Transcript: Life Support Alliance’s public comments opposing the confirmation of Jeffrey Beard as CDCR Secretary on June 19, 2013

Partial transcript of public comments Vanessa Nelson-Sloan, a representative of the Life Support Alliance, opposing the confirmation of Jeffrey Beard as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at a hearing before the California Senate Rules Committee on June 19, 2013:

…My name is Vanessa Nelson-Sloan representing Life Support Alliance. We’re a prisoner advocacy group and our particular constituency is life-term prisoners and their families…

We’re here today to oppose the confirmation of Dr. Beard as Secretary of Corrections and express our concerns but we’re not particularly happy about doing so.

We hope that Dr. Beard will prove to be the forward-thinking leadership-oriented individual that the CDCR needs right now at this pivotal time, and he may well be but at present he’s a bit of an unknown quantity to us and it’s difficult to be unenthusiastic about an unknown quantity.

Dr. Beard has met with few stakeholders or reached out to few stakeholders from our side of the fence since his appointment and we’ve heard very little from him on any subject except the federally-ordered population cap and that of his support of the Governor’s position on that issue.

We’re hearing today for the first time of a long-term offender program plan. And while we’re encouraged by this, we would like more information on this because those prisoners who are not in the non-non-non – non-serious, non-sexual, non-violent – such as lifers, those serving life without parole and those who are in the SHU term for decades – are doing SHU terms for decades – are going to be an increasing part of the population of the prisons. And we need now to start looking at their programming and their rehabilitation…

Since this is our first opportunity to have heard from Dr. Beard, we would want more information on his inclusion of lifers and those vocational educational slots that he mentioned. His concentrating on prisoners in their last four years of incarceration leaves lifers out of that loops, and these are the programs they need to rehabilitate and be found suitable for parole.

We would urge him to reach out to stakeholders and include us in these conversations on the long-term offender plan as a resource. We have a lot of information. We have a lot of suggestions. We have a lot of resources to offer the department – all at no cost to the department, by the way.

One of these things that we’d like to have a conversation with him about is restating family visits for lifers. This is a proven, very efficient, and very effective resource and program to prevent recidivism for lifers. We also like to continue conversations on debunking the myth that most contrabands come in through visitors and families. It does not. And we would like the opportunity to talk with him about the needs of those long-term incarcerated people before they get out and after they get out. We are collecting significant data and actually working with several divisions of CDCR on this information. We would be happy to share with Dr. Beard and we think would be a significant contribution to the success of programs going forward.

Thank you.


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