LETTER FROM A RETIRED PRISON EMPLOYEE
My dear co-employees,
Thank you for your time, friendship and understanding. It is not only a pleasure and privilege but a wholesome period to have joined you in the course of pursuing one of the most hated jobs in the planet. Who loves one who takes care of the welfare of persons who victimized, abused and violated rights of their fellows and transgressed the laws?
Yes, that is right. We are in the profession where compassion and kindness must be a quality rather than an exceptional attitude in the work place. The prison community is the most misunderstood the most reviled and the most despised. To stay and work in the middle of such milieu, one gets an instant impression that the worker is some kind of a nut to be humiliated and trashed too.
In the course of our exposure, we are oftentimes underrated, berated at times and devalued in the public eye. We are also confused because of the factional impression which we would bear depending on how our friends, neighbors and peers would estimate our actions. While there are sectors that appreciate our toils, most could not comprehend the hazards, dangers and threats which we must have to internalize and justify as part of territory.
I have been hard on some of you, at times over bearing. No, I have never been biased or unjust to anyone. If at all I have ignored some officers in the course of my work, it was never intended at all. I was guided with the highest level of respect for all of you and perhaps I was just too focused on a specific concern that I failed to notice your presence or ideas. Just the same, my apologies.
I tried to be of help to all of you, friends and acquaintance alike. As supervisor, I belabored on those times you were dealing with challenges and charges, even attempting to absorb the blows of its difficulties just to help you carry the cross of being persecuted.
Helping fellow officers for me was never an act of looking good; it was for me an act of feeling good. I rejoiced at the sight of having workers inspired by their accomplishments and having high morale despite the pressures of the environment.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I got my spurs early in my career and was virtually given the task of overseeing the entire unit. If there were achievements to show, it was a collective effort. Should there be something wrong, I tried to assume everything.
That has been the mark, the highs and lows, of my career.
And my time is up, it’s game over and now I must bow and submit myself to the realities of retreat. I have fulfilled a mandate in the prison service as supervisor of your career and caretaker of the incarcerated humanity; and it is time for retirement. (I have filed formally my retirement effective July 1, 2015, after 38 years in the prison service and had served up-close 18 appointed prison directors since 1977.)
Again, let me express my heartfelt gratitude for those notable days I have stayed with you in the prison service. You have constantly given me inspiration to dream of competence, of striving to maintain a principled vision of compassion amidst an air of doubt and suspicion.
Working with you all was truly remarkable!
Thank you and for those of you who are still in the thick of struggle, I wish you luck. I hope that those times I shared with you would be memorable and worth looking back.
Your old friend,
Ven Jo. Tesoro