This 1967-68 departmental Progress Report outlined numerous shifts in managing the state’s prison system including a new family visiting program and challenges in filling conservation camps. At the time, the department operated 13 institutions and 34 conservation camps.
The department’s biennial report dated 1959-1960 outlined the new facility coming online at California Men’s Colony. This document provides a snapshot of the institution in 1960 and its vision for the future.
A 1957 departmental bulletin outlines the expectations and pay for Correctional Officers (COs) at the time. Beginning COs earned $358 per month. The positions were also only available to men. Female COs were hired beginning in the 1970s.
This 2003 story looks at the department’s five drug-sniffing K-9s. “Three prisons – CSP-Solano, Correctional Training Facility and Salinas Valley State Prison – employ specially trained dogs and handlers to help stop the flow of illicit drugs. For Major and his K-9 colleagues at the other prisons, the serious business of sniffing out drugs is one big game.”
In 2002, the departmental newsletter published this piece on Correctional Officer Mike Begley in his role as second watch desk officer at San Quentin State Prison’s East Block, one of three housing units for condemned inmates. At the time, Officer Begley was a 14-year San Quentin veteran.
With little information at hand, unedited film clips of inmates and staff performing gave no indication of when the film was shot or by whom. There was no audio in the film. After searching, it turns out to be from the 1942 movie “The Men of San Quentin.”
Dusting off a series of undated raw film clips, Inside CDCR found the name of an Academy Award winning special effects cinematographer appearing throughout silent footage of San Quentin. Judging by clues in the film, it appears to have been shot in 1917 or 1918. Another source said clues point to sometime between 1930 and 1933.
The department published this story in the March-April 2002 edition of CDC Today as a Day in the Life of basic adult education instructor Linda Nielsen at Folsom State Prison. She retired in 2005.
In CDCR’s archives, a newsreel from January 1942 claims to be the first ever filmed inside San Quentin State Prison. The reel is narrated by then-Warden Clinton Duffy and details some of the day-to-day operations of the prison as well as their willingness to do their part for the war effort. It makes numerous references to the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.
In the video archives at CDCR headquarters, exterior and interior shots of San Quentin were recently uncovered. While there is no date on the footage, some clues appear throughout such as the cars in the background, the style of dress of those in the film and the lack of a bridge over the bay. The parking lot below the prison is also absent. It took some sleuthing, but the raw footage comes from the 1937 film “San Quentin” and was shot by film pioneer Hans Koenekamp.