By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
The longest serving general manager in the history of California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) is going out on a high note after a long career in public service.
Charles L. Pattillo, GM of CALPIA and Executive Officer of the Prison Industry Board (PIB), for more than a decade has been in charge of overseeing one of the toughest jobs in the state – rehabilitating offenders. The PIB is the oversight body of CALPIA and is chaired by the CDCR Secretary. Members of California’s PIB include appointees of the Governor, Senate Pro Tempore and Speaker of the Assembly.
Pattillo’s ability to forge new paths for rehabilitation was an asset to the department, according to CDCR Acting Secretary Ralph Diaz.
“Under Chuck’s leadership, PIA ventured into areas not traditionally considered for employment of inmates — such as computer coding and computer aided design — but high in demand for the society to which they would be released. But Chuck’s passion went much further than that. He recognized the potential of each individual and afforded them an opportunity to realize that potential,” Diaz said. “This attitude was on display each time I toured a program with Chuck; he knew the inmates by name and the accomplishments they had achieved, an attitude mirrored by his staff. His leadership will be greatly missed.”
Recently retired CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan also spoke highly of Pattillo.
“Chuck Pattillo is tasked with one of the hardest jobs in California government – rehabilitating offenders in prison by developing and implementing results-based employment training in the framework of a profitable, self-sufficient, and diversified business model,” said Kernan. “Mr. Pattillo has demonstrated great discernment, business judgment, and sound government principles in ensuring CALPIA’s success despite an often challenging environment that includes times of decreasing resources, correctional reorganization, public safety realignment, and the extreme uncertainty of politics. He is a great proponent and practitioner of collaboration at all levels, finding ways to accomplish goals even in the toughest of times.”
Pattillo plans to take his business know-how and put it to practical use.
“(His plans include establishing a) self-owned firm performing strategic planning and consulting for corporate, organized labor, non-profit, government and individual clients,” he said. “(The firm’s goals will be) focusing on technology solutions as a tool in criminal and mental health rehabilitation (to help) develop and implement effective strategies to achieve a client’s short term or long term objectives.”
What is he most looking forward to after retirement?
“I’m going to hang out with my kids more (and) go to less meetings,” he said.
Lifetime of public service
Pattillo’s service began in 1982 at 18 years old when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served as a military police officer and investigator. He served assignments in traditional military police roles. He was also assigned to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command as part of the Army’s Drug Suppression Team as an undercover narcotics investigator.
After completing six years of active and reserve duty, Pattillo graduated in May 1989 from California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Later he also went on to earn his Master of Business Administration.
In 1989, he joined the California Department of Finance where he served in multiple roles including management auditor and finance budget analyst.
In 1994, he began service with the California State Assembly as a budget and appropriations consultant where he rose to the role of chief consultant and deputy chief of staff.
In 2000, Pattillo was appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly as the chief consultant to the Joint Legislative Committee. In that role, he was responsible for all activities of the committee including coordinating audit activities of the California State Auditor and all hearings of the committee. It was during those hearings that the committee brought to light many deficiencies identified in state government including the state’s poorly developed software contract with the Oracle Corporation. Those specific hearings on Oracle resulted in the state recovering over $93 million dollars from the corporation.
Pattillo also took the lead in crafting CDCR’s Strategic Plan.
CALPIA’s longest serving GM
For the past 14 years, Pattillo has been a member of the CALPIA. Since March 2007, he has served as the general manager of the agency, the longest tenure of any GM in the authority’s history.
As GM of CALPIA, Pattillo is the agency’s chief executive and is responsible for over 100 separate business units of correctional industry programming that encompasses 27 separate business lines operating in 34 CDCR institutions. CALPIA provides over 8,000 offender training opportunities and produces annual revenues in excess of $256 million.
Under Pattillo’s leadership, technology and pre-apprenticeship rehabilitative programs have been developed and expanded from the usual correctional industries. During his tenure, CALPIA has demonstrated a sustained impact on recidivism, recording rates as low as 26-32 percent below the state’s general population return-to-prison rates.
In partnership with CDCR, Pattillo manages the joint-funded Career Technical Education Program, which has recorded some the lowest recidivism rates as low as 7 percent – the lowest in the country. Pattillo also directs CDCR’s Joint Venture and Free Venture Programs, both of which are authorized by the Federal Prison Industry Enhancement Certification.
