Recently, the prison I am at now, had a little bit of an issue.  An offender was reported to have escaped from the facility and was not able to be located on the grounds.  Okay, fine.  Now this prison has huge barbed wire, electric fences and towers.  Plus it would have been really hard to miss the either half-naked or jumpsuit wearing man running down the road.  Therefore, I guessed, which I was correct, he had never left the facility.  He was found on the prison grounds.  Now what I had not anticipated was the ignorance coming from some of the people who have never stepped foot behind the wall.  Or in this case, fence.  There were so many people who said that someone should be fired for their lack of supervision and their lack of responsibility.  While yes, I would agree that some kind of action should be taken, it is not that of punishment of staff.  Everyday an officer walks their beat, they are outnumbered 150 to 1.  We are so incredibly understaffed, that they actually are having one officer work a dorm/unit/pod/tier.  That could range anywhere from 50 to 200 offenders per one officer.  Not just that but the conditions of a lot of our prisons in this state, are deplorable.  They are falling a part and hazardous.  Most people have never been inside a prison, whether officer or offender.  So who are they to judge how difficult our job really is?  They have no idea what it is like to be surrounded by 150 people who could be murderers or rapists or be HIV positive.  To never know when the next offender fight will be, riot, or when the next staff assault is.  Yeah, we are trained to read behavior and expressions, but in prison offenders know how to hide it pretty well.  They have weapons, we have a can of pepper spray on steroids.  They have 24 hours in a day to plan their attack or escape, we have 12 to try to prevent it.  We work with what we can to try and protect ourselves, our fellow staff, and the offenders we are supervising.  Until someone has been in my shoes and walked the halls of what some would consider the forsaken, then I do not want to be told how to do my job or that you could do it better.  You have no idea what it takes to do this job, and you will never know because it is better to be naïve and judgemental, than on the front lines.

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