Despite having on a daily basis to manage, handle, and, in many cases, protect violent and non violent offenders, instead of the law enforcers which they are, correctional officers are treated as low class security guards. Correctional deputies are, indubitibly, the forgotten defenders of America’s streets. Could it be, since they are not physically on the streets, like their counterparts, with sidearms and cruisers, that they have been forgotten?
When the valiant police officer apprehends the offender, he drops him off to the correctional deputy; and, until that offender’s destiny is decided by the legal process, the offender will remain under the correctional deputie’s supervision. And while in this country an offender is rightfully due to a speedy trial, a trial oftentimes is not speedy at all.
After an inmate’s case court date after court date has been continued by a judge, correctional deputies will indeed find that they have been managing the same criminal for years at a time. Here, of course, I am speaking of those brave officers that guard our jails, and not of those that guard penitenturies.
These men and women too, of the more long term penitentuaries, are much ado more credit for their staunch patience, and true empathy in dealing with convicted felons. In short, police officers, whose job is no less demanding, after apprehending a fugitive, spend very little time with them, most of the time, make more money than their counterparts, who spend months, sometimes years, decades, with them.
That is certainly not to say that street officers don’t spend as much time with offenders like corrections deputies. The time they spend with their subjects, however, are, by nature, haphazard. And so because of the random nature of their encounters with prior offenders, time to develop “relationships,” with, not only them, but, even, with the subjects of the community under their protection, usually just is not there.
In addition, there is a very small chance of an offender being apprehended by the same police officer that captured him on his prior incident. Once the offender is brought back into custody, on the other hand, the chances that he will be supervised by a familiar corrections officer are extremely high. In his numerous years on the streets, no doubt, a police officer is bound to see the same career offender as much as the Corrections deputy.
That is understood. Between the two officer types, and the offender, however, the relationships that are developed via time’s everlasting stretch are vastly different, yet intricately interwoven. The dangers that each of the officers face are slightly different, but they still are no less dangers. Their lives still are on the line, and their families still, for at least eight hours, have on their hearts the safety of their loved one.
If any law enforcement officer is to collect a comfortable salary, one would think, an officer such as a correctional deputy is justly due one. From that of the Street Officer, the corrections deputy’s jobs, their duties, and their responsibilities differ, nonetheless, they, without question, are just as, if not more, important. A comfortable salary is not the case for a corrections deputy in state governed jails and prisons, or in private owned ones.
Private prisons, no doubt, are infamous for underpaying their employees much more than government operated facilities. Somewhere in a rural area, near some small town, private prison companies construct their maximum security facility. And when it’s up and running, they hire all of the poor rural folk, and pay them a little above minimum wage.
That’s truly a heart wrenching wage to provide for one’s family. It’s even more heart wrenching when, at work, some convict tosses feces or urine or seamen into one’s face. Or, to be stabbed with shanks, brutally beaten, raped, even murdered–all of these possibilities, for an an annual income of 35,000? That’s what I call a rip-off.
Furthermore, a huge reason there are so many incidents involving police officers exercising excessive force or being downright brutal is, I believe, that many officers, after training, before they have any experience handling criminals via the jail system, they are immediately assigned to the streets as patrolman. In many police academies and departments across the nation this is an error–a huge one.
How can someone who has never patrolled a criminal, be given a weapon, and assigned to protect an area, for which, many times, he has no background in? Nor is he even an active member of the culture. Before any police officer is allowed to patrol the streets, it is appropriate, that they spend, at the very least, two years as a correctional deputy.
Spending time in the corrections arena will help season the potential street officer. It will assist in helping train their security tempermant. If an officer is well experienced in dealing with offenders while they themselves have not a duty weapon, then perhaps, when they do patrol the streets, they will summon more peaceful, practical techniques when dealing with offenders.
When I speak of peaceful and practical techniques, I am referring to techniques learned by correctional officers which allow them to avoid uses of force. Use of force, in many of the correctional facilities across the nation, are in most cases, the last resort to an ongoing, seemingly impossible situation.
In jails, most of the time, its talk down, before take down. In simpler lingo, correctional officers are talented negotiators; they have the trained instinct of appealing to the emotions of the offender in order to receive, in turn, some kind of cooperation. And most of the time this appeal to the offenders emotion, is only possible because of the relationship-quality that is exclusive for correctional deputies.
What better method to increase the effiencency of our police departments than to require before any officer steps foot on the street, they must spend time on the jail floors–amongst the subjects they will inevitably encounter?
When a person is physically sick, they admit themselves to a hospital. There, they will be miserable, of course, laying all their time away on a hospital bed. Nothing can be done for themselves; the food eaten by them was not chosen by them; and the nurse cares for them like a mother would a child.
When a person is mentally sick, they are admitted to a mental health treatment center. And here, they will, like the physically sick, undergo a similar experience. Their food, their movement, all of this is regulated by someone other than themselves. In these two cases, we have a physically sick person and a mentally sick one, but both of their destinies are, somewhat, the same.
But, there is a third sickness that has yet to be mentioned. This sickness concerns those who are morally conscious. People who wind up in jail are people who, in some way, have acquired a moral sickness, an ethical sickness.
Thus, much like the physical sick person who needs the nurse for everything, the mentally sick person who is no longer morally consious, and needs the behavior specialist for everything, the ethically sick person knows, more or less, the difference between right and wrong, and selects the latter.
And much of the time, the morally sick person winds up in a similar situation as the physically and mentally sick. The only difference is that their facilities are not hospitals or mental health centers, but jails and penitentuarys. And their care-takers are not nurses or behavioral specialist, but they are correctional deputies. These are men and women, the forgotten warriors of the streets. They are the doctors, the nurses, for the ethically sick.
It is only right, only fair that their salary reflect all of the hard work and sacrifice they endure, every single day.