Jiro "Jerry" Enomoto, right, became the fourth director of the state prison system (1976-1980). He's seen here with P.J. Morris, Deputy Director of Institutions. (Undated.) At one time, he served as deputy superintendent at CTF.

Jiro “Jerry” Enomoto, right, became the fourth director of the state prison system (1976-1980). He’s seen here with P.J. Morris, Deputy Director of Institutions. (Undated.) At one time, he served as deputy superintendent at CTF.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications

Jiro “Jerry” Enomoto, who worked for the Department for 28 years and headed the state agency for nearly six years, passed away Sunday from natural causes at age 89.

Jiro "Jerry" Enomoto passed away at 89. CDCR file photo circa 1976.

Jiro “Jerry” Enomoto passed away at 89. CDCR file photo circa 1976.

Enomoto started his career as a Parole Agent in 1952 and worked his way up to Director of the California Department of Corrections.

In 1971, he became one of the first non-white prison wardens.

Appointed as superintendent of California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, Enomoto had previously served as deputy superintendent at Correctional Training Facility, Soledad.

From 1975-1980, he served as the first Asian-American director of the Department and from 1994-2002, he went on to serve as the U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of California, appointed by then-President Bill Clinton.

Upon his retirement in 2002, Rep. Robert Matsui spoke about Enomoto and his trailblazing efforts.

“As Director of Corrections, Jerry would become the first Asian Pacific American to manage a state department in California history,” Matsui told the House of Representatives. “Jerry secured the greatest honor of his unparalleled career when he became the first Asian Pacific American appointed as a United States Marshal.”