The first week of May is designated Correctional Officer Week, a time when we should honor and recognize those professionals who have made a difference in our correctional facilities and our communities.
Correctional officers, like police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, are public servants, called upon to keep our communities safe. However, unlike many other civil service positions, correctional officers are not often recognized for their role in transitioning offenders back into the community to become law-abiding, productive citizens. They are the unsung heroes.
In addition to serving as highly qualified law enforcement professionals, corrections officers use their positions to provide crucial support and mentoring service to inmates, many of whom lack the skills, the inspiration, or the incentive to prepare for their lives once they reenter the community.
Correctional officers who provide guidance and leadership to inmates make our communities safer and keep prison recidivism rates low. Correctional officers take the term “corrections” to heart, employing professional concern, dedication and commitment to the offenders they supervise as to produce valuable members of society once they are released.
Here are just a few of the ways correctional officers are making a difference in our correctional institutions:
- Correctional officers role-model socially acceptable behavior to the inmates they are tasked with supervising.
- Correctional officers redirect in appropriate behavior by holding inmates accountable for their actions.
- Correctional officers reinforce positive social behaviors, through rewards, among inmates seeking change.
- Correctional officers encourage inmates to seek guidance, counseling and education through outside agencies and community groups.
- Correctional officers constantly use their knowledge of inmate behavior and motivation to encourage positive conduct.