In a system (set up by a few misguided persons before us) where money is made to be the source of everything that is material, you will often find people doing interesting things for money. This concerns those who both find themselves living in a prison, and those working in a prison. The correction of this flawed system I mention in a previous essay entitled Democracy (as opposed, for instance, to something Condolezza Rice, a current professor at Stanford, might say). But let's get back to the particular prison subject. There is a newspaper, the San Quentin News, available to prisons throughout California, that contains many positive, beneficial articles. In the September 2017 edition there appeared a piece on the fact that according to a recent study, the suicide rate amongst the State's correctional officers was 19.4 deaths per 100,000, as opposed to 12.6 deaths per 100,000 for the general U.S. population. The article went on to briefly mention that this situation was a concern of the officer's union (CPOA), and steps were being looked at to address it in some way. It kind of reminds one of the Occupy Wall Street thing, where citizens called attention to the 1% vs 99% problem, and after seven years, those whose job it is to address the disparity are still "talking about it".
While I don't claim to be a trained psychiatrist, let us invite one to observe with us, as we listen in on a therapy session between an officer and a private practice psychiatrist, as opposed to one perhaps made available by the State...
"There are three disconcerting aspects about your job that we should focus on. The first is the threat of violence. You carry various types of security implements, and are taught how to use them. You are also taught how to not encourage violent atmospheres. So being equipped with these, you are able to for the most part keep violence to a minimum.
The second aspect is that your mind is almost constantly preoccupied with negatives. Not only is a prison itself a negative environment, but while you are there you are involved in the uncouth mechanics of its operations. Doing strip searches, pat-downs, wondering if a hat could be concealing something beneath it, having to walk up on a person when they're using the bathroom, always on the lookout for contraband, etc., etc.
The third aspect is that, other than your paycheck, you see no beneficial outcome of how you spend your days. A cabinetmaker sees a fine cabinet that he has made, where the joints fit firmly and the drawers slide snugly in and out, a doctor sees a patient that he has worked on recover to health. Productivity is healthy in humans, which is also why self-employment is healthy. You are not producing anything. Are you able to recognize these three factors, and how they may be contributing to your current psychosis?
The other thing to be recognized is your particular personality, and how you receive these disconcerting aspects. Whereas a brusque person would do their best to not dwell on them and just see them as necessary duties of the job, indulging in distractions such as jovial conversation with others, and stress relievers like going to the gym after work, mountain biking or working on a project in their backyard on the weekends, a more introspective person may not be able to find enough release in this type of compensating.
So now that we've brought out the basics of your situation, you can consider them and we'll talk more at our next session."
Philip G. Duggar
Postscript: To return to the first sentence of this essay, along our coast between San Diego and Los Angeles, they are to begin dismantling the San Onofre Nuclear Plant. There was a risk of radiation exposure just working there. Imagine what the risk will be in dismantling the guts of the thing? I wonder how easy it will be for them to find people desperate enough for money to do the dirty work?
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