What's it like being a corrections officer?

Imagine being a naked teacher in a room the size for a football field full of students


A question recently posted to Quora asked, 'what's it like being a corrections officer?' Hic Jacet Moesta's response is below, but add your own in the comments.

I have been a corrections officer in a county jail with a population of 3,800 plus inmates now for 11 years. Imagine being a naked teacher in a room the size for a football field full of students, or a bleeding goldfish in the middle of 500 sharks. 

Being an officer in the first years of employment, you often feel alone and isolated. New officers are not welcome by veteran officers from months to years. A new officer can make a mistake that can get them and you killed. Ironically, administration does not recognize years of service until you complete two years. In the academy, you are taught just enough to get you hurt, and not get sued. You learn you have fewer rights than inmates. You learn excessive paranoia and fear and how to channel them to stay alive. You learn to be firm but fair. You learn honor and truth are a must. Respect is a must. Wait, this is sounding like I am the incarcerated...

(AP Photo/Steve Ruark, FIle)
(AP Photo/Steve Ruark, FIle)

You don’t have a name and then you are forgotten. You can be locked in a room with 72 to 144 inmates with literally just a line painted on the floor separating you from them. You can be walking in by a “tank” (standard as seen on TV bars with a food slot) and hoping you do not get anything thrown on you, and I do mean anything. You become very strong, jaded person with a dark sense of humor, go crazy and depressed, or become an inmate. If you stay 5-10 years, you are institutionalized. Wait, this is still sounding like I am the inmate...

You will attend many funerals of co-workers, most natural or self-induced. You will be in physical fights. You will have scares both visual and mental. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud that I work where I do, that my profession is on the top ten worse jobs of 2014. Proud I can walk where cops don’t want to go without their guns. 

I have learned humility and humanity from the dark side of life's perspective, and that I am a better person deep in my soul. My fundamental morals are rock solid. 

On the lighter side, you can discuss dismemberment and body fluids while eating a gourmet meal. You find humor in other people's stupidity.

You believe the government should require extensive testing and permits prior to reproduction. You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says "it sure is quiet around here."

You think caffeine should be available in IV form. It occurs to you one night that you really have entered, "The Twilight Zone." You freeze when you hear someone yell out the word “Boss” when in public.

When you drop a pill under your bed, you look for kite string and an empty toothpaste container to fish it out with. You find yourself patting your kids down when you hug them good-bye.

You know that MacGyver really didn’t know anything because toothpaste is more useful than duct-tape. You give out antacids as a cure for heart attacks.

No matter how messy your family is you have met dirtier people. Your significant other accuses you of talking to them like inmates.

Your hair clippers break, no worries you have a razor and a comb. When removing snakes, lions, unicorns and other life forms from cells are common occurrences in a mental health cellblock.

You can decipher requests written in chicken scratch, inmate-phonics, and 4th century Egyptian hieroglyphics. You are fluent in multiple cultures and dialects of Inmate-Speak.

You examine porn magazines and Bibles in the same way; searching for notes, drugs and implements of destruction. 

So I guess in the end officers and inmates are the same, except the morals of the officer keep them free.

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