Inspector General's Report:
October 27, 2013: AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR BROWN
Dear Governor Brown,
We, the men of the Progressive Programming Facility at the California State Prison – Los Angeles County, ask that you consider us in your decisions on who might be released from prison.
The Progressive Programming Facility is a voluntary program that requires of prisoners a commitment to growth and rehabilitation, participation in programs designed to break the negative cycle of recidivism, and an acceptance of personal responsibility. The program has been in existence now for more than 13 years, and during all that time we’ve been working to create something better out of the dysfunction of the prison system.
We were around before the word “rehabilitation” was resurrected and reattached to the name of the prison system, and we are pleased to learn that the leadership of the system is planning to model its ideas of what a programming facility should look like on what we’ve built here on the Progressive Programming Facility. It’s a powerful validation of what we’ve worked together to accomplish.
We are, nonetheless, dismayed by the characterization that there are no prisoners left in the system that could be safely released to bring down the population of the prisons. That’s not accurate, and it is unfair. The truth is there are many men and women who have served far past their eligibility dates, who have worked very hard to reform themselves, who have grown up and matured into better people, and who would not pose an unreasonable threat to society if they were released.
While not all of these lower risk prisoners are housed on the Progressive Programming Facility, many of them are and you should consider them. In the coming years, as the prison population drops, we believe there will be opportunities to rethink the very nature of incarceration in California. Holding people in prison for life on account of nonviolent crimes is simply irrational. Holding people in prison for life for crimes committed as young people is irrational. Holding people in prison until they’re senior citizens is irrational. We appeal to you to exercise your rational judgment. We appeal to you to lead this state out of its irrational reliance on imprisonment as the first and only response to misdeeds.
The men of the Progressive Programming Facility are committed to pursuing a path toward rehabilitation and reform. This will continue as long as it’s possible. We urge you to remember this group of men when the time comes for decisions as to who goes and who stays.
Thank you, in advance, for your consideration.
The men of the Progressive Programming Facility
The Friends and Families for the Honor Program highly recommend the following sites:
August 20, 2012: UPDATE ON THE PROGRESSIVE PROGRAMMING FACILITY
As you all know, after an intense lobbying effort led by The Steering Committee for the Honor Program and the Friends and Families for the Honor Program that included thousands of letters, emails, and numerous other contacts, as well as an online petition and strong, behind-the-scenes support from elected officials and other persons of influence, the Progressive Programming Facility is now a Level III. The remaining Level IV prisoners who want to stay a part of the program will be granted an override and allowed to stay.
All of us involved in this ongoing struggle want to publicly thank Secretary Matthew Cate, Undersecretary Terri McDonald, Warden Scott McEwen, Chief Deputy Warden Carl Wofford, Captain Maryanne Beuchter, and Lt. Charles Hughes, all of whom stepped up and participated in this success. We appreciate your vision and your support.
We also want to challenge the Department to fully implement a positive, rewards-based management system throughout the prisons. The current negative, punishment-based management system simply does not work. Functioning, programming prisons enhance security and create a real space for the kinds of rehabilitative programs that must happen to prepare men and women to successfully reenter society.
Once again, thank you to all our many supporters. We are grateful and humbled.
The Friends and Families for the Honor Program
August 10, 2012
The CDCR has announced the Honor Program is now Level III, and no prisoners will be moved!
July 12, 2012: For Immediate Release
The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation has decided to transfer out more than three-quarters of the men successfully functioning on the Progressive Programming Facility at California State Prison-Los Angeles County in Lancaster. This will result in the only fully functioning maximum-security facility in the sprawling, sadly dysfunctional prison system to collapse.
The prison system in California is under a federal court mandate to shrink down from a high of almost 200% of capacity to only 137.5% of capacity by June of 2013. To accomplish this, the state has diverted low-level offenders to county jails and changed parole regulations. Ultimately, prisoners remaining in the 33 far-flung institutions of the system will be spread out to ease local crowding. To date, the process appears to be on track to meet court-ordered deadlines.
All of the above is to the good, and we congratulate Secretary of Corrections & Rehabilitation Matthew Cate for his valiant efforts to turn around the troubled prisons in a time of extreme fiscal constraint and limited options.
But moving so many of the men from the revolutionary Progressive Programming Facility to other, far less well functioning prisons is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
It spends money that doesn’t need to be spent on transfers that don’t need to happen.
It jeopardizes the stability of a program that should be the template for the future corrections system in California.
It causes needless hardship to hundreds of friends and family members of men currently housed in Los Angeles’s only prison.
There is still time to change this decision by the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. Read the full proposal submitted to Secretary Cate by the Friends and Families for the Honor Program, and click here for sample letters you can send to Secretary Cate to advocate for his support.
The Friends & Families for the Honor Program ask that you write and/or call Secretary Cate and ask him to allow all the men who desire to continue in the Progressive Programming Facility to stay. It’s simply the right thing to do.
Thank you for your support and assistance.
California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation
1515 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
December 21, 2011
The Friends and Families for the Honor Program (FFHP) is outraged by recent changes implemented by CSP-LAC administration which effectively eliminate the Honor Program. Read full text of FFHP’s letter to CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate.
Click here to read Operational Procedure #501, Inmate Program and Activity Schedule for Facility ‘A,’ revised November 2011, signed by Acting Warden Brenda Cash in one of her last actions before leaving CSP-LAC.
For comparison, click here to read Operational Procedure # 605, Progressive Programming Facility [PPF, previously known as the Honor Program] and accompanying October 22, 2009 memorandum signed by George Giurbino, Director (A), Division of Adult Institutions, CDCR.
Click here to see a chart illustrating the dramatic decrease in programming time over the past eleven years.
California prison cancels only successful rehabilitation program to create more state jobs.
AUGUST 5, 2009: HONOR PROGRAM SUPPORTERS PROVIDE POWERFUL TESTIMONY AT THE C-ROB MEETING IN SACRAMENTO.
Many chairs had to be added to the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board (C-ROB) meeting’s public seating section on August 5 to accommodate the large number of Honor Program supporters who were in attendance.
CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate (along with his Deputy Chief of Staff Lee Seale, Inspector General Dave Shaw, and Prison Law Office Director Don Spector) visited the Honor Program.
“Art is long, life short; judgment difficult, opportunity transient”-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
CDCR Secretary James E. Tilton Announces Retirement
Mr. Tilton endorses programming in hisfarewell speech video...
"I've raised and the Governors raised the responsibility the CDCR has to identify and create safe environments in the prison system so those inmates who are willing to program and take responsibility for their lives can in fact do that in a safe environment - so we owe them that right"...
Prison Healthcare Receiver Robert Sillen Visits The Honor Program.
On November 20, 2007, Prison Healthcare Receiver Robert Sillen toured the Honor Program and met privately with Steering Committee Chairman Ken Hartman. They discussed the important role of the Honor Program in improving the health of prisoners by creating a physically and emotionally safe prison environment. During this very positive meeting, Mr. Sillen expressed his support for the Honor Program concept, and his agreement that the program is a highly beneficial one for the health of prisoners.
The commitment and dedication from Senator Gloria Romero and Supportive Legislators, the Honor Program Steering Committee, and Honor Program supporters remains strong...(read more)