Governor Jerry Brown announced Wednesday that former California Correctional Institution warden Michael Stainer, 50, has been appointed director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Adult Institutions.
He has been acting director there since Aug. 1, and served as deputy director of facility operations from 2012 until last summer. Although he was a Tehachapi resident since 1978, Stainer now lives in El Dorado Hills.
"Tehachapi has always been home," Stainer said in a phone interview. "I'm so glad I was able to raise my kids in Tehachapi and I miss the people in Tehachapi."
Stainer held multiple positions at CCI from 1987 to 2011, including correctional counselor supervisor, lieutenant, sergeant, officer, warden, acting warden, chief deputy warden, associate warden and correctional captain. He left CCI from 2002 to 2004 to be a correctional captain at the California State Prison Los Angeles.
"We all have our loyalties," Stainer said. "But I think over the years Tehachapi has had some of the best staff in corrections. Every single person I worked with there had an influence on me, and so did the people in Tehachapi."
Stainer is a second generation warden of CCI. His father, the late Jerry Stainer, was warden at Corcoran State Prison, 1989-91, then warden at CCI for two years, retiring from that institution in 1993.
Stainer was 15 when his family moved from the suburbs of Sacramento to Cummings Valley when his father first went to work at the facility. From then until he graduated from Tehachapi High School in 1981, he lived with his family in a house on the prison grounds.
As director of the Division of Adult Institutions, Stainer will oversee "every angle, every facet" of the entire prison operations outside of medical or mental services, he said.
Stainer said his goals include making prisons safer, stepping up drug and gang interdiction, and bridging connections with the community.
"I'd love to be more proactive at litigation avoidance," he said.
Stainer added that he supports the governor's "prison fix" plan, or Senate Bill 105.
"I think the governor is not getting the credit he deserves [on this bill]," Stainer said.
The new director expressed some bashfulness at the attention generated by his appointment.
"I kind of like to keep a low profile," he said. "I'm glad people seem to be happy for my appointment. Hopefully I can do them justice and not disappoint."
Stainer still needs to be confirmed by the State Senate, but he said that process may take up to a year.