Thursday, April 30, 2009

Program Helps Female Parolees Stay Out of Prison

Female Residential Multi-Service Center in Sacramento Holds First Graduation

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is holding its first graduation for female parolees from the Female Residential Multi-Service Center (FRMSC) in Sacramento. The FRMSC is the first of its kind in California and provides gender specific programs and services for female parolees.

The FRMSC opened its doors on April 28, 2008 in a residential area of Sacramento. Bridges Professional Treatment Services is the contract provider and with the help of CDCR staff has been helping women who suffer from trauma and substance abuse issues.

“This program gets to the heart of why women fail on parole,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “This new approach is part of the overall strategy to provide rehabilitative services that address the specific needs of female offenders throughout incarceration and parole.”

Twenty-five women can stay at the center from six months to a year. They are referred to the FRMSC from a parole agent or the Board of Parole Hearings upon release from prison, or in lieu of returning to prison for a violation.

The FRMSC offers a variety of gender responsive services including case management, trauma treatment, substance abuse and domestic violence education, life skills development, family focused services, parenting classes, educational services, GED preparation, vocational training and family reunification services.

“The paths that women follow prior to incarceration are often very different from those of men,” said Debra Herndon, Acting Associate Director of Female Offender Programs and Services. “Most of the women in our prison system have suffered from physical and emotional trauma. Many turn to substance abuse to mask the pain. That can lead to crime to support their habit which in turn can lead to incarceration. This new program aims to get to the root of the trauma and break the cycle.”

When a woman arrives to the FRMSC she is assessed by the treatment team which includes an alcohol and drug counselor, family therapist, program director, vocational developer and parole agent. She is then evaluated in the following areas: substance abuse history, traumatic life events, family history, housing needs, legal issues, medical issues, employment and educational history. Based on these assessments, the team will identify strengths and needs and will try to maximize the potential of each individual woman.

Housing a woman at an FRMSC is cheaper than the average cost of housing her in prison. It costs approximately $109 per day at the FRMSC compared to $126 per day at an institution.

In order to graduate from the FRMSC program, women either must be employed, enrolled in a vocational training program, or taking college courses. Also, graduates must have a stable place to live.

“The FRMSC helps female parolees make a smooth transition into the community. The goal of this program is to help these women become productive citizens and stop them from recycling back into our prisons,” added Secretary Cate. “By reducing recidivism we improve public safety, and save taxpayer dollars.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

California Prisons: Prepared for Disaster

To read this article Click Here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CDCR Strategic Offender Management System Project will Automate and Streamline Information Sharing

Project Will Consolidate More than 40 Offender Data Systems

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today the intent to award a contract to EDS, an HP company, to begin a multimillion-dollar effort to automate and streamline offender data systems. The project, called the Strategic Offender Management System (SOMS), will consolidate existing databases and records and replace manual paper processes over a four year contract period. SOMS will upgrade and standardize adult and juvenile data and population management practices to further enhance staff, offender and public safety.

"SOMS will revolutionize the process for sharing and utilizing offender data, and will significantly improve offender management processes,” said Matthew Cate, CDCR Secretary. “Even in these challenging financial times, the benefits to the state are immense. For the first time in our agency’s history, we will have a unified, automated system for tracking offenders. We are confident that EDS can do this for us in the timeline provided and we look forward to working with them.”

SOMS will replace more than 40 aging electronic and paper database systems, which are becoming increasingly difficult and costly to maintain. The system will contain an “Electronic C-file” for inmates and provide the opportunity for electronic data exchange--with Jails, Courts and the Office of Prison Healthcare Services.

The SOMS project – which will cost $245 million over the four year contract – will also lead to a higher level of continuity of rehabilitation and other programming for the offenders when they transition from custody into the community. Coordinating offender information, risk and needs assessments, case management plans, and other data into a streamlined system will allow custody and programs staff to better manage the offender population, which should lead to a reduced recidivism rate. The project is expected to kick off the first week of May 2009 and take approximately four years for full implementation.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

California Prisons Reduce Water Consumption by 21 Percent Through Comprehensive Drought Response Plan

SACRAMENTO – Today the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced it has achieved a 21 percent annual reduction in its water usage, saving 2.4 billion gallons of water– enough to fill approximately 65,000 swimming pools.

CDCR’s water conservation program began in 2006 with a pilot project to install “flush meters” on toilets in selected prisons. In 2008, under the direction of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-06-08 declaring that California is in a state of drought, CDCR set a goal of reducing water consumption by 20 percent statewide. On February 27, 2009 Governor Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency on water shortage in response to three years of drought conditions.

“As California’s largest state agency and a major water user, Corrections has taken steps to drastically reduce water consumption and prepared a comprehensive drought response plan in anticipation of another dry summer,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “CDCR’s expansive water savings program has reviewed water usage in our 33 prisons and correctional facilities across the state. We are reducing water consumption on a massive scale through a combination of methods including conservation, elimination of nonessential use, retrofits, and increased efficiencies. Through the efforts of our wardens and staff across the state, we have achieved the Governor’s goal for our agency of reducing consumption by 20 percent, and are continuing to search for new and innovative means to lessen the impact of the drought.”

To comply with the Governor’s Executive Order, CDCR has enacted the following measures:

  • Flush meters have been installed at nearly one-third of all adult institutions, with more under construction in 2009. Institutions with flush meters result in a 27 percent average annual savings of water, versus 17 percent for institutions without flush meters.
  • Institutions are now reporting monthly water consumption to CDCR Headquarters.
  • Prisons and other facilities have enacted low-or-no-cost water conservation methods.
  • Headquarters has distributed a “Best Management Practices Water Management & Conservation” document to all institutions that covers:
    • eliminating nonessential water use;
    • modifying practices for water efficient landscaping;
    • leak detection and repair – building systems and equipment;
    • water-efficient irrigation; and
    • laundries and vehicle washing.
  • On-site Water Consumption Surveys have been initiated at prisons.
  • CDCR has identified other opportunities for additional water savings through operational modifications and best practices in inmate housing, kitchens, grounds and laundries.
  • Additional water conservation projects have been launched.
“This is just the beginning,” said Deborah Hysen, CDCR’s Chief Deputy Secretary, Facility Planning, Construction and Management Division which oversees the effort. “Through a centralized reporting process and basic surveys we are conserving more water than ever before. As the drought continues we hope to enact additional water savings programs.”

CDCR’s water conservation efforts are part of its agency-wide environmental resource conservation program. CDCR is on-track to achieve the goal laid out by the Governor of reaching a 20 percent reduction in energy usage by 2015. These savings will be realized through the use of solar photovoltaic power plants, implementing peak load reduction programs, and by installing the latest in lighting technology. CDCR has been recognized as a national leader and as the first state government agency member of the Climate Registry.

Link to CDCR Energy Savings website, which includes photographs, water savings tips and video: