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A Day in the Life of a...

A Day in the Life of a Corrections Officer - Yahoo

See What These Officers Go Through on a Daily Basis

Beth Callahan,Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 17, 2007

Imagine walking alone into a room full of convicted criminals. A murder walks by you and calls you a worthless piece of trash and then a burglar strides past and gives you an evil eye. Does this give you a chill up your spine? For Corrections Officers, this is a reality of their day to day life. Corrections Officers are usually not mentioned much in society or news unless one of them is injured or killed. These men and women are one of the many professions that are ignored and unappreciated. A large number of people do not really think about the inner workings of the prison system. I sat down with a Corrections Officer that wishes to remain nameless and he broke down some of the basic workings of his jail. He also detailed one day in his life in the Corrections system.

Most jails are broken down into sections called blocks. These blocks contain any number of jail cells and the doors to those cells open up into a day room. The day room consists of tables and chairs that are bolted to the floor and a television. During the day, the inmates are allowed out of the cells and into the day room where they watch television and play games. Corrections Officers do walk into the day rooms when the inmates are out to pass food trays and medications. Being a Corrections Officer is a very stressful job because you always have to keep your guard up because there are inmates that will attack the officers for no reason. The inmates are divided amongst the blocks depending on which category they fall into. The categories are:

-women inmates
-violent male inmates
-nonviolent male inmates
-homosexual and sex offender inmates

The day starts as Corrections Officers oversee trustees passing out breakfast trays. A trustee is an inmate that is in jail on a non-violent offense and has proven to be worthy of extra privileges by their good behavior. After the inmates eat, the trays are picked up and inmates are released into the day room. A call comes from dispatch that says there is a police officer bringing a person in. The booking process starts by doing a full pat down. They get finger printed and have the mug shots taken. Prisoners are then told to strip down to no clothing and must do certain poses and actions that allow officers to see if they are hiding anything in their body cavities or hair. This happens more than the average person would think. Prisoners are then led into a shower area where they are instructed to wash with de-lice soap. They then get a jail uniform and led to a holding cell. This jail has the inmate stay there until they go to court and then it is decided what block the person should go into.

Medication passes are next on the list. Corrections Officers have a large master list of medications and call out each inmate to take the medication they need. The most used medications are blood pressure and depression medications. No narcotic pain medications are allowed to be dispensed in the jail system.

Bang, Bang on a day room door alerts Corrections staff to a fight that has broken out in the day room. The officers assemble and rush in to break up the fight. Those inmates that are not involved must lie down on the floor with hands visible. This is a very dangerous situation because officers are at risk for riots and violent outbursts. The fight is over what channel the television should be on and it sends one man to get stitches and they both get written up. Assault charges may later be filed following an investigation.

A few more new inmates arrive at the jail to be booked in. Visitation is today and that means a busy and stressful day for officers. That is the end of this particular day but one can never know what the day will hold with this job. Jails are hard places where the worst of society do there time. There is one in most every town and they are usually not thought about. All the officers can do at the beginning of the day is hope that they will walk out at the end of it.