Across the state, CDCR staff took their children to work. Whether custody staff or support personnel, the children learned about their parents’ jobs. It’s estimated that over 3.5 million employers participated in the annual day, meant to introduce girls and boys across the county to the workplace and empower them to dream without gender limitations and think imaginatively about their family, work and community lives.
In 1910, a former inmate wrote words being echoed today regarding the purpose of the state prison system: “The business of the state should be to see that when a convict is restored to society it shall be under conditions that give him at least a fair chance of becoming a useful member of the community.” Those words were written by Col. Griffith Jenkins Griffith who served two years at San Quentin for shooting his wife in a booze-fueled fury. When he was paroled in 1906, he immediately set about improving the prison system.
The beautiful artwork adorning the walls of Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) represents not only the artistic talent of its creators, but also the changes that have swept through California’s state prisons. In what used to be the Security Housing Unit (SHU), a maximum-security facility at the Crescent City prison, art, rehabilitative programs and reentry readiness are now the focus. In 2017, CDCR converted nearly 500 SHU cells into Level II housing, creating a setting suitable for lower-custody incarcerated people to live and program.
The description of a May 14 event at a Johanna Boss High School simply states students “at O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton will show academic growth and project-based learning methodologies, incorporating social and emotional themes in a Service Exhibition.” The youth created outlines for new charitable organizations, laid out planned community construction projects, created superheroes as a computer design project and achieved fitness goals in the gymnasium — all to show what they’ve learned through practical applications. Beneath that, however, was much deeper meaning – giving students the opportunity to be successful in an academic environment. For most of them, it was the first time they had such an experience.
Two California State Prison-Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) staff members were recently recognized for their work protecting the community. Every year Parris Law Firm and the Lancaster Baptist Church honors the members of local law enforcement agencies of the Antelope Valley community. This year they selected Correctional Officer James Aparicio and Lt. Richard Ochoa.