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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454 Questions


Last Answer on February 10, 2022

Best Rated

What is the psychological evaluation like?

Asked by Lolop over 10 years ago

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

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 over 10 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.

Why do so many prisoners become Muslims while in jail?

Asked by qwerty over 10 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 do inmates shave in prison, assuming they can't have blades?

Asked by OC Blake over 10 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.

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 10 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.

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 over 10 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. 

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

Asked by Sam Chee over 10 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.