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 November 30, 2017

Best Rated

Why do gang formation and racial segregation happen so frequently in prisons?

Asked by >>maestro<< almost 5 years ago

Prisoners tend to form groups as do other humans. They tend not to be the most englightened of people, and also have to function in the system they find themselves in. Some groups, like the Texas Syndicate, are largely cross-racial. These groups, however, tend to be both exclusionary as well as inclusionary. Some of it is self-protection, or started that way at least. Others are simply a continuation of street affiliations into the prison system. Some started in prison and moved to the streets. Racial identity groups are, generally speaking, strongest with hispaics, less so with blacks and much less so with whites. What I mean is it is very difficult for a hispanic inmate to remain truly unaffiliated, it is hard for blacks, it is not so hard for whites. If you don't join the Nortenos, they will assume you are a Sureno and make you a target. Same going the other way. That is the way their group-think functions. You get down to it I don't have a why, it's just the way it is.

Are prisoners given access to computers or the internet?

Asked by brett almost 5 years ago

generally speaking no, at least not in California. i am sure there are exceptions, but i am not aware of any. (my knowledge is a bit stale, i have been out for over five years, but internet access would allow access to pornography and would present many security issues. of course many inmates have smuggled electronic devices which give them access.)

Is prison cafeteria food terrible? How does it compare to your average school cafeteria? Also, do prison staff eat the same food as the inmates?

Asked by sloppysloppyjoe almost 5 years ago

Food quality varies widely. At DVI, the facility I worked at, they still operate a kitchen where they actaully prepare meals. Most newer prisons use flash frozen airline TV dinner food. I was the kitchen Sergeant for a year, though the food manager had control over the meals, I just handled security. For instituional food the food was really fairly good. At the time (I believe it is still true) there had to be a meal sampler report made out for every location at which the meal was served reporting on food temperature, overall quality, etc. The food manger and warden actaully read the reports. Food quality is a huge issue in prisons and riots start over crappy food. I was required to pesonally sample meals and send in reports. If the food was cold and crappy I said so. The food was actually pretty decent, much better than school cafeteria food in my opinion. Staff who were on duty at the time the meal was served could buy a meal off the steam line by presenting a meal ticket. Most of them preferred to purchase a more conventional meal at a significantly higher price price from the staff cafeteria, which was located outside the fence, or buy food from the junk food machines at various places inside the institution. The Grand Jury comes through the prisons in California at least once a year, and one of the things they look at is the meals. Meals really are a big deal in the prison setting.

Were there a lot of suicides in your prison, and what's the most common way prisoners kill themselves?

Asked by Albertross007 almost 5 years ago

Depends what you call a lot. Maybe one a year with a base population of about 3,900. Maybe a bit more than one a year. The normal suicide was a hanging. Once in a while you would get a jumper. That was very rare as three tiers isn't tall enough to ensure a good job. Probably some of the ODs were suicides too, it isn't always possible to know for sure. When we were a recepion center the number would go up. When we were mostly GenPop the number would go down. That is also typical.

How often did prisoners try to escape, and were they ever successful?

Asked by Gang green almost 5 years ago

walkaway escapes by minimum custody prisoners are fairly common. the California system gets a couple dozen of those a year. "inside" escapes, that is escapes from inside the security perimeter, are quite rare. we often went a couple of years without one of those. very rarely do any of these prisoners stay outside very long. that is one thing California is very good at, keeping the inmates in.

Wait, how do prisoners MAKE booze?

Asked by Vanessa almost 5 years ago

All you need is water, sugar, some yeast (throwing in white bread will take care of that) and something like ketchup or overripe apples or raisins. Even without the extra sugar the fruit will ferment, the sugar helps. You then mash it all up and let it sit someplace warm and it will ferment. In the California system it is called "pruno." Most of it is grotesque and disgusting, but you can get drunk on it. I have seem some homemade applejack that didn't smell too bad actually. I have only seen one actual prison still, but fermentation is no big deal. It is much more straight forward than distillation.

What incentives do inmates have to behave well, especially those in for life? Do they care about their quality of life while on the inside knowing that they're not ever getting out?

Asked by ArlinPeters almost 5 years ago

life prisoners, especially those doing LWOP (life without parole) have little incentive to behave other than program access. if they screw up enough they are put in segregation, which for most isn't a lot of laughs. inmates get automatic good time in California, which they can lose for disciplinary infractions, but also they can often get that good time back by staying disciplinary free for a period of time. LWOP prisoners, especially young violent gang oriented prisoners, are very serious management problems.

Can prisoners earn money while in prison?

Asked by Brooks almost 5 years ago

Yes. Many work for prison industries, and those with minimal custody levels who can work odd shifts or multiple shifts. Some earn in exess of $200 per month. Also there are some public-private partnerships that employ prisoners for work at the prisons for private employers.

Did you ever believe that a prisoner was actually innocent? And do your observations of prisoners play into the decisions of whether to let someone out early for good behavior?

Asked by Raj almost 5 years ago

As a Lieutenant I would have no say in the matter. I have read literally THOUSANDS of inmate Central Files. With the exception of two murderers and one kidnapper they all had EXTENSIVE criminal histories and there is no question that the two murderers and the kidnapper were in fact guilty. With over 133,000 inmates in custody it seems likely that a handful did not commit the crime of which they were convicted. That doesn't mean they didn't do something they deserved to be in prison for.

Did you ever feel sorry for certain prisoners? Like, the ones who made a mistake out of desperation and are now locked up alongside truly evil / violent criminals?

Asked by DuFresne almost 5 years ago

There is I grant you a difference between a hard core gang member who robs and maims and kills and a chronic repeat drunk driver or someone who snaps and kills his spouse who is about to divorce him. The impact on the victims is however the same. Also, it is not the job of the prison staff to differentiate between prisoners. They are all supposed to be kept in prison for the period prescribed by law, and they are all entitled to the same level of care. That is what being a professional is all about.

You prison is not a good place if you are shy. That made me ponder strip searches. I know they happen on intake/exit. Beyond that how common are they for inmates, is it embarrassing for them, how to CO's feel about that aspect of their job.

Asked by KennyB over 4 years ago

Very common.  When an inmate comes back into the security perimeter they are skin-searched, more formally known as an unclothed both search.  For some jobs inmates are stripp-searched when the get off work.  When there is a distrubance and we are looking for weapons we will skin-serach everybody in the area. 

As far as the cops feel, they know it comes with the territory.  You want to talk about gross, you talk about "potty watch."  That is waiting for some guy to take a dump so you can search through the feces for contraband, usually drugs.

 

Have you ever been attacked while on the job?

Asked by Salverado almost 5 years ago

Many times, though none of them were "personal." I just happened to be the guy in the uniform when the problem came up. Several of the attackers had serious mental issues. I was lucky and was never hurt badly. Many of my collegues were not so lucky.

Hi Bob! 1) Do new prisoners get hazed ("fish")? 2) Do prisoners divide up based on race with lots of tension between groups, as depicted in movies? 3) Are ex-cops or rapists treated with extra disdain?

Asked by ronmexico almost 5 years ago

New cops get more hazing than new prisoners. Remember prison prisoners have done time in county jails, and most have done youthful offender time also. In the California system, and as far as I know virtually all other system, the prisoners divide themselves up, primarily althought not exclusively along racial lines. Staff have to work with and acknowledge those divisions because they are real. There are further divisions within the groups, I.E. blacks in California tend to go with Crips (blues) or Bloods (reds). Hispanic can be either Nortenos or Surenos. Rapists don't get nearly the heat they used to get, though most groups still don't much like child molesters. Ex-cops tend to land together in PC (protective custody) units. I understand there is a unit at Ione that is nothing but former cops, firefighters, public officials and the like.

Are inmates allowed to keep pets of any kind? Even goldfish, birds, that kinda thing.

Asked by monica over 4 years ago

Not in California, though it happens unofficially.  Feral cats, mice, that sort of thing.  There are prisons where inmates do animal care, horses and service dogs, but they are not "pets" per se.

The infamous Birdman of Alcatraz never had any birds at Alcatraz, and lost permission to have the birds at Leavenworth when he was caught with a still to turn the seed into booze.  He was also a vicious homosexual pimp who wrote reams of homosexual pornography using prison staff as characters.  Also he didn't look anything like Burt Lancaster.

 

So with your front row seat, do you believe in inmate reformation? Does incarceration have any effect on a person's likelihood of re-offending once released?

Asked by dan79 almost 5 years ago

I do believe in the redemption of the self, but realize that it happens seldom. With the exception of family murderers (i.e. husband killing cheating wife) virtually all state felony prisoners have lengthy criminal records by the time they actually get sentenced to prison. The only reliable rehabilitators are age and infirmity. Incarceration has, IMHO, minimal effect on the vast majority of prisoners likelyhood to reoffend.

TV and movies make it seem like inmates can still get a hold of booze, drugs, weapons, and other contraband. Is that realistic?

Asked by 51/50 almost 5 years ago

pretty much. booze they can make easily enough. drugs are small and easy to smuggle, especially with the search policies and the practice of NOT using drug dogs on visitors. shanks are easy enough to make. firearms inside prisons are very rare indeed, at least in California prisons. in third world holes they are quite common.

Do female prisoners organize themselves into gangs and racial groups like the men do?

Asked by Kid Quik almost 5 years ago

Never worked at a female prison. I have been told the women have cliques, but they are not nearly as racially based as the men's.

Now that you're retired, do you miss the job at all?

Asked by Jack Sr. almost 5 years ago

I miss some of the people. Not so much the job. The job is not what it was when I retired.

Have you ever seen the show Oz? Do prisons with that much chaos and violence really exist?

Asked by W0mbatz almost 5 years ago

Yes I did watch it. As far as I know that was complete fiction. Humdrum does not sell advertising or gain viewers.

Are for-profit prisons big business in the US?

Asked by statham almost 5 years ago

moderately, yes. there are a couple of large private prison operators that have contracts with many states and the federal government. i believe there are also some local jails that are operated by private operators. many more have outsourced their inmate helath care to private operators.

Is male-on-male prison sex as prevalent as film and TV would have us believe? Is it purely a power thing or do inmates actually turn gay while in jail?

Asked by Curious almost 5 years ago

it happens, but prison rape is not the every-day occurance hollywood would make it appear to be. i have seen prisoners who are straight on the street and are gay inside, but that is not particularly common either. prisoners are very much like other people and they come in almost infinite variations.

Was yours a maximum-security prison?

Asked by brikhaus almost 5 years ago

The facility I worked at was primarily a medium security institution, with a modest (144 bed) high security area and a somewhat larger (250 bed) minimum security area.

Do jails read inmate mail? If so, what if a letter is talking about a crime or a prison break?

Asked by dilious almost 5 years ago

Don't know about jails. Prisons CAN read inmate mail other than legal mail, but they rarely do. There just isn't the manpower to do it. Where I worked there were six workers who did nothing but open, inspect, sort and deliver inmate mail. If you were to actually have to READ all of it it would require dozens of people. That gets expensive.

What's the racial breakdown of the prisoners at your facility?

Asked by jan.oakland almost 5 years ago

I have been gone for quite a while, but the last time I checked it was roughly 30% white, 30% black, 30% hispanic with the rest made up other American Indians, Pacific Islanders, S/E Asians, etc. Since California had about an 11% black and 19% hispanic population at that time you can see whites are significantly underrepresented in the prison population and hispanics and blacks are significantly overrepresented. There has been a census since I retired so I am confident those numbers are no longer accurate.

Does prior correctional experience help out when applying to CDCR? What does the department look for in applicants? I am currently a C.O at a max with another state, but I would like to go back home to California

Asked by Gevaudan over 4 years ago

Not sure that it helps, but it doesn't hurt.  Quite honestly most higher-ups in CA, people that make hiring decisions, look a LOT of states as flyover country and view experience there as insignificant (or at least did when I was still working).  However, experience anywhere does tend to mean you have time in the environment and won't just walk away becuase you find the venue psychologically uncomfortable.  It is PROBABLY a positive, and is almost certainly not a negative.

Where do prisoners get buried?

Asked by Gordo almost 5 years ago

None of the prisons in California have operational cemetaries, though both Folsom and San Quentin have very old ones. When a prisoner dies the remains are turned over to the next of kin for burial. If the next of kin do not take them, they are burried at government expense in whatever cemetary the government contracts with. I believe that is handled by the county and not the state, though I am not 100% sure of that.

What's the craziest thing you ever saw happen?

Asked by Bob almost 5 years ago

Thats hard to say. I do remember that twice, when I was running the Reception Center, we got in prisoners who said, "You've got the wrong guy, I shouldn't be here." They were both right, the county had sent the wrong prisoner, same name but wrong guy. Also the dept. had a prisoner extradited from out of state, Oklahoma I think, and it turned out his parole had run out and we had no right to haul him in. Paperwork screwup, happens every year or two.

What's one "luxury" the inmates get that would surprise the public? (I saw a documentary the other day about a Cali prison where some of the inmates had TVs in their individual cells, much to my amazement.)

Asked by Bellicosa almost 5 years ago

It is hard for me to answer an open ended question like that. About two years back a death row inmate got a heart transplant, cost the state well over $1 million. inmates do not GET TVs, but are allowed to buy them. the electrical drain becomes significant in the older prisoners that were never set up for this purpose. they can also have fans, inmate housing units except hospital units are not air conditioned. My prison, DVI, used to have a pool but that has been shut down and filled in for years. Inmate medical care in California is absolutely top drawer, name-brand pharmaceuticals, usuall see specialists in 2-3 days.

How long can you get for having a tattoo gun under your bed

Asked by terra over 4 years ago

Sorry, but I don't remember for sure.  Possession of the tattoo gun is different than tattooing.  I THINK the gun is 30 days.  Since the law has changed now and putting tattoos on someone without a health certificiate is a crime now in California that would carry a much heavier penalty. 

How come prisoners have access to weightlifting equipment? Why would we give violent people resources to become bigger and stronger?

Asked by yellfire almost 5 years ago

Not in California, not for years. They MAYBE still have some in the fire camps where physical conditioning is important, but I think not. The weight piles disappeared from California pens over ten years go.

Can inmates really earn degrees from prison?

Asked by Prof X almost 5 years ago

Not as easily as before, at least in California, due to cutting off of grant money. Other than that it is certainly possible, all you need is the teachers the time and the class material.

