World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation


California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Common name Department of Corrections
Abbreviation CDCR
Patch of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Logo of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Badge Patch of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Agency overview
Formed 2005
Preceding agency California Department of Corrections,
California Youth Authority
Employees 66,800
Annual budget US$10.1 billion (2011)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of California, USA
Size 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2)
Population 36,756,666 (2008 est.)[1]
Legal jurisdiction As per operations jurisdiction.
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Sacramento, California
Agency executive Jeffrey A. Beard, Secretary
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is responsible for the operation of the California state prison and parole systems. Its headquarters are in Sacramento.


  • Staff size 1
  • History 2
    • Reorganization (2000s) 2.1
  • Organization 3
    • Headquarters 3.1
    • Divisions and Boards 3.2
    • Facilities 3.3
    • Institutions 3.4
    • Parole 3.5
  • CDCR peace officers 4
    • Special Service Unit 4.1
    • Correctional Peace Officer Academy 4.2
  • Officers killed while on duty 5
  • Death row 6
  • Issues 7
    • Prison health care 7.1
  • Union: California Correctional Peace Officers Association 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Staff size

CDCR is the second largest law enforcement or (police agency) in the United States behind the New York City Police Department, which employs approximately 40,000 police officers. CDCR correctional officers are sworn law enforcement officers (CA state peace officers) with peace officer powers, while on duty.

As of 2013, CDCR employed approximately 24,000 peace officers (state correctional officers), 1,500 state parole agents, and 700 criminal investigators/special agents.


In 1851, California activated its first state run institutions. This institution was a 268-ton wooden ship named "The Waban", and was anchored in the San Francisco Bay.[2] The prison ship housed 30 inmates who subsequently constructed San Quentin State Prison, which opened in 1852 with approximately 68 inmates.[3]

Since 1852, the Department has activated thirty one prisons across the state. CDCR's history dates back to 1912 when the agency was called California State Detentions Bureau. In 1951 it was renamed California Department of Corrections. In 2004 it was renamed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

Reorganization (2000s)

In 2004, a Corrections Independent Review Panel appointed by Governor recidivism rate far exceeding that of any other state; reported abuse of inmates by correctional officers; an employee disciplinary system that fails to punish wrongdoers; and the failure of correctional institutions to provide youth wards and inmates with mandated health care and other services."[4]

Among other recommendations to address these problems, the Panel suggested "Reorganizing the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency."[4] The Agency had consisted of "the Department of Corrections, the Department of the Youth Authority, the Board of Prison Terms, the Board of Corrections, the Commission on Correctional Peace Officer Standards and Training, the Narcotic Addict Evaluation Board and the Youth Authority Board."[5]

Schwarzenegger made a reorganization plan public in January 2005 implementing many of the recommendations of the panel but without "a citizens commission overseeing the state's entire correctional operation."[6] The reorganization became effective on July 1, 2005.[5] The CDCR superseded the:[7]

  • Youth and Adult Correctional Agency
  • Department of Corrections
  • Department of the Youth Authority
  • Commission on Correctional Peace Officer Standards and Training
  • Board of Corrections
  • State Commission on Juvenile Justice, Crime and Delinquency Prevention

The CDCR's current Divisions and Boards include (among others):[8][9]

  • Division of Juvenile Justice, formerly known as the California Youth Authority (Department of the Youth Authority). This has a 2006/07 budget of $530 million and 3,776 employees, of which 1,970 are custody staff.[10]
  • Division of Adult Institutions, responsible for the adult prisons, and Division of Adult Parole Operations. These have a 2006/07 budget of $8.75 billion and 57,641 employees, of which 32,772 are sworn peace officers.[11]
  • Board of Parole Hearings, which combines the old Board of Prison Terms, the Narcotic Addict Evaluation Authority, and the Youth Authority Board.
  • Corrections Standards Authority, whose functions parallel those of the former Board of Corrections and the former Commission on Correctional Peace Officer Standards and Training.


A map of CDCR locations across California.



Divisions and Boards

  • Adult Operations
  • Adult Parole
  • Adult Programs
  • Board of Parole Hearings
  • Council on Mentally Ill Offenders (COMIO)
  • Corrections Standards Authority
  • Juvenile Justice
  • CPHCS Contract Branch
  • Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA)
  • State Commission on Juvenile Justice


CDCR operates all state institutions, and oversees variety of community correctional facilities and camps, monitors all parolees during their entry back into society.


