This installment of Unlocking History more closely examines the seeds of rehabilitation planted even before California became a state. This is the first of a multi-part series on the maritime history of the state prison system.
On Oct. 31, 1914, San Quentin Warden James A. Johnston’s article on reforms at the prison was published in The California Outlook. It was also published in other periodicals. Titled “How we treat our prisoners at San Quentin,” the warden’s piece described reception, recreation, parole and the general treatment of inmates at the state’s oldest prison. At the time, the institution still housed female inmates. Often referred to as the reform warden, Johnston had previously served as the warden at Folsom Prison where he put an end to the use of straight jackets and other cruel practices. More than 100 years ago, he pushed for fair treatment of inmates and training to help them learn the skills necessary to re-enter society.
As law enforcement agencies across the nation are in the middle of a recruitment crisis, California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) has teamed up with Office of Peace Officer Selection (OPOS) to assist with recruitment efforts.
CDCR employees making their way to work often see deer and other game animals along their route or at their workplace. Enterprise Information Services employees in Rancho Cordova sidestep droppings on their way into the office while employees in other rural areas often find themselves waiting for game animals to slowly meander across a road. One of those game animals – the wild turkey – isn’t native to the state. In fact, its introduction to California was part of a coordinated effort. In this installment of Unlocking History, we’re talking turkey.
Bandits of the Old West were the stuff of legends and penny novels, many of them ending up as repeat offenders or hanging at the end of a rope. There were exceptions such as one notorious stagecoach robber who chose to take advantage of San Quentin’s rehabilitative job training program – Black Bart. According to the Library of Congress, Black Bart robbed 28 stagecoaches between 1877 and 1883. He was apprehended on Nov. 12, 1883, and four days later he pleaded guilty. Various reports place him between 50 and 55 years old at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to eight years in San Quentin. By all accounts, he was a model inmate and was paroled in 1888.