Full interview (by category)
Getting along with other inmates
Time off for good behavior
Food and Commissary
Chino State Prison
14901 Central Avenue
Rodney: 7 years.
JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Rodney: Yeah we were in the courthouse cells which was bascially just a box.
Life On the Inside
When the California Institution for Men was first opened in 1941 it was referred to as a "prison without walls." There was literally just a barbwire livestock fence surrounding the campus to keep out the cows. Things have change and there are now walls around CIM or Chino State Prison.
The issue of prison overcrowding takes center stage in California and Chino is a prime example. A recent survey found there were 4,408 inmates housed at the facility. However, this facility was only supposed to house a total of 3,160. That's over a thousand extra inmates to manage.
Passing the time
The jail layout is in six main housing sections. Each section has three tiers and there are two men cells on each tier. The popular pastime for inmates is reading books. There is no television and outdoor rec time is limited to twice a week for three hours each time. There are also many educational and vocational programs that inmates can participate in along with various substance abuse support groups.
There is no getting around the fact that Chino is a very rough prison. There is a lot of gang activity. As a result and inmate who is not affiliated with a gang could find themselves caught up in a struggle. For the most part, gang members stick with their own.
As for the meals, a former inmate said "I'd rather eat airline food." At least there is a commissary available every week for prisoners to spend a maximum of $85 on snacks and other food items.
Good Behavior Policy
The good behavior policy in the California state prison system depends on the crime you were sentenced for. With non-violent offenders that policy is "day for day." That means for every day you serve you get one day off. Violent offenders are required to serve at least 85% of their original sentence.
Visitation and Telephone Policy
Phones are made available for inmates during the day but as you can imagine with the crowded conditions, the wait is often very long. If you wish to visit an inmate at Chino you must first fill out a Visitor Questionnaire. This should be provided to you by the inmate.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will conduct a complete background check on you before you'll be able to make an appointment for a visit. Visiting at Chino is on the weekends only.
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