WPPA Recognizes Correctional Officers Week, May 3–9, 2009

During the week of May 3–9, the WPPA proudly thanks correctional officers for the jobs they do. It is a time for us to think about the correctional officers in Wisconsin and across the nation that serve their communities as well as those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Few Americans have a more difficult or less publicly visible job than the brave men and women who work in our correctional facilities. Correctional officers who work in jails and prisons are responsible for the safety, containment, and control of prisoners. Correctional officers must protect inmates from violence from fellow prisoners, while encouraging them to develop skills and attitudes that can help them become productive members of society after their release.

Corrections is an ever-changing profession. The days of the huge, muscle-bound, gravel-voiced, shotgun-toting convict guards are long gone. Corporal punishment is a thing of the distant past. Corrections, like law enforcement and the criminal element itself, has become more sophisticated. More than ever before, the correctional workers of today are college educated and well-trained. More extensive background investigations are being conducted to ensure that correctional workers are of sound moral character.

Prisons and jails are designed so that inmates have available a positive, credible avenue to the executive staff when they have a complaint or grievance. Everything that can be done, with the monies allotted, is being done to provide the inmate with a safe and beneficial environment. Prisons and jails are not warehouses for human beings; prisoners cannot be put on a shelf until their sentence is completed. They have physical and social needs that must be met.

It is only appropriate to also recognize the spouses and loved ones of correctional officers. It takes special people to put up with their schedules, and to confront the dangerous reality of a correctional officer’s work environment.

Correctional officers play an integral role in protecting and promoting public safety, and they should be commended for a job well done – not only this week, but year around.

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