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Folsom Prison’s Warden Kramer retires

By: Roger Phelps, The Telegraph
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Folsom State Prison saw a regime change Nov. 26 with the retirement of Warden Matthew Kramer. Kramer, 61, would likely be sticking around except for a surgically repaired knee he wants to give a full opportunity to recover, by leaving the post he held since June 2005. On Kramer’s orders, the prison improved security and escape provisions, he said. “In those three years, we had two escapes, and both escapees were caught the same day,” Kramer said. “This is a risk business. One of my biggest fears is an employee being hurt or an inmate getting out and doing something in the community.” Kramer sought to improve cohesion in the prison’s staff of management personnel. “There were four or five acting wardens prior to me getting here,” he said. “I wanted a consistent leadership team.” Kramer was warden at the state’s Susanville correctional facility before arriving in Folsom, where he took up residence in a house on Folsom State Prison grounds. “I’ve just moved to Granite Bay,” Kramer said. “I want to let the knee heal, do some traveling and then decide what I want to do.” Seth Unger, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Kramer laid a solid foundation for newly appointed Warden Mike Evans, who leaves a warden’s post at Salinas Valley State Prison. Kramer said the keys to doing a warden’s job well are “listening and communication.” “Then, you can coordinate programs and provide ethical leadership,” he said. Kramer’s tenure at Folsom saw the state place increased emphasis on rehabilitation of convicts. “Under Gov. Schwarzenegger, we’re in the infant stages of expanding programs for inmates,” he said. “We’re putting together a system to identify which inmates would benefit from which programs, and then follow that into parole,” Kramer said. “Folsom is one of the most high-profile prisons in the system,” Unger said. “Kramer does leave a strong management team in Folsom. We anticipate they will be able to do a very good job at continuing to manage the prison.” The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at rogerp@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment at folsomtelegraph.com.