According to the Department’s official Web site, "Currently there are 33 adult correctional institutions, 13 adult community correctional facilities, and eight juvenile facilities in California that house more than 165,000 adult offenders and nearly 3,200 juvenile offenders."[12] This inmate population makes the CDCR the largest state-run prison system in the United States.[13]

Regarding adult prisons, CDCR has the task of receiving and housing inmates that were convicted of felony crimes within the State of California. When an adult inmate arrives at a state prison, he/she is assigned a classification based on his/her committed offense. Each prison is designed to house different varieties of inmate offenders, from Level I inmates to Level IV inmates; the higher the level, the higher risk the inmate poses. Selected prisons within the state are equipped with security housing units, reception centers, and/or "condemned" units. These security levels are defined as follows:[14]

  • Level I: "Open dormitories without a secure perimeter."
  • Level II: "Open dormitories with secure perimeter fences and armed coverage."
  • Level III: "Individual cells, fenced perimeters and armed coverage."
  • Level IV: "Cells, fenced or walled perimeters, electronic security, more staff and armed officers both inside and outside the installation."
  • Security Housing Unit (SHU): "The most secure area within a Level IV prison designed to provide maximum coverage." These are designed to handle inmates that cannot be housed with the general population of inmates. This includes inmates that are validated prison gang members, gang bosses or shot callers, etc.
  • Reception Center (RC): "Provides short term housing to process, classify and evaluate incoming inmates."
  • Condemned (Cond): "Holds inmates with death sentences."


According to the Department’s official Web site, "there are more than 148,000 adult parolees and 3,800 juvenile parolees supervised by the CDCR."[12] A 2002 article found that "California’s growth in the numbers of people on parole supervision — and in the numbers whose parole has been revoked — has far exceeded the growth in the rest of the nation."[15] California accounted for 12 percent of the U.S. population but 18% of the U.S. parole population, and almost 90,000 California parolees returned to prison in 2000.[15]

At San Quentin, the non-profit organization California Reentry Program "helps inmates re-enter society after they serve their sentences."[16]

CDCR peace officers

CDCR correctional law enforcement officers are peace officers as indicated in California penal code sections 830.2 and 830.5, as their primary duties are to provide public safety, corrections, and law enforcement services in and outside of state institutional grounds, state operated medical facilities, and camps while engaged in the performance of their duties.

The primary duties of these officers include, but are not limited to, providing public safety and law enforcement services in and around California's adult and youth institutions, fire camps, and state operated medical facilities and hospitals, and community correctional facilities. These officers also monitor and supervise parolees who are released back into the general public. Other primary duties include investigation and apprehension of institutional escapees and parolees at large (PAL), prison gangs, statewide narcotics enforcement and investigations (involving institutions), etc.

Special Service Unit

In addition to correctional officers, CDCR employs approximately 30 special agents (criminal investigators) who are assigned to offices throughout the state. These agents conduct criminal investigations involving parolees and inmates, monitor prison gangs, gather intelligence and conduct narcotics enforcement. These investigators are part of an elite unit known as the Special Service Unit or simply SSU. Special agents work closely with other law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Department of Justice and local police and sheriff departments. SSU special agents hold the state equivalency of a CDCR captain. As a confidential employee, they are able to keep a low profile and small footprint while carrying out very high-profile cases.

Another elite and low profile unit, and purposely so, is the Fugitive Apprehension Teams or FAT which is made up of just over 80 agents who are also assigned to offices throughout the state; many in the same complexes as SSU agents. FAT agents are also criminal investigators and are teamed with the Warrants Unit of the United States Marshals Service (USMS) in locating and apprehending individuals wanted for high violence offenses; whether under the jurisdiction of CDCR or local agencies. FAT agents provide services to local agencies whose resources do not allow them to pursue violent offenders who have fled their jurisdictions, to parole violators wanted for violent offenses, individuals wanted under Federal Warrants and they assist SSU agents in locating escapees from CDCR. FAT agent's powers extend to beyond the State of California as they are also sworn Special Deputies of the USMS. FAT agents are highly trained in high risk warrant service execution and must complete a special academy to becomes a member of the "Teams." Members of these Teams are kept low profile for security reason as their nature is to conduct investigations in locating violent fugitives and executing their apprehension in a timely basis.

