CDCR Cuts $250 Million From Rehabilitation Programs

CDCR stands for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, but after $250 million in cuts to the rehabilitation programs, some believe it should just be called CDC.

Douglas Jockinsen, a correctional facility teacher who could be laid off March 1 said, "There is no ‘R’ in CDCR. And the programs that are left are a shadow of their former selves. They are the only programs that have shown to cut recidivism, people coming back to prison.”

CDCR’s Web site says “Inmates who learn to read and write and those who gain a skill are far more likely to succeed upon release. Those who do not are more likely to re-offend and end up back in prison.”

With the hundreds of teacher cuts, CDCR will also have a new model when it comes to education -- model they admit is not ideal.

CDCR press secretary Gordon Hinkle said, "It’s not a preferred model but again due to the fiscal crisis we are facing, and the fact that we need to meet public safety needs first, so we’re having to be creative and use innovative techniques to accomplish a lot of those same goals.”

Some of the ideas include inmates having self-study time versus classroom time and replacing some of the teachers with senior inmates as mentors.

Jockinsen questions whether the new model will work.

“You have to look at the quality of the inmate who is mentoring. What is the quality of their education, what kind of skills do they have, do they know how to teach?" said Jockinsen. "And the answer is usually no.”

CDCR hopes to re-implement the programs into the prison system once the economy rebounds, but Jockinsen is afraid cutting educational and vocational programs could mean more inmates heading back to prison after they’re released meaning more money in the long term.

“Vocational and academic education reduces by about 18 percent people coming back to prison. They can come out and pay taxes with me, join the workforce, and be a productive citizen. That’s good to me as a citizen of the state of California," said Jockinsen.

Jockinsen went on to say he is disappointed that the CDCR decided to cut the programs even though they have been proven to work.

But on a positive note, CDCR originally planned to lay off nearly 1,400 educational workers, and after placing some of those workers into other jobs, the number are now expected to be no more than 900.

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