How do conjugal visits work? Where do they happen and do prisoners get as many of them as they want?

Asked by DJ almost 5 years ago

Prisoner have to be in the correct custody classification, not be a lifer or a condemned prisoner, and be disciplinary free. There are limited spaces for conjugal visits and the scheduling is tight. When I left a prisoner might reasonably expect 3 or 4 such visits in any 12 month period. The visitors must pay for the food, which is bought by staff at local stores. Visitors are no longer allowed to bring food in, too much stuff was getting smuggled that way. There must be a legitimate family relationship, California does not recognize common-law marriages, girlfriends do not get conjugal visits.

Besides cigarettes, what contraband do prisoners exchange most frequently?

Asked by lucky777 almost 5 years ago

Drugs. Porn is pretty good too, at least in prisons where it is prohibited.

What's the fascination for female guards to sleep with male inmates? Seems to happen a lot. (I assume they get fired for that...?)

Asked by Gordo almost 5 years ago

Some girls like bad boys. Sometimes it is just the forbidden fruit. Also inmates are, as a group, very good at sensing flaws and targeting people with them. In most states sex between inmates and staff is considered rape because the staff have power over inmates. They are normally fired if they don't quit first, and they are often prosecuted.

What is the psychological evaluation like?

Asked by Lolop over 4 years ago

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

Hi Bob,
Im almost finished with my BSCJ Degree and was considering becoming a CO I was wondering if I should even apply because my fiance has felonies on his record, would that prevent me on the background check?

Asked by Sheri over 4 years ago

No, it would not.  It would not even be an issue unless you cohabitate.  if you live together and he is still on parole or probation it MIGHT be some small issue, and unofficially might be a medium-size issue, depending on who is doing your background and who has to approve it. It also might matter what his offense asnd background was.  If he is / was heavily gang involved there would be some suspicion that you are a mole.  If he is just a felony DUI or has a 10-year old commercial burglary, it wouldn't be a big deal.  It would be much more of an unofficial problem than an official one.   

What movie or TV show did the most realistic job of portraying life in prison?

Asked by Shawn almost 5 years ago

None that I am aware of. Possibly Mariah (TV SHOW) was in the same time zone.

I know you said the staff don't read the letters, but what sort of things in the letters are the most helpful, welcome, etc for the inmates, and what subjects should be avoided?

Asked by Mary W almost 5 years ago

Money is most helpful and welcome. Complaints about how rough things are at home without them, or how stupid they are to end up in prison, are probably the least helpful.

How do prisoners get tattoos in prison?

Asked by MOOAAR almost 5 years ago

It isn't hard to make a tattoo gun. A broken guitar string and a motor stolen out of a tape player will do it. They use blue or black ballpoint pen ink. A lot of guys get Hep C or HIV from dirty tattoo needles.

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 4 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.

Do prison staff actively try and prevent prison rapes, or is that something they generally turn a blind eye to?

Asked by Red over 4 years ago

Very rarely do such crimes occur in full view of staff, or other witnesses.  When reported they are actively investigated.  Also preadtory inmates (or even likely victim inmates) are classified as such, and are often single-celled or housed in protective custody.  IN addition staff do patrol the tiers and dorms  to keep an eye out for all sorts of nastiness. 

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

Asked by OC Blake almost 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.

In california what is the policy on hard drugs to become a correctional officer?

Asked by Alexia over 4 years ago

Good question.  I dont have a good answer for you since I was never in the hiring loop other than interviewing.  I had nothing to do with background checks.  I admitted to a little weed in highschool in the 1960s, more than 15 years before I hired on.  They had no problem with that.  I suspect they have a problem with recent drug use. Obvisouly any felony conviction is disqualifying.  My guess is they would have a problem with any significant hard drug use history.

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

Asked by mitchfork over 4 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 almost 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.

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 4 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.

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 almost 5 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.

Why do so many prisoners become Muslims while in jail?

Asked by qwerty over 4 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. 

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 about 4 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.

Do jail inmates get to vote?

Asked by Luca almost 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.

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 4 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. 

My son-in-law is a CA CO w/ 6 children to provide for. He has been encouraged to apply for sergeant & move up in rank but refuses: "too much responsibility and no more money" True?

Asked by MeddlingMotherInLaw almost 5 years ago

Depends on how you look at it. Sergeants get paid more than officers. However, they may not get as much opportunity to work overtime. In additon your seniority resets when you promote so you end up starting over with bad shifts and crap jobs until you get some seniority built up. I know several people who promoted to Sergeant then voluntarily busted back. They found being a relatively senior Officer better than being a relatively junior Sergeant. There is significantly more responsibity and much more paperwork. Some people just don't like the tradeoff. It is a legitimate consideration.

In some fictional depictions of prison, the main character has expertise and so he helps out the other prisoners (say filing appeals by a character with legal expertise) and in exchange for his expertise he's given favors, etc. does that ever happen

Asked by AndyDufresne over 4 years ago

That is not uncommon actually.  I have known a couple of people who did that.  Some jail-house lawyers get pretty good at it.  They have the time, and it is kind of a niche market.

What should a new inmate do to prevent himself from getting messed with?

Asked by bubba almost 5 years ago

That is hard, as it depends a lot on the exact setting and situation. General rule is "do your own time." Don't put your nose into other people's business. Don't borrow stuff. Don't loan stuff. Stand up for yourself without being an idiot about it. (This one is hard line to walk.) At least in California it is almost impossible for a hispanic inmate to be truly unaffiliated, which means you will pick a side and the other side will come after you on general principles. It is easier for blacks to be unaffiliated. It is even easier for whites to be unaffiliated. Try to be invisible without actually hiding. Best way of course it to stay the hell out of prison in the first place. There are nasty people in prison, and they continue to be predators after they are locked up. If you are in a cell people will tend to believe you are affiliated with your cellie. If his affiliation and yours don't line up, try to get another cellie. If in a dorm, be careful where you hang around. Different groups tend to stake out different areas. Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut. Remember, virtually no one goes to prison their first time around the block and pretty much everyone in prison has done county time. The rules are similar.

What should a prisoner say or do at a parole hearing to give himself the best possible shot at being paroled?

Asked by NJallDay almost 5 years ago

Some people have no shot period. For instance, the only way Charlie Manson is ever leaving prison is feet first. In California parole is automatic except for lifers, who are almost always murderers with a few kidnappers thrown in. Generally the parole board is looking for acceptance of responsibility, remorse and attempts at self-improvement, i.e. alcoholics annonymous meetings, getting a GED, that sort of thing. Also a good disciplinary record is a positive. If there are a couple of bible-thumpers on the board thery are often impressed by telling them you have found god while in prison.

Are most prison employees for or against the death penalty? How did working in prison affect your opinion on the matter?

Asked by Ol' Sparky almost 5 years ago

Most are for it. In my case working at a prison made no differnce, I was, and am still, in favor of capital punishment.

Are all prison shower and bathroom facilities as wide open and un-private as they appear on TV and movies? Or are there separate shower/bathroom stalls in real life?

Asked by Loki over 4 years ago

The shower rooms are pretty much open.  Bad things can happen there so they must be visible to staff.  Most cells have toilets and sinks in the cells.  In dorm settings the toilets are also open, there are no stalls or doors, at least in the facilities that I am familiar with.  Prison is a bad place if you are shy.

What is the psychological test like?

Asked by Laurel over 4 years ago

Don't know.  They didn't have one when I started beyond the general interview and observation by supervisors during probation.  There is a formal psych test now I am told, but I have no idea what it  is like.

Can a CO get fired for dating/sleeping with an inmate who was just released and having that ex-inmate meet them at their job?

Asked by Angel about 4 years ago

Yes, usually.  IF they were just released and are on probation, parole or some other sort of supervision they are still under the jurisdiction of the department.  Any such relationship would (at least in California) have to be reported. It could be legally considered to be rape due to the possible coercive nature of the relationship.  Also in most jurisdicitons former inmates are not allowed to come onto the grounds of the prison without written permission of the warden.  They can be charged with a felony for doing so in California and be returned to custody.  I have seen it happen.  IF that person was released "without a tail" (no parole or probation) it would not be illegal and probably not a violation of any written policy, but would likely be seriously frowned on and would tend to bring that C/Os judgement, focus and reliability into quesiton.

Hello!!!! I'm a 21 year old female with stars tattooed up and down my spine. The lady that tattooed me dug into my skin and 2 years later I'm left with raised skin. not super noticeable to the bare eye, but I feel and see it suggestions?

Asked by lexi about 4 years ago

I don't understand the question.  It isn't exactly my area orf expertise.  You should probably talk to a dermatologist.

What type of life does a Ca CO live? I know salary is good but is it a career I can raise a family and live comfortably? Is it a career that I can be set for life. I need a job That can support my family.

Asked by Sam about 4 years ago

The salary is good, the retirement is good, the benefits are excellent and continue through retirement.  Most locations have overtime available, some whether you want it or not.  If your primary interst is a stable career that will enable you to support a family this is an outstanding choice.  The shift work can be a pain, at least until you develop some seniority. 

I'm almost done with the cdcr process and was curious to see what type of shifts would I be working? I imagine It would be day shift and be off on days like Tuesday and wendsday? Alot of people mention first watch. No clue what it is though.

Asked by NSP about 4 years ago

Generally speaking during your probation period (1 year) after you get out of the academy (about 14 weeks) you will do about 1/3 of your probation period on each of the three shifts, with crappy days off (unless you are an attractive female and are "friendly" or have a relative in a high place within the department).  AFter your probationary period you can bid for a job, and the shift and days off that come with it.  You will be very lucky indeed if you can get anything with part of a weekend off within three years.  Some people bid on vacation relief jobs just to get the occasional good days off, though that is not guaranteed.  Actually Fri-Sat or Sun-Mon are good days off as they give you a week day off to do stuff and a week end day off to goof off.  First watch is about 2300-0700, depending on the exact job and instituion.  Second watch is 0700-1500, third watch is 1500-2300, though like I said that varies from instituion to instituion and even job to job. 

I have my oral psych evaluation coming up, this is the last component of the cdcr process. Could you give me any advice on what i should prepare for? What type of question will be asked? I'm nervous because I know of some people who failed n were DQ.

Asked by Juno about 4 years ago

I am afraid I can not help you much here.  There was no formal psych test when I hired on.  In general it is always good advice to get a good night sleep, try not to be too nervous and don't overthink the questions, but beyond that I can't help you much.  Sorry.

I hear alot of COs have a high divorce rate because of hours worked, many times they don't know when there going to be home. What other factors contribute to these divorces? Is the married life hard as a CO? What about if you have kids?

Asked by HopefulCadet about 4 years ago

There is, I understand, a higher than avereage divorce rate among law enforcement in general, including correctional officers.  i am hardly an expert, but i would guess it goes across many layers.  A lot of it is the shift work and odd hours, which can make it hard to interact normally with a family.  A lot of it is you tend to share the job with other people on the job, and not with the family.  That can make your relationships with your peers seem stronger (more important) than your bonds to your family when your family is looking at it.  There are a fair number of women working in the profession now and, like any other profession, some of them are hunting for husbands and are not too fussy about taking someone elses if they can.  (Yes, that is somewhat sexist.  Such is life.)  There is also a certain "us versus them" feeling about law enforcment work, and the "them" is anybody who is not law enforcement, including your family at times.  It all adds up.

In the California prison system what does a hard 19-rating mean? Thank You

Asked by holly about 4 years ago

I don't know.  I am making an educated guess in saying that it is part of the scale being used right now for risk assessment / classification, but without a scale I don't know if it is high, low or in between.  Sorry.  The system has changed at least twice since I retired nearly nine years ago.

How does life at a minimum security prison compare to a maximum. Is minimum more comfortable? Or just less secure? Can someone get moved from a max to a min if they don't cause trouble?

Asked by Name almost 4 years ago

Generally speaking minimum custody is a realtively good gig.  It is pretty much always dorm housing and some guys don't like that but most do. You can wander around and congregate with few restrictions, you can shower pretty much anytime you wan, you can usually get outside most of the time.  There is (usually) a lot less drama and quite often the food is better.  It takes a while to get into minimum for most people.  Many jurisdicitons have tight rules about minimum cusotdy, i.e. no sex offenders, no arsonists, no active gang members and a pretty solid release date within a specific time, i. e. 4 years, etc. 

I just got a tour of a decommissioned prison. With drugs available to inmates, who pays for them? They would not have cash in prison. I can not see family or friends paying for a prisoners drug habit for their entire jail time.

Asked by pete about 4 years ago

The drugs are paid for by by the taxpayers in California.  The feds require that Calif. state inmates be given name brand, as opposed, to generic medication.  A few are covered by private or other government insurance, but essentially the taxpayers pay.

I want to be a co but heard the job isn't as dangerous as everyone says. I hear its more like baby sitting. How dangerous is the job? Whats the likelihood of getting hurt?

Asked by esheen about 4 years ago

Depends on what you call "hurt."  CDCr has something like seven or eight times the number of officers as does the CHP.  The CHP rarely goes a year without an officer being murdered on the job, and there are usually more than one per year.  CDCr often goes a year, or two, or three without an officer being murdered on the job.  However, there is a lot of lower level violence either directed at staff or which staff get involved in responded to incidents.  Some of it is just crazies going off.  Your chances of being hurt during your career are very good.  Your chances of being seriously hurt are relatively small, but it is certainly there.  Just this month there have been two serious attempts to murder officers inside prisons, leaving the officers with serious injuries.  If you work in a gun tower your chances of being hurt are small.  If you work in a housing unit with GP borderlline nutters, the chances are much larger.

Is there a code in CA that prohibits corrections officers from becoming "familiar" with inmates or families of inmates?

Asked by SEan-0 almost 4 years ago

Yes, there is a general prohibition aginst overfamiliarity with the families of inmates or the inmates themselves.  The idea is to prevent pressure, in either direction, to influence treatment or to expose the staff to problems.  Staff are required to inform the system in writing when a family member or close friend comes into the jurisdicition of the department.

Hi, just wondering how much harder it is to become a councelor than a Sgt? What are the pros and cons of going the counseling route as opposed to the security route? Also, what has been the stupidest reason you have seen somebody lose their job over?

