Sunday, May 17, 2009

Three Graduations

The CDCR website features two news items about recent graduations. The first of these is the March 11 graduation of inmates with certificates in marine technology and carpentry. The marine technology graduates laugh as the speaker tells them that they are uniquely skilled for the profession, being more acclimated than others to live in small quarters. As the speakers congratulate the graduates for their newly acquired skills, they inform them, and the audience, that recidivism rates are significantly lower than for the general population (20% for carpentry graduates, and almost no recidivism at all for marine technology). Leonard Greenstone says, beaming with pride "I just hope you guys succeed in this program... every time a group of your leave, stay out of prison, aren't coming back... really, it's the most heartwarming, satisfactory feeling a human being can have... we all can take all kinds of credit, but this wouldn't be here, or successful, without you. God bless you". Secretary Cate said, "I have become a born again believer in these programs that provide our graduates... with the skills necessary to be successful on parole", and mentioned that in budgetary constraint times, "this program pays for itself". He adds, though, "[i]t's not about politics or about the economy... this is about human beings... one life change impacts many others... one man who has the pride of a skill set and can support a family, can impact a generation".

While CDCR is not currently accepting applications for guard positions, they feature the first 2009 Peace Officer Graduation streamlined video on their website. Prison guards are assigned to handle a variety of prison and parole operations, including transportations, escort, gang investigations, etc. The 16-week training takes place at theBasic Peace Officer Academy, located in Galt and Stockton.

Finally, my own students are graduating today. While I'm very sad to say goodbye to so many people I have such professional respect and personal affection for, I am proud and happy for them. They are not only exceptionally smart and hardworking people, but also imbued with a strong sense of social conscience and a commitment to making our society better. Many of today's graduates played an important role in envisioning, organizing, and running our conference this March. While their opinions on law enforcement and corrections vary, they all have a healthy interest in doing their part in improving our criminal justice system. I hope that, despite the current job market situation, they will all be soon gainfully employed in places that allow those of them who wish to do so, to be part of the solution for the California Corrections Crisis. Congratulations, folks; I love you and believe in you.

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