Graduates promise to be well-prepared ‘agents of change’

By Luis Patino, CDCR Public Information Officer II
Photos by Eric Owens, CDCR Staff Photographer
Office of Public and Employee Communications

With appropriate ceremonial decorum, Parole Academy Class 16-01-0624, or as they named themselves, “the replacements,” marched into the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center Auditorium in Galt on Friday, June 24.

It had been an intense 10-weeks of training. The academy cadets will soon fill positions left open by retirees. By all accounts, experienced help is on the way because all of the cadets in this class have previous CDCR experience. The parole agents will be assigned to various cities across California and will be instrumental in making communities safer by helping former prison inmates turn their lives around and keep from re-offending.

“Your role moving forward is to really be an agent of change. We need you to be that final attempt to offer an opportunity for change for inmates whether an inmate participated in programs in prison or they didn’t. When they land on your caseload, it’s your responsibility to offer opportunity upon opportunity. Maybe for the first time in their lives, they’ll make a good decision rather than continue in the destructive dynamics that had landed them in prison. We need you to be that,” said Director Guillermo Viera Rosa.  “Please remember that you are sometimes the only beacon of hope in a parolee’s life. Your job is to take someone who’s involved in very negative behavior and still support them and remind them that you’re their advocate and at some point they’ll listen,” he added.

Taking the oath and receiving their badges were: Robert Abakan, Javier Acosta, Paul Alvarado, Brian Amador, Howard W. Armes, Nathaniel Arsenault, Rocio Ballesteros-Molina, Eric Barocio, Mark Bondoc, Shawn R. Burger, Charles Burrell, John A. Chacon, Stacey Collins, Victor Curtis, Kristi Demarks, Tommie Dorsey II,  Joshua Eustice, Che’y Fry, Omar Garcia, Robert Gaston, Bruce Gladden and Melissa Gomez.

Also graduating were  Carey Haidl, Samuel Harris, Nicole Hemenez, Jason M. Intia, Mansor Jaber, Ashley W. Jones,  Becky Lamirand, Samuel Larson, Elisha Lillibridge, Jason Malibunas, Janson Moreno, Jacob Morris, Dean Oesterle, Margarita Olmedo, Gregory Prieto, Danielle Riel-Clayton, Samuel Robinson, Dennis Ruth, Thomas Shotke, John Simpson, Jessica L. Tabayoyong and Steven Walker.

“These are amazing people,” said Che’y Fry,  the elected Class Representative.  “Every single person… has overcome struggles or adversities to (graduate) here today. Some have had to experience family members passing, the loss of pets, significant family illnesses, a deployment, a pregnancy, extended separations from loved ones, lengthy travel on weekends, and many other unknown personal battles, but this group has remained supportive and on task and I’m excited to say, we began with 45 students and today, we’re going to graduate all 45.”

Attending were many of their family members and close friends along with the dignitaries and top brass from CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO).

“To the families, I thank you for sharing your loved ones with us. They’re going to work late nights, weekends and miss some birthdays. They’re going to miss important events in their lives. We thank you in advance for the understanding, but we also want you to keep them healthy.  Please don’t be shy in telling them that they need to pay more attention to you,” added Director Viera Rosa.

The replacements are coming. They’re enthusiastic, well-trained and ready-to-go and they promise to join CDCR’s veteran parole officers in being agents of change.

Streaming video of the Graduation Ceremony can be found at these links:

For computers OUTSIDE the CDCR Network:

For computers ON the CDCR Network: