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 February 10, 2022

Best Rated

What's the craziest thing you ever saw happen?

Asked by Bob over 9 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.

Besides cigarettes, what contraband do prisoners exchange most frequently?

Asked by lucky777 over 9 years ago

Drugs. Porn is pretty good too, at least in prisons where it is prohibited.

How long can you get for having a tattoo gun under your bed

Asked by terra over 9 years ago

Sorry, but I don't remember for sure.  Possession of the tattoo gun is different than tattooing.  I THINK the gun is 30 days.  Since the law has changed now and putting tattoos on someone without a health certificiate is a crime now in California that would carry a much heavier penalty. 

Hi Bob,
Im almost finished with my BSCJ Degree and was considering becoming a CO I was wondering if I should even apply because my fiance has felonies on his record, would that prevent me on the background check?

Asked by Sheri over 9 years ago

No, it would not.  It would not even be an issue unless you cohabitate.  if you live together and he is still on parole or probation it MIGHT be some small issue, and unofficially might be a medium-size issue, depending on who is doing your background and who has to approve it. It also might matter what his offense asnd background was.  If he is / was heavily gang involved there would be some suspicion that you are a mole.  If he is just a felony DUI or has a 10-year old commercial burglary, it wouldn't be a big deal.  It would be much more of an unofficial problem than an official one.   

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

Asked by dilious over 9 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.

Does prior correctional experience help out when applying to CDCR? What does the department look for in applicants? I am currently a C.O at a max with another state, but I would like to go back home to California

Asked by Gevaudan over 9 years ago

Not sure that it helps, but it doesn't hurt.  Quite honestly most higher-ups in CA, people that make hiring decisions, look a LOT of states as flyover country and view experience there as insignificant (or at least did when I was still working).  However, experience anywhere does tend to mean you have time in the environment and won't just walk away becuase you find the venue psychologically uncomfortable.  It is PROBABLY a positive, and is almost certainly not a negative.

Where do prisoners get buried?

Asked by Gordo over 9 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.