Asked by David almost 4 years ago

I have never been a counselor.  It is primarily paperwork, preparing board reports, progress reports, fiddling with pre-release paperwork, that sort of thing.  In California it pays about the same as a Lieutenant, it is a non-uniform position and is mostly 8-5 M-F or 4X10.  if you have custody background you can then move into a Lt. position without ever having been a Sergeant. 

As for the second question, that is hard to say as i have seen some seriously stupid stuff.  I remember one guy who locked himself out of his apartment then kicked his own door in.  He then filed a false police report to avoid responsibility for the door damage.  That was pretty stupid.  Another guy got some mile-high action from a sweet young thing on the plane back from Hawaii and she turned out to be under age.  He was prosecuted and lost his job. 

How old were new cadets when they first started in the prisons? I hear alot of younger (21,22) men are applying. I'm 33 and just applied for cdcr. I'm a little worried I'm a bit old to start a new career. Whats the average age to begin as a CO?

Asked by Seanyy about 4 years ago

Good question.  I don't know.  I do know the system gets a lot of military retirees, and likes them.  I worked with more than a few people who came in in their 40s and a couple in their 50s.  I was 30 myself.  If I HAD to guess, I would say the average starting age is 24-28, but that isn't even an educated guess, its a WAG (wild-ass guess).  Older guys (and women too) are a lot more even and often have better work ethic than the younger people, and better writing skills too.

With such a long career I was just wondering if you have any memorable interactions with inmate you ran into out on the streets? Most negative? Most Positive?

Asked by DD almost 4 years ago

Actually I have only bumped into three inmates on the streets since I retired, and those interactions were all very banal and generally positive. 

Are you allowed to have tattoos? If yes, are there any restrictions in what you can have?

Asked by Kurtass about 4 years ago

As far as I know there are not hard restricitons about ink, though clearly if you have things that look like gang tattoos or strong non-standard political statements you will have a problem.  If you have a lot of ink you may want to wear a lot of long-sleeved shirts. 

Is there a CA code that has a section that prohibits an officer from geting involved with inmate families. I had asked a Lieutenant at a fire camp to flag my brother to come to his camp but he said because of some code he could not. What is the code?

Asked by SEan-0 almost 4 years ago

The idea is to not have staff dealing with inmates with whom they or a member of their family has a personal relationship as it can cause problems in both directions.  i.e. if your sisters husband is in prison, they would not allow him to be placed at the prison where you work.  I don't remember the exact section of Title 15, but it is in there.  Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations, also known as the Rules of the Directior of the Department of Corrections, can be accessed and searched on line.

Hello my boyfriend with an extensive previous record just got locked up for 3 yrs. Suddenly he wants to get married! Ive heard of inmates manipulating women, what r some signs? Have u seen RO's actually change their ways?

Asked by rachel about 4 years ago

First sign is he wants you to marry him just before he goes away.  He will then very probably try to guilt trip you for not sending him enough money, not coming to visit him enough, not sending you nude photos of yourself, try to ensure you accept lots of very expensive collect calls from him, etc.  He may try to get you to get your girl friends to do likewise for his buddies, who are just poor, lonely misunderstood people.  If he has an EXTENSIVE record and is still doing crime, he will almost certainly continue to do so until he dies or is too old to continue.  If  you want to retain any level of self esteem you should walk away, politely but FIRMLY. 

Hi. My husband is a retired C/O (we laugh and say he served 21 years in jail). But in all seriousness it's true. He spent more time with the worse of the worse than his family. Now he's retired and he treats us like inmates. He's veryIntolerant.

Asked by Dannysgirl almost 4 years ago

That is truly unfortunate.  I don't know if maybe he just misses the job or is projecting some of his habits and insecurities onto you guys.  I admit I find is surprising after soemone has retired.  I wish I could offer some helpful advice, but I can't.  Sorry.  I don't have the training or backgrtound to serve as a family counselor.  That is the direction I would recommend.  Good luck. 

How to you respond if an inmate verbally disrespects you? Do you ignore it or reprimand the situation so that it dose not escapade or happen again?

Asked by Cason almost 4 years ago

Depends how blatant the offense is and how forgiving you are feeling.  Occasional acting out is just an expression of anger or frustration and is not necessarily personal.  If they get really nasty, or become repeat offenders, or are clearly showing off for the homies you then have to do something. 

will a couple of duis 3 years and older disqualify me from being a co

Asked by joeyb almost 4 years ago

Not specifically as long as they were misdemeanors.  However, at  least in California, one of the general qualifications is "a satisfactory record as a law-abiding citizen."  Also I beleive you need a current drivers license.  You might have to work hard to convince an oral panel that you now have your head screwed on correctly.

My wife is applying to be a correctional officer here in California. I am a felon recently off probation from prison. Can she still gain employment there

Asked by anthony almost 4 years ago

Yes.  There is no civil service regulation or law that prevents the hiring of the family of ex-felons to be correctional offiers.  If you are, or even were, heavily gang involved that will possibly cause her to be looked at somewhat suspiciously for fear she may be a "mole" but it would not in and of itself prevent her from being hired. 

What are the typical Correctional Officer ranks, and what are the responsibilities at each?

Asked by Robert over 3 years ago

Correctional Officers are the grunts.  They do the actual work.  Towers, vehicle gates, search and escort, superivisng feeding and movement, transportation, supervising housing units and yards.  Sergeants are first-line supervisors.  They supervise the cops.  Lieutenants are second line supervisors.  They supervise the Sgts.  They often make a lot of the decisions as to what officer is assinged to what position for those without enough seniority to bid on jobs.  Captains scratch their asses, drink coffee, and harass the people who actually work for a living.  There are some exceptions of course but basically that's it, at least in California.  Lieutenatns also serve as administrative hearing officers for inmate discipline reports.

I was offered two prisons. A medical facility and san quinton. How different are the two prisons? How different is it working in cmf compared to a notorius prison such as a san quinton or pelican bay? Is one more dangerous? Are job duties the same?

Asked by Pal almost 4 years ago

I never worked at either.  Back when I was working SQ was much more rough-and-tumble than was CMF Vacaville.  However, except for death row, SQ is now largely mainline medium security I understand.  Vacaville has a lot of sick or disturbed prisoner-patients, and there is a constant tug of war over who actually runs the place, the Chief Medical Officer or the Warden.  I would be inclined to make my decision if I were you on othe factors, such as commute and housing costs.  Unless you already live in the SQ general area those factors would tend to favor Vacaville, plus there are other prisons nearby that you could transfer-promote into later, where SQ is kind of just there by itself.  Job duties are generally the same but the clientel can be very different.

I am married to a felon can I still become a correctional officer.

Asked by Amber over 3 years ago

Yes.  There is no prohbition against the family of a felon becoming a peace officer in California.  They may look at you a bit sideways, especially if he/she is heavily gang involved as they may suspect you are a mole.  There is, however, no prohibition against it.  If that person is still under the jurisdcition of the department you must report the situation however.

Im doing a project on what I want 2b when I grow up im one of thoses people that easily feels sorry for others but I want to be a correctional officer will this effect me if I ever become one? Or will this job train me to learn to be stronger?

Asked by Soniaa_melendez over 3 years ago

The training will not alter your basic outlook on life.  Expsoure to criminals might.  If you have a tendancy to feel sorry for those "poor people who just made one mistake" you will have a hard time in this job.  If you feel sorry for their victims you will do better.  Professional detachment is the way to go.  In fact it is the ONLY way to go.  If you can't do that, don't go into that line of work.

My son has a mental illness he escape from Vandalia Correctional Center with only 90 days left to serve they have not charged him with the escape yet how long does it take before you know if the state will charge him considering his mental illness.

Asked by Mrs.Cox about 3 years ago

I have no idea what the statute of limitations is on escape.  I am guessing it is three years, though I suspect they will make a decision much sooner than that. 

Greetings, is there a list of approved visitors that is given to the inmate for them to know?

Asked by M Guzman almost 4 years ago

I don't quite follow your question.  Visitors must be approved to visit inmates.  Background checks are done on visitors, at least in California.  The visitor obtains a visiting form, usually by mail from the inmate.  The visitor fills it out and returns it and it is processed.  The visitor is approved (or denied).  If I remember correctly if the visitor is approved the prison notifies the inmate and it is up to him to notify the visitor.  If they are denied the prison notifies the visitor directly.

I have a bachelors and a Masters
Degree in Business. How easy will it be to become a Correctional Counselor?

Asked by Anthony over 3 years ago

You certainly meet the educational requirements.  In CAlifornia at least you still have to pass the physical, background and get through the academy.  The department generally prefers to hire counselors that have some custody background but it is an open, entry level position and you can hire directly into it (or at least that was the case when I was working, nearly ten years ago).

A follow up question to one I asked before about drugs in prison. I was referring to illegal drugs not prescribed drugs. Why would family members supply inmates with drug money? Inmates would not make much in prison .

Asked by Pete over 3 years ago

Inmates are very good at guilt-tripping family members to send them money, or to send money to a third party on some pretext, such as for "protection" or for jailhouse lawyer legal help.  Also inmates can buy stuff from the canteen and they need money for that so it is reasonable for them to ask.  If they can get 3 or 4 people to send them money they can get a fair income, then send that out to third parties to pay for drugs.  It isn't that hard.  Inmates are not, for the most part, stupid and they have lots of time on their hands to come up with ideas.

My relative is on probation for 3 years, served about 2. He is driving on suspended or revoked CA. Lic. And crossed into Texas. His P.O. knows .what is likely to happen now. Texas police know he's broken probation. Thank you.

Asked by just a mom over 3 years ago

That isn't really my end of the business.  Even if the Texas cops decide to go after him, which they might not, California may not pay to extradite him back to CA.  CA will enter a warrant into the system on him.  If he comes into contact with the cops after that they will arrest him.  What happens depends a lot of what he was actually convicted of.  Sorry I could not help more.  It is completely possible that nothing will happen.  It is also compltely possible they will ship him back to CA as an absconder.

My boyfriend quit after 1 week after the academy as a C/O if he changes his mind later is he rehirable?

Asked by Mel over 3 years ago

Probably, though they might be uninterested in investing a full 14 weeks in someone who bails after only one week.  Depends a lot on why he left and how hard up the department is for people.  Presumably he already passed the background or he wouldn't have been in the academy.

Can a correctional officer marry someone who went to jail years ago in there past, completed their probation and restitution fine? I used to live with her for 2 yrs while she was on probation. Her past did not affect my hiring process.

Asked by Paris over 3 years ago

As long as that person is completely off of supervision (i.e. parole, probation, etc) it would not be an issue.  Especially if it was JAIL and not PRISON then she is (presumably) not a convicted felon.  If she is a convicted felon you need to be careful about how you store any ammo or firearms you may have in the home. 

Hello. I am a student doing research on prison overcrowding and its effect on drugs. In your experience, how does a prison environment affect one’s relation to drug use? Is it positive, negative, or neutral? And what do individuals abuse most?

Asked by Rosalie over 3 years ago

In my experience, neutral.  Druggies still use in prison.  Drugs are easy to get in prison.  They are about 4X more expensive than on the street, but are still easy to get.  A recent mainstream news report just released a report on that subject in fact.  It said that, when tested in June of last year, 23% of the prisoners tested came up positive for illegal drugs and 30% of the sample refused to be tested, even though the sampling was anonymous and there was no way to connect the samples back to an individual person.

Would you agree that a life prison sentence isn't really going to "correct" anybody? (Nothing against the correctional officers that run the prison, I'm just saying that when someone is sentenced to life, they aren't going to be "corrected.")

Asked by 123 almost 4 years ago

The system can not, and does not "correct" behavior.  If all goes well, at some point in his/her life the prisoner decides to get their act together.  At that point whatever rehabilitative programs may be available will have the opportunity to work.  The idea that incarceration, in and of itself is a rehabilitative exerience is a myth.  Most life prisoners do have the opportunity to get out, eventually.  At that point they may be too old, too infirm, or too tired of the life and will go striaght.  Or not.  Prisons keep prisoners from committing crimes against the general public while they are encarcerated.  That is all that can be realistically expected. 

How long does it usually take for a contraband watch

Asked by Jay Jay over 3 years ago

Back when i was working, it usually ran three shifts.  If they were absolutely positive the guy had something it could run as long as nine shifts.  That was unusual, it gets expensive.

I was asked many question and thought that many were very inappropriate to me and had nothing to do with the situation at hand.. the officer asked me if I knew what hand the guy was using to touch himself why would that matter?

Asked by Victimized over 3 years ago

Like I said, I have never been a street cop.  I suppose it might make a difference if they thought you were lying, or if they wanted to tell how solid a witness you were.  Maybe he is a confirmed left-hand weenie wacker and if you say he was using his right that would tend to indicate you were lying.  I very honestly don't know the answer.

In the state of Calif. can a correctional officer date a ex felon? It has been several years, and i'm not on probation or parole. However I have a past.
Thank you

Asked by K.Helmer over 3 years ago

Yes.  It does not even have to be repoted to the employer (or at least did not when I was working) AS LONG AS THE EX-FELON IS NO LONGER UNDER DEPARTMENT SUPERVISION, I.E. PAROLE OR PROBATION (OR SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION MAYBE TOO, I AM UNSURE OF THAT ONE).  There is still a law against ex-offenders coming on prison grounds without the permission of the warden.  There are also issues about firearms storage and access if the C/O owns personsal weapons.

how have U.S Supreme court decisions about corrections impacted your job/your life?

Asked by lily over 3 years ago

As I have been retired for some years they don't impact me at all.  The court decision on the population cap has had a huge effect, moving many prisoners out of prison and onto the streets.  Also, federal court decisions at a lower level have mandated huge expenditures of resources for medical care for inmates to the point where state prison inmates get much better health care than do most people on the streets.

I just finished the academy about a month ago but unfortunately I had to leave my first prison because of personal reasons. I resigned and was not fired. I'm I eligible for rehire?

Asked by Question guy over 3 years ago

Generally speaking yes, depending on the exact reason why you left.  If you wait too long they have to do a whole new background on you.  (If you quit because you don't like shift work or you "don't like other people telling you what to do" you are probably SOL.)  However they might decide you are not worth the trouble, though after investing all that academy training in you they might give it a go, again depending.... 

what are the standard questions asked to a victim when the perp exposes himself to the victim and masturbates what are normal questions an officer would ask that victim the perp got away btw

Asked by Victimized over 3 years ago

Couldn't really say.  I have never been a street cop.  It comes up fairly often in the prison setting, usually with female cops making the complaint, but we don't have to pull information out of the complainant under those circumstances.

