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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242 Questions

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Last Answer on October 11, 2017

Best Rated

What movie or TV show did the most realistic job of portraying life in prison?

Asked by Shawn over 4 years ago

None that I am aware of. Possibly Mariah (TV SHOW) was in the same time zone.

I know you said the staff don't read the letters, but what sort of things in the letters are the most helpful, welcome, etc for the inmates, and what subjects should be avoided?

Asked by Mary W over 4 years ago

Money is most helpful and welcome. Complaints about how rough things are at home without them, or how stupid they are to end up in prison, are probably the least helpful.

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 4 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.   

How do prisoners get tattoos in prison?

Asked by MOOAAR over 4 years ago

It isn't hard to make a tattoo gun. A broken guitar string and a motor stolen out of a tape player will do it. They use blue or black ballpoint pen ink. A lot of guys get Hep C or HIV from dirty tattoo needles.

Do prison staff actively try and prevent prison rapes, or is that something they generally turn a blind eye to?

Asked by Red over 4 years ago

Very rarely do such crimes occur in full view of staff, or other witnesses.  When reported they are actively investigated.  Also preadtory inmates (or even likely victim inmates) are classified as such, and are often single-celled or housed in protective custody.  IN addition staff do patrol the tiers and dorms  to keep an eye out for all sorts of nastiness. 

How do the guards treat the inmates, in general? Is there any law or internal policy that requires that prisoners be treated with some minimum level of respect and humanity? Or are guards free to be jerks as they please?

Asked by Bastille1 over 4 years ago

Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations, commonly known as the Directors Rules for the prison system, is pretty definite on that subject.  EVERYBODY, staff and inmates, are expected to treat each other respectfully as circumstances permit.  I grant you it is hard to be respectful when you are trying to break somebody's arm with a PR-24, but it is there.  Inmates are regularly written up for disrespect, and inmates commonly file written comalints against staff for disrespect.  Most of the time inmates complaints of disrespect are BS, to them tellling them what to do, where to go, and what to do when they get their is disrespectful.  Generally speaking everybody gets along better with everybody if you treat them halfway decently.  MOst people in prison really want to get along, at least on the surfact.  It makes life easier.

In california what is the policy on hard drugs to become a correctional officer?

Asked by Alexia over 4 years ago

Good question.  I dont have a good answer for you since I was never in the hiring loop other than interviewing.  I had nothing to do with background checks.  I admitted to a little weed in highschool in the 1960s, more than 15 years before I hired on.  They had no problem with that.  I suspect they have a problem with recent drug use. Obvisouly any felony conviction is disqualifying.  My guess is they would have a problem with any significant hard drug use history.