Profile of California Correctional System

 
 
California Correctional Officers (and K-9)
Visit Rotary Ventura South
 
At our regular meeting on Monday, January 23, members and guests of Ventura Rotary South enjoyed an informative presentation from three California correctional officers about the challenges they face every day as a routine part of their work. Officer John Colin from Lancaster State Prison was joined by youth correctional staff members Sergeant Paul Hernandez and Officer Richard Bautista (pictured above with "Jack," a K-9 correctional officer).
 
Speaking of the youth facility where he and Officer Bautista work, Sergeant Hernandez said, "Our facility houses very dangerous people. These youths, ages 13 to 23, can be as violent and disruptive as any adult inmate." He spoke of the need for correctional staff to be constantly observant for indications of impending fights or other incidents. "My goal is to have every one of my staff go home safely every night."
 
The officers displayed samples of the chemical agents they employ when needed for inmate fights or other incidents. Officer Bautista described one specific instance when 112 inmates were fighting at the same time. He also noted the constant tendency of inmates to hide drugs, money, and even cell phones on a regular basis. They frequently spend time creating crude weapons out of anything sharp they can get their hands on. Officer Bautista, who spends much of his time on duty searching inmate cells, hid a packet of marijuana and a packet of methamphetamine in the meeting room, then brought in Jack. He promptly located both packets, alerting his handler with an assertive "woof."
 
Officer Colin noted that it is the objective of many youth offenders to "graduate" to the State prison system as a "badge of honor" in the eyes of their gangs. "These young men frequently know nothing but gangs, drugs, and violence," he said, "which makes rehabilitation extremely challenging."
 
Our thanks to officers Bautista, Colin, and Hernandez for the important work they do and for sharing their insights with us!