, but I think that even though those will be big shoes to fill, I bring something new and positive to the camp.
Pine Grove YCC is unique; there are no high-razor fences. Does that change the way you manage?
The way we interact with the youth is probably less correctional than it is in the facilities. We don’t have any rooms to place them in if there are any behavior problems, so the relationship between the youth and staff is even more important. I have to oversee the interaction between CAL FIRE and the youth, as that interaction impacts our day-to-day life here. The staff is very dedicated, so they have an investment in the community as well. We’re not just working for a facility, you’re working for Amador County, and people are very serious and committed to taking care of this place.
Are there any short-term or long-term changes we can anticipate?
At this time, I’m mostly looking forward to learning everything there is to know about Pine Grove, and meeting the folks in the community we serve. I’m very humbled and excited about this great opportunity. I’m certainly looking forward to it.