An inmate spends time with his children during Camp Grace at Calipatria State Prison. CDCR file photo.

By OPEC staff

CDCR has awarded $4 million in grants to volunteer and community-based organizations in its continued effort to enhance rehabilitative programs and activities in California state prisons. The grants were awarded for a period of three years, for a total of $12 million in funding.

CDCR will use the Innovative Programming Grants to help balance offerings and provide opportunities at prisons that historically may not have a large number of volunteer-led programs.

“Our goal is to support programs in our prisons that are both innovative and aligned with our mission to offer rehabilitative opportunities to inmates in our custody, including education, arts, and life skills,” said Ralph Diaz, Secretary (A), CDCR. “We have an array of extremely committed partners through the Innovative Programming Grants that are making an enormous difference in people’s lives, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with them.”

For the first time this year, providers with successful existing prison courses were allowed to reapply for funding as a way to maintain quality and encourage program continuity. Some of grant recipients, which include individuals, small community-based groups or non-profit organizations include:

  • A California State University, Fresno, Foundation workshop program that help inmates in the college admission process, as well as providing study and time-management skills.
  • The Place4Grace’s Camp Grace program, which brings together parents and children at a prison for a five-day period. Daily creative activities such as creative writing, art and music are provided.
  • The Tides Foundation’s Success Stories program, for young men 18-35 that helps them identify and unlearn harmful behaviors and then set long-term goals.

There were 344 applications submitted for this grant cycle. Applications were evaluated on how programs meet inmate needs. Also, operators of proposed programs were evaluated on their fiscal resources, program evaluation process, their implementation plan and project management capabilities.

IPG began in 2015, when CDCR awarded $2.5 million in one-year grants to expand existing programs to new institutions. Funding in prior years has come from the Recidivism Fund, the Inmate Welfare Fund and the General Fund. The funding this year comes from the Inmate Welfare Fund, a trust where all proceeds from institutional canteen and hobby shop sales are deposited and spent for the benefit of inmates, including on education and welfare.

For more information about CDCR’s Innovative Programming Grants, please visit https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/rehabilitation/grants.html.

For more information about the application process, please visit https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Rehabilitation/docs/IPG/IPG_RFA_Packet.pdf.