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 May 27, 2019

Best Rated

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

Asked by DJ over 6 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 6 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.

What is the psychological evaluation like?

Asked by Lolop about 6 years ago

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

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

Asked by Alexia about 6 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.

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

Asked by Red about 6 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 over 6 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 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 about 6 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.