CALPIA and Union Partnership Leads to Jobs and Lower Recidivism
FOLSOM - Today, 69 inmate workers at Folsom State Prison and California State Prison Sacramento received diplomas and certificates during graduation ceremonies at California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) facilities. Each graduate completed all or portions of a program that ultimately will lead to apprenticeships in construction when they are paroled. As part of the training, all inmates must complete a GED within two-years of beginning the program.
"CALPIA’s pre-Apprenticeship Program is a leading example of how effective rehabilitation reduces recidivism," said Kathy Jett, Undersecretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "These men have worked hard to prepare themselves to earn a living, lessening their chances of returning to prison."
Inmates in the program receive training from journeymen craftsman in various construction skills, ranging from welding and ironwork to finished carpentry. CALPIA and three trade unions representing industry workers, act as partners in the program. Once released from prison, ex-offenders are then eligible for placement in apprenticeship jobs.
Unions that participate in the program include the Northern California Carpenters Local 46; the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 118 and the Laborers Local 185.
In addition to the valuable training, upon parole CALPIA provides each graduate with tools, a tool belt and pays their union dues for one year so that they are ready the first day of their new job.
“These graduates are ready to work,” said Chuck Pattillo, General Manager, California Prison Industry Authority. “With the skills they have learned and the personal confidence they have built, these inmates are more likely to find jobs and provide for themselves and their families.”
Many of the graduates are working in the new CALPIA Modular Building Enterprise, a 30,000 square foot facility located at Folsom State Prison, which provides rehabilitative work assignments for inmates in building modular structures. These ISO 9001-2000 certified portable structures are manufactured, sold and subsequently transported for use at various prisons, juvenile centers and State agencies throughout the State.
CALPIA’s primary function is to facilitate inmate job skill training in a business environment. CALPIA is a self-financed state agency that receives all of its revenue from the sale of products it manufactures. Recent research shows that the recidivism rate among CALPIA inmates is 25 percent lower than the general prison population, a success attributed to the job skills that they receive by working on the assembly line.
The Division of Education, Vocations and Offender Programs (DEVOP) is continuing efforts to increase the number of educational program completions, as measured by a GED, high school diploma, vocational certificate, etc. The following provides an update on this effort.
California Institution for Women
El Prado Adult School at the California Institution for Women (CIW) will be hosting its annual GED Graduation on February 4, 2009. Since its last graduation in June 2008, CIW had a 60% increase of women obtaining their GED certificates. This year, 75 women will receive their GED certificates compared to 26 graduates last year. Two women will be getting their doctorate degrees and 11 women will be getting their Associate of Arts Degrees through the Distance Learning Program offered by various colleges. In addition, 11 women will be getting their vocational certificates in business related fields. El Prado Adult School is located on prison grounds and is dedicated to increasing the number of educational opportunities to all inmates at CIW. Inmates seeking a college degree must pay for their own tuition at no cost to the state.
Deuel Vocational Institution, DVI in Tracy awarded 76 GED certificates to date in fiscal year 2008-09. DVI as a reception facility does not have formal Adult Basic Education (ABE) III or GED classes to assist inmates in preparing for the GED exam. The GEDs were earned by voluntary Independent Study participation driven by the student’s own motivation.
Avenal State Prison has currently awarded over 100 GEDs, more than 1,200 Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) benchmarks to date in fiscal year 2008-09. They are on track in reaching their goal of 250 GEDs and 3,000 CASAS benchmarks, providing that funding for GED testing continues to be maintained in the budget.
Kern Valley State Prison established their schedule for GED testing with the first GED testing this fiscal year on February 10 and 11. Testing is scheduled for two of the facilities and they will be tested each month for the remainder of the fiscal year. Goals have been established to achieve 100 GEDs by the end of this fiscal year. CASAS testing began at Kern Valley State Prison with the staff determining to achieve the realistic goal of a 500 benchmark by the end of the fiscal year.
California State Prison, Sacramento Graduation Ceremony
On February 4, California State Prison, Sacramento will host an annual C-Facility graduation ceremony to recognize the following: 3 High School Diplomas; 13 General Education Development (GED) certificates; 27 Office Services and Related Technology course completions; 9 Adult Basic Education (ABE) I program completions; 15 Adult Basic Education (ABE) II program completions; and 5 Adult Basic Education (ABE) III program completions. The Arts-In-Corrections program will recognize 37 participants.
Valley State Prison for Women Graduation Ceremony
Valley State Prison for Women is holding a graduation ceremony on February 4, for 141 inmates to receive recognition for the following accomplishments: Associate of Arts Degrees (2), General Business Certificates (8), General Education Development (GED) certificates (45), and High School Diplomas (13). The following vocational course completions are being honored: Automotive (4); Electronics (12); Eyewear Manufacturing (12); Graphic Arts (7); Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (1); Landscaping (10); Office Services and Related Technology (8); and, Small Engine Repair (9).