Retired Warden Otis Thurman passed away at 81

Black and white photo of Warden Otis Thurman
Otis Thurman

Otis Thurman, a longtime California corrections employee and retired warden, passed away January 21, 2021. He was 81 years old.

Thurman was born and raised in Mississippi, but according to his family, they moved to California to get away from share cropping.

Thurman went on to graduate high school and attend the University of the Pacific, where he earned a bachelor’s degree.

He began his 32-year CDCR career in 1962 at Deuel Vocational Institution. In 1982, he was appointed Business Administrator at California Rehabilitation Center. Four years later, Thurman was appointed warden at California Institution for Men in Chino.

In 1990, he was appointed warden at California State Prison, Los Angeles County, retiring in 1994.

In a training video for new correctional officers, Thurman is credited with being a contributor to the content (see story).

He is survived by his wife, a son, his brother and four sisters.

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