Unlocking History

Photo Timeline: In 2021, CIM marks 80 years

The fourth facility in the California state prison system opened 80 years ago. The institution was geared toward people who were considered low-risk. Built in Chino, California Institution for Men received its first San Quentin transfers on July 10, 1941.

1940s: CIM opened doors 80 years ago

The success of the California Institution for Women, and its efforts to rehabilitate through a more rural setting, prompted the state to try a similar program for fist-timers.

CIM’s first superintendent, Kenyon Scudder, implemented many policies that would eventually spread throughout the department. One was the central file, a single place where all information related to an incarcerated person was to be kept.

“In our efforts to interview men at San Quentin who were to be transferred to Chino, we had experienced a terrific problem trying to get information about them, for it was scattered throughout the prison,” Scudder wrote in the 1952 book, “Prisoners are People.”

“At CIM, we developed a central file, where all information about each man was in one folder and we also set up a classification committee,” he wrote.

With the war effort underway by December 7, 1941, Scudder focused rehabilitative training on farm-related jobs. Agriculture has long been a major industry in California. With so many serving overseas, there was a desperate need for experienced farm workers and mechanics. “We started intensive training in repair, upkeep and operation of all types of farm machinery,” Scudder wrote.

1950s & 1960s

1970s to 1990s

80 years of vocational education

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

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