What is your opinion about the use of restraint chairs for disruptive prisoners?

Asked by KennyB over 3 years ago

We did not use them when I was working.  They are obviously temporary devices and not a long-term solution and it can be a problem getting the prisoner into them.  Once that is accomplished they are very effective and if you need to move a non-compliant prisoner from point a to point b without hurting him or staff, they work.  I think they are a very useful tool.

Do you think the courts have been too intrusive in the operations of jails?

Asked by lily over 3 years ago

Yes.  Very much so.

When getting married to inmate in ca is it required to have HIV testing ?

Asked by Amy over 3 years ago

Not as far as I know, though the rules may have changed since I retired over nine years ago.

How often do police officers let people off with a warning?

Asked by TheBarbaricgamer almost 3 years ago

Not my field.  I dealt only with convicted felons already in prison.  The matter never came up. 

hi, what are the laws regarding correctional officers remaining in the room with an inmate in labor?

Asked by sylvia over 3 years ago

I have no idea.  I have never worked a women's prison.  Unless there was a serious security issue I expect it would not be necessarily or desirable, but for all I know there is some specific regulation about it.  The only thing I know for sure (and it may have changed since I retired) was that, even if the birth takes place at the prison, the birth certificate does NOT say State Prison as place of birth. 

10yrs ago i married a lifer and we never divorced. ,he has no family im all he has i think thats y we never divorced.So i currently work for the state but want to go to a diff dept. would i not get hired cuz of being married to a lifer

Asked by yvonne over 3 years ago

Should have nothing to do with it unless you go to work for a law enforcement agency and even then it might not.  You would have to report that your spouse is in custody.  That could represent a security issue for some agencies, especially depending on why he is in prison and what gang affiliations he might have.  For instance, if he has a fraud conviction and you would be working where you have access to ID information that might be an issue.

I saw a fascinating news report on drones now being used to deliver drugs and other contraband over prison walls. Have you seen that yourself yet, and what kinds of plans are jails formulating to prevent it? Seems diabolical!!

Asked by candlesugar almost 3 years ago

Not me personally.  I retired just a tad over ten years ago, such things were unheard of then.  Other than the perimeter tower staff keeping their eyes open I am unaware of any specific plans for interdicting drones.  I am confident that something will be developed, well behind the curve.  Correctional systems are almost always reactive rather than pro-active.

I've been wanting to apply at the jail in my county and I won't lie. I'm scared to do it. Not because I'm scared of being hurt or anything like that. I'm just scared I won't be very good at it. Should I give it a go in your expert opinion?

Asked by James over 3 years ago

That depends on why you don't think you will be good at it.  The skill set to do the job can be developed with no problem as long as you have average intelligence and a decent educational backgrounds.  You do have to be able to read (things like job descriptions and operational procedures are important, and you have to be able to read them to follow them).  Also some people just do not like the environment, being physically locked into a closed-up building really bothers some people.  Also some people really don't want to deal with the shift work.  As long as these are not issues for you I would be inclined to give it a go.  If it turns out that you don't like it you can walk away, its not like the Army and you are in for three years whether you like it or not. 

Can a correctional officer date an ex-felon?

Is there any specific policy that prohibits correctional officers dating ex-offenders.

And I would appreciate an officer in the Virginia Area or anyone thoroughly familiar with Virginia to respond.

Asked by John over 3 years ago

I don't know if you will get a response from Virginia.  I can tell you that, as long as that person is under the jurisdiction of the department (i.e. on probation or parole) it would be a serious no-no.  The California rules (Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations) are available on line, I strongly suspect whatever they call the prison rule book in Virginia is also on line.  You might want to do a little web surfing and you may be able to find it chapter and verse.  Good hunting.

I am interested in applying to be a correctional officer. I am kind of hesitant because I am married to a prisoner. Can I still apply?? Couldn't I work at a different facility?

Asked by miss me over 3 years ago

It would in fact be required.  They would not allow you to work at the facility where a close family member was locked up.  The fact that your husband is a prisoner would not prevent you from being hired, probably.  If there is heavy gang involvement they might seriously wonder if you are a plant.  YOu could count on your background being rather more detailed than would somebody elses.

1. Since you first started what kind of changes have occurred?

Asked by CJmajor over 3 years ago

The most noticable ones were within the profession.  The academy lengthened from 3 weeks to 16 weeks.  (It shrank back down to 14 after I retired).  We started using papper spray and side-handle batons.  Firearms polciies changed so there was fewer discharges of firearms at the institutions.  Cell extractions are more controlled and less frequent.  They are also video recorded now except in case of emergencies.  Custody staff now have the right under the law to carry weapons off duty, before that was a department controlled thing.  The entire medical operation is now run thru the federal courts.  The overall level of violence in the system has lowered.

I have heard that it is a good idea for COs to live a good distance from the prision they work at to limit possible interactions with newly released inmates and families of inmates. Is that common and/or recommended?

Asked by woodeye over 3 years ago

First I ever heard of it.  Virtually all inmates parole.  They are required by law to return to their county of commitment and check in with their parole agent within 24 hours.  You are no more or less likely to meet a former inmate if you live two miles from the prison that in you live 50 miles away.  Sounds bogus to me.

Is there an upper age limit to be a CO? In other words do they force you to retire at a paticular age? Do they move the older CO to paticular jobs? Thanks

Asked by woodeye about 3 years ago

When I first started, back in the stone age, there was a maximum start age.  I think it was 35.  That was dropped.  I have heard a max start age may have again been reinstated, but I have no hard info on that.  There is no mandatory retirement age and I have seen a few cops working well into their 60s and a few even into their 70s (which I think is pushing it quite a bit).  Since the system now operates on a seniority bid system the old timers, who tend to be fairly senior, tend to bid into jobs that they like and that they can perform adequately. 

Can an inmate in a California firecamp get married while in firecamp

Asked by 1lady over 3 years ago

As far as I know, yes.  Finding someone to perform the ceremony might be a bit inconvenience depending on where the camp is, and what else is going on, but inmates do have the right to marry.

on the corrections officer exam can i refer to the paragraphs in the reading comprehention portions

Asked by exam over 3 years ago

I have no information on the current testing procedure.  Sorry.

Are Furlow's easy for prisoners to get?

Asked by curious about 3 years ago

Depends.  A minimum custody prisoner who is close to being released has a good chance at a furlough, depending on the reason.  They are granted for family funerals with some regularity.  They are even granted to take employment tests or tests for certification for future employment.  They are (at least in California) virtually 100% discretionary on behalf of the warden.  Other than that they are rare indeed.

I have a Correction Service Technician (which oversees inmates household jobs are done correctly) selective interview in 2 days. What kind of questions should I expect? What kind of situation questions will likely be asked?

Asked by Robert Terry over 3 years ago

I have no idea what a Correctional Service Technician does or where they work.  I am guessing it is an entry level job so they may ask you questions within the field that fit into the MQs (minimum qualifications).  They are also likely to ask you questions about your general ideas re: interactions with inmates.  They may also be interested in your attendance and/or job preformance at a previous job or school and your communication skills, especially writing skills.  Wish I could be more helpful but I am having trouble visualizing the job.  It sounds like you will be functionally a supervisor-lead person for a crew of inmate janitors.

I just got cleared by the CDCR a couple of weeks ago, and I'll be starting my new career with them soon. Do you have any advice on how to climb the ranks? By the way, thank you for answering these questions. It is very helpful.

Asked by CO2015 almost 3 years ago

Take every promotional exam you are eligible for, even if you do not think you will do that great.  The experience is helpful. 

Learn your job.  Do your job.  Show up to work on time.  Help other cops do their job.  Learn how to write a superior quality report.  All of these things will stand you in good stead with other cops, which will help you get promoted.  Try to get along with the suits, even the ones who are clearly idiots.  You don't have to like them, you do have to get along with them.  Try to get along with the union, even if you don't like unions.  They are important, and they do good work. 

Try to figure out who the dump-trucks are.  Avoid them as much as possible.  That way when something stupid happens you don't get splashed with it by accident.  Don't do stupid stuff.  Especially don't do REALLY stupid stuff.  Ask questions.  As a newbie you will learn more with your mouth closed than otherwise.  Try to find a couple of good, senior officers who believe in development of new staff and learn from them.  (Many senior officers hate newbies.  It isn't as bad as it used to be, but it is still there.)  Keep your personal life straight.  If bill collectors start hounding you at work, a lot of people will get pissed at you.  I would also advise you to not fish off the company pier, but with the weird hours and days off it is sometimes hard to socialize outside the job.  WATCH THE BOOZE.  Stay AWAY from drugs, even the semi-legal weed.   

(If you are an attractive female the flat-back school of promotion still works in many prisons.  It is tacky and sleazy, but it does work.)

Your first year is a learning experience.  View it that way. 

I'm in the deep stages to becoming a CO, I have a speech disorder (slight stutter) which I let them know about in the original application. Will this be an issue later in the process? Will restrictions be applied to the task I'll be able to perform?

Asked by cesar about 3 years ago

The real problem will be if it slows you down much, especially on the radio.  If it does it could become a serious issue.  Some people their stutter becomes worse when they become nervous, or frightened, or otherwise stressed.  As far as I know there is no such thing as a no-radio position.  I would be much more concerned about that than about a slight stutter in face-to-face confrontations. 

What is tampering with evidence in prison.

Asked by chaz almost 3 years ago

Probably the same thing as tampering with evidence in any other law enforcement setting.  Of all of the rules violation reports I have seen I have NEVER seen one for evidence tampering.

In the show jail, I am appalled by the way excessive force is used on the prisoners for no reason. The women are the worst! How the hell do these officers get away with this sick misconduct!?

Asked by Infantry blue over 3 years ago

I do not agree with your basic premise, so it is difficult for me to make a meaningful response to your question.

what is the max years you can have on a sentences, that is allowed for cdcr fire camps

Asked by henry over 3 years ago

I don't know.  It used to be not more than 3 years.  It has, I understand, gone up to 5 since I retired and maybe even has moved further. 

I used the wrong alias in my last question. Sorry.
I'm wondering if I should call the poilce or if anything is able to be dkne about my daughers father who sells pot and has guns? I don't want her going over there anymore.

Asked by lunav2012 about 3 years ago

Already answered two notches above.

How long do you need to be a Correctional Officer to move up the ranks?

Asked by CJmajo over 3 years ago

If it hasn't changed since I was working, you need two years in grade before you can take the test for the next step up.

In 89 Dad retired from Soledad as a Lieutenant. (20 years service). The stress finally broke him. Dad had nightmares. He only discussed his memories with a therapist. Please, share some of your difficult memories? I'd feel less isolated from Dad. Tkx

Asked by Lieutenant's daughter over 3 years ago

It is hard to say what stresses one person and not another.  I never had a staff member murdered on the job in all the time I was there.  I did have staff members die.  I had to tell staff that family members had died.  I had to tell inmates that family members died, and tell family members that inmates died, often violently.  I had inmates I got along wel with murdered, at least once by mistaken identity of having gotten in the way of something that was going on. 

For some people the on-going stress, not immediate situation stress, is what gets to them.  When the alarm goes off you don't know if it is a false alarm or someone has just gotten murdered.  At the end of shift and you really want to go home you can't, because some butthead called in sick so he could watch the game.  (That happened to me on Y2K when a couple of guys that had been prescheduled to come it simply didn't show.)

Sometimes the stressors are from above, from management.  I had one boss who I truly beleive was deliberately trying to get me hurt to force me out of the job.  I had one or two others who were lazy and/or incompetent.  One or two that were just plain nasty for no reason.  I was screwed with repeatedly on promotional opportunities, little things like mailing my interview notice to a "mistaken" zip code in Saskatchewan so I got it after my interview date.  Once I showed up for a promotion interview 12 minutes early and I was ordered to leave as I was "too early" or I would be arrested for trespassing.  Really.  You get used to the inmates trying to screw you over. Its expected.  You don't get used to staff trying to screw you over. 

Soledad was a very violent place at that time.  People trying to kill you just because you are there can mess with your head.

 

I have an upcoming interview with a female corrections officer for a course I am taking. Can you give me an idea of some good questions to ask her. I am looking at some of the questions you have on here, and some are worth asking her as well.

Asked by Tara over 3 years ago

I am not sure I understand your question.  I will work from the idea that you are interviewing her for an article for an english writing assignment or a journalism class.  What sort of facility she works at would be of interest, i.e. male or female, adult or juvenile, high security, medium security, medical, etc.  How long she has worked for the department, some particular jobs she has had, that sort of thing would be interesting.  Maybe some details about her basic training and ongoing, in-service training would be of interest.  Possibly some specific incidents she has been involved in (war stories).  Also, there is the classic about hwo does it feel to be a woman in what is still largely a men's field.

I have a felony for breaking n to my ex home to get MY property. I went to jail for 60 days. Ive been involved with a CO for 6 years. We met at beach...we are terrified he will lose job if were found out..are we allowed to b together ? Florida

Asked by dallasflorida about 3 years ago

I don't know the law in Florida that well.  In CA (which I suspect is strongly similar) he would have to report the relationship only if you are under supervision, i.e. parole or probation.  Failure to report the relationship is the problem, not the relationship itself.  Also there is an issue with firearms, if he has any issued to him there are probably requirements about storage.  He can not leave an unattended, unlocked firearm around you, or possibly ammunition is an issue too.  YOu might want to spend a couple of bucks on a Florida attorney that specializes in legal matters like that, ESPECIALLY if you are still under supervision.

How easy is for CO's to transfer prisons?

Asked by cesar about 3 years ago

Depends.  If you want to go to a "desirable" prison, like Folsom or Susanville, it can be difficult.  If you want to go to one of the desert prisons, not so much.  The trick is how badly do they need you at the old prison and how badly do they want you at the new prison.  They have kept people from transferring out of prisons due to a compelling staff need at the old prison.  Then there has to be space available at the new prison and they have to be willing to take you.  Desirable prisons have a lot of people who want to go there.  Less desirable prisons, not so much. 

Is it true that a correction officer can't date an outlaw biker?

Asked by deedee about 3 years ago

No, but...personal relations with ex-felons who are still under the jurisdiction of the department have to be reported and are generally suspect and not permitted.  In addition, hanging around with groups of known felons can be considered to be incompatible with the job of a peace officer. 

