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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256 Questions


Last Answer on July 13, 2018

Best Rated

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

Asked by OC Blake over 5 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.

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

Asked by mitchfork over 5 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.


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

Asked by Sam Chee over 5 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 almost 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 over 5 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. 

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 about 5 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 jail inmates get to vote?

Asked by Luca over 5 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.