Banuelos honored as Correctional Supervisor of the Year
Lt. Mark Hargrove, AA/PIO, California Institution for Men
and Krissi Khokhobashvili, CDCR Public Information Officer II
(Editor’s note: CDCR’s annual Medal of Valor and employee recognition ceremony will be held Thursday, Sept. 15. Inside CDCR will publish profiles of some of those being honored each day leading up to the ceremony. The event will be live streamed.)
This year’s CDCR Correctional Supervisor of the Year is honored for making many positive changes at California Institution for Men (CIM), resulting in a productive environment for both inmates and staff.
Lt. Andres Banuelos supervises a facility that covers all second-watch staff, a dining hall, education and substance abuse/re-entry programs. The facility has a population of more than 1,000 inmates, and Banuelos emphasizes the importance of open communication among everybody on the facility.
This focus on communication has resulted in a significant reduction of complaints from inmates and disciplinary actions against inmates. After a recent inspection by the American Correctional Association, auditors specifically mentioned Banuelos’ facility and the positive relationships among staff and inmates there.
Inside CDCR connected with Banuelos to discuss his career, current assignment, and the importance of quality communication.
When did your career at CDCR begin, and what has been your path to your current position?
I began my career with CDCR as a correctional officer in 2003 at California State Prison, Los Angeles County (LAC). I promoted to sergeant in 2005 at LAC and then transferred to California Institution for Men. In 2013 I promoted to correctional lieutenant at CIM, where I am currently employed.
What is your current assignment and your typical duties?
Currently, I am assigned as the correctional lieutenant at Facility D. My typical duties include assigning duties to my subordinate sergeants and officers, providing guidance for both staff and the inmate population, conducting on-the-job training, maintaining discipline on the yard, supervising custodial functions during movement of inmates to and from their assignments and ensuring the well-being of the inmates and staff. In addition, I provide training regarding inmate-staff relations, ADA compliance, ensure mental health policies and procedures are adhered to, ensuring effective communication between staff and inmates to maintain compliance with the Clark Remedial Plan, and am a subject-matter expert on the inmate discipline process, with emphasis on Developmental Disability Program inmates. I strive to have open communication with staff and inmates alike to reduce the number of issues on the yard.
What is your leadership style, and how have you and your staff created such a positive environment for inmates and staff?
I utilize the coaching leadership style to help to develop my team and emphasize their individual strengths. This style has assisted in the overall success of our team. Additionally, I recognize the importance of being an affiliative leader and promoting a good working relationship among team members. I find this leadership style assists in promoting harmony, which is effective in conflict resolution.
How important is communication to the success of your facility, and what do you do to foster open communication?
Communication is a vital part of the success of my facility. Ensuring staff and inmates know they can approach me with issues/problems breaks down communication barriers and aids in improving inmate/staff interactions. When the staff and the inmates feel like someone is listening to their concerns and ideas, they are more willing to comply with rules and regulations.
I practice active listening and seek clarification when necessary to ensure that I base any decisions on facts and not on assumptions.
How does it feel to have your hard work honored in such a way?
Being recognized for something I enjoy doing is a blessing and is truly appreciated. My success is only possible because of those who work beside me each and every day. This achievement is something that my team has earned and for them I am truly thankful.