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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421 Questions


Last Answer on December 15, 2020

Best Rated

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

Asked by mitchfork almost 8 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.


Why do so many prisoners become Muslims while in jail?

Asked by qwerty almost 8 years ago

On a numerical basis it isn't so many, but the numbers can become meaningful.  When you get somebody who is disaffected, probably feels dumped on and discriminated against, finding a group of like-minded people who are willing to tell you that YOU are ok and the SYSTEM is what is wrong is personally validating. 

Are there age min/max requirements for your old prison? Were there any "elderly" prisoners and if so do they mix with the younger ones? Also, does "lights out" in the evenings mean everyone has to be quiet and go to sleep?

Asked by OldPerson almost 8 years ago

Not really.  DVI, where I worked, could hold juvenile commitments, which could go down to 14.  Often as prisoners age they would get sent to the "old folks home" at San Luis Obispo, though that was not required unless they got so sick they couldn't get adequate treatment elsewhere.  Generally the old guys tried to stay away from the youngsters just to avoid the drama, but that wasn't for sure.  Some of the old guys are still very gang connected and active.  After locked inmates could stay awake with the lights on in their cell as late as they wanted as long as they didn't make so much noise as to disturb others.  We didn't actually turn the poewr off (usually) so they could read, watch TV, etc.  In the dorms it was different, people had to quiet down so as to not disturb others. 

How do inmates shave in prison, assuming they can't have blades?

Asked by OC Blake almost 8 years ago

generally they use disposable type BIC razors. it is not hard to break the blades out of them, melt them into a tooth brush handle and turn them into a pretty decent slashing weapon. except in Adminsitrative Segregation razor blades are not that tightly controlled, it just isn't practical.

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 7 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.

Do some long-time prisoners become so institutionalized that they don't even care whether they get paroled?

Asked by Sam Chee almost 8 years ago

Yes. It is rare, but it does happen. They get to the point where they are more comfortable in custody than in the real world.

Do jail inmates get to vote?

Asked by Luca almost 8 years ago

In some states some prisoners get to vote in some elections. I admit my memory is foggy on this. It also depends if you mean JAIL or PRISON. Inmates in jail, if they have no other convictions, are not felons. They can vote. It is technically difficult for them to do so and they seldom bother, but they can. In many states convicted felons can not vote, in some they can, and it sometimes depends if they are voting in federal or state elections. As an aside, Al Franken, the senator from Wisc, voted for Obamacare. It passed by one vote. Franken won his seat by about 400 votes. It is KNOWN that over 1,100 ex-felons registered and voted illegally in that election. Information indicates that ex-felons overwhelmingly vote Democrat. So, in one respect you could say that Obamacare is a direct result of (possibly unintentional) voter fraud by convicted felons.