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

A 1950 departmental training manual breaks down four-years of training into 20 pages. The introduction was written by Director of Corrections Richard A. McGee. After the complete restructuring of the state’s correctional department in 1944, McGee’s efforts to raise the bar of professional standards brought about statewide training. Walter Dunbar, who would later become the director, wrote the training booklet. The manual states it is the duty of the correctional officers and the department to ensure the “education and rehabilitation of the human beings incarcerated in the institutions.” In 1950, there were seven institutions

“It is the policy of the Director of Corrections that correctional employees of the institutions of the Department of Corrections participate in a continuous program of In-Service Training. Sixty-four hours of training are conducted each year in the seven institutions of the Department. The training courses offered are designed to present the knowledge and skills which correctional employees must exercise to carry out an effective program of custody and treatment of the inmates. Such staff development through in-service training is the keystone to success in a correctional program,” McGee writes.

“The In-Service Training Program has been given an important place in the administrative structure of the Department of Corrections. Each institution has been staffed with a full-time training officer who is responsible directly to the head of the institution and who receives staff supervision from a full-time departmental training officer of the Central Office. The institutional training officer is a carefully selected correctional lieutenant. He is selected on the basis of correctional experience, academic background, personality, administrative ability, and ability to instruct. A departmental committee functions to provide guidance to the personnel training program on a department-wide basis. Each institution also has a training committee to advise on the training program.

“To make this machinery effective, the training of rank and file employees is done on state time. Sixty-four hours are provided annually as minimum training time for each correctional Officer, correctional sergeant, and correctional lieutenant. These employees attend training classes on state time but Outside of regular working hours. They are given compensatory time off for the required sixty-four hours of training.

“Additional positions are provided to relieve each officer for the compensatory time. The employees of the other divisions of the institution attend in-service training classes on state time during working hours. It is hoped that this brief description of our program will indicate to the reader the importance of training for employees during all stages of their careers. Also, it should be stressed that a successful in-service training program depends upon proper organization, careful selection of instructors, determination of training needs, and skilled preparation and use of training materials and aids as well as upon sound teaching methods.”

Rehabilitation is key duty

According to the manual, the training program began only two years after the reorganization. One of the department’s key responsibilities is outlined in the first few sentences: inmate rehabilitation.

“The In-Service Training Program was established in 1946 and has been conducted each year to assist employees in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to carry out their responsibilities for the custody, physical and mental welfare, work, education and rehabilitation of the human beings incarcerated in the institutions. Training is a mutual responsibility. The Department of Corrections must, for its part, analyze the many duties and assignments, the use of equipment and materials and determine the attitude and skills which are required to enable an employee to perform his job effectively. The employee’s contribution must be his experiences on the job, his analysis of situations, and his opinions regarding operations,” the manual states.

“The general objectives of the Personnel Training Program are: 1. To improve the capabilities of personnel for participation in the custody and treatment of the inmates. 2. To increase the effectiveness of personnel and thereby obtain greater efficiency and economy in operations. 3. To prepare employees for greater job satisfaction and broader career service. 4. To promote employee capacity to recognize, understand and solve the problems which occur.”

The manual goes on to outline methods of teaching and the goals of the department and the employee.

By 1957, a correctional officer earned $358 per month. Sergeants earned $505 per month. Rehabilitation, as shown in a 1950 newsreel, was a cornerstone of the prison system.