CDCR Time Capsule

1950 training manual emphasizes professionalism, rehabilitation


A 1950 departmental training manual breaks training down into 20 pages. The manual’s introduction, written by Director of Corrections Richard A. McGee, outlines expectations. Back then, there were seven adult institutions. Take a closer look at training as it once was.

Training manual published for department employees

Following the department’s 1944 restructure, McGee turned his attention on raising professional standards. A statewide training manual was the result. Walter Dunbar, who was later appointed as director, wrote the training booklet. One mission for staff was clear and still holds true today: “education and rehabilitation of the human beings incarcerated in the institutions.”

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

“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 (who has) correctional experience, academic background, personality, administrative ability, and ability to instruct.”

64 hours of training required in 1950

“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 regular working hours. They are given compensatory time off,” McGee writes.

“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.”

Rehabilitation is core 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,” the manual states.

“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.

Training emphasized how to treat others

The general objectives of the Personnel Training Program are to:

  1. Improve the capabilities of personnel for participation in the custody and treatment of the inmates.
  2. Increase the effectiveness of personnel and thereby obtain greater efficiency and economy in operations.
  3. Prepare employees for greater job satisfaction and broader career service.
  4. Promote employee capacity to recognize, understand and solve the problems which occur.

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

By 1957, a correctional officer earned $358 per month. Sergeants earned $505 per month.

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

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