Should I take any action when it comes to my ex, my daughters father, he is selling pot and has a safe of guns and money and I don't want her going over there anymore?

Asked by lunav12 about 3 years ago

Not exactly my field of expertise.  If she lives with you and is a minor, you can and should have some control over her.  However, selling pot is semi-legal in California and have guns and money is not illegal (unless he is an ex-offender).  If, however, he is known ot have drugs and money in the house and is known to be a pot seller he is at increased risk of home invasion robbery.  You might be able to leverage her actions by threatening to turn him in if any of his conduct is illegal, but if she calls you on it and you do not carry through you might be in a worse position than before.  Also if she is still a minor and there is some joint custody you might be able to get CPS involved if you can assert the house is a dangerous environment for her, even if his conduct is not horribly illegal.  There are also safe firearms storeage laws in CA which might give you some leverage, if he is not obeying them.  Good luck with your situation. 

How have U.S. Supreme Court decisions about corrections impacted your job/your life?

Asked by EVJ about 3 years ago

Lately not much as I have been retired for close to ten years now.  The biggie in California is the population cap which has forced the state to release about 40,000 felons from custody.  The federal takeover of the inmate health care program has also caused operational problems within the department.

My husband has just recently accepted a position at MCSP as a c.o. Our concerns are; does he leave his current job that he loves, pays good, has freedom-for the state job; retirement, good benefits. Biggest concern-missing out on our future kids.

Asked by aac81 almost 3 years ago

A lot of it will depend on you.  The first two years it will be hard due to the llve-in academy followed by several months of rotating shifts.  After he gets settled in to a regular job with known days off and a known shift it gets better, much better.  (Some people bid for a VR (vacation relief) job when they can so they get some good gigs along with some crappy gigs.)  When you get some seniority you can start bidding for jobs that you will probably like, working with people or working with situations that appeal to you.  Some people never get used to it.  Most people do.  The closer to retirement it gets the more it looks like it was a good decision.  Mule Creek is a relatively new, well laid out prison in a nice area.  Last I heard it had a decent administration that supported the staff. 

I have (well controlled) epilepsy,) and I want to work in a prison. Is this a good fit?

Asked by J-chambers almost 3 years ago

I am afraid I do not have a good answer for you.  In custody, I would say NO.  In certain types of non-custody positions I would say MAYBE.  If you are doing something relatively benign in an area where you would have assistance if necessary (i.e. clerical) it might work.  If you had to operate dangerous machinery or work in an isolated area, I would be very dubious.

Do prisons in general have both an inmate and civilian/staff cafeteria? Are they both serviced by the same kitchen/prisoners? Same building? I'm working on a story about prison dining and would appreciate any insight you could offer. Thank you.

Asked by Justin almost 3 years ago



My only serious familiarity is with the California prison system.  Obviously they have to feed the inmates.  The prisons I am familiar with also operate a staff snack bar for the benefit and convenience of staff.  Where I used to work (DVI Tracy) the staff snack bar shifted from inmate workers to a vendor operating under contract with non-inmate and non-civil service staff.  Also at one time staff could purchase meal tickets which would allow them to eat meals in the inmate dining rooms.  I do not know if that is still possible.  I was the kitchen sergeant for some period of time and was required to eat the inmate meals and submit a written report.  Also housing units where the inmates were fed in the housing units, such as Protective Custody and Administrative Segregation, had to have (or at least were supposed to have) a staff member sample the meal and turn in a report.   

how are stauatory rape and sexual offenders in general usally treated..are they housed seperatley or general pop at first..can they request PC ? and what is PC like as far as privlages etc

Asked by steve almost 3 years ago

In days gone by sexual offenders were treated very badly by most of the population.  There are now so many of them that the only ones who have a very hard time are child molesters (baby rapers).  Anybody can request PC for pretty much any reason.  They may, or may not, get it.  There are a couple of housing units around the state that house only sex offenders, they mostly get along with each other.  PC is mostly called "special needs" now days.  The department often changes labels to pretend problems no longer exist.  The main problem with PC is that they can not mix freely with GP prisoners.  Most of them like it just fine that way.  Other than that they have the same privileges as other inmates with the exception of some jobs, depending on the nature of their offense and the nature of the job.  (This is a bit of an oversimplification.  Custody classification and job assignment regulations is actually fairly complex and my knowledge base is stale.)

At the beginning of the year I got a MIP misdemeanor down in Florida but paid the fines and got it expunged off of my record. About a week ago I got another one in Michigan. Would this count as my second offense?

Asked by Rob Parker about 3 years ago

I have no idea what an MIP is.  My GUESS is that the answer is no, especially if you are correct and the record was EXPUNGED.  typically misdemeanors don't go away simply because you paid the fine, but I am not tha familiar with the law in Florida, or for that matter Michigan.  Sorry I could not be helpful. 

So i have an interview. And its for a correctional officer position tomorrow. What questions should be expected that they might ask me. And what are some good answers to tell them?

Asked by Jeorge almost 3 years ago

Assuming it is an entry level position (it is in CA where I worked) they will not expect you to know much about the actual job.  That is what they have training academies for.  They will be interested in your general notions about the prison system, use of force and that sort of thing.  They may want some basic info about your writing skills (way back when a short written presentation was part of the oral exam.  I don't know if it still is or not).  They may wonder about how you feel about shift work.  The truth is always a good response in such things.  Thoughtful responses but not off-the-cuff are also good.  Flippant is bad.  They will want to know about any potential blips in your history, like drug use, recent minor criminal activity, even a history of minor traffic infractions is often a red flag as it can indicate a lack of respect for authority or "the system."  DUI, especially moderately recent, is also a bad thing.  It is good if you have an honest and sincere interest in a CAREER as opposed to just a job.  Flexibility is good.  If you go in telling them you can't work nights or weekend because of this or that or the other thing they are likely to think you are not truly interested in the gig, or you will be as problem child if you get the gig. 

hey I want to be a correctional officer but I don't know where to start can you give me some advice?

Asked by andres almost 3 years ago

There are two ways to go, Civil Service and private.  For civil service you have to jump through the hiring agency hoops.  Virtually all civil service employers large enough to operate a correctional facility have a web site and you can get a lot of information there, things like age limits, Minimum Qualifications, academy location and length, etc.  In fact the California state system only takes applications off the internet now I understand.  There are two large private prison operators in this country, and probably several smaller ones.  GEO and CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) are the biggies.  They also have web sites with salary information, employment opportunities, etc.  The Internet is definitely the place to start for either pathway.  (I highly recommend Civil Service employment if you can manage it.  It pays much better, is much more secure, and tends to offer better promotional opportunities.)

Do I have a drivers license to be a correctional officer in South Carolina?

Asked by alias about 3 years ago

I have no idea.  However, in most states it is a peace officer position and virtually all peace officers have and need a driver's license.  So my educated guess is YES. 

Do you get a ticket when a cop pulls you over? Do cops consider correctional officers as one of their own?

Asked by CO2015 almost 3 years ago

Depends.  In CA there is, at least in some areas, a lot of friction between the CHP and CDCR and the chippies cut CDCR officers no slack.  In most areas (as far as I know) the locals cut CDCR some slack, as long as the officer in question isn't acting like an idiot.  My way of dealing with it is simpler, obey the traffic laws and avoid being stopped. 

My question is about dental options for inmates. a loved one of mine is missing ALL of his upper teeth, are there any options available for inmates Who require extensive dental services such as implants (even if the family has to pay out of pocket?)

Asked by Kc almost 3 years ago

In California there has been some court action and a settlement relating to dental care but I do not have a lot of information on it.  I don't even remember the name of the case.  The basic notion is that inmates are supposed to be able to get the same level of dental care that a free citizen would at state expense.  In the old days bad teeth were just pulled and that was it.  The state would kick down for dentures but I am not aware that they will kick down for dental implants and I doubt that the state dentists even do them, though it is possible they do.  It is also possible that if they are not considered medically necessary but he (you) were willing and able to pay that they could be done.  If it has to be done out of house and the state does not cover it you would be on the hook for the cost and for the security costs involved in the transportation, which would be considerable.  You could simply write the medical-dental department at the prison where he is housed and ask.  If you don't trust them, you could contact the federal receiver (J. Clark Kelso) who has oversight over the California prison system medical care for inmates, which includes psych and dental.   

What happens if I turn myself in to jail on a traffic warrant for failing to pay a ticket? How long am I held? Do they take contact lenses away? Would I be changed into jail clothes? Do they actually take you to court in chains, etc?

Asked by Chris over 2 years ago

Not really my area of expertise.  I worked in prisons, with already convicted felons rather than jails, with misdemeanants.  I BELIEVE that if you are in a position to post bail you can do an in-and-out.  If they actually book you they would take your clothes but probably not your contact lenses, those are considered a medical appliance, like glasses.  You would be transported with waist chains and leg irons in all probability though you would probably not appear in court shackled.  However, sometimes the courts really frown on FTP as it is a violation of your promise to the court and even if you are in a position to pay immediately they might hold you to appear anyway.  Like I said, not really my field. 

How do prison officers deal with gangs? what policies are in place to control prison gangs and how are they able to operate

Asked by Dee over 2 years ago

Gangs are an operational fact of life in prison. Simple membership in a gang is, as far as I know, no longer cause for placing a prisoner in segregation. The prison has to be able to demonstrate that the prisoner is engaging in some inappropriate activity on behalf of the gang in order to segregate that person from the general population. The fact that inmates are allowed to congregate at certain times and in certain places means that gangs are able to operate. It comes with the territory..

Once a inmate goes to the hole is the inmate allowed too still take their classes that are required in under to make parole??

Asked by jasmine almost 3 years ago

I have never heard of a case when that was permitted.  Segregation is segregation.  There is some minimal programming within most Ad Seg units but this is normally restricted to things like yard and other court ordered programs.

Is it unlawful for a C/O to date the spouse (babymomma) of someone incarcerated in the jail he works at or used to work at?

Asked by JJ over 2 years ago

You are talking about jails rather than prisons as far as I can tell.  The rules are different, at least sometimes.  Also, some Correctional Officers working for local jurisdictions are Public Officers, some are Peace Officers.  Different rules there too.  It is unlikely a C/O would be dating someone who is actually in jail where he works.  That isn't exactly dating, though it could be sexual contact.  In most situations in most states ANY sexual contact between custody and prisoners is highly illegal.  It is considered rape under pretty much all circumstances and regularly leads to people getting fired and prosecuted.  In most jurisdictions if a Peace Officer is actively involved with someone who is on probation or parole it must be reported to the employer.  The relationship would be frowned on and might be considered illegal.  It is a very dangerous, and very tricky, situation. 

Is it legal to carry a Fixed blade knife in California as long as it is visible and in a sheath ?

Asked by Chris almost 3 years ago

Not exactly my field of expertise, I have never been a street cop.  My guess is that within the city limits it is a no-no and would be considered a weapon. 

We're having a surprise guest police speaker at my school tomorrow for my drivers Ed class. What would be some questions I could ask him/her ?

Asked by Mercedes about 2 years ago

I have never been a street cop so I am not sure I can help much.  Since you are dealing with Drivers Ed you might ask him/her about the department pursuit policies.  That should be moderately interesting.

How do you go about joining specialized units within the CDCR? (i.e the Investigations Unit)

Asked by CO2015 over 2 years ago

You don't.  They recruit you generally speaking.  You can let them know you are interested, but you can't just "join."

Is it easy for Correctional Officers to have sex with their co workers on the job?

Asked by Sassy T over 2 years ago

That depends on the situation.  During most of the day shifts there are a lot of people moving around and during graveyard shift you are usually very busy.  Unless you are seriously into hurried quickies it is nice to have a little time, a little physical comfort and a little security (unless the possibility of getting caught is the turn-on for you).  I would say it takes a certain amount of planning and a certain amount of favorable circumstances.  Easy, NO.  Possible, definitely.  If one of the partners has a fair amount of juice and exclusive access to secure areas it makes it much easier. 

Is there a difference between working in a Max security prison vs. a minimum security prison, in terms of officer safety?

Asked by CO2015 over 2 years ago

Sort of.  Max prisons have better internal security procedures.  Inmates are allowed relatively little unescorted movement.  There is usually better visual coverage, camera coverage or gun coverage in Max prisons.  There is a better staff to inmate ratio.  However, that being said, the clientel is typically more violent too.  I am sure there is some metrics on it, but I don't know off hand what they are. 

You are a correctional officer supervising a tier. You observe one of the inmates approach a fellow officer, Officer Harris and ask a favor. Because he is a troublemaker, his mail privileges have been taken away. He wants Officer Harris to mail a letter for him. Officer Harris figures it’s not such a big deal; besides, he could make the job easier by keeping the other inmates on the tier in line.

Review all the facts and identify the parties/stakeholders (who is affected by this dilemma) along with the possible moral and legal dilemmas for each party involved. Compare and contrast the possible courses of action that could resolve the dilemma and determine which course of action is the most appropriate. Be sure to provide support for the chosen course of action. The paper must be original and in your own words, no quoting within this project. Make sure that you properly cite outside sources used in your paper (use APA style).

Asked by Shawna over 2 years ago

Let me see, you want me to write your paper for you.  No, I don't think so.  Besides, at least in CA mailing is a right and not a privilege.

I'm currently going to college to get an associates in criminal justice. I would like to pursue a job in corrections. I am a little concerned about the tattoo on the side of my neck. Are the prisons really strict about this on their guards?

Asked by Deanna almost 3 years ago

They didn't use to be, but some are now fussy about visible ink, especially if it something that even looks like it might be gang oriented.  You might have to invest in some really good cover makeup or tattoo removal.

Hello, what is your most and least enjoyable aspects of the job, and approximately what is the starting salary

Asked by new about 2 years ago

Least enjoyable aspect of the job was people on occasion trying to kill me.  Most enjoyable was general job satisfaction coming from doing a job that I was good at and that had social relevance and importance.  Pay started at about $1,000 per month, but that was 35 years ago.

Have you ever had an inmate get a cavity search at the hospital?

Asked by Quinn20 over 2 years ago

It does on occasion happen at the infirmary at the institution.  As far as I know inmates are not transported off grounds for such things, but that doesn't mean it never happens.  I suppose it is not impossible to do one on an inmate who was at the hospital already for some reason or other, but I don't know that the hospital staff would do it for custody purposes and custody staff do not do intrusive cavity searches, at least in CA.