FAT shares a sentimental affiliation with the historic California State Rangers, who were created in May of 1853 by a California Legislative Act and organized by Captain Harry Love, to apprehend dangerous offenders of the time. In August of 1853, after having fulfilled their purpose, the Rangers were mustered out of service. The affiliation that FAT shares, although remotely, is that in July of 1996 the California State Legislature enacted specific funds earmarked via the Department of Corrections to create Fugitive Teams to locate and bring to justice parole violators, the most violent offenders of modern times.

SSU special agents and FAT agents possess full police powers throughout the state. Although often confused with state parole agents, SSU and FAT agents are not affiliated with parole and work out of the Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) headquartered in Sacramento, CA. The OCS Division is led by Chief Charles D. Dangerfield. These agents work on the streets, in a plainclothes capacity. They maintain a rigorous training regimen in both tactical firearms and investigative techniques. Many SSU agents are former SWAT operators or police officers. It is often said SSU target the "baddest of the bad."

CDCR also operates specialized units such as Investigations Services Unit (ISU), Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI), Transportation Unit, Crisis Response Teams or Special Emergency Response Team (CDCR's version of police SWAT team), Negotiations Management Unit (NMT), K-9 unit, Narcotics Investigations, etc.

As of May 2010, CDCR employed over 28,000 peace officers, classified by titles such as state correctional officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, counselors, parole agents, inspectors general, special agents (criminal investigators) and EMPs.

Correctional Peace Officer Academy

CDCR Peace Officers are trained to become Sworn Peace Officers of the State of California at the Basic Correctional Peace Officer Academy located in Galt, California. Cadets must complete a 16-week formal and comprehensive training program. The curriculum consists of 640 hours (4 months) of training. Instruction includes but is not limited to firearms, chemical agents, non-lethal impact weapons, arrest and control techniques, state law and department policies and procedures, etc.

Cadets must also successfully complete Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) minimum requirement course. Upon completion of the academy cadets are sworn in as CDCR peace officers. Upon assignment to their work institution or location, these officers also undergo further training for 2 years as vocational apprentices (1 year of which is spent on probation). Upon completion of their 2-year training they are then considered regular state correctional peace officers (CDCR officers)[17]

Officers killed while on duty

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page Web site, since the inception of what is currently CDCR, 33 employees have been killed in the line of duty.[18] Of these 20 have been killed by inmates. Seventeen were custody employees, and three were non-custody employees who supervised inmates working in industrial areas. Fifteen deaths were from stab wounds, two were from gunshot wounds, two were from bludgeoning, and one was from being thrown from a tier.[19]

Death row

Condemned male prisoners are held at San Quentin State Prison. Condemned female prisoners are held at the Central California Women's Facility. Executions take place at San Quentin. The State of California took full control of capital punishment in 1891. Originally executions took place at San Quentin and at Folsom State Prison. Folsom's last execution occurred on December 3, 1937.[20] In previous eras the California Institution for Women housed the death row for women.[21]


Prison health care

There are at multiple ongoing lawsuits over medical care in the California prison system. Plata v. Brown is a federal class action civil rights lawsuit alleging unconstitutionally inadequate medical services, and as a result of a stipulation between the plaintiffs and the state, the court issued an injunction requiring defendants to provide “only the minimum level of medical care required under the Eighth Amendment.” However, three years after approving the stipulation as an order of the court, the court conducted an evidentiary hearing that revealed the continued existence of appalling conditions arising from defendants’ failure to provide adequate medical care to California inmates. As a result, the court ruled in June 2005 and issued an order on October 3, 2005 putting the CDCR’s medical health care delivery system in receivership, citing the "depravity" of the system.[22] In February 2006, the judge appointed Robert Sillen to the position[23] and Sillen was replaced by J. Clark Kelso in January 2008.[24]

Coleman v. Brown is a federal class action civil rights lawsuit alleging unconstitutionally inadequate mental health care, filed on April 23, 1990. On September 13, 1995 the court found the delivery of mental health care violated the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and issued an order for injunctive relief requiring defendants to develop plans to remedy the constitutional violations under the supervision of a special master.

Following the Governor’s issuance of the State of Emergency Proclamation, the plaintiffs in Plata and Coleman filed motions to convene a three-judge court to limit the prison population. On July 23, 2007 both the Plata and Coleman courts granted the plaintiff's motions and recommended that the cases be assigned to the same three-judge court.[13] The Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed and, on July 26, 2007, convened the instant three-judge district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2284.

