Poem: Inside the Fence

Forced overtime and a large inmate population creates a dangerous environment


Calling all poets! CorrectionsOne’s poetry column highlights some of the inspirational, moving and funny poems authored by our readers.

This poem is by Sean Anderson who has served as a correctional officer for three years: "I worked in the second largest prison in Wisconsin for most of that time. Forced overtime and a large inmate population can lead to complacency and sometimes a dangerous environment. Fights happen on a semi-regular basis, with staff making quick responses. I love my job but the overtime was rough."

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Mandatory overtime is a daily issue for many correctional officers. (Photo/Pixabay)
Mandatory overtime is a daily issue for many correctional officers. (Photo/Pixabay)

Inside the Fence

Through the gate

Then X-ray scanning

We made the unit

We’re all still standing

Into a world

You can’t imagine

Doors banging

Keys rattling

Another day inside the fence

My team

My one defense

No extra staff

Two E-med trips

We’ll make do

Damn short staffing

While standing guard

Out on the yard

Inmates yelling

Some are fighting

We run in

And strike like lightning

The orange cloud hangs heavy there

It gets in your eyes, your lungs, your hair

Sometimes there’s blood

But not this time

We had stopped it on a dime

One struggles in his restraints

While the other mourns his burning eyes

I guess this calls for a timeline

1500 the shift barely started

And here we are

Some are bruised and cut

Now the burning’s started

OC soaked in and causing discomfort

No uniform change for 7 hours

Or maybe 15, who the hell knows

We’ll just see how the call list goes

I make the door

Man that’s sweet

A man in white how discrete

Great I’m ordered for 8 more hours

I guess I’ll get out

On time tomorrow

I hope.

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