Specking logical if someone want to be correctional officers in Arizona but has husband in prison at the same time but there been together for six with three kids, can she be CO or can't be because her husband is in AZDOC

Asked by Nizhoni over 2 years ago

I don't know the rules in Arizona, I never worked there.  Most states have hiring policies that do not discriminate against the families of felons.  Generally speaking they would not let a person work at the same facility a close family member was locked up in, but other than that there is almost certainly no civil service rule against it.  That does not mean they would not look closely at her on suspicion of being a plant within the system, especially if she had any suspicion of involvement in criminal activities which were never proven.

I don't know if you can answer this but I called a local police department about a noise complaint and the noise complaint went away. Will the police come and arrest me because the complaint went away?

Asked by Mason over 2 years ago

The chances that the police even responded to your noise complaint are almost zero in most towns, so they don't care one way or the other.  If you make a LOT of complaints and they mostly turn out to be bogus the cops might be irritated but under the circumstances I am completely competent that the local cops couldn't care less.  (My expertise here comes from being the guy making the complaints and not the guy responding to them.)

What kind of physical test do i need to do when becoming a corrections officer

Asked by Tracy almost 2 years ago

Good question.  I don't have a good answer any more.  You need to meet the height-weight ratio.  There is no minimum height requirement, there may be a maximum one but I don't think so.  You need to have decent hearing and reasonable (but not perfect) vision without corrective lenses.  (You can't wear glasses under a gas mask and you need to be able to function while wearing one.)  I don't believe there is a color vision test.  I think there is a physical agility test, but I don't know what it is.  Sorry I couldn't be more help.

Do you have inmates take their shoes off when you make them go through the jail body scanner?

Asked by Quinn20 over 2 years ago

My experience is in a PRISON, not a JAIL.  There is a difference.  In prison, the answer is YES, when we ran them through the METAL DETECTOR (not body scanner) they had to take their shoes off.. 

Thanks for reply! So is it better to make the rent payments, or would they just keep asking for more and/or not respect me? Rent payment goes into their commissary I assume? Just curious, no plans to go to prison.... :-)

Asked by Alex over 2 years ago

That would depend a lot on circumstances. 

Hi Bob,
I am wondering if it is possible to become a correctional officer if I am in a relationship with someone who has gone to prison and has felonies on his record. This relationship started well before he was ever incarcerated.

Asked by Isabella about 2 years ago

Yes.  There is no prohibition (at least in California) on hiring friends an family of ex-convicts.  It would have to be reported if that person is still on probation or parole.  You could also count on a closer than usual background investigation.  They would want to make sure that you were not a mole of some sort (such things do happen).

Did you make arrestees remove their shoes while getting a pat down at the police station? Why do you make them remove their shoes?

Asked by Angela1994 over 2 years ago

I have never worked in a police station in my life so it is difficult to respond meaningfully to your question.  I can tell you that most "hard shoes" (as opposed to athletic shoes) have a metal support in the arch which triggers metal detectors.

i hear you can buy stocks as a correctional officer. is it hard to do? and do you really make good money buying stocks?

Asked by jason over 2 years ago

Of course a Correctional Officer can buy stocks.  Why wouldn't they be able to?  If you buy low and sell high you can make money.  If you do it the other way around you lose money.  That is how it works.  Investment strategy really isn't my field of expertise.

I am white, 26, very well-educated, upper-class, not athletic, socially awkward. What could I expect in prison? Would I probably be left alone if I kept to myself, or would I be a target for violence, harassment, or extortion? Just curious!

Asked by Alex over 2 years ago

A white guy has a much easier time of it in prison, generally speaking, than would a black or a Hispanic, at least in the CA system.  There is a lot of pressure for blacks to choose sides, and even more than that on Hispanics.  As long as you hang out with white guys the others will leave you alone (mostly-probably) and the whites will not apply undue pressure to join gang activity (mostly-probably).  If they believe you have money they might target you for "rent payment." 

what Experience, education, and training required, the
Desirable personality traits, and
General working conditions.

Asked by ashlee about 2 years ago

Only a high school diploma or GED is required for entrance.  There is significant training at the academy, currently 12 weeks, and regular required In-Service Training.  Work conditions can be difficult.  There is shift work involved, especially when you have little seniority.  Most areas of the prisons are not air conditioned and during the summer they can be unpleasant.  Sometimes people try to kill  you, though that does not happen often.  You have to be willing to listen, willing to learn, willing to take orders and be willing to interact tactfully with people who don't particularly want to listen to you.  It is an entry level position so there is no actual EXPERIENCE required beyond a satisfactory history as a law-abiding citizen, though a stable work or school history before application is highly desirable and looks good.

What it your title of position? and what is your organization called and purpose?

Asked by new about 2 years ago

My current title is RETIRED.  I worked for the California Dept. of Corrections.  It's purpose was to incarcerate persons committed to it by court action for the period of time prescribed by law.

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 over 2 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. 

As a former CO, what advice would you give someone interested in claiming allowances with w4? Have you ever done it, and was it worth it? I was thinking about claiming 2 or 3 a year.

Asked by Newbie CO about 2 years ago

I am sorry but I have no idea what you are asking about.  Is this income taxes?

What to expect from inmates on your first day??

Asked by acegirl07 about 2 years ago

You can expect a certain amount of "hazing" and resistance.  The inmates will normally want to see if they can push or fake you out.  Normally on a first day you will be in the company of an experienced officer who will (hopefully) give you a feel for what is going on.  You will, however, obviously be a newbie.  Your uniform will be new, you will not know the language and you will probably seem a little unsure or hesitant.  You will not even know where a lot of things are.  Its not a big deal, and it is not generally speaking personal. 

What are your duties or responsibilities or your position? and skill and abilities required of a successful applicant

Asked by Ashlee about 2 years ago

Correctional Officer is an entry level position.  The principle skills you must have to GET the job are an adequate educational level, the ability to read and write decently and a satisfactory background.  Other skills you will be taught and develop as you go.  The general duties are to supervise and supply security / custody for prisoners. 

I'm doing a research paper and was wondering what the process is to implement new alternatives for solitary confinement

Asked by jackie g about 2 years ago

For starters there is no "solitary confinement" in the California system, and has not been for something like 60 or 70 years.  There is, and has been "administrative segregation."  Inmates in Ad Seg are isolated from the General Population reasonably effectively, but not so much from each other.  They go to the yard (in compatible groups).  They are sometimes double-celled.  They go to medical appointments, legal appointments and visiting. 

I confess to not being 100% up on the actual process.  The department has to come up with something, they then run it by a pack of lawyers and other bottom feeders.  There is a public comment period where lots of people, including prisoners rights groups and anti-prison advocates, have their say.  There are then court challenges.  The unions for employees have some level of involvement as these changes will effect some legitimate collective bargaining issues.  The courts, usually federal courts, often have some say-so in procedural changes. 

What will almost certainly happen is that the period of time a person can be kept on Ad. Seg status without a relatively high level of review will be shortened, and the legitimate causes for keeping a person on Ad Seg for more than a very brief time will be restricted.  It isn't all skittles and beer.  Remember Hugo Pinell was murdered by other inmates after living for decades on Ad Seg status about two weeks after he was moved to general population.  I probably put as many people on Ad Seg status at their own request as I did against their wishes. 'The Prison rule book in California, Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations, is available on line.  It gives much of the criteria relating to Ad Seg placement.  It isn't secret. 

Hello my name is Luis. I'm a criminal justice student and I'm currently writing a research paper about the duties and daily task of a CO in Ca. Can a get a brief description about your job, the daily routine of the job and what programs are available

Asked by Luis A. Gonzalez about 2 years ago

I have been retired for nearly 11 years but I suspect the job has changed very little.  You can get a lot of this info from the CDCR web site from the job application for Correctional Officer and from Title 15 of the California Code of Regulation, which is also available on line.  That is the rule book of the director of the Dept. of Corrections. 

Available programs for inmates differ widely based on a persons custody classification, educational background and length of commitment.

Correctional Officers provide much of the security oversight, custody, control and delivery of basic services to prisoners.  They do the count, hand out mail and housing supplies, provide custody coverage for inmate movement (like to the yard or meals), search cells, search common areas, respond to emergencies.  Pretty much like what you would expect.

How do you write a report writing if you a prison officer

Asked by Paul almost 2 years ago

A proper police report is very much like a proper news story.  Who, what, where, when why (if known) and how.  Most of them have a boilerplate appearance to them because of this, but we are not talking about literature here.  We are talking about imparting needed information in a clear, straight-forward fashion.    i.e.     On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, at approximately 0900 hours, while working Tower 9 over the yard gate during morning yard release, I observed an inmate later identified as Smith `A12345 attack and stab an inmate later identified as Jones B54321.  I immediately picked up my weapon (identify weapon specifically) and fired one round striking inmate Smith In the chest, ending the attack on Jones.            there would be a lot more information but that is the general idea.  Kind of like Joe Friday.  Learning how to write a decent report is a huge advantage to an officer.  The academy spends a lot of time teaching people how to do it.  .              

How long does it usually take to reach range K? Thank you.

Asked by Patrick about 2 years ago

Sorry, I am unfamiliar with the term. 

Sorry, I meant to ask how long it takes to reach the max pay range for a CO.

Asked by Patrick about 2 years ago

When I was there it was five years.  Now there is a separate step for the academy as well, which is 14 weeks.

If you go by yourself with the two prisoners and one ran away, what is your fast action you will do

Asked by Paul almost 2 years ago

For starters you should NEVER be in that position in the first place.  Assuming it did happen, you go with the bird in the hand and keep custody of the prisoner you have.  You might be justified in shooting at the fleeing prisoner, but you would not deliberately loose the one you still have to maybe catch the one who is running. 

Hi Bob-
I paroled 26 yrs ago after invol vehic mansl. case. Recently met a retiring lt. correctional officer from Folsom Prison. What are the rules as far as him and I dating? Even if we can date, what about visiting his friends who haven't retire

Asked by kerry about 2 years ago

Assuming you are no longer on probation or parole it is not an issue having normal social interactions with working peace officers.  it is no problem at all with retired peace officers either.  as a convicted felon you do, however, have issues with being on prison grounds (you can't go onto prison grounds without the expressed permission of the warden) so if some of them live on grounds that might be an issue.  you also want to avoid being in personal possession of firearms or ammunition.  good luck. 

what would you do if someone tried to escape? and what would you do if someone escaped?

Asked by dylan almost 2 years ago

If someone tries to escape we shoot at them.  If they do actually escape we pursue them, go to places they are likely to be (mothers house, girlfriends house, etc) and otherwise try to catch them. 

If you work by yourself an every prisoners shouted at you they want something who will you do first

Asked by Paul almost 2 years ago

You have to prioritize obviously.  Someone who is bleeding from a cut arm will get quicker service than someone who wants you to pick up a cell change request. 

My boyfriend is on TS " transitional supervision " I'm his sponsor and I got asked a question from parole do you or anyone in the house hold work for CT DOC and I'm soon to get a job at a work release program does that effect sponsorship?

Asked by Alli almost 2 years ago

Sorry, but I don't have enough information on how things work in Connecticut to give even an educated guess.  If I were to make a WAG (wild-ass guess) I would say that they don't like employees being sponsors, but if you were already a sponsor when you hired on they would be OK with it.  That is, however, a GUESS and not an informed opinion. 

How effective do you feel probation/parole is? why or why not?

Asked by cody over 1 year ago

It depends.  Assuming the former bad guy is genuinely trying to go along with the program AND the people who are supervising and helping him are genuinely interested in doing their job, it can be very effective.  It has both a carrot and a stick.  Under the current economic conditions (poor job prospects) the carrot is sometimes lacking.  With the current prison and jail crowding the stick is sometimes underutilized.  I guess my final answer is that in theory it is fine, in actual practice, especially in California and especially of late, it is lacking.

My friend is serving a 10 yr sentence, felony 1 and 2. He will be up for release in a few months half way through the sentence....what do you think the chances would be for him to get out on parol? He did programs and has stayed out of trouble.

Asked by retta over 1 year ago

it depends a huge amount of the jurisdiction.  in California now parole is virtually automatic.  they are trying to reduce sentences.  in some states they are very snotty about it, especially depending on the offense and record of priors.

My husband was sentence to 24 months in prison , he's been very good never a problem. After serving 14 months ,court order , u.s Marshal's will be transporting him back to our home state. Why? Is this bad or good?

Asked by Nena over 1 year ago

Sorry, not by end of the business.  My GUESS is that it is a good thing and they are preparing to release him, maybe into some sort of a pre-release program, near his address of record.  That is, however, only an educated guess.  I have almost zero experience with the federal system which is apparently what you are dealing with.

I retired last year, age 62, from an unrelated occupation. In my early years I was in law enforcement and really enjoyed the work. I'm very interested in corrections and my state will hire me. What are your thoughts?

Asked by Dave over 1 year ago

As long as you can physically deal with the job I see no problem.  I had very good luck with prior military people in the system.  They understood chain of command, following orders, SOP and the desirability of keeping control of situations.  It can however be very physical, and I don't mean just the occasional fighting with people.  Just stomping around on concrete floors for eight hours a day can be very rough on the body.  Good luck no matter what you decide.

If I can follow up on my previous question as to whether cognitive therapy would help inmates, I am curious why you don't think it would help them?

Asked by Neal Bracken over 1 year ago

If I remember correctly Cognitive Therapy theory has been around since the 1960s.  The idea is that behavior, feelings and thoughts are linked (which I expect is correct for most people) and that patients can move forward to overcome challenges and meet goals by changing emotional responses, lame-ass thinking and bad behavior.  It is my belief that the overwhelming number of criminals have made conscious, deliberate choices to be criminals.  They were not thrust into the position by circumstances beyond their control.  I believe that they WANT to be criminals and will, for the most part, continue to be criminals until they are too old, too sick or too dead to continue.  For most criminals this has been a successful mechanism, reinforced by the criminal justice system and the med-psych profession.  Assuming a person's goal is be continue to be a moderately successful burglar-rapist-robber-murderer, I am unsure that we should help them overcome obstacles to reaching their goal.

