Magazine article American Jails

A Career by Chance or Choice?

Magazine article American Jails

A Career by Chance or Choice?

Article excerpt

This issue of American Jails highlights employees who are committed to a career in corrections. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for what you do. I know that all too often you are under appreciated.

There are 3,300 jail facilities across our great Nation with hundreds of thousands of us employed in some capacity at a jail facility. Many of us wear different colored uniforms. We each have different roles in the lives of offenders, but we share the same purpose- keeping our communities safe and releasing offenders back into the community in better condition than when they were received.

How did we find ourselves here? Was this our career of choice or a career by chance? We are serving a population about which most of our neighbors want to forget exists. If we were to poll our members, few would say that their life mission was to work in a jail. In fact, the majority of us would admit that we just "ended up" with our first-tier assignment in a jail. I have heard many powerful stories of how individuals became a corrections officer and then why they decided to make corrections/ detention their career. Working in a jail is not for the weak at heart. It requires diligence, flexibility, sacrifice, resilience, dedication, tact, diplomacy, and many, many other qualities that still wouldn't accurately capture a shift.

At some point in our work life, we arrive at a fork in the road. We can drudge our way through a 30-year work schedule, or we can create a career. …

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