We never intended to get into the correctional career, but as it so happened, my husband took a job as a correctional officer in a neighboring state so that we can establish ourselves as residents there. I am mildly curious how they do things differently down there. So far their hiring practices are about the same: if you can breathe, talk, and run a little; if you’re willing to shoot to kill a running figure; if you’re not a felon yourself; you’re in.
At the end of the day, corrections comes down to quantity rather than quality. Few make it a career, so you have to constantly replace the ones who have left or promoted. Eventually, you have to take anyone who applies. I don’t mean to discount the excellent individuals who do good work and maintain their decency, but they are few. I’d be interested, after my experience, to hear strong, effective alternatives to warehousing criminals, but it is not my soapbox or passion.
We were talking about this at lunch the other day, me, the math teacher, and the automotive instructor. Keep in mind that our state continues to shut down prisons because we simply don’t have the prisoners to fill them. It’s a good problem to have. “The most obvious place to build a prison,” blurted out the math teacher, “is between the two major cities.” I was horrified, just imagining what a prison would to the pristine communities that currently dot the region. “If you think about it,” he continued, “they always build prisons where no one lives. You don’t have a workforce out there, so people end up commuting. It doesn’t help those towns even though everyone says it’s supposed to help their economy.” Prisons ruin towns one way or another, and no access to a workforce is going to change that. I saw it in my hometown, I see it in the town where I work. Let’s hope that when the numbers spike again, as cycles tell us they will some day, no one thinks like he does.
We hope that my husband will not be with the state prisons for long. The very week that he accepted the position we learned that one of the inmates sliced up the face of one of the guards. This is to say that my blog is not yet finished. After I have unpacked most of our boxes, taken my kids berry picking and fishing, and put a few fully, home cooked meals on the table I will be able to make sense of the journals I wrote my first year on the job. At the same time, I will be busy with homeschooling, tutoring, and furthering my self-education on matters of education that came to light from talking to my students over the past two years.