What is the average salary for a correctional officer in California? Thank you

Asked by Joe over 1 year ago

Sorry but I am afraid I don't know any more.  use to be the max was about $4,000 per month, not counting things like educational incentive, shift differential and overtime.  You can go to the CDCR web site and check out the salary RANGE there.  That might give you a fair notion of what you want.  This is, of course, for state employed correctional officers.  Counties typically pay less, private operators less still.

What does regristation required current cycle (life supv) mean my husband is in prison and I want to know what this means. Thank you

Asked by Daisy over 1 year ago

I am unfamiliar with the terminology.  My educated guess means that he will be on parole supervision for the rest of his life when/if he is ever paroled.  I could easily be wrong. 

I have a boyfriend in prison in fl and I've applied to be a correctional officer. Will they make me stop visiting him if I take the job?

Asked by Julia over 1 year ago

I am unfamiliar with the laws and rules in Florida.  If I were to GUESS the answer is no, but you can count on them looking very closely at your background for the job, especially if he is gang involved as they will assume that you to are gang involved.  Also of course assuming they approve you you would not be able to work at the facility where he is locked up.

How would you handle a situation involving a prisoner who has told you he was raped?

Asked by Neal Bracken over 1 year ago

Turn it over to the Investigative Services Unit and/or medical department to gather evidence, and file an incident report. 

How would cognitive therapy help in counseling inmates?

Asked by Neal Bracken over 1 year ago

My opinion, for what that may be worth is, generally speaking, no.

Is there a way to look up where a CO works? I'm trying to find my sisters dad, we havnt had any contact with him in 10-12 years and I have some questions.

Asked by Synthia over 1 year ago

I don't know.  In California the state maintains a web site that can tell you what job an individual person has with the state, but not necessarily the location.  There are 33 prisons in CA so you would have to call each individual prison and check with the personnel office.  At least in CA the information is not confidential.  Other employers might have different ways of doing things.  Now days there are lots of commercial web sites that can locate an individual for a modest fee, so as long as you have a name and an approximate age or birth date it shouldn't be that hard.

Can a Co have a convicted felon living with them

Asked by Marie over 1 year ago

It depends.  In California the situation would have to be reported to the employer if the person was still under supervised release, i.e. parole or probation.  I strongly suspect that is fairly normal in most jurisdictions but I don't know that for a fact.  It might also cause an issue for the agency supervising the ex-con, especially if that meant there were weapons in the house.

When a belly chain is used are the prisoners arms wrapped under the chain?

Asked by jlindner600@gmail over 1 year ago

No.  Generally speaking belly chains have 1/2 handcuffs, one on each side, welded to the belly chains.  Then the handcuffs are used to secure the prisoners wrists.  I have also seen them with a full set of handcuffs attached more or less dead center front, securing both of the prisoners hands in front of him. 

Can a person on active probation live with a corrections officer.like brother sister living

Asked by Me over 1 year ago

I don't know what the laws and rules are in Georgia and it varies from state to state.  If you are actually related, "like brother and sister" I suspect you would be granted permission to do so and I expect you would NEED permission to do so for both the officer and the probationer.  If you are not related and claim to be living in a platonic, non-sexual relationship I suspect that permission would not be granted.  That is, however, only an educated guess on my part.

Follow-up question. What specific body language or other clues would you look for?

Asked by Neal Bracken over 1 year ago

If the "victim" looks scared to death and shys away whenever the "aggressor" is in his immediate error would be one good clue.  If you go by the cell or other enclosed semi-private area and see the "victim" performing an act of fellatio on the "aggressor" with a knife to his throat would be another pretty good clue.

Can a lieutenant ban someone from a prison with no real reason without the wardens consent.

Asked by Britt over 1 year ago

It would depend on the jurisdiction I expect.  The Watch Commander, who in California is a Lieutenant, has operational control of the prison during non-business hours.  I suspect it is the same in many other jurisdictions.  The watch commander can ban a visitor pending review by higher authority, though must have at least some sort of reasoning to do so and there would be paperwork attached to such an action .  Banning an employee from the grounds takes a higher authority than the watch commander (again in California.)

Can you become a corrections officer if you're married to an ex feon?

Asked by Tannerrr about 1 year ago

In California, yes.  There is no legal prohibition against the spouse of a felon of ex-felon being a peace officer.  You can count on a very close background check and if he is gang involved there may be issues as you may be regarded as a "mole."  There is, however, no outright prohibition on the istuation.

if someone gets caught bringing in contraband to the prison how long does it take them to get charge

Asked by Be over 1 year ago

It varies TREMENDOUSLY from one jurisdiction to another.  Could take days, weeks or even MONTHS depending on circumstances.

In California is a male officer allowed to escort a female inmate to the restroom and watch her urinate with another male officer watching when there where 2 female officers available to take her?

Asked by Love love over 1 year ago

Unless there was something HIGHLY UNUSUAL going on that would be a no.  Observing a urine sample being given would normally be done by MEDICAL staff and not custody staff.

As a Correctional Officer you wrote a thorough carefully documented report. It was rejected without a reason given. Your superior made it very plain that s/he did not want to discuss it. How would you handle this situation?

Asked by Neal Bracken about 1 year ago

Without knowing a little more about the situation it is hard to say.  If this is an incident report, something you were directly involved in and are required to submit a report on, it would be an odd thing for a supervisor to just "reject" the report without saying what is wrong or unacceptable about it.  At some point someone will notice your report isn't part of the package and want to know why.  I am guessing this is something else entirely.  You definitely want to keep a copy of the report and note that your boss "rejected" it without comment or discussion.  depending on what it is exactly you might want to go around your supervisor, and run it up a parallel chain, like maybe a business manager or personnel manager depending on the exact nature of the report.  You might want to jump the chain and go to your bosses boss (not to be done lightly and sure to cause trouble even if you are right).  You might want to lateral it, to a union if you are represented by one and let them carry the load and attract at least some of the heat.  That's what they are there for.  You might want to go completely outside your agency and work at picking up whistle-blower status to give you some protection.  Or you might want to let it go.  Without knowing more about what is going on it is really hard to give any serious recommendation.  Good luck. 

Have you ever met another CO who liked to rat on other COs whenever they made minor/honest mistakes on the job? How did you deal with a "rat" CO? The person I'm talking about is a new guy that just graduated from the academy.

Asked by Carl S. about 1 year ago

Yes I have.  Since it is no longer permissible to thump such a person in the parking lot after work you are advised to avoid working with such a person and avoid screwing up when they are around, which is good advice in general.  Usually such people become well known quickly and become very unpopular very quickly.  People avoid them like the plague and let others know about them.  Sometimes that serves to change their habits.  Sometimes not, especially if they have friends or relatives in high places.  There  are jerks in any workplace and you have to learn how to deal with or avoid them. 

Hello I'm in the academy and I have tattoos on my right hand and neck. I plan on getting them removed by laser, but my instructors have told me it's not a problem for most agencies. I'm in Florida so I'll be recruited by fdoc. Can you give some info?

Asked by Dylan over 1 year ago

Not familiar with the rules in Florida.  A lot would depend on the content and general appearance of the tattoo.  If the one on your neck says MOM you are probably OK.  If it looks even remotely like a gang tattoo I would invest in some really good cover makeup and the laser work.  Same with the hand.  Look on the bright side, if you are getting it done for employment purposes it is probably tax deductible.  Good luck.

U said to send a letter to corrections if I don't have an oral appointment in 60 days, but how if were not suppose to contact them?

Asked by Beautydiamond47@gmail.com about 1 year ago

I'm sorry, when you wrote and said you weren't supposed to CALL I thought you meant you were not suppose to CALL.  If what you really meant is you are not supposed to contact them in any fashion then probably you should not contact them.  

How would you handle this situation? While making the rounds you discovered an inmate with a bloodied face. He said that he got hurt accidentally while fooling around (horseplay) with his cellmate?

Asked by Neal Bracken about 1 year ago

Call medical.  Get injured inmate out of the cell and get medical attention.  Do a detailed body search of both inmates.  Check especially for damaged knuckles and defensive wounds.  File appropriate report.  Refer to supervisor for possible Ad Seg placement.

As a male correctional officer in a prison/jail. Is it possible to have longer hair? Above the collar bone but longer than the ears. Can it be kept in a bun or ponytail tight to your head?

Asked by quinn over 1 year ago

Every jurisdiction has its own rules on grooming and appearance.  My GUESS is that in most jurisdictions the answer would be NO, but that is a guess and not an informed response. 

What do you see as the most important role a Corrections
Counselor has in the prison system?

Asked by Neal Bracken about 1 year ago

Critical thinking skills and report writing skills.

Hi..I received a call from my investigator saying that she submitted my folder for an oral..I still haven't received a call and I took the written October 15th..we are not allowed to call and inquire about the oral psych..I'm just wondering.

Asked by Beautydiamond47@gmail.com about 1 year ago

When I hired on all the background, etc. was handled locally for each hiring authority and was not even slightly centralized.  I think personally that, after 60 days (Dec 15) I would send them a polite note to inquire about your status.  If they say DO NOT CALL I would be inclined to not call.

What does it mean when your asked to show up to the correctional facility with paper sent for identity purposed

Asked by Tam about 1 year ago

No idea.  First I ever heard of it.  My GUESS is they want to make real sure you bring whatever paperwork they sent you with you and maybe want to try to make sure you are actually coming from the address they sent the paperwork to.  It doesn't really make much sense to me.  Sorry I can't be of more help.

My brother is in a highly overpopulated prison. He goes through his day getting constantly beaten by a lieutenant for no reason. When confronted with a investigation he put my brother in isolation over nothing at all. What can I do?

Asked by Britt over 1 year ago

First you might want to try to figure whether or not your brother is telling you the truth.  I know it is hard to believe but prisoners often lie about being mistreated.  Assuming for the sake of argument these allegations are true he needs to have his injuries documented if possible as quickly as possible after they occur and needs to contact whatever internal affairs operation they have where he is or if push comes to shove contact the feds.  Assault Under Color Of Authority is a very serious crime and the state(s) and the feds do prosecute such things.  You could make an initial contact on his behalf with these authorities, but he needs to be willing to go on the record at some point with these accusation to make anything stick.

What's academy like? I'm a 32 year old military veteran. Is it going to be anything like BMT (bootcamp)? Because I feel like I'm a bit too old to have some chinstrap screaming/spitting in my face trying to break me down to 'mold' me.

Asked by StalwartHero about 1 year ago

It depends where.  Some jurisdictions use a very bootcamp-like training operation.  Some a very classroom oriented with a minimal physical component and necessary chemical agents and firearms training. 

I expect I'll be going to CDCR academy at Sacramento, CA for Donovan. Any idea what that's like these days? Are there like day passes or anything or well I be strictly confined to the academy?

Asked by StalwartHero about 1 year ago

It has been a LONG WHILE since I was there but the last time I was cadets were free to leave the academy after hours and on weekends.  If the classes are large enough some trainees used to be housed off-grounds in motels but that was mostly advanced trainees, like basic supervisors academy and advanced training, not rookie officers.

As a future Correctional Counselor how would I know when an inmate is being used as another inmate's punk or kid? How would I be able to stop it?

Asked by Neal Bracken over 1 year ago

If the relationship was consensual it might be difficult.  If not you might be able to read body language or pick up on other clues.  Observational skills are important.  Simply separating them, i.e. changing jobs or housing, will sometimes do the job.  Tossing the aggressor into segregation pending investigation will also often deal with the trouble, at least short term. 

What are the laws for a person on probation to live with a correctional officer??

Asked by Catalinaa about 1 year ago

It varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  It would almost certainly have to be reported both to the probation officer and to the employing agency.  Generally speaking it would be considered to be inappropriate and even illegal due to the fact that there is a power imbalance between the two.  The law would consider that the officer was in some fashion coercing behavior from the probationer even if it were not actually true.  IF there was a documented relationship between the two prior to incarceration and if both the employer and probation officer approved you could get by with it.  If not you could easily end up with the officer being fired and even prosecuted.  I have seen it happen.  

Anyways when she came to escort the prisoner to general population we. Very briefly exchanged words. I bonded out since this was a failure to appear on a traffic violation, and got in contact with her on Facebook. is it legal for us to date???

Asked by V3ngeance about 1 year ago

Good question.  I am not sure I have as good answer.  A person on bond is still in a form of constructive custody, but you are legally in the custody of the bondsman and not the government.  My educated guess is YES.  However, were I her, I would NOT do so until your legal matters had been fully adjudicated or it could result in some fallout in her direction.

I wondered after an inmate goes to segragation for calling sumone n threatning them at a halfway house n with a cell phone n gets administative charges what happens next cus there tellin me to ask sumone new

Asked by Imjuzzme about 1 year ago

What happens next is that someone, usually a Lieutenant, holds a hearing on the administrative charge and determines what, if any, punishment will be applied.

If someone has been arrested for felony charges, has been booked but has yet to go to trial (or even their first appearance with the magistrate court), at any point, are they allowed to request to see a therapist/psychologist?

Asked by Lucy 9 months ago

I dealt only with convicted felons doing time, not pre-trial detainees.  That being said a person in custody can request pretty much anything they want pretty much any time they want it.  That doesn't mean they will get it.  Unless a person is obviously mentally disturbed or is asserting that they intend to hurt themselves or others I am unsure how quickly jail staff would act in those cases.  I expect it depends on the individual jurisdiction.

Suppose a prisoner is getting agitated because of personal family issues at home. S/he would like to get out to deal with these issues, however unrealistic, how can a Corrections Counselor help that prisoner cope?

Asked by 1nbracken about 1 year ago

Correctional counselors are not, generally speaking, counselors in the mental health usage of the word.  At least in CA there is a mechanism for letting some prisoners out temporarily under certain circumstances.  It is called TCL, Temporary Community Leave.  The counselor is an important part of the paperwork chain in this process.  Normally a prison shrink would be the one to help the prisoner "cope" with the stress of the situation.

I was arrested and taken to county jail at around 5 pm one day. I wss in holding, not yet "booked in". A bail bondsman was already there for me. As I was getting booked in and out simultaneously, an officer came to escort a prisoner from holding

Asked by V3ngeance about 1 year ago

Sorry, but I don't see a question there.  Hard to respond without a question to respond to.

i just got on house arrest today 2-25-17 aound 6PM today, it is currently 12AM. I had said to the judge i do not have a set schedule for work, i go in at 2pm and get out at 2am. the release paper they gave me does not have any achedule on it. ???