As of 2008-09 fiscal year, the state of California spent approximately $16,000 per inmate per year on prison health care.[25] This amount was by far the largest in the country and more than triple the $4,400 spent per inmate in 2001[26] The state with the second largest prison population in the country, Texas, spent less than $4,000 per inmate per year.[27]

Union: California Correctional Peace Officers Association

Officers of the department are represented by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (the CCPOA). It was founded in 1957 and its stated goals include the protection and safety of officers, and the advocation of laws, funding and policies to improve work operations and protect public safety. The union has had its controversies over the years, including criticism of its large contributions to former California Governor Gray Davis. Since the California recall election, 2003, the CCPOA has been a vocal critic of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In June, 2008, the union came under investigation from the from both the California Office of the Inspector General and the CDCR for its role in the hiring of a 21-year-old parolee by Minorities in Law Enforcement, an affiliate of CCPOA.[28] Upon conclusion of investigations by both agencies, no wrongdoing was found.

See also



  1. ^ "Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico".  
  2. ^ California Department of Justice. California Criminal Justice Time Line 1822-2000. Accessed April 27, 2008.
  3. ^ Reed, Dan. Killer Location May Doom San Quentin Prison. Also Calling It Outdated, State to Consider Razing Infamous Bayside Penitentiary for Housing. San Jose Mercury News, August 20, 2001.
  4. ^ a b Corrections Independent Review Panel. Reforming Corrections. June 2004.
  5. ^ a b Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Legislation to Transform California's Prison System. Press release, May 10, 2005.
  6. ^ Furillo, Andy. Prisons plan shifts power to agency chief. Sacramento Bee, January 7, 2005.
  7. ^ California Government Code 12838.5
  8. ^ California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Organizational Structure, October 2007. Accessed November 17, 2007.
  9. ^ California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Divisions and Boards. Accessed November 17, 2007.
  10. ^ CDCR Division of Juvenile Justice. DJJ Facts, Stats & Trends - Summary Fact Sheet (January 2007). Retrieved December 1, 2007.
  11. ^ CDCR Division of Adult Operations. First Quarter 2007 Facts and Figures. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
  12. ^ a b CDCR Division of Adult Institutions. Visitors Information Page. Retrieved November 30, 2007.
  13. ^ a b Moore, Solomon. New Court to Address California Prison Crowding. New York Times, July 24, 2007.
  14. ^ California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. California's Correctional Facilities. October 15, 2007.
  15. ^ a b Travis, Jeremy, and Lawrence, Sarah. California's Parole Experiment. California Journal, August 2002.
  16. ^ Moody, Shelah (December 9, 2007). "California Reentry Program gives ex-cons a second chance". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 12, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Correctional Officer Training". Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  18. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page February 2009
  19. ^ Data Analysis Unit. "EMPLOYEES KILLED BY INMATES January 1952 through December 2011" (PDF).  
  20. ^ "History of Capital Punishment in California." California Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
  21. ^ "Court Ruling Won't Mean Bloodbath On Death Row." Associated Press at the Tuscaloosa News. Tuesday February 15, 1972. p. 10. Retrieved on Google News (6/15) on March 27, 2013. "There are five women under a sentence of death. Three of Manson's convicted accomplices, Susan Atkins, Leslie Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel, are in a special women's section of the row built at the California Institute for Women at Frontera."
  22. ^ Sterngold, James (July 5, 2005). "U.S. seizes state prison health care". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 21, 2007. 
  23. ^ Moore, Solomon (August 27, 2007). "Using Muscle to Improve Health Care for Prisoners". New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2007. 
  24. ^ Kagan, Racheal (January 23, 2008). "CPR PRESS RELEASE: Judge Appoints New Prison Health Care Receiver, 01/23/08" (pdf). Retrieved February 9, 2008. 
  25. ^ "Overview of Adult Correctional Health Care Spending" (PDF). 
  26. ^ "State Prison Expenditures, 2001" (PDF). 
  27. ^ "Prison health update". 
  28. ^ Furillo, Andy. "Chief of CCPOA union, Mike Jimenez defends hiring of parolee". 

External links

  • Official website
  • California Youth and Adult Corrections Authority (Archive)
  • California Correctional Peace Officers Association
  • California Reentry Program
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.