The Life of a Corrections Professional

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The job of a Corrections Officer and a Probation Officer is not your average walk in the park. There’s more to it than filling out paper work or simple monitoring.

Every day brings on a new and unexpected set of challenges.  A brief look at this last week’s headlines can offer you a glimpse.

Monday saw Probation Officers, along with Sheriff’s Deputies, chasing a 31-year old man on foot through the streets of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Ronald E. Shields was at the Blair County Adult Parole and Probation Office. When Probation Officers began questioning him on his activities from the previous Friday (public drunkenness and possession), he just stood up and ran out of the office, realizing he had violated his probation and would be arrested. Luckily the pursuers caught him not too far from the parole office.

Earlier this week, Omar Cardenas and Moses Osuna were charged with attempted murder. Their alleged victims were three Corrections Officers at Pelican Bay State Prison (California). Cardenas and Osuna were in the process of serving 50 and 60 year sentences, respectively. Thankfully the stab wounds the Corrections officers sustained in January were not life-threatening and they have all since returned to the job.

It wasn’t so lucky, however, for Corrections Officer Gary M. Chapin in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. An inmate (Gregory C. Brown) is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Chapin’s death. On October 13, 2010, Chapin’s skull was cracked, brain was bruised, ribs were cracked and collar bone was broken. He died of complications a month later. On November 15 of this year, Chapin’s life was honored by a large group of his peers. Corrections Officers from surrounding counties and the state’s Corrections Department gathered to see the unveiling of a memorial stone erected in Chapin’s name outside the jail where he worked. Colleagues reported to “The Meadville Tribune” that Chapin served admirably and that he was fair, courteous consistent, focused and hardworking.

Now, these accounts are not meant to scare anyone from entering a career in Corrections – quite the opposite. In the words of Deputy Warden Kenneth Saulsbery who spoke at Chapin’s memorial, “Corrections is a calling, a career, not just a job. It’s either you have it or you don’t to take on a career in corrections.” It’s about maintaining peace, safety and order. In some cases, it’s about helping convicts have a second crack at life. Not everyone can do it, but those who do and do it well, deserve utmost respect.

Are you ready to start this honorable career path? Consider completing Probation Officer Training or Corrections Officer Training today! Programs such as a Criminal Justice Degree or Corrections Degree can be your first step.

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