Jerry Stocker’s post-retirement life as an expressive artist stands in stark contrast to his 31-year career as a correctional officer with the California Department of Corrections.
“I am a different person now. Whereas my work required following a strict set of safety guidelines and constantly being alert and observant of dangerous situations, retirement has afforded me the opportunity to relax,” he said. “I’m no longer controlled by those strict prison rules.”
The 68-year-old Sacramento native moved to San Rafael when he was 13. For the next six years, he lived on the grounds of San Quentin State Prison where his dad was a printing instructor.
He originally aspired to be a dentist and was even accepted to the UC San Francisco School of Dentistry but ended up earning a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Cal State East Bay instead.
“Since I grew up in San Quentin housing, it seemed an easy transition to becoming a correctional officer,” he said. “It paid well, $600 per month for full-time work, which was a lot back then.”
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