Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bad Image

I remember way back when I first started thinking about writing a blog. Other than having a place to rant and blow off steam (I really needed that then, more than I do now) was a chance to try and correct the image that people have of corrections officers in general.

Like most people, before I started working here I had absolutely no idea what it was like inside of a prison. All I knew what what I saw on movies and mainstream teevee. Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile and Big House and Lockup. And all I knew about corrections officers was that they all seemed to be either sadists or ex pro wrestlers or big bellied good ol' boys like the sheriff from "Smokey and the Bandit."

Then I actually got inside and found out that most of my preconceived notions were wrong. Sure, we have our share of idiots. A few hotheads and troublemakers and nogoodniks who do little more than cause trouble for everybody else and make us all look bad. Those are the ones who end up on the news and make people say "Those people are no better than the inmates!"

Because that is what alot of the public thinks about us. They watch the same teevee shows I did.

Often when I run into someone who doesn't know me and I tell them I work at the prison they look at me sideways like they are trying to see if I'm some sort of serial killer in disguise. Obviously I'm not big enough to be an ex wrestler. And my belly isn't quite big enough to run for sheriff.

And they are quite surprised to find that sometimes I can be quite pleasant when I'm not provoked. I can actually read and write. I'm not an alcoholic and I don't beat my wife (she'd kick my butt if I tried, anyway) and I'm not "on the take" for some drug cartel.

Like 99.9% of the rest of us, all over the country and probably all over the world. We are just here trying to do a job and support ourselves and our families the best we can and go home in one piece at the end of the night.

Fame? Nuh-uh. None to be had here. Not unless I do something phenomenally stupid. That's more like infamy, anyway. And people expect that from us.

Fortune? No way, Jose! Even if I were corrupt it wouldn't be worth the consequences. With our obviously ridiculously high pay and outrageous benefits package I should be happy to do my job at half the wages! (You'll note I have a very snarky look on my face right now.)

Survival? Yeah, that's about it. Like I said this evening talking to Sgt Banty, this is the only true growth industry left in this country. Until we start shipping our inmates to Mexico or Pakistan or China, there will always be jobs to be had with the DOC.

Man, I sure hope nobody takes that idea seriously. I think. Maybe.

But, unless this blog goes super mega viral and gets translated into a hundred languages, I suspect we will always be stuck with this horrible public image.

Maybe, if we're lucky, our image will keep a small handful of real morons from applying for the job. And that's always a plus, in my book.

Tuesday is going to be National Golf Day, World Animal Day, Improve Your Office Day, Cinnamon Roll Day and Ten-Four Day.



  1. You can't worry about what other people think of you. Those who would judge you based on your job aren't worth worrying over anyway. Besides, every job has its stereotype. I'm a crazy psychologist (oops, that one's correct in my case!) Carry on.

  2. Lolamouse- I don't really care what people think about me, personally. But most of the folk I work with are decent people who don't deserve the bad rep we have.

    I'm kind of glad you weren't here a few years ago when I was complaining about the pshrinks all the time. Used to butt heads with them on a daily basis. Now most of them walk the other way when they see me coming. Heh.. heh...

  3. No worries about that! I don't get along with many in my profession either! Actually, I don't know if I'm allowed to say "my profession" any more since I haven't really practiced for over a decade, since my daughter was born. I find a lot of psychologists to be insufferable elitists who think they always know what is best for everyone and are quite oblivious to their own faults, of which they tend to have many.