The Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP), Central California Women’s Facility, Options Recovery, and Amity Foundation collaborated to help 21 inmates graduate the Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP) earlier this year. The offenders are now certified drug and alcohol treatment counselors.
CSP-Corcoran Facility 3B Gymnasium Officer Noberto Gonzalez began hanging military service flags as a way to show his support for staff who served in the United States military. Since 2017, this idea has grown, turning the gym into one of the most respected areas of the institution. When Officer Gonzalez began changing the look of the gym by hanging the flags, artistically inclined inmates also began discussions about painting murals on the drab cement walls of the gym. Once the Idea of a veterans memorial theme was adopted, Inmates began sketching their ideas on paper.
Across the CDCR system, staff work hard to make sure inmates’ religious needs are met. This year the situation is complicated by Ramadan falling so close to Easter and Passover. Chaplains and imams willingly serve extra duty to meet inmates’ needs.
An 1874 report by the state prison investigative committee details efforts to rehabilitate inmates, lists a typical mess hall menu and describes the general layout of San Quentin. The committee also made their case to establish a branch prison at Folsom. Regarding education overseen by the prison chaplain, the report states, “Here, in the school-room, can be seen old gray-headed and young men sitting side by side, learning and being willing to learn.”
Cadets from the first graduating class of the Ventura Training Center (VTC) recently received their certificates of completion for the enhanced firefighter training program. Cadets spent 22 weeks learning and training in courses such as firefighter safety, cmmunications, structural firefighting and hazardous materials. “These firefighters offer an invaluable public service and help protect our communities in their time of great need,” said Ralph Diaz, Secretary, CDCR.
As she approached the Soledad Correctional Training Facility for the first time, Willow Lee was nervous about meeting the men who would be her classmates for 10 weeks. She was intimidated by the checkpoints, barbed wire, and clanking gates.But when she entered the prison chapel and saw 28 incarcerated men waiting eagerly to greet each of their UC Santa Cruz counterparts with a handshake, she felt a wave of positive emotions wash over her. “The men looked me in the eye,” she recalled. “I felt welcomed.”