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Prisons, Jails, and Correctional Officers - Updated - Prison Inmate Search

Prisons, Jails, and Correctional Officers – Updated

It is an obvious fact that prisons and jails cannot exist without correctional officers. Correctional officers are the gods of their universe. Make no mistake, once you are an inmate you are at the mercy, or rather the lack of mercy, of every correctional officer in your prison or jail. Many correctional officers do treat inmates humanely, despite the trying environment of a prison. However, the prison system has a significant number of correctional officers who can play the part of the sadistic and brutal guard in the movie, “Cool Hand Luke,” without any acting on their part.

If you read the news carefully, there are reports of inmates abuse by correctional officers throughout the United States. In West Virginia, the Regional Jail Authority reported results of two pending investigations involving force by officers against inmates at the Western Regional Jail. In one investigation, six correctional officers were disciplined and one officer resigned as the result of the incident. There are separate ongoing criminal investigations of both incidents. A former Pittsburgh corrections officer was sentenced this year to only 12 years of probation with one year house arrest on charges that he abused inmates under his care at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh.

The justice department ordered reforms at the New Orleans Prison because of the wide spread violence of inmates on inmates and correctional officers abuse of inmates. There is a causal relationship between correctional officers abusing inmates and inmates violence against other inmates. If correctional officers act outside of the law, then the prison environment is a jungle for all.

The abuse by correctional officers has not always involved physical contact. After any visitation, the correctional officers will conduct a strip search of all inmates in order to find any contraband. I personally observed a guard repeatedly ordering an inmate in his sixties to squat and bend over numerous times despite the inmate’s painful arthritic condition. The officer had a contented smile on his face. On the other hand, the very next week, another correctional officer conducted the strip search of the same inmate efficiently and humanely. During my last two weeks of incarceration, a correctional officer made derogatory statements numerous times about my religion in a clumsy attempt to incite a response on my part that would have affected my release.

What can we do to improve the system in terms of correctional officers? It is crucial to impress upon the officers as part of their training that inmates are human beings with basic rights. Before a tragedy occurs, there should be independent investigations of correctional officers who have a pattern of complaints of abusing inmates conducted by outsiders who do not have any ties to the prison system.

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One Response to Prisons, Jails, and Correctional Officers – Updated

  1. Bill Hertter December 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    My concerns goes beyond the CO’s, but also to Parole Officers who all too often treat those on parole inhumanely. I understand they have a great responsibility to see that no one on their watch re-affends. But when a PO comes into the residence of a parolee and basically makes a total mess of the residence while all the time accusing the individual of violating his/her parole just seems so unnecessary. I know of one man who was handcuffed as soon as the PO entered his residence and was told this is how it will feel when I take you back to prison for violating parole.

    It’s certainly understandable that PO’s must enforce all of the rules and hold the parolees accountable. But how would they want their son or daughter treated if they were released from prison and on parole?

    I deal with numbers of men and women with re-entry from jail/prison into the community which I live and from my observations most need to be given hope and encouragement as they have a steep hill to climb in resuming life on the outside and becoming a good citizen, employed and a contributing member of society.

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