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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Last Answer on August 15, 2021

Best Rated

Have you ever been attacked while on the job?

Asked by Salverado over 8 years ago

Many times, though none of them were "personal." I just happened to be the guy in the uniform when the problem came up. Several of the attackers had serious mental issues. I was lucky and was never hurt badly. Many of my collegues were not so lucky.

You prison is not a good place if you are shy. That made me ponder strip searches. I know they happen on intake/exit. Beyond that how common are they for inmates, is it embarrassing for them, how to CO's feel about that aspect of their job.

Asked by KennyB over 8 years ago

Very common.  When an inmate comes back into the security perimeter they are skin-searched, more formally known as an unclothed both search.  For some jobs inmates are stripp-searched when the get off work.  When there is a distrubance and we are looking for weapons we will skin-serach everybody in the area. 

As far as the cops feel, they know it comes with the territory.  You want to talk about gross, you talk about "potty watch."  That is waiting for some guy to take a dump so you can search through the feces for contraband, usually drugs.

 

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

Asked by monica over 8 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.

 

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

Asked by Jack Sr. over 8 years ago

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

Was yours a maximum-security prison?

Asked by brikhaus over 8 years ago

The facility I worked at was primarily a medium security institution, with a modest (144 bed) high security area and a somewhat larger (250 bed) minimum security area.

What's the craziest thing you ever saw happen?

Asked by Bob over 8 years ago

Thats hard to say. I do remember that twice, when I was running the Reception Center, we got in prisoners who said, "You've got the wrong guy, I shouldn't be here." They were both right, the county had sent the wrong prisoner, same name but wrong guy. Also the dept. had a prisoner extradited from out of state, Oklahoma I think, and it turned out his parole had run out and we had no right to haul him in. Paperwork screwup, happens every year or two.

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

Asked by dilious over 8 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.