A Thanks for Giving
With the holidays rapidly approaching, shop please take a moment to give thanks to those who do not get the holidays off. Our troops whether they are severing overseas or not, treat deserve a big thanks for keeping us safe. While we are safe in our homes eating our favorite meals, please take a moment and also give thanks for those of us in law enforcement. Law enforcement is far from a glamorous job, just talk with the patrol officer making his rounds or the correctional officer dealing with those who have been placed in prison.
What is it like to work in a state prison? There is a yearlong training period where you start with two to three weeks of classroom training. You then train with a Field Training Officer for two weeks before you are turned loose by yourself. During the first six months you have to study and pass 44 quizzes with a perfect score and then take a pass two big tests. During the first year you will work on different shifts and work assignments and will be changed about every two months. After the final test is taken then you can start reviewing your training manual with a Field Training Officer.
Once you have completed your training period then you will finally get a chance to bid for your shift and days off. So, this is when you get that easy state job, right? Wrong, you get to bid your job and days off based upon seniority. Since you just started you can only bid those jobs no one else wanted. How long does it take to get day shift with weekend off? Depending on the prison, you are looking at least 10 years. If you want day shift with weekends and holidays off, at least 15 years is not out of the question.
Well, it is just a daycare for adults, right? Not quite. Oregon licensing standards for daycare centers are:
Infants – 1 staff to 4 children
Toddlers – 1 staff to 4 children
Preschool – 1 staff to 10 children
School age – 1 staff to 15 children
Let’s look at one State prison in Oregon, Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. EOCI starting receiving inmates in 1985 and currently has approximately 1660 inmates, in celled and dormitory housing units. Each housing unit currently has between 68 and 90 inmates with one correctional officer. This year there has been 207 fights with 495 inmates involved. Three staff have been assaulted and several others were able to gain control of the inmate before been assaulted. During routine searches seven handmade weapons have been recovered.
These correction officers come to work every day not knowing the risks they face, but know the important role they play in being the role model for the inmates. We talk with them and encouraging them to see the positive strides they are making.
A recent study showed that 1 in 3 Correctional Officers shows systems of PTSD and 97% have reported witnessing violence, injury or death. Another study found that 34% of Correctional Officers suffer from PTSD. This compares to 14% of military veterans. The suicide rate is twice as high as both Police Officers and the general public. The National Institute of Corrections in 2008 found the life expectancy of a Correctional Officer after 20 years of work was 58, compared with a national average of 75.
So, when you sit down for that holiday meal, give thanks to all of those who sacrifice their time with families to serve the public.