Prison Warden
January 1999

“Prison Warden,” Ensign, Jan. 1999, 69

Prison Warden

“I bring gospel principles into my management, and folks know I am LDS,” says Tom Carey, warden of the Tehachapi State Prison in Kern County, California. “For example, I don’t tolerate vulgar language from staff or inmates. And if a movie has graphic violence, sex, or language, we won’t show it.”

Brother Carey, appointed to his position in February 1998, is perhaps the first Latter-day Saint warden in California history. With approximately 6,000 inmates and 1,600 staff, Tehachapi is one of the largest prisons in California. In his capacity as warden, Brother Carey is the hiring authority for the institution and is a spokesman for the governor on prison-related issues. He also provides functional supervision of inmate medical care and is responsible for public safety.

Because he is on call 24 hours a day, Brother Carey and his wife, Tamsin, live in a home on the prison grounds. “It’s nice being close to work,” he says. The Careys’ five children and six grandchildren visit them often there.

“If my administration could leave a legacy based on only one principle, it would be that everyone is significant,” says Brother Carey. “Each one of us is known by the Savior, and we’re very significant to Him. If you believe that in your heart, then you treat people accordingly.”

Brother Carey serves as a teacher in the high priest quorum of the Mountain Park Ward, Bakersfield California East Stake