|Why do we keep going back?|
|By Bryan Avila, TDCJ Correctional Training Instructor - Sergeant of Correctional Officers|
I have been working in the corrections field now for most of my adult life. There were many sacrifices that I made throughout my career, some good and some bad, that have led me to where I am now.
I left corrections for a short time after I had decided that I had missed enough of my youngest daughter’s life as she was growing up and vowed that I would never go back. I had already screwed up so many years of my oldest daughter’s life that I was not going to repeat the same mistake again. It was not going to happen again. I refused to do it.
I tried the civilian life for a while but as more time passed, I found myself missing corrections even more and more. What is it that leads us back to a job/career that is for the most part ungrateful towards it’s staff, gets no positive recognition in society and when you tell someone what you do for a living (after they ask), they almost look disgusted? Not to mention the pee and poop that offenders like to throw at us, the assaults on staff that take place, the never knowing when is the last time that you will walk into a facility only to be carried out?
I can only speak for myself as to why I came back, but after speaking with others that have done the same I saw that we all shared one similarity: personal satisfaction.
True, we don’t get the recognition that other professions in the uniformed services get. We are the unsung heroes of the law enforcement community. Bank robbery takes place and the police do an outstanding job handling the situation they get recognized, as they should be, for the great job that they did. Police are successful in de-escalating a suicidal person and they are recognized, as they should be, for a great job. Major disturbance breaks out in the streets and the police resolve the situation with a minimal amount of injury/damage and they get recognized, as they should be, for a great job.
An offender takes over a housing area and we resolve it without injury/minimal injury: personal satisfaction. We de-escalate a suicidal offender from slicing his throat: personal satisfaction. We quell a riot without much incident: personal satisfaction.
The public would be horrified with what takes place inside the walls, not due to staff actions, but from offender actions. The brutality that is displayed on an almost daily basis is not something that the normal human being can tolerate. Yet we go in every day and do what few others can do, and we do it successfully. We don’t want the lime light. We don’t seek the recognition that is bestowed on others. Our personal satisfaction is the great job that we do every day and that no one hears about. And by the way, did you hear the news about Texas last night? No? Let me fill you in: 158,000 offenders and not a single one escaped. I am positive that it was the same in your state last night. GREAT JOB!
Editor's note: Corrections.com author Bryan Avila started working as a Police Officer in 1994 while attending Norwich University in Northfield, VT. In 1999 he began working for the Vermont Dept of Corrections while still working as a Part-Time Police Officer. In 2007 he left public service until 2009 when he began working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is currently a Correctional Training Instructor- Sergeant of Correctional Officers, at the TDCJ Region I Training Academy located in Huntsville, TX.
Other articles by Avila:
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT