Correctional Officer of the Year

2021 Correctional Officer of the Year

The award is given annual to the person or persons who serve as positive role models and foster an environment that supports a balance between professional development, professional job performance, and personal wellness. The recipient or recipients conduct themselves professionally through fair, honest, and ethical behavior.


Stephen Leatherman, Correctional Officer at California State Prison, Sacramento

Officer Leatherman has demonstrated extraordinary care and concern for his fellow officers. When he noticed that new officers from the academy assigned to restrictive housing units were struggling, or even resigning, he took action.

On his own initiative, he developed an enhanced curriculum and added hands-on instruction. He teamed new officers with long-term officers to add a crucial advising component, enabling the new officers to benefit from the experience of seasoned staff.

The results were immediate. Officers had peace of mind and were staying in their jobs, creating a safer work environment for all.

Later, Officer Leatherman became a floor officer, allowing him to act as a consistent mentor for the young officers.

The training has been so successful, it is now shared with other institutions as a best practice.