JPay Blog

Focus on: Corrections Officers

by an anonymous Warden

Corrections officers aren’t the swearing, callous, violent thugs that television and movies make them out to be. The vast majority of prison guards and correctional officers would never dream of abusing an inmate, and those who do are themselves criminal. There is no excuse for abuse of power or authority in any situation, but especially in the penitentiary system, and those who do commit such crimes are held accountable for their actions.
Guards are trained to treat inmates with respect, even in the face of obscenity, threats, or actual violence. The danger they face every day at work is very real, and they certainly rise to the occasion without losing their essential humanity. Most prison guards are empathetic, and regard the prisoners as people, not just chattel, or a part of the job. The goal is for corrections officers to treat the inmates how they would wish to be treated should they be incarcerated, and to entirely believe in the rehabilitation system.
Many corrections officers are also trained in how to deal with inmates with mental illnesses, who are caught up in the system but unable to wholly function within it.  They treat such prisoners with the dignity that should be afforded to any human being, regardless of any other factors, instead of judging them and meting out any sort of punishment.
Corrections officers are constantly instructed to perform their duties in at the highest level of professionalism. If they are unable to conduct themselves thusly, they are asked to find employment elsewhere. Unfortunately, the position sometimes tends to self-select towards employees who enjoy exercising power, and it is a huge part of the penitentiary system to train the officers to wield their authority appropriately. On the whole, these efforts are successful, and it is only the stories of a few bad apples that represent corrections officer’s current reputation in the media.