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

What is the psychological evaluation like?

Asked by Lolop about 11 years ago

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

Is there a time requirement for completing security checks on inmates? In other words, how often must an officer may eyes on an inmate throughout a shift? Is there a guideline set by the state?

Asked by Curious almost 9 years ago

In CA you are required by law to do a minimum of four counts per day.  The CA system is set up to do five.  These are FORMAL counts that are reported to control.  Inmates who are at work assignments are counted informally by their bosses fairly frequently.  Also persons on suicide watch or other security levels may be eyeballed more frequently, depending. 

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 11 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.

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

Asked by OC Blake over 11 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.

Why do so many prisoners become Muslims while in jail?

Asked by qwerty about 11 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. 

You mentioned prisoners making wine, weapons, tattoo guns and such, MacGyver-style. What's the most inventive thing you've ever seen a prisoner make?

Asked by McGillis over 11 years ago

one guy made a fairly good looking but fortunately non-functional, Sten gun in the furniture shop. that was clever, scary, also terribly stupid.

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

Asked by Sam Chee over 11 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.