“San Quentin is my second home and I’ll miss it a lot,” said Correctional Officer J.T. Evans as he spoke about his upcoming retirement. “I started working here Aug. 18, 1980. I was 21 years old and right out of college. I’ve done all of my 29 years here.” Nicknamed “The Brick” because of his imposing stature, Evans is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 275 pounds.
He credited his father, a respected law enforcement officer, for guiding him. “My dad was a policeman. He wanted his sons on the police force or in the military,” he explained.
“When I first walked in here it was tough because of the level of violence. There was hatred all around, of officers and of inmates. You had to be strong or you didn’t make it,” he said.
Asked about rehabilitative programs being cut due to the budget crisis, he said, “I’ve seen the positive end of it and by cutting those programs inmates revert back to who they were. It’s going to be a big downfall for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The ‘R’ might as well be taken out if you’re going to slice rehabilitation programs. Cuts affect the outcome of public safety in the long run and make higher recidivism rates.”
BAD PAROLE SYSTEM
Does he see a federal takeover? “No, the state will rebound.”
Asked what he would say to Gov. Schwarzenegger, he said, “I think that we have the worst parole system in the world. Either restructure it or get rid of it. Save California some major money.”
As for the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH), Evans said, “I feel the one problem with the BPH is that they get shot down (by the governor). Why have a board when you don’t trust their recommendations?”
Asked if he plans to be involved with S.Q. after retirement, he said, “Yes, I’d like to work here in some capacity, either part time or as a sponsor. S. Q. is my second family, I feel the administration here are all competent. We are the best prison in the state.”