Community Involvement

Wasco prison peer support helps community

Wasco State Prison Reception Center with four Peer Support members standing in front.
Wasco Prison Peer Support team members, from left, are Sgt. P. Patton, Sgt. C. Chacon, Psychologist L. Welch, and Correctional Officer L. Garrett.

A shooting in Bakersfield found the Wasco State Prison (WSP) Peer Support team lending assistance to those impacted by the crime.

In January 2022, a fight at a local business erupted between community members and some people visiting from out of town.

Security staff responded quickly and when they tried to break up the altercation, one individual pulled a gun and started firing. A security staff member and another person trying to break up the fight were shot.

A CDCR employee who was also at the scene reached out to the Peer Support Program at WSP. A few members volunteered and, along with the Bakersfield Police Department’s PSP, they met with people who were there the night of the shooting.

The PSP teams worked together to offer empathy and resources to help deal with the trauma. The teamwork and willingness to help impressed Acting Warden Heather Shirley. She also received a thank-you note from the business where the shooting happened.

“On behalf of the staff, we would like to thank the Warden at Wasco State Prison, the Peer Support team members, and the Bakersfield Police Department for donating their time. Their efforts were tremendous in helping our patrons and employees move on from this tragic event,” the note reads.

Wasco PSP team members who assisted were Sgt. P. Patton (Team Leader), Sgt. C. Chacon, Officer M. Thompson (Asst. Team Leader), Officer L. Garrett, and Psychologists L. Welch and M. Greemore.

Story by Sergeant P. Patton
Submitted by Lieutenant J. Farley

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