The San Quentin State Prison opened
in 1854. San Quentin is also known as the “Big House.” This facility got its
name from its location. San Quentin is a facility that is near the city of San
Rafael in Marin County. It is one of the oldest prisons in the state of
California and it is also one of the toughest. San Quentin sits on twenty acres
of land. Construction of the oldest facility began in 1852 with the use of
prison labor and it was finally finished in 1854.
The San Quentin State Prison
currently houses over 4,000 criminals. This is considerably more than its
capacity of 3,082. It has one of the largest populations of hard criminals. The
prison is one of the most feared and respected incarceration facilities on the
West Coast. Most of the criminals housed in San Quentin are on death row in the
state of California.
The earliest known inmates at San
Quentin slept on a prison ship at night and during the day they worked on
completing the original prison buildings. One of the prison ships were called
“Waban.” The California legal system decided to create a more permanent
structure because of overcrowding and frequent escapes aboard the ship. The
prison was home to both male and female inmates until 1932. Women were moved
outside the walls in the 1920s and to different facilities in the 1930s. in the
beginning of the twenty- first century San Quentin was a high- security prison
for approximately six thousand make inmates. Among them more than five hundred
prisoners were under the death sentence. There were notorious offenders were
confined at San Quentin. Some of them included Sirhan Sirhan who assassinated
Robert F. Kennedy. Charles Manson who was a serial killer. He manipulated a
hippy cult also known as “the family” into brutally killing others on his
behalf. Eldridge Cleaver began his career as a leader on the Black Panther
Party. George Jackson who is one of the Soledad Brothers. He was shot to death
in an apparent escape attempt.
Many of the prisoners were employed
at San Quentin typically for manufacturing. The prisoners operated industries.
For many years they made burlap bags in the prison jute mill.
San Quentin has a storied past and
continues to operate today. The prison has an estimated worth of over $100
million because of its prime location on Bay area real estate. It has its own
ZIP code. The coastal site of the prison on the Marin Peninsula is attractive
to real estate developers.
Statistics include in this paper is from
the CDCR website
*In accordance with
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for the Fiscal
Opened: July 1852
Design Capacity: 3088
Total number of employees: 1832
-Custodial Employees (Warden, Chief Deputy
Warden, Associate Wardens, Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants, Officers,
-Auxiliary/Support Staff/Casuals: 356
-Medical, Mental Health, and Dental (Physicians,
Clinicians, Nurses and Support Staff): 420
Annual Operating Budget: $164 Million
Security threat groups are defined as a
formal or informal group of prison inmates. This just means that security
threat groups are prison gangs. The term security threat groups are used by law
enforcement. Security threat groups pose a threat to the safety of correction
officers and to other inmates. The people that are in these groups are highly
structured. Some of the ^gangs that are highly structured would include the
Aryan Brotherhood and the Texas Mafia. Security treat groups are different from
prison to prison. The gang members of these groups are to possess common characteristic,
interests and goals distinguishing them from other prison gangs. These groups
are categorized by gang history, involvement in illegal activities, propensity
for violence and how it is structured. There are some prison gangs that can control
the outside environment while still in prison.
The Aryan Brotherhood was a racially
segregated prison gang. This gang is believed to have been formed in the San
Quentin State prison in California in 1964. There are Aryan Brotherhood gangs
that can be founded in most state prisons. This group became the first major while
supremacist gang in the county. This groups decided to strike against the
blacks that were forming their own prison called the Black Guerrilla Family. The
motto of the Aryan Brotherhood is “blood in, blood out.” This motto simply
means in order to get into this group you have to killed someone that is either
in a rival gang or assaulting a corrections officer, but the head of the group
will tell you who to kill. The Aryan Brotherhood would usually call this “making
your bones.” The Aryan Brotherhood participates in drug trafficking,
prostitution rings, gambling, and extortion inside the prisons. The outside
Aryan brotherhood would involve every kind of criminal enterprise possible. The
Aryan Brotherhood is known for working with Latino and other gangs for the
money. They are known to read Hitler’s Kampf
and they also read Sun
Tzu’s The Art of War and Machiavelli’s The Prince. This groups had expanded to most of the state prisons in California by
