Magazine article Corrections Forum

Viewpoint: The Forgotten Cop

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Viewpoint: The Forgotten Cop

Article excerpt

I am a law enforcement professional. I am the "forgotten cop," hidden from public view, doing a dangerous, thankless duty on the world's most dangerous beat: I am a New York State correctional officer in a maximum security correctional facility.

My beat is totally inhabited by convicted felons who tend to break laws, rules and regulations. I am outnumbered by as much as 20, 30 and even 40 to one during my workday. Contrary to popular belief, I work without a firearm. My neck is on the line every minute of every day. I am empowered by the state to enforce its penal laws and the rules and regulations of the Department of Correctional Services. In short, I am a policeman, hoping someday to receive the respect and approval of the public whom I silently serve.

A correctional facility is a very misunderstood environment. The average person has little knowledge of its workings. Society sends its criminals to correctional facilities, and as time passes, each criminal fades from memory until the collective prison population becomes just a vision where hordes of "bad people" are warehoused away from decent society in a place where they can cause no further harm. The notion that inmates cease to be a problem when they are incarcerated couldn't be further than the truth. …

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