“In my first Secretary’s Corner, I want to begin by expressing appreciation for everyone who has willfully chosen this profession, and has or will give it the best years of their lives. I want to thank everyone who shares my hope of a better future for the agency. I want this message to be an invitation to you to join me in what I believe will be the greatest period in our department’s history.” — Ralph Diaz
The Proposition 57 regulations were approved for permanent adoption by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and filed with the Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday, May 1. This was the last step in codifying the regulations, which were implemented gradually last year after being approved on a temporary emergency status in April 2017.
It is with a heavy heart that I write about three outstanding people who left us way too early. The magnitude of the loss impacts us all, but at the prisons or camps where these wonderful people worked, the pain is even more excruciating. What I have witnessed these last couple weeks is an organization that comes together to give as much comfort as possible to those who are hurting. Even under these tragic circumstances the leadership and compassion I have witnessed is simply astounding. Staff fighting through their personal pain to comfort the families of our fallen brothers and sister, and taking care of each other in a way that makes me proud to be part of such a great group of people.
Last month, I briefed you on the significant changes coming with the approval by voters of Proposition 57. I’d like to thank staff – both at Headquarters and in the field − for their hard work in developing regulations, modifying our IT systems, developing complex training programs, and helping set and meet an aggressive schedule to roll out this landmark reform. All this work will materialize in the coming months and will positively impact everybody at CDCR, both staff and inmates. A fundamental element of Proposition 57 is the realization that we are in the best position to know how individual inmates are programming and whether they are showing sustained positive behavior. Proposition 57 is a common sense reform that brings us closer to the days of indeterminate sentencing by placing the responsibility on the inmate to remain disciplinary free and to be actively programming.
I hope that you and your families all had a safe and happy holiday season. We should all be proud of the positive changes at CDCR that we created together last year. While still many challenges remain, the staff of this Department has stepped up in very many ways. I’m so appreciative of all the hard work and dedication that you all display every day.
I know there are a lot of questions and uncertainties about the November 8 election results, especially relating to Proposition 57 – The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016. This constitutional amendment was overwhelmingly approved by California voters and will have significant impacts. And while I can relate to feelings of apprehension when it comes to change, I do believe – as with so much of the change to the state’s criminal justice system in the last five years – we will work through it together and we will recognize the opportunities it creates. As a law enforcement agency, there is no place for political rhetoric or displays within our prisons or anywhere in our facilities and we must maintain our professionalism.