By OPEC Staff
Editor’s note: Professor David Terry of San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton teaches Correctional Sciences in the Administration of Justice program. He encourages students to look at careers at CDCR. He recently toured with his students CDCR’s California Health Care Facility and Deuel Vocational Institution. Here are some of his comments about the tours and CDCR careers.
Inside CDCR: What are your most difficult tasks in teaching Correctional Sciences?
Terry: Certainly when it comes to first responders law enforcement and firefighting are dramatically ahead in employment popularity. The field of corrections has made advancements in public perception over the years and going from using the term prison guard to correctional officer has significantly helped that advance.
Why would you recommend a career as a Correctional Officer to your students?
Corrections is a vital part of our criminal justice system which means it needs good people in order to be effective. A career with CDCR specifically, and corrections in general, provides great compensation packages to those good people who meet their high standards. Corrections is truly a noble profession but it isn’t for everyone. In fact it takes a person with particular attributes, one of which is empathy and another is resiliency, to be an effective correctional officer.
What might CDCR do to interest your students more in a career as a Correctional Officer?
I believe CDCR has long been making itself appealing and accessible so by being receptive to colleges and universities regarding collaboration and partnerships should generate even more interests among students in general. Their recruitment efforts are having an effect. One of their recruiters, Sgt. Candi Allen in particular, has been essential to everything I have described in this article. She not only has made numerous visits to San Joaquin Delta College for presentations but she has a great source for contacting the public information officers and connecting me to great people inside CDCR. I would like to add that we will be expanding the tours to include DJJ facilities as well and we continue to get great support from the local parole office via class presentations and internships. The expanded definition of community corrections suggests the idea that our state prisons be included in that definition.
How do tours of correctional facilities fit in with your teaching of Correctional Science?
I read an article in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Corrections Today produced by the American Correctional Association, which gave me several ideas about collaborating/partnering with our local correctional facilities. The basic premise is to connect students directly to their chosen field of employment. The article gave some simple methods of bringing the classroom to corrections and vice versa, I followed the lead. In fact I can recall that my correctional science class visited a prison, Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio when I was an undergraduate at Ohio University in 1989. The tours of CHCF and DVI help give the textbook context and perspective. A latent function of the tours is that students can self- discover if the field of corrections is for them prior to entering the application process.
How do you rate the tour of the California Health Care Facility?
CHCF was the first CDCR facility we visited and certainly it is a state of the art complex with a unique and vital mission. A benefit a visiting CHCF was that students witnessed the enormous responsibility that comes with confining and treating our incarcerated citizens. Lt. Tisdale and Lt. Ratliff were both thorough and professional in explaining various aspects of the facility. Students took exceptional interest in the electrified fencing and the cost savings it provides. Upon my second class tour to CHCF in January, retired Warden Mary Lattimore accompanied us and we were certainly in the company of royalty. She is very supportive of my students and makes several guest speaker appearances to my classes on the wonderful opportunities with CDCR.
How do your rate the tour of the Deuel Vocational Institution?
Touring DVI a month or so after CHCF provided a great compare and contrast class activity/assignment opportunity. Students were able to see a previous state of the art facility of the 1950’s in DVI and compare it to CDCR’s newest facility CHCF. Students learned that although electrified at CHCF is cost effective over towers, due to DVI being located in a potential flood area the fencing cannot be deployed there. Lt. Zoucha gave great commentary and insight into many programs available to inmates which of course give the institution part of its name vocational institution.
Here is information about how to apply for a Correctional Officer job:
Applicants interested in Correctional Officer Careers can apply online at www.JoinCDCR.com
A list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found at: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/career_opportunities/por/FAQ.html
Phone: 1 (866) 232-JOBS (5627)