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Correctional Officers Don’t Palaver Much
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 08/18/2014

Pensiveman Correctional officers have supervised and managed thousands of murderers, sex offenders, thieves and drunk drivers while housed inside their jails and prisons. Yet on any given day, they don’t palaver much on these things surrounding them twenty four seven. They don’t talk much about how this job they have impacts their lives and minds. It’s just a routine that nobody else seems to understand.

So why don’t officers palaver much? How come they remain so quiet and say nothing about the stress and struggles they endure on this job. Their silence isn’t because of some rule or law and contrary to the code of silence being real, they know everything and more about criminal behaviors but rarely talk about it.

It is my opinion, for the lack of a better explanation, correctional officers don’t palaver much because they want to leave their job where they work. Bringing it home or to the outside may complicate their lives even more than it already is. They already knowingly how ugly society can be by being amongst those murdering and thieving persons called inmates.

It could be because they are keenly aware of how Americans appear to have a lack of empathy or concern for what goes on inside those walls. It could because everything that does happen inside prisons is contrary to everything that is good in society and the truth is best be kept hidden. Thus it becomes normal to bastardize the concept of their limited role as prison officers and let it lay still for it’s best to leave sleeping dogs lie.

America doesn’t care what goes on inside prisons. They don’t want to know. I could run through a litany of grave injustices and grievances and nobody would turn a head. There is no need to address such things as it has been established that prisoners are the enemy of the state and best be kept locked up with ball and chain.

So when does the public care? They care when an officer makes a mistake or the agency releases a criminal to the streets too early. They care they are being victimized by criminals on parole or probation and shout at the top of their lungs to do something about it. They don’t care about justice, healthcare or even educational benefits for these criminals until they find out these individuals are going to live on the same street they do. They have no horse in the race until it knocks on their doors.

They only care if the illegal alien or murderer breaks out of prison and roams their communities looking for way to get away. These contradictions are many and feeds the frenzy when things go wrong in the prison world like it does so often but rarely talked about. Quick to criticize the administration and officers for not fulfilling their simplest tasks, they refuse to give them the funding and support needed to keep public safety number one.

They hear that prisons keep the worst of the worst but refuse to acknowledge the good in people that get the job done. They have no confidence in the system that incarcerates them and naively presume that all is all right until something breaks. One has to wonder why correctional officers don’t palaver over their jobs much. One has to wonder if anyone cares what they do inside those dangerous prison walls each day and every night.

Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

Other articles by ToersBijns:


  1. lizling on 08/18/2014:

    There are at least three Corrections-oriented groups on Facebook for Illinois correctional staff. One is faith-oriented, the other two are closed groups. Discussion in these groups ranges across all issues affecting front line employees and reflects many of the concerns reflected in this article. I suspect one of the reason correctional employees don't discuss things like this at work is that they're too darn busy doing their jobs to visit and another is concern about retribution from administration. These groups provide an opportunity to share information without those impediments.

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