“Correctional officers have the difficult and often dangerous assignment of ensuring the custody, safety and well-being of the over 600,000 inmates in our Nation’s prisons and jails. Their position is essential to the day-to-day operations of these institutions; without them it would be impossible to achieve the foremost institutional goals of security and control.” — Former President Ronald Reagan
They are tasked with a job that many would not consider doing. Their roles are often misunderstood. They sometimes spend most of their days in dangerous facilities, ensuring the safety of their co-workers and our nation’s inmates.
They are correctional officers and employees, and every year since 1984, they have been recognized for their service in what is known as National Correctional Officers and Employees Week during the first full week of May. This year correctional officers and employees will be honored on May 4-10, with events around the country recognizing the hard and sometimes underappreciated work that they do.
“Historically, correctional officers have been viewed as ‘guards,’ occupying isolated and misunderstood positions in prisons and jails. In recent years, the duties of these officers have become increasingly complex and demanding,” President Ronald Reagan said in 1984 when he proclaimed the first full week in May as National Correctional Officers Week. “They are called upon to fill, simultaneously, custodial, supervisory and counseling roles. The professionalism, dedication and courage exhibited by these officers throughout the performance of these demanding and often conflicting roles deserve our utmost respect.”
The name of the week was officially changed to National Correctional Officers and Employees Week in 1996 to include the many other vital staff members that fill essential roles inside our correctional facilities. The recognition week officially started this year on Saturday, May 3 with the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C., recognizing those correctional employees who died in the line of duty, according to the American Correctional Association website.
“Although very little is mentioned about this proclamation outside of the correctional field, employers and organizations within the field may hold events to recognize correctional staff,” according to Discover Corrections, a collaborative effort between several correctional and law enforcement organizations. “These events may include memorials to lost officers; training events; award ceremonies; and special meals, including pot lucks, catered events, and grill-outs.”
While you may not be participating in any events this week, it’s quite possible that you know someone who works inside a correctional facility. If so, please take the time to thank them for the work they do. And from all of us at Norix Furniture, we thank all employees that work hard and risk their lives keeping our nation’s correctional facilities safe and secure.