1975. There are about 20,000 members of the Aryan Brotherhood.
There were two men
that were convicted in the death of Robert Chappelle. The two men were Thomas Silverstein
and Clayton Fountain. These men were believed to be a part of the Aryan
Brotherhood. Silverstein and Fountain are believed to have enter into Chappelle’s
cell and they strangled him. They also killed one of Robert Chappelle’s friends
Raymond Smith. Smith was stabled 67 times. It was later said that Silverstein
had stated a plot to kill a prison guard officer. Two years later members of
this group killed two correction officers at the United States Penitentiary, in
Marion, Illinois. Silverstein was a part of the group that killed one of the
prison guards. Merle Cutts was stabbed about 40 times by Silverstein. Thomas used
an knife that was made and a handcuff key they was given to him while he was on
the way to take a shower, after he picked the lock that’s when he attacked and
killed Merle Cutts. Hours later Fountain
killed the other prison guard whose name was Robert Hoffman. The tactics that
was used to killed Merle Cutts was the same tactics that was used to kill
Robert Hoffman. Clayton killed Hoffman because he did not want Thomas
Silverstein to have a higher body count then he did.
This group stopped focusing on killing people because of race and they
stated focusing more on organized crime in the 1990s.
Prison gangs in San
Quentin is responsible for most of the violence and brutality that is going on
inside the prison.
These are some
known tattoos of the Aryan Brotherhood.
San Quentin prison programs are a
lot different than the prison programs offered in the North Carolina Central
Prison. The San Quentin programs include Adult
Basic Education, Arts in Corrections, Building Maintenance, CalID, Computer
Literacy, Electronics, General Education Development, Library Services, Machine
Shop, Physical Education, Plumbing, Voluntary Education. On the San Quentin website,
it listed the following programs for the prisoners and what they can do within
manufacturing, mattress manufacturing, Code 7370, CTE Construction Labor,
Health Facility Maintenance.
Vocational: Machine Shop, Plumbing, Computer Literacy, Electronics,
Academic: Adult Basic Education, High School/GED, Transitions
Pre-Release, Literacy Program, Distance Education for Associate and Bachelor
Diversion, Religious, Arts in Corrections, Victim Awareness, Drug & Alcohol
Treatment/Diversion, Bicycle repair, Marin Shakespeare, Prison University
Project, Youth Offender Program, Anger Management, Pen Pals, Yoga, Gardening,
Environmental Conscientiousness; SQ News; SQ Radio and TV; Cultural Awareness,
Veteran’s Programs, Reentry, Health Awareness.
Family Liaison Service Specialist
CDCR provides through a contract with a
community-based organization an on-site Case Manager as a family reunification
liaison for inmates and family members, to assist with an inmate’s pre-release
preparation; and conduct Parenting and Creative Conflict Resolution classes for
inmates. Please call the Institution to contact the Family Reunification
One the North Carolina Central Prison website, is listed the following
programs available to the prisoners in that prison. The North Carolina Prison Programs
includes Work Assignments, Work
Release, Education, Study Release, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Community
Volunteer Leave Program, Self-Improvement Programs, Parenting Programs, Transition
Planning, Home Leave Program, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous
(NA), Sex Offender Accountability and Responsibility (SOAR), and Substance Abuse Treatment Programs. The following programs can be defined below
from the North Carolina Central Prison website.
inmates are expected to work during their stay in prison. The Division of
Prisons has a variety of jobs at each prison to which inmates are assigned.
Each prison depends on the inmates to operate the kitchen, to provide
housekeeping and maintenance, provide labor to maintain state roads and to do
the many other tasks that support the prison and other governmental agencies.
