Correctional Officer

Correctional Officer

Bob Walsh

Stockton, CA

Male, 60

I worked for the California state system, starting as a Correctional Officer and retiring as a Lieutenant in 2005. I now write for the PacoVilla blog which is concerned with what could broadly be called The Correctional System.

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249 Questions


Last Answer on March 14, 2018

Best Rated

Are inmates allowed to keep pets of any kind? Even goldfish, birds, that kinda thing.

Asked by monica almost 5 years ago

Not in California, though it happens unofficially.  Feral cats, mice, that sort of thing.  There are prisons where inmates do animal care, horses and service dogs, but they are not "pets" per se.

The infamous Birdman of Alcatraz never had any birds at Alcatraz, and lost permission to have the birds at Leavenworth when he was caught with a still to turn the seed into booze.  He was also a vicious homosexual pimp who wrote reams of homosexual pornography using prison staff as characters.  Also he didn't look anything like Burt Lancaster.


TV and movies make it seem like inmates can still get a hold of booze, drugs, weapons, and other contraband. Is that realistic?

Asked by 51/50 about 5 years ago

pretty much. booze they can make easily enough. drugs are small and easy to smuggle, especially with the search policies and the practice of NOT using drug dogs on visitors. shanks are easy enough to make. firearms inside prisons are very rare indeed, at least in California prisons. in third world holes they are quite common.

Do female prisoners organize themselves into gangs and racial groups like the men do?

Asked by Kid Quik about 5 years ago

Never worked at a female prison. I have been told the women have cliques, but they are not nearly as racially based as the men's.

Now that you're retired, do you miss the job at all?

Asked by Jack Sr. about 5 years ago

I miss some of the people. Not so much the job. The job is not what it was when I retired.

Are for-profit prisons big business in the US?

Asked by statham about 5 years ago

moderately, yes. there are a couple of large private prison operators that have contracts with many states and the federal government. i believe there are also some local jails that are operated by private operators. many more have outsourced their inmate helath care to private operators.

Where do prisoners get buried?

Asked by Gordo about 5 years ago

None of the prisons in California have operational cemetaries, though both Folsom and San Quentin have very old ones. When a prisoner dies the remains are turned over to the next of kin for burial. If the next of kin do not take them, they are burried at government expense in whatever cemetary the government contracts with. I believe that is handled by the county and not the state, though I am not 100% sure of that.

Do jails read inmate mail? If so, what if a letter is talking about a crime or a prison break?

Asked by dilious about 5 years ago

Don't know about jails. Prisons CAN read inmate mail other than legal mail, but they rarely do. There just isn't the manpower to do it. Where I worked there were six workers who did nothing but open, inspect, sort and deliver inmate mail. If you were to actually have to READ all of it it would require dozens of people. That gets expensive.