Asked by Key 10 months ago

I see question marks.  I don't see any question.  Not my field of expertise anyway.

I have been trying to get information on the structured living program for inmates can you give me any info on what it is and how it benefits the inmate

Asked by Mrs.Thompson 11 months ago

Sorry but no, I can't. I have been out of the system for 12 years now and I have zero information on it.  I am GUESSING that it is a halfway-house type environment for prisoners who are nearly at their release date or who are in fact out on some form of supervised conditional release, but that is only an educated guess. 

Why do inmates get tablets in a correctional place it doesn't teach them anything they shouldn't have to freedoms someone like me or you would have and we did nothing wrong and they commited a crime its not teaching them a thing what so ever

Asked by Caela 9 months ago

With all due respect that may be the most poorly constructed question I have ever read in my life.  A little punctuation would be nice too.  I THINK you are asking in prisoners are issued tablets (i.e. ipads) as part of the "correctional experience" or as some part of a training program.  I am unaware of any jurisdiction that does so.

Is it legal for a prison staff member to marry a prison inmate in the state of California?

Asked by Mean Joe Green 10 months ago

As far as I know it is not ILLEGAL but it is highly questionable.  The staff member would be looked at very closely from a security standpoint, and the prisoner would be moved to anther prison due to security concerns.

What specific role(s) do you see for a Correctional Counselor in the prison system? What attributes do you feel Correctional Counselors should have?

Asked by Neal Bracken about 1 year ago

They are primarily paper pushers.  They prepare board reports, pre-release reports and stuff like that.  Their principle attribute must be the ability to think critically and write clearly and concisely.  they must have a good understanding of "the system" and how it works.

Hi, I received a call from my investigator yesterday, she told me she submitted my folder and that I should be getting a call from the oral psych dept soon, does that mean that my background is clear? Can I b called for December's academy?

Asked by Lace36 about 1 year ago

I don't know for sure but my guess is YES, assuming you clear the psych of course.  Whether you WILL be called for the December academy is another matter.  I don't know how quickly they fill up, what the last-minute no-show rate is or any of that stuff any more.  In any event, congrats, premature though that may be

1. What did you like/dislike about your job?
2. Did you consider your job to be dangerous?
3. Would you recommend a career in corrections to a new criminal justice university graduate?
4. How would you say that your job "mattered" in the CJ process?

Asked by Tony 10 months ago

I felt like I was preforming a valuable service for society at large, and I was fairly well compensated for it.  Yes, the job was dangerous.  Not ridiculously so, but you could not go thru the day with your brain on auto-pilot.  Even if you were careful you would, from time to time, find yourself in situations that got physical.  That's part of the job.  Yes, I would still recommend a job in that field.  It is much more "political" now than it was in my day, but I would still recommend it, just not as highly as I might have 15 years ago.  The job is definitely important in the whole process.  Assuming you allow that locking up bad guys is part of the process there must be somebody to both keep an eye on them and provide them with needed services.  Without that aspect the system would come apart fairly quickly.

Can a corrections officer date a former inmate still on probation? They did not meet while she was an inmate. it was 2 years after the fact. and they did not even know each other while she was incarcerated.

Asked by Gina 11 months ago

The law, and administrative rules, will vary from place to place.  In California, and I suspect most states, the relationship would have to be reported both to the probation officer and to the officer's chain of command.  It would be at best seriously frowned on and likely prohibited.  A person on parole or probation is still under the jurisdiction of the department and is under constructive custody if not actual custody.  Any personal relationship, especially a sexual one, could be considered to be coercive. 

Is it possible to have hand tattoos and still be a correctional officer? I've been trying to do my research but nothing comes up. Your input would be very helpful!

Asked by Jm26 12 months ago

Sorry, but there were no regulations concerning ink when I was working.  I am unaware if there are any now.  Wish I could be more helpful.  I BELIEVE the officer orientation packet for California is on line, you could probably access it and see what it has to say. 

Can a correctional officer and a felon be at a family function together at the same time, or should one of them not be there? Or does it depend on what the person was convicted for?

Asked by Sarah 8 months ago

Assuming you are all in the same family it should not be a problem, at least in CA.  If the former felon was no longer on probation/parole it would not be a problem in any case.  In CA staff are required to report family members and close friends who are under the control of the department, as long as that was done it should not be a difficulty. 

Do you know much about the school to prison pipeline? Have you worked with functionally illiterate inmates? What is communication like between inmates?

Asked by Rebel 9 months ago

A significant percentage of inmates are either totally illiterate or functionally illiterate.  Possibly as much as 25%, certainly at least half that.  Inmates manage to communicate between one another without that much difficulty, mostly verbally or even non-verbal "body language" communication.  There is also a significant number of non-English speaking inmates in the system. The phrase "school to prison pipeline" generally refers to people dropping out of school and ending up in prison.  There is also a "books not bars" undercurrent, at least in CA, that assumes (incorrectly) that making school more available to people will mean less people in prison.  There is MANDATORY k-12 education in California and most other states as far as I know.  You have to work REAL HARD to be kicked out of the system.  You don't have to work that hard to stay in and at least TRY to get an education.  In my experience most people in prison have CHOSEN to be there.  They have deliberately adopted a criminal lifestyle for whatever reason.  That reason does not, generally speaking, include lack of educational opportunity (IMHO). I admit it is something of a chicken and egg thing, but I believe that the criminal mindset and lifestyle pushes the education problem, not the other way around..   

Hello, I am applying to be a correctional officer in AZ. This will be my first interview and I am trying to get as much information as possible. What advice would you give someone applying & what are key points of being a CO. I want to do this right.

Asked by Anna 9 months ago

As an entry level employee they will be much more interested in your general background than in your specific knowledge of the job.  It is very likely they have a web site and it is possible they have a new employee orientation packet or even a prison rule book on line.  Being familiar with this sort of thing is not necessary, but it certainly doesn't hurt.  IN addition being able to speak standard English coherently and write a decent report are both very desirable skills.  In some places they want you to write a brief narrative at the interview site, bring it in with you and read it out load to the panel.  Good luck.

I like a co but I'm not sure I be good for his job. I have past and I would not want to wast are time if it going to be a issue. In my past I been to prison and in known but he don't work where I went and I not on paper. I meat him at Walmart .

Asked by Offinder chick 8 months ago

As far as I know there is no LEGAL problem with a Correctional Officer getting involved with an ex-felon AS LONG AS THAT EX-FELON IS NO LONGER ON PROBATION OR PAROLE.  Also of course you would, for practical purposes, have to let him know about your past.  It would be a problem for access for firearms and ammunition, assuming he owns a gun.  You are (presumably) prohibited from possessing or having access to guns or ammunition.  Whether there would be some informal kickback against him, that is another question altogether.

if my boyfriend is a convicted felon and right now hes currently locked up at the jail that i want to work at .. would it be an issue ?

Asked by nish 6 months ago

That would be up to your employer.  If he were in the state prison system it would be highly problematic.  They do not allow immediate family to work at a facility where a family member is housed without a waiver from the Secretary of the Dept. of Corrections.  You would have to check with your agency about their policy.  Of course, if they don't know about the relationship now your inquiry will let them know about it and they might transfer him, or you.  As far as I know they can't prevent you from marrying him, but they can prevent you from working at a facility where he is housed.  Short answer is yes, it would probably be an issue.

Hi my daughter is in college for criminal justice and she's writing a paper on old correction vs new corrections she has done 2 pages and now she's stumped there's only so much we can get from the internet until I saw this thank you in advance

Asked by dp010103 7 months ago

I am unsure what you want.  I don't see a question here.  I am GUESSING that you want me to supply information on the "old" system versus the "new" system.  Since I have now been out for more than 12 years I don't think I will be able to supply much help.  Sorry. 

Advice for a 19 year old male going in to corrections? I don't see most people my age doing this, will this effect my chance of employment? I have a clean criminal history and background check never have done drugs

Asked by Adam H 3 months ago

As far as I now you can not be hired as a peace officer until you are 20 1/2 and can not begin work until you are 21.  Some jurisdictions also hire "jailers" (various titles in various areas) that are not peace officers and which you could possibly be hired for at age 18.  You could also look into non=peace officer employment with an agency until you get the age in.  Also many community colleges have correctional science programs which might give you a leg up.  I would stay away from privately operated training systems.  IMHO they are of dubious value.  Good luck. 

I'm just starting my 2 year diploma for correctional studies and I think I want to become a CO. My biggest fear is dying in a prison from weapons or riots. Do you have any advice for me? What should I expect my first year on the job?

Asked by A CO student 3 months ago

Your chance of dying on the job from those causes is very, very small statistically.  You are much more likely to be seriously injured or catch some nasty disease.  Best advice there is to keep your situational awareness dialed up and don't do anything really stupid.  First year on the job is a learning curve.  Ask questions, keep your eyes and ears open.  You will find out quickly which staff are truly interesting in training and developing newbies and which are not.  Learn from the good ones.  Avoid or ignore the jerks as much as possible.

Can a correctional officer get in trouble for dating a felon? The felon was never incarcerated while the CO was therefore no relationship was established previously.

Asked by Thatbuckeyedude 4 months ago

If the felon is still under the jurisdiction of the department (i.e. on parole, probation or other sort of supervised release) then the short answer is YES.  In most jurisdictions it is actually a crime for a staff member, especially a peace officer, to engage in a sexual relationship with a person under the jurisdiction of their department due to the power imbalance.  It is legally considered rape and is likely to get the officer fired and prosecuted.  If the relationship is merely social and not sexual (which might be hard to prove) it would still get the officer fired.  Even if the person is no longer on parole, probation or whatever there are still POSSIBLE problems relating to access to firearms and ammunition.  This is one of those questions you might want to run by a lawyer in your state for hard facts.

My bf has been locked up since june he gets out this month n has a sudden new charge for possesion of a substance but he says its fir an old case what does this mean?

Asked by Curious 3 months ago

Hard to do this sort of thing by delayed-action remote control, but I will hazard a guess.  He has an old case for possession which they chose to not prosecute for at the time but now, for some reason, they are prosecuting it.  Maybe they have better info now and think it will stick.  Maybe they want to keep him in custody for something totally unrelated to the charges and it is just a stalling tactic.  It is completely kosher as long s they are within the statute of limitations.  You and he are gonna have to roll with it unless you have a good lawyer.

What if I'm going to prison in a steel chastity device w internal lock sealed shut w steel... Will I be wearing it prison or will it get cut off

Asked by Guy in chastity 4 months ago

My first guess is that this is a lame joke.  Assuming it is not. it will be removed unless it is somehow certified as a medical device.  Have fun dude. 

Why are some inmates not eligible for gain time and programs even though they are well behave, could this be just pure discrimination or there's a "law" behind it?

Asked by Lily from FL 4 months ago

In the California system, which is the only one I am truly familiar with, the ability to gain or not gain good time credit is a matter of law. 

My fiance was sentenced to eight years they which really becomes 4 after his 7 months he served in county. His projected release date was 1/23/2021 but her just got a 2f5 job so whats his actual release date

Asked by Skyechick30@yahoo.com 2 months ago

Sorry, but I am unfamiliar with that term.  Therefore I can't help you.  His counselor should be able to tell you what is going on, or at least tell him and he can tell you.  Sorry.

If I am married to an inmate will it disqualify me from getting hired as a correctional officer. He is in prison in a different county.

Asked by Shanellika 2 months ago

I am only strongly familiar with the CA system.  In California the spouse of a convict can be hired as a correctional officer.  In other states, or in county jurisdictions, the civil service rules may be different.  That being said, generally speaking employers can not discriminate against the families of convicted felons without a very good reason for doing so. 

Ok. I am in California San Joaquin county to be exact.

Asked by Shanellica 2 months ago

As I said the state of CA does not discriminate against the FAMILIES of convicts in their hiring.  You COULD be hired by the state as a Correctional Officer.  They might take a little closer look at your background than they would other applicants and you would not be able to work at the prison where your husband is housed.  Again I am assuming you are talking about working for the STATE as a STATE CORRECTIONAL OFFICER and not for a county.  There is a difference between JAIL and PRISON.   There are differences between STATE civil service and COUNTY civil service.  There are 58 counties in CA and I am not closely familiar with their hiring standards.

Are there cameras in prison parking lots? If so, does it cover the entire parking lot and enough to see license plates and faces? Just something I'd like to be aware of, I know many grocery stores do.

Asked by Mike 4 months ago

The California prisons I am familiar with did not have outside surveillance on a routine basis when I retired nearly 13 years ago.  There is, however, no legal prohibition against doing so.  Were I setting up such as thing I would do it on the entrance road(s), which are usually very defined and limited.  You would get better utility for money spent that way. 

When I put money on my sons account, will it be taken for victim restitution? What it is inherited by my death? What are his chances to transfer to another state?

Asked by AlynsMom 2 months ago

As far as #1 I used to know the answer to that, at least in California, but I don't any more.  I have been retired almost 13 years and I just don't remember.  I THINK the answer is NO but I wouldn't bet on that.  Your inheritance would have nothing to do with your son's status as a felon.  He is free to inherit property and to leave property to others.  Out of state transfer of prisoners are rare unless they have a case pending in the state they are transferred to.  They are not unheard of, but they are rare. 

As a new CO I understand we are going to be tested by inmates to know our limits however how should we react? When is a write up appropriate? As a woman should I write up inmates for each sexual remark or rudest? As a new CO will inmates fight me to

Asked by Daniela 15 days ago

We seem to have lost part of your question.  You have to find your own comfort zone which takes a while.  You clearly can't write up every minor infraction.  However, if you let sexual or rude personal remarks slide they may come to believe you enjoy the attention, or at least don't mind it.  My inclination would be to be fairly strict along those lines. 

Yes , correct it would be a state correctional officer and yes he is in prison. I think I will be working at a jail. Thanks for the answer it was very helpful.

Asked by Shanellica 2 months ago

Generally speaking state correctional officers work in PRISONS, not JAILS, though there are exceptions to this.  Generally speaking State correctional officers work for the state, jail officers work for cities or counties.  That is certainly true in CA, though there is a bit of spillover in certain re-entry facilities.  You are unlikely to be assigned to one of those as a newbie.  Good luck.  I hope it works for you.