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In the POOCH program at RJD, inmates train service dogs to help wounded veterans and children with disabilities.

Interviews focus on Richard J. Donovan’s Echo Facility

(CDCR users, watch the video: mms://fdcmedia/opec/2018/FACEBOOK_LIVE_AT_E_YARD.wmv)

(Non-CDCR users, watch the video: http://MEDIA.cdcr.ca.gov/OPEC/2018/FACEBOOK_LIVE_AT_E_YARD.wmv)

Story by Rebecca Kroll, AGPA, Community Resources Department
Video by Marc Bossi, RJD TV Specialist
Photos courtesy RJD

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) joined forces with the Office of Public and Employee Communications (OPEC) to broadcast the San Diego prison’s first-ever Facebook Live video. Krissi Khokhobashvili, deputy chief of the Office of External Affairs, with the organization and filming skills of Public Information Officers Ike Dodson and Allie Powell, and the help from some curious viewers, interviewed RJD staff and inmates on their experiences living and working in a program-focused facility.

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In the POOCH program at RJD, inmates train service dogs to help wounded veterans and children with disabilities.

The Facebook Live video streamed from RJD’s Echo Yard, the first Non-Designated Program Facility (NDPF) implemented by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). NDPFs offer a safe place for people from different backgrounds to unify and succeed, much like the outside world.

“This space is made for programming. The environment is peaceful. Everyone here is working toward the same goal and you can feel that openness,” said Khokhobashvili.

Echo Facility has proven that individuals of different backgrounds can successfully function as a whole. “If it can work at RJD and several other institutions, then it can work anywhere,” said Khokhobashvili.

RJD’s Echo Facility could not have been successful without the dedication of Warden Paramo. He is highly regarded for his dedication to rehabilitation within the correctional setting and applauded for his continued success.

Paramo states his vision for the future of RJD as “having individuals come together, prepare them to go back into society and offer a lot of programs that will revert their attention from violence to programming.”

The goal of the Facebook Live video is clear – to provide an education on the benefits of NDPFs and to show that it can work, how it works, and what happens when everyone is on the same page. The inmates couldn’t have said it better themselves, “We want to be a part of the solution and not the problem,” said Marvin, facilitator for the Arts in Corrections programming. Inmate Ceasar from the POOCH program reminisced on the impact of training his first dog, “It opened my eyes. It opened my heart back up. It gave me a chance to feel like a human again.”

The raw footage and open form of communication demonstrated RJD’s commitment to transparency. RJD was successful at breaking some of the common misconceptions that plague the prison system and will continue to be available for questions. You can view the entire feed at https://www.facebook.com/cacorrections/videos/10155846713897061/.

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In the POOCH program at RJD, inmates train service dogs to help wounded veterans and children with disabilities.