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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276 Questions


Last Answer on March 21, 2019

Best Rated

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

Asked by mitchfork about 6 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.


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 6 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 about 6 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.

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

Asked by Sam Chee about 6 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.

My boyfriend was very good to me on the outside. He took care of me. We were dating for 2 years. But, now he may face 10 years. I am confused. I really love him! He wants me to marry him. I am unsure! Can you give me some advice?

Asked by sunny over 5 years ago

I'll try, though advice is dangerous and sometimes nothing works.  Most people, including me, are STRONGLY opposed to jailhouse romances as they pretty much have a 100% failure rate.  You, however, have had a relationship before he got locked up.  So there are a few things you need to look at.  One is time.  Depending on what state you are in 10 years may mean three years, or it may mean ten years.  There is a HUGE difference.  It also depends on the offense.  If it was a sexual offense (i.e. child molestation, etc) he is unlikely to change.  If it was something else, like robbery or burglary, he may get his head straight.  If he has a significant record already he is likely to change only via old age or infirmity, and you will have to look forward to him being incarcerated on and off for the rest of his life.  Do you have any children?  Do you have any children with him?  Does he have any children with anybody else?  Are you self-supporting, do you have a job?  Will he expect you to kick down money to him while he is locked up?  Will he expect you to spend all your weekends visiting him in prison?  Are you ready for all that?  My basic advise on ANY marriage is, if you have to ask, you are not ready.  When one partner is about to go away to prison for what might be a long time, I definitely think it is a bad idea.  More info would be helpful, but that is my basic response.

Why do so many prisoners become Muslims while in jail?

Asked by qwerty almost 6 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 about 6 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.