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Meet the Mayor of San Quentin: Lt. Sam Robinson

Smiling man in tie and jacket walks by another man with a cane.
Lt. Sam Robinson, left, has been the public information office for San Quentin for 11 years.

Meet Lt. Sam Robinson, living proof that a positive attitude is contagious.

The Public Information Officer at San Quentin State Prison for 11 years, Lt. Robinson is responsible for ensuring that information coming out of the state’s oldest prison is accurate and up to date. He’s a pro with media, providing access to numerous events and rehabilitative programs, and his tours for lawmakers, educators, and international visitors are famous for providing a entertaining, interesting journey around San Quentin.

San Quentin is known for its many programs and culture of rehabilitation, but that doesn’t change the fact it is still a prison. When breaking news happens – like a medical emergency, staff assault or other issue – Lt. Robinson is there to provide information, coordinate with headquarters communications staff, and make sure all questions are answered.

But what makes Lt. Robinson stand out the most is his demeanor. No matter the situation, Lt. Robinson remains professional, kind, and good-humored. On a walk through the yard, he’s greeted numerous times by staff, volunteers, and incarcerated people alike – and he treats them all with the same respect and personable nature.

As Lt. Robinson always says, “It’s all good.”

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Lt. Sam Robinson

I am Lt. Sam Robinson, the Public Information Officer at San Quentin State Prison.

I’ve been working for CDCR for 22 1/2 years.

I’ve been the Public Information Officer at San Quentin State Prison for 11 years now.

Hey man, how’re you doing today?

(Hey, all right, Sam.)

All right.

I’ll tell you what I believe I bring to work, from the beginning, is I’ve always tried to treat people like I want to be treated.

I think if you treat people with respect, you get that back. Even in difficult situations and on difficult days.

If you’re respectful about what you do and you treat a guy like you would expect to be treated in a similar situation, you’ll get that back.

I think that you’re accountable every day when you put on your uniform, you put on your suit, to come inside of a place like this.

You’re accountable to the taxpayer, you’re accountable to your coworkers, you’re accountable to the people you serve every day.

And accountability is following the rules, and giving people, as we say in prison speak, ‘giving people what they have coming.’

The department has grown and I think the population is evolving or has grown as well.

The people who are in a prison are as diverse as they are out in the community.

There are people who strive to do the right thing every day, and to grow and become better people.

And there are people who are the opposite of that.

But for those people who strive to do better, what I have seen over my career is that the department has opened a door to allow people to grow and become better people.

And they have left the walls of a place like this to, as much success as you and I believe that we have and aspire to do every day.

Will I grow weary? No, man. It’s another beautiful day!


Video by Rob Stewart, TV Specialist

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