Reorganization of the department
In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger initiated significant government reorganization, including the creation of what is now CDCR. Pattillo, in his role as the Executive Officer of the PIB, successfully advocated to amend the governor’s plan and establish CALPIA as an autonomous department, separate from CDCR legally, but remaining a strong rehabilitative partner with the to-be-established CDCR. Under restructuring, CALPIA would maintain a self-funded entity, but would complement CDCR and strengthen its rehabilitative mission. Pattillo also successfully advocated for CALPIA to assume management of CDCR’s Joint Venture and Free Venture Programs.
The final reorganization plan approved by the Legislature established CALPIA as a stand-alone agency as Pattillo advocated. Since then, CALPIA has sustained continuing contributions to the State’s public safety mission during the last 14 years.
Management and growth
CALPIA programs have grown under Pattillo’s leadership from 60 enterprises at 25 CDCR locations, to over 100 enterprises at 35 CDCR locations. Approved offender rehabilitation positions have grown from 5,000 to over 8,000. Revenues have increased from approximately $143 million in FY 2005-06 to $256 million this fiscal year. It is notable that this growth was accomplished during the State’s implementation of the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, which required CDCR to reduce its in-state prison population by nearly 50,000 offenders and also during a time when budgets were extremely constricted.
In 2006, Pattillo advocated for the PIB approval to invest an additional $1 million of CALPIA funds in the development of several CALPIA-operated vocational programs, utilizing an existing Penal Code Section that authorizes CALPIA to conduct its own vocational education. Pattillo envisioned creating a separate Career Technical Education Division focused on trade-specific apprenticeships in industries such as a carpentry, iron working and construction labor. The offenders receiving these apprenticeship trainings would receive their experience by maintaining CALPIA and CDCR facilities and then parole home with trade unions facilitating employment.
Pattillo also proposed the restart of a shuttered deep sea diving program that had operated for 30 years previously by CDCR. The PIB approved the allocation of funds, and in 2006 CALPIA reopened the renamed “Leonard Greenstone Marine Technology Training Center,” using apprenticeship labor to repair the closed facility.
In late 2006, CALPIA opened a Modular Building Enterprise at Folsom State Prison, after entering into offender apprenticeship training agreements with three Northern California trade unions to train offenders employed constructing new state-of-the-art modular buildings. These labor training agreements are the first known correctional institution-based labor apprenticeship programs in the United States.
Under Pattillo’s leadership, CALPIA expanded the CTE program portfolio to eight prisons and 19 programs. In 2014, CALPIA added technology to the CTE portfolio, creating a Computer-Aided Design program at the Folsom Women’s Facility and Computer Coding at San Quentin State Prison. The Computer Coding program at San Quentin, Code.7370, spawned CDCR’s newest Joint Venture initiative Program, which enabled participants of the Code.7370 program to apply for positions within the Joint Venture to work on projects from outside businesses and earn marketable wages.
Advocacy for correctional industries as rehabilitative tool
Pattillo has advocated for correctional industries as an effective offender rehabilitation tool at the international, national, state and local levels. In 2014, he traveled to Mexico City to present to Mexican Federal Prison and Security Officials on the benefits of correctional industry and industry related career technical programs. CALPIA has hosted numerous countries, states and delegations from the United States Bureau of Prisons who have toured CALPIA’s model correctional industry and CTE programs.
In 2017, Engineering News-Record nominated Pattillo as one of the Top 25 Newsmakers in the country for bringing apprenticeship and technology programs including coding and AutoCAD to correctional industries.
Pattillo is also an advocate for other states’ correctional programs. CALPIA provides free-of-charge plans, drawings and samples of products and services that any other state or local authorized agency may be considering implementing within their own correctional rehabilitative program.
In 2012, Pattillo, on behalf of CDCR, successfully petitioned the Bureau of Justice Assistance to allow California’s 58 counties to be included within the PIECP “Joint Venture” authority granted to CDCR and allow the “Joint Venture” Program in county correctional facilities.
In 2016, CALPIA and the PIB assisted and supported local counties in the development of Assembly Bill (AB) 2012 that would provide jail industries authority at the local level. Governor Brown signed AB 2012 into law on Aug. 28, 2016, providing 13 counties – including the four largest – the authority to operate Jail Industries Authority Programs such as those operated by CALPIA.
Applications for the CALPIA position are being accepted through Nov. 19. Learn more, https://wbrowncreative.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/CALPIA-CEO-final.pdf