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

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 almost 11 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.

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

Asked by Red over 10 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 prisoners get tattoos in prison?

Asked by MOOAAR almost 11 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.

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

Asked by Alexia over 10 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.

What's the racial breakdown of the prisoners at your facility?

Asked by jan.oakland almost 11 years ago

I have been gone for quite a while, but the last time I checked it was roughly 30% white, 30% black, 30% hispanic with the rest made up other American Indians, Pacific Islanders, S/E Asians, etc. Since California had about an 11% black and 19% hispanic population at that time you can see whites are significantly underrepresented in the prison population and hispanics and blacks are significantly overrepresented. There has been a census since I retired so I am confident those numbers are no longer accurate.

Who cleans prison cells - the prisoners or some janitorial service? Also, how do prisoners do laundry?

Asked by mitchfork over 10 years ago

Prisoners do their own cell cleaniing, unless something REALLY messy happens, like somebody gets killed in there. 

Generally speaking the inmates turn in their clothes in bags on one day and get them back the next day.  The bags, with the clothes in them, get run through the wash and dry in the laundry bags with number tags on the bags so they get back to the right place.  Individual clothes are not labeles to individual inmates, at least not in california.  They are responsible for washing their own personally owned clothing, which they are allowed to own in General Population.  Landury is a major expense and a major logistical headache in the system.

 

How is famliy life as a correctional officer? I really want to be one, but also want to have a family life. Is it hard to balance the two?

Asked by Zack over 10 years ago

It is difficult due to the shift work.  Once you get some seniority (in the Calfiornia system anyway) you can bid on a job and the days off and shift that go with it.  Some people stay on first watch (graveyard) voluntarily for some time so they can interact more with their family.  Also vacations are seniority bid so it can take several years to get a summer vacation.  Most people start the job young and don't have children yet.  That helps.  Family and work is a juggling act in the real world.  The shift work does make it harder.