B's take on being a Correctional Officer in the state of Texas
Let's start off with a nice, concise description. Being a Correction Officer at a MaxSec prison in Tx is a sublime blending of being a zoo-keeper in the primate section of a large zoo, and a middle school teacher with a class composed entirely of SED (that's Severely Emotionally Disturbed) adolescents.
At any point in time one of your charges may-
a) throw poop, piss, or food at you
b) hit someone
c) hurt themselves
d) lie to you
e) sulk for half the day
f) stew for half the day, THEN throw a tantrum during which they may engage in behaviors a-d, followed by e.
They make weapons, draw pictures, pass notes, threaten, cajole, beg, plead, and did I mention lie, on a daily basis. They break their toys and blame other people. They stop taking their meds, then complain that they are not being properly cared for. They drag their asses getting ready, then complain bitterly about the lack of notice given. They scrutinize everyone around them for any hint of weakness they might exploit.
Around 15 years ago I ran the in-school suspension program for a middle school. The parallels are legion, and a bit unsettling.
The upsides are many. The Connally unit is a well run prison. I have some extraordinary coworkers with whom I can trust my life (as well as some whom I would not trust to get my order right at Jack in the Box). The administrators seem to be concerned, alert and realistic (a refreshing change from some of my previous experiences with upper management). Oh, and commissary...commissary rocks!
More later (really, I promise)