Each inmate who works receives time credit
reductions from his or her sentence. They also receive an incentive wage in the
amount of $.40, $.70, or $1.00 per day, depending on the job they hold. Inmates
working in Correction Enterprises prison industries can earn up to $3.00 a day.
Work Release – Work release is a
program that allows selected minimum
custody level III inmates the privilege of having a job in the community
while being in prison and to prepare them for their release from prison.
Inmates on work release leave the prison during the day and return to the
prison after their workday is over. Inmates on work release earn at least
minimum wage and from this wage they must pay a portion of the cost of being in
prison. Also, they must pay support for their dependents, pay restitution or
fines, and pay taxes. Inmates on work release are usually approaching the end
of their sentence. Work release is a privilege and not every inmate may obtain
work release prior to his or her release. An inmate on a work release cannot have any contact with family
members at the work release job site.
Education – There are many
opportunities in the Division of Prisons for inmates to improve their
education. Programs are offered for inmates to work toward receiving Adult
Basic Education, their GED, and/or to learn a vocational skill in a wide
variety of areas. Special programs are available to inmates with learning
disabilities or special needs. Day and evening education programs are offered
so inmates can combine work and education.
Study Release – This program allows selected minimum custody level III inmates
the privilege of furthering their education in a college setting within the
community. Inmates must also have participated in other activities in the
community to be eligible (i.e., community leave passes). Prison facility
superintendents are the approving authority for inmates to participate in this
Rehabilitation Services – This program, commonly known as VR, is available to eligible
inmates who have difficulty getting employment due to special needs they may
have such as a disability. VR counselors work with the Division of Prisons
staff to identify inmates who are eligible for VR services. Services are
provided to help the inmate overcome difficulties that may prevent him or her
from successful employment in the com- munity. Services include job training,
special tools or devices that help a disabled person perform certain jobs. VR
is provided to eligible inmates who are nearing the end of their sentence.
Volunteer Leave Program – This program, also called “CV Passes”, allows selected minimum custody level II and level
III inmates to go into the community with an approved volunteer sponsor
for up to six hours, no more than three times a week. Inmates who are a part of
this program are approaching the end of their sentence and have demonstrated
positive behavior and responsibility. The Division of Prisons trains citizens
to be com- munity volunteer sponsors. The purpose of this program is to allow
inmates an opportunity to get re-acquainted with the community, attend
religious services, or to participate in other positive activities that will
help in their transition into the community. Family members cannot be a community volunteer
sponsor for their relative in prison. An inmate on a community volunteer leave
pass cannot have any contact
with family members.
A major goal of the Division of Prisons is to encourage inmates to change those
behaviors that contributed to their arrest and imprisonment. Self-improvement
programs such as Anger Management, Character Education, Think Smart, Life Skills,
and Thinking for a Change are some of the programs inmates can attend to help
them make better decisions, improve their self-worth, and learn effective
The Division of Prisons recognizes the importance of family. A number of
classes are offered that assist inmates in being better parents by helping them
to recognize the needs of their children, and responsibilities to them. These
pro- grams help inmates work to maintain and improve relationships with their
children and family during this difficult time and upon their release.
Some of the parenting programs offered are
Motheread, Fatheread, STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting), and
Prison MATCH (Mothers and Their Children). Parenting programs are offered at
selected prisons. The MATCH Program is only offered at the North Carolina
Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh.
Planning for an inmates release back into the community at the end of the
sentence is very important to his or her success. Time spent in prison learning
new skills and developing good habits is necessary for a law-abiding future
upon release. These programs assist inmates in planning how to find employment,
housing, transportation, continue in their addiction recovery, further their
education, and how to seek out available resources in the community. Family and
friends can assist the inmate with this planning.
