Video by Jeff Baur, Director, Television Communications Center
CDCR Office of Public and Employee Communications
Meet Sgt. John Bennett, whose CDCR career has spanned 42 years, all at California Institution for Men.
In this Inside CDCR video, Bennett reflects on his career, from supervising inmates on the farm at CIM at the start of his service to learning effective communication techniques for people with mental health challenges. When Bennett hit his 40th anniversary in 2017, Inside CDCR published a story highlighting his career.
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Or, watch the YouTube video (may not be accessible from a CDCR computer).
Sgt. John Bennett: My name is John Bennett, I’m a Correctional Sergeant down at CIM.
I’ve been in the Department of Corrections for 42 years. It is a long time, I just enjoy my job.
As a new officer coming in down at Chino, I was kind of lucky to have been put on the farm crew down there, which was like being a cowboy when you were younger. You got to ride the horses, you were working on the farm, you were bucking hay, you had the inmate crews helping you out.
The biggest change was from 2,500 acres to a smaller institution. But now we’re at a peak now, where dealing with mental health inmates is the big project now.
It’s more of a – listening to them when they talk, you know? Helping them out. If you lend an ear to them, it’s more than they expect. If you sit there and listen to them and talk to them and work with them, we have no problems.
I enjoy the people I work with. I enjoy helping people. And it’s always something different, you know? They have questions they ask me, just still, even the new cops: “You really rode horses?” “Yeah, yeah, yes.” They get a kick out of it.
They call me the old man, which doesn’t bother me. It’s just good to be with them, you know? It’s made me become a Correctional Sergeant for the last 42 years, you know? I didn’t get my 30 and hit the gate, as they call it. It makes you want to stay and help people. It sounds kind of funny coming from a prison guard, but it actually feels good when you help somebody.