First off, employment.  Nowadays, it does not pay to be unemployed, or even to be underemployed.  If you are married, you have to grab with your smooth palm the proverbial sharp edge of the blade, just to be employed—-in whatever capacity, in whatever way.  I you are single, the more you have to be liquid so that you could get the best deal in the world of technology (or gimmickry) —starting with a high end cellular phone. But working in government is a simple proposition if you have the credentials like the Civil Service eligibility.  It works wonder if you have it.  Passing the eligibility exam is not a breeze though but for those who regularly read the dailies, it is almost like a song.  Readers have certain advantages over those who are not.  That is one skill which the school ought to impose on its studentry but commercialism dictates that it is not the priority.  Hence, most of the graduates have no interest, much more so, any penchant at all to read.  In the private firm, it is even more difficult to get through.  I am digressing though.

What is really there in the prison service in the first place?  For the newcomer, it is the competitive remuneration.  The allowances.   It has to be that materialistic way since we are dealing with the profession in criminal justice administration specializing in corrections.  And professionals, specialists at that, therefore must be paid accordingly.  Like in NBA, a league of professional sportsmen, no pay-no play.   Prison personnel are given a hazard pay on top of other perquisites, something which no government officer receives from their respective agency.   Never mind the hazards and dangers.  Never mind the unattractive environment.  Never mind the usual indifferent attitude of some bureaucrats in the midst.  Never mind the arrogance of the prison climate.  Never mind the deceptive condition of the prison population.  The professional worker must be there in his most objective and impartial manner.  The professional is therefore to be distinguished with the amateur; the latter plays even if there is no pay.  They work, even better and more audacious, than their counterpart in the regular outfit, but they, as newbie, are still emotionally and sentimentally attached to the work environment.  This is a no-no in the prison service.

A prison worker, like an amateur, who begins to understand the plight of the prison community according to the lens and prism of inmates, signals the end of his neutrality.  He becomes one of those he is supposed to govern and assist.  He becomes biased and prejudiced.  He becomes subjective and dependent.  In other words, he becomes, whether he likes it or not, an inmate too.  With that kind of immersion, he would just be surprised to find that he has never earned respect in the prison community and worst, even disrespected by his peers.

He should therefore concentrate on his post, in that area where he is posted or assigned.  From there he could monitor that which is materializing in his presence without even his active participation.  From where he is, he could appreciate the derelicts from the rest.  He could verify the habitual from the conventional, the common from special, and the normal from subnormal or abnormal.  Prison service is a world different from the rest of government service or even in the stretch of public service.  Prison officers cater to the subliminal aspect of security administration.  They must know when to react or not to react at all.  They must understand character.  They must know how to read behavior if only to respond properly.

What is there in the prison service for us therefore?  Headaches, broken heart, dissatisfaction, disillusionment, even emphysema, diabetes, heart disease, depression and kidney failure.  No, there is no contagion along that line.  The prison community is never an infectious village, despite the filth and disorder; it is never given to episodes of epidemics.  In prison however vices abound and everything compete with diversion.  Oftentimes, the boredom felt by the prisoners get through into the consciousness of the prison worker until the latter gets monotonous, worn down and adopts the feeling of weariness. One gets sick because of this, because there is lack of focus.  Employment in prison is more watching, as it should be, than working in the physical sense.  Simply put, the work is in watching, in observing, in tailing.  Then, at the end of the shift, the usual turn over to the succeeding officer.  An important caveat should be noted:   It is in mixing prison work with the concern for inmate personal requirements that serves as the mode providing conflict and confusion.  It is there where focus is lost, cases at times are eventually brought into the fore, harassment the order of the day and the daunting challenge to survive, wreck havoc upon the health.  Accidents and unnatural mishap at times are even heard.

However, for those neutral and are properly posted exuding cold detachment and has taken no sides in the prison community, there is something in the prison service for them.  Its good health, confidence, warm peer relations, a healthy pocket full of savings and most of all raw wisdom, a shield against sudden misfortune.




About vjtesoro

A perpetual student of Corrections

Posted on October 25, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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