This program is available to minimum
custody level III inmates who are near the end of their sentence. The
purpose of this program is to allow an inmate to begin re- establishing
themselves with their family and community. An approved responsible immediate
family member serves as the home leave sponsor and must be with the inmate at
all times. All activities planned for the family visit are pre-approved by the
prison staff and restrictions are placed on the visits. The inmate and the
family sponsor must follow all of the rules and instructions. Only those
inmates who have gained the highest level of trust are granted family visits.
Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – These are part-time programs that occur
in the prison facility once a week, normally in the evening hours. It is up to
the inmate whether or not to participate in AA or NA but he or she is
encouraged to attend to help in their recovery. These programs are offered at
Accountability and Responsibility (SOAR) – This is a treatment program in the Division of Prisons for male
inmates who are sex offenders. Inmates in this program learn appropriate and
responsible social and sexual behavior. Inmates must volunteer for this
program, admit to committing a sexual offense, and be willing and able to
participate in a highly emotional group as part of the treatment experience.
and Crafts –
Inmates are given the opportunity to participate in recreational activities as
well as arts and crafts classes and contests. These activities are
opportunities for improvement and are usually offered after work activities are
Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
The primary responsibility of the Division
of Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency Programs is to deliver treatment programs
and services to inmates in realistically dealing with their substance abuse and
to develop a support network to aid in avoiding sub- stance abuse in the
future. There are four treatment programs offered at certain prison facilities.
The following is a brief description of those programs.
DART (Drug and
Alcohol Recovery Treatment) – This program offers continuing treatment, recovery, and after
care services to inmates. It begins when an inmate is identified as having the
need for drug/alcohol treatment when he or she first comes into prison. Inmates
are then referred to one of the several Division of Prisons residential
treatment facilities across the state. Following the inmate’s stay at the
facility, they will return to regular population in a prison facility and
participate in an 8 to 12 weeks aftercare program. During the offender’s time
in prison, he or she may attend Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous
to continue in his or her recovery. Inmates who participate regularly and are
within six weeks of their release from prison will be referred to a special
community transition program called the “Winners Circle.” DART 24 is another
short-term program that is available to inmates.
Alliance for Recovery and General Education) – This program is for chemically dependent
youth offenders in prison. SARGE offers nine months of residential treatment
and three months of aftercare following their release. This program is
available at Morrison Youth Institution and West- ern Youth Institution.
DART-DWI – This is a specialized
program that is located at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, NC for male probationers or parolees who have been
convicted of Driving While Impaired (DWI). This program can be ordered
by a judge as a condition of probation or by the Parole Commission as a
condition of his parole. At DART-DWI, there is a 28-day 12-Step program for up
to 100 probationers and parolees and a 90-day therapeutic community program for
up to 200 probationers. Offenders in these pro- grams return to the supervision
of a probation/parole officer upon release.
There are several private residential facilities who contract with the
Department of Correction to provide residential treatment to male and female
inmates who are near their release. While an inmate is at one of these
facilities, they can participate in community services, vocational training,
and work release while receiving drug/ alcohol treatment.
Community Program – There are two substance abuse therapeutic programs being offered
for female inmates. One is WRAP (Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program) at
Fountain Correctional Center for Women and LATCH (Last Alternative Therapeutic
Community of Hope) at North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women.
Some improvements that can be made
at the San Quentin State Prison would be to get the workers more training, so
they will be able to handle the security threat groups. The San Quentin State
Prison should get more programs that will grab the prisoner’s attention and get
them to want to get involved in the programs. The gangs that identify at these
prisons should be separated from the other gangs so there will be less threats
and the less prison fights. Keeping gangs separated is hard to because the
gangs are not in the same state and the leaders of the gangs can call the shots
The prison is situated on a prime real estate
overlooking the San Francisco Bay. This prison sits on over 275 acres of land.
This facility is almost 150 years old. There are some people that would like to
see the prison retired and the land used for housing. There are also some
people that wants to see the prison turned into a historic site and made
untouchable by developers. In the future San Quentin might close.