New DRP director looks to ‘awaken sleeping giants’

New DRP director looks to ‘awaken sleeping giants’

A lifelong educator and transformer of organizational cultures has stepped in to lead CDCR’s Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP) through a huge philosophical shift in the department. “I guess at heart I’m an academic,” said Dr. Brant Choate, who came to CDCR as OCE director in June 2014 following more than two decades in public and private education. “But I don’t want to be typecast as the education guy, because I’m really more of an organizational behavior guy. How do you take an organization at its current status, whether it’s good or bad, and take it to a higher level?”

Actors’ Gang, CCPOA shine light on officer wellness

Actors’ Gang, CCPOA shine light on officer wellness

Recognizing the benefits of theater for all people, the Actors’ Gang will soon offer a pilot program for CDCR correctional officers. The Actors’ Gang Correctional Officer Experience will be held over two days in Corona, where professional actors will work with officers in a first-of-its-kind program developed for correctional officers. The voluntary class is designed for California’s sworn correctional peace officers, with an emphasis on line officers, and is offered in partnership with the Actors’ Gang, California Endowment and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

Family ties: Get On The Bus brings kids, incarcerated parents together

Family ties: Get On The Bus brings kids, incarcerated parents together

Josh Walton, incarcerated at High Desert State Prison, acted quickly when his young daughters’ pent-up enthusiasm began bursting over and they started chattering loudly and squirming about. But he didn’t look annoyed at all. Walton doesn’t get many chances to be an in-person dad alongside his wife, Christin. That’s why the Get On The Bus (GOTB) program is so important to him and his family, as it offers families the opportunity to spend a whole day with their incarcerated loved ones, at no expense to the families.

Still dads: Actor shares story of hope at Valley State Prison

Still dads: Actor shares story of hope at Valley State Prison

On Father’s Day and all year long, organizations like the Place4Grace are working to ensure families impacted by incarceration stay connected and supported. Through Place4Grace, men incarcerated at Valley State Prison (VSP) were able to hear about the importance of being connected and rehabilitation from an Emmy Award-nominated actor with a powerful story to tell.

Prisons join physical fitness challenge

Prisons join physical fitness challenge

A friendly competition is spreading through state prisons, as CDCR’s physical education coaches help their inmate students demonstrate how important a healthy lifestyle is. In addition to teachers, principals and librarians, each state prison employs a coach, whose job is to educate inmates in physical fitness and overall wellness. At California Men’s Colony (CMC) in San Luis Obispo, Coach Bruce Ferrall has taken it to the next level, playing to his students’ competitive natures with the Wall of Fame, which invites inmates to perform various exercises in an attempt to set and beat records.