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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451 Questions

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Last Answer on February 10, 2022

Best Rated

How do prisoners get tattoos in prison?

Asked by MOOAAR over 9 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.

How do conjugal visits work? Where do they happen and do prisoners get as many of them as they want?

Asked by DJ over 9 years ago

Prisoner have to be in the correct custody classification, not be a lifer or a condemned prisoner, and be disciplinary free. There are limited spaces for conjugal visits and the scheduling is tight. When I left a prisoner might reasonably expect 3 or 4 such visits in any 12 month period. The visitors must pay for the food, which is bought by staff at local stores. Visitors are no longer allowed to bring food in, too much stuff was getting smuggled that way. There must be a legitimate family relationship, California does not recognize common-law marriages, girlfriends do not get conjugal visits.

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 9 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.

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

Asked by Alexia over 9 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 over 9 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.

What is the psychological evaluation like?

Asked by Lolop over 9 years ago

I have no idea.  They did not have a formal psych screening when I started with the department.

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

Asked by mitchfork over 9 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.