Correctional officers

 

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  1. One of the issues discussed in the presentation was the role, or roles, of correctional officers. What do you think is their primary role? That is, if you were to think about how you might design an ideal prison or other correctional institution, and somebody who was interested in the job asked you what correctional officers in your institution do, what would you tell them are their key roles?
  2. In the state of Virginia, the average salary for a police officer is between $55,000-60,000. The averages for public school teachers and social workers are similar. For correctional officers, the average salary is about $10,000 less ($45,000-50,000) (Note: These are only state averages; these salaries vary widely by city/county). Although salary is not the only issue to consider in one’s profession, does this seem appropriate, given the roles each of these professions have in our society? Perhaps more importantly, do you think changes in the pay structure would affect the performance of correctional officers? Why or why not?
  3. Watch the following three “recruitment videos” for correctional officers (linked below). Based on these videos, do you think certain types of people might be drawn to the profession? What types of people would want to be correctional officers? And how do you think this selection process affects what goes on inside prisons?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aA6za89pyo&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWl5wEXdqi4&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMkXbDy_cmg&feature=youtu.be

 

  1. As you worked through the materials for this week, what did you find most enlightening or interesting? What questions developed as you completed the readings and watched the presentations?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. One of the issues discussed in the presentation was the role, or roles, of correctional officers. What do you think is their primary role? That is, if you were to think about how you might design an ideal prison or other correctional institution, and somebody who was interested in the job asked you what correctional officers in your institution do, what would you tell them are their key roles?
    1. Their primary role is to be a peacekeeper. They are there to make sure that there are no problems between inmates and to keep the facility safe. If I was to design an ideal prison, I would tell interested parties that their key roles are to make sure that safety is kept between inmates and that there is no illegal activity and contraband in the facility.
  2. In the state of Virginia, the average salary for a police officer is between $55,000-60,000. The averages for public school teachers and social workers are similar. For correctional officers, the average salary is about $10,000 less ($45,000-50,000) (Note: These are only state averages; these salaries vary widely by city/county). Although salary is not the only issue to consider in one’s profession, does this seem appropriate, given the roles each of these professions have in our society? Perhaps more importantly, do you think changes in the pay structure would affect the performance of correctional officers? Why or why not?
    1. As with teachers, I believe that correctional officers should be paid more too. I believe that they are unpaid and often overworked. It is important they are paid fairly for their work. I think changes in the pay structure would positively affect the performance of correctional officers. The last thing that you want to do is have officers quit their jobs because they are unsatisfied with their job and the pay associated with it.
  3. In the PowerPoints, there were links to several “recruitment videos” for correctional officers. Based on these videos, do you think certain types of people might be drawn to the profession? What types of people would want to be correctional officers? And how do you think this selection process affects what goes on inside prisons?
    1. I found the first and third videos with the music very cheesy. It was like it was trying to be an action movie. On the other hand, the 2nd video was informative and showed the everyday tasks of the job. I think people who like teamwork and like to help others might be drawn to the profession. However, it is important that interested people know the stresses and downsides of the job. It is definitely a stressful and sometimes underpaid job. Nobody should expect to be paid six figures for their work. Not to mention that it can be a physical job as well when it comes to dealing with physical altercations with inmates.
  4. As you worked through the materials for this week, what did you find most enlightening or interesting? What questions developed as you completed the readings and watched the presentations?
    1. I really enjoyed this week’s material. I found it really interesting to hear about the stresses that correctional officers face every day in and outside of work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. I think a correctional officer’s primary role is to be a security guard type authority figure in the prison. Safety is at the center of their role. They are there to keep the inmates safe from each other and the other staff, like social workers, doctors, and mental health professionals, safe from the inmates as well. This can be interpreted as babysitting, because on good days, this means just watching over inmates as they do their daily routine.
  2. I believe correctional officers should be paid more because of all the responsibilities they juggle. I could also go on for 100 pages about why I believe that teachers should be paid more, including the fact that they are required to have more formal higher education than COs or police officers, but that is outside the scope of this class. COs clearly have a lot on their plate, and financial burden should not be added to the mix of stressors in their lives. If they were paid more they may be more able, and willing, to put their best foot forward while on the job. This would benefit everyone from the inmates to other staff and potentially prevent abuses of power.
  3. I think the videos gave off a militaristic and powerful vibe. The types of people that may be attracted to this are people who like control and power. Of course, this is not true for every CO, some may have just come across the job and need the money, but the dangerous aspect of the job is likely to attract people who like risk-taking. When you combine the tough-on-crime people that the job draws in with the stressors we discussed previously, this can greatly affect the behavior of any person working in that position. From the Stanford prison experiment, we know that even regular college students can become power hungry, forceful, and aggressive when put in a situation with such a power imbalance. Therefore it is understandable that people who seek out this job may be more susceptible to these effects on their behavior.
  4. One thing that struck me was that in one of the advertisement videos, they were listing off aspects of the job, like inspections, and instead of listing ensuring safety or something of the like, they listed “use of force” as an aspect of the job. Earlier in the video they showed COs putting an inmate in a choke hold and shooting flash bangs into cells. While I understand that this may be a necessity at times, it seems like advertising that as a cool perk of the job is odd and would attract people who are looking to exert their dominance and “put criminals in their place” instead of keep the peace, at least from my viewpoint.

 

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