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Lead Respectfully, Achieve Respect
By A. Allen-Jones, MPA - PHD Candiate in Organizational Leadership
Published: 02/01/2010

Meeting Have you recently visited the correctional officer forums? If you have, you may have noticed a troubling trend. There seems to be a steady posting of frustration among correctional officers regarding their role in law enforcement. As a professional in the corrections and court service field for over 20 years, I can tell you that I too can relate with the feeling of being unappreciated, but there is hope in the horizon.

One of the things I’ve shared with fellow officers and colleagues is that the only people who can really change the view of the corrections profession are corrections professionals. Oh sure scriptwriters and authors have tried one way or another to influence the profession, but as they say, the proof is in the pudding. In order to build up the character of corrections, and administrators need to be true to their profession. There are dishonorable individuals in every profession. Don’t believe me, look toward the world wide web and you’ll see news on doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers, preachers, you name it. This only points out the reality of a common existence among all professions. You can also take the other route and find good in every profession as well.

What has seemed to plague the corrections field is the exhausting list of poorly portrayed, and uneven characterization of corrections officers and wardens. If one would believe what is seen on the screen, correctional officers and related staff may very well find themselves locked up in the cell next to the prisoners. Where does the truth lie? In the reality of the day-to-day activities. The room checks, the medical trips, court transportation, psychological and medical services, religious preservation, encouraging comments to inmates, and these often go unreported or under reported.

There are of course specials and documentaries that convey the flavor or reality behind the cement walls. The reality of officers and administrators being open, honest, compassionate, and caring individual. The most respected aspect is that correctional officers have chosen to service th public by placing their lives on the line every day to keep the public safe. You want to see this world without correctional officers and administrators? No problem, open the gates and let them all go free, or go a day with the facility ran without the intervention of correctional officers and administrators. Recently, Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, has come under criticism for implementing an “Early Release” practice. It didn’t take long for public outcry when the released inmates began re-offending; the public wanted the offenders under lock and key. Well the news is lock and key doesn’t solely control the inmates. Correctional Officers, with their training, commitment , and professionalism work to contain order. It is through the professionalism that correctional officers and administrators gain respect and cooperation. Nothing and no one is perfect, but perhaps Illinois has set a bit of an example as to the importance and reality of corrections. To the purpose that it serves in the community and the protection it gives to the public. Correctional Officers and administrators who are true to their profession should walk in pride and know that the job they do, is most certainly purposeful.

Editor Note: A. Allen-Jones, is a corrections veteran and holds a degree in Law Enforcement Administration. A. Allen-Jones is President of Security Inventions and Sales & Marketing Director of The EcoTensil Security Utensil, a Spoondliz Product.

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