Former Director Jiro Enomoto passes away at 89

Two man stand in an office, smiling for the camera.
Jiro "Jerry" Enomoto, right, became the fourth director of the state prison system. He's seen here with P.J. Morris, Deputy Director of Institutions. (Undated.)
Director Enomoto portrait with 1970s style clothing.
Jiro “Jerry” Enomoto

Jiro “Jerry” Enomoto, former director for the department, passed away at age 89 on January 17, 2016. He worked for the department for 28 years, leading the agency for six years.

Enomoto started his career as a Parole Agent in 1952, working his way up to Director of the California Department of Corrections.

In 1971, he became one of the first non-white prison wardens when he was appointed as superintendent of California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan. Previously, Enomoto served as deputy superintendent at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad.

From 1975 to 1980, he served as the first Asian-American director of the Department. For eight years, beginning in 1994, he went on to serve as the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of California, appointed by then-President Bill Clinton.

When he finally retired in 2002, Rep. Robert Matsui spoke about Enomoto and his service to the state and nation.

“As Director of Corrections, Jerry would become the first Asian Pacific American to manage a state department in California history,” Matsui told the House of Representatives. “Jerry secured the greatest honor of his unparalleled career when he became the first Asian Pacific American appointed as a United States Marshal.”

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

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