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Home > corrections 101 > Day 13: Interview with Martin Horn

Day 13: Interview with Martin Horn

July 27th, 2009

Today I did my first formal (over the phone) interview with Martin Horn who has just retired from the position of Commissioner for The New York City Department of Corrections. I was nervous at first because the only other people I had ever interviewed were for my school newspaper. To me, this was a lot more important. Horn has dedicated 40 years of his life to the corrections community.

In the interview he described the most rewarding aspects and the least rewarding aspects of working in corrections. He said that the most rewarding aspect was to be able to work with various dedicated professionals in the correctional community. The least rewarding aspect of the job according to Horn was dealing with the press. The press distorts stories and blows them out of proportion. Rarely do they report the whole truth.

He explained that he chose the field of corrections because it includes everything from politics to science to healthcare, etc. He liked that there were a variety of issues that had to be dealt with on any given day. He explained that there is no typical day in his line of work. On one day he could be dealing with a water main break, another he could be dealing with a blackout and another day he could be a serious fight between inmates.

By the end of the interview I was feeling a lot more comfortable than I was when I answered the phone. I was able to ask him three questions that I thought people would want to know the answer to: If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? What was the last book you read? Finally, what was the most interesting trip you’ve ever taken? He said that he would have dinner with Abraham Lincoln to discuss Lincoln’s many accomplishments in dealing with what was on his plate during his presidency. He recently finished “King Leopold’s Ghost,” by Adam Hochschild. Last summer he traveled to Tanzania, which he found to be extremely fascinating, but simultaneously troubling.

To view the entire interview between Martin Horn and myself, take a look at the careers section of Post your comments let me know of other questions I should ask the next time I do an interview.

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