How the shortage of correctional officers effects the prison system

Hayes, Jamil/KING Millz



How the Shortage of Correctional Officers Effects the Prison System by Jamil Hayes From first hand experience as an inmate I see and feel the full effect of the lack of C.O's in my facility. Until I did a little research I assumed that my facility was the only one dealing with the issue of shortage of staff. But actually prisons across America are having the same issues. So by not being aware of how major this issue is myself, I can only imagine how few people in the free world knows about it. So that being said, I took it apon myself to write an article shedding light apon the issue and how it effects every one including the tax payers. The shortage of staff is becoming a security issue and yet nothing is being done about it. At my facility there is so few officers that people like unit managers have to take on jobs of a C.O., such as pass out trays on the lockdown units and count inmates during count time. In the lockdown units a C.O. must do security rounds every thirty minutes to make sure the inmates are alive and well. But because there's so few C.O.'s to cover both Population and lockdown units, the lockdown units might not get a officer all day. That being said, the inmates behind the door are being neglected and forced to fend for themselves. By not having a C.O. to conduct rounds every thirty minutes or even all day, our meals are being served hours after they've been made. There's times we don't receive breakfast until maybe noon. And more than once our dinner have been served to us around 10pm. That is a security and health issues. A security issue because once the kitchen brings our trays to the lock down unit, they sit unattended for hours until a C.O. takes it apon themselves to leave their post and come down to the lockdown units and pass us our meals. For that time period that our trays sit unattended its left for anyone to come and tamper with. A lot of the time it isn't even a C.O who feeds up but another inmate who's job is to only clean the teir units. It's a medical issue because when our meals sit for so long, the food becomes spoiled. Food like chicken, fish and things like that cnt go from being cooked then sit around to be exposed or cool down to below 65 degrees. There's been times the chicken on our trays was spoiled by the time it was served to us but being locked behind the door 24 hours a day, we have no choice but to eat it or starve. Everyday inmates get sick from the food. An it's a direct problem that points to the shortage of staff. If there was C.O.'s to pass out the meals in a timely manner, it would limit the problem of food getting spoiled. I would like to say that maybe it takes some one dying for the prison officials to see the problem but it isnt the 2 case because inmates are dying. No so much the food but because there's no C.O.'s present to conduct security rounds on inmates behind the door. Suicide is already a big problem for lockdown units but added to the issue of shortage of staff, its become an even bigger issue. There's a situation Ive witnessed personally, that I can honestly say if there was a C.O on duty to perform security checks, wouldve turned out alot different. In my dorm room two men, one I knew. Got into a fight which carried on to stabbing each other. One inmate bled to death dying inside the cell. But for seemed like hours, he could be heard yelling for help. Because there was no C.O. to do security rounds, his cry for help was only heard by the inmates in the unit. When a C.O did actually come to see what all the yelling was about, the inmate had already loss to much blood and died. Even after his death, the inmates body laid on the cold floor of his cell yet another hour as the C.O waited for back up to respond. I wish I could say that was the only death at my facility. But it isn't. Inmates have set their cells on fire in hope of getting the attention of staff and end up dying from the smoke because no one comes in time. Every day myself and other inmates locked behind the door carry the constant fear of needing medical attention or aid from a C.O and being neglected. The reality of coming across an illness or having chest pain and not being able to call for help is beyond scary. Yet nothing is being done to prevent these situations. Men are dying every day on the lockdown units and it all points to the fact there isnt a C.O around to respond to our callings. Our rights are being violated and we're being neglected of basic needs and it's all being justifyed by the shortage of staff. When our laundry hasnt been washed in days the excuse is that there's no officer for the laundry detail. When we ask the warden why havent we been able to go to yard in over six months when its our right to have at least one hour outside our cells a day. And his excuse is, because we don't have a C.O to excort ya'll to yard. And lot of the time there isnt anyone here to ask these questions but when there is, its always the same answer, we don't have anyone to do it. I could go on and on about how the shortage of staff effects the inmates but this articule is about how it effects everyone involved in the prison system. The shortage of staff also effects the officers who do still come to work. By being so short, C.O's who do show up have to take on the responsibility of other C.O's also, there might be one C.O in charge of four dorms which holds over 50 inmates per dorm. C.O's are becoming stressed 4 out by being forced to take on more than their fair share. Its times when I have witnessed a C.O being told that they can't go home because there's nobody to relieve them. At my facility, there might be ten C.O's on the whole night shift. My prison holds over 300 inmates and there's only 10 C.O's to work the whole prison. C.O's complain everyday about doing more than they're suppose to. Yet they aren't getting paid more. You have C.O's doing the work of four but only getting paid minimum wage. The C.O's who are coming to work are being pushed pass their limits to fill in the place of C.O's who aren't there. All of this causes issues between C.O's and inmates. C.O's feel as though theyre doing too much and inmates feel as if not enough is being done. Creating tention that is only building up. Alot of C.O's feel like why do anything your not being paid to do? That being said, alot of things in my facility isnt being done or being done extra late. Yet the C.O's who are working arn't being confisated for overtime. Which brings me to my next and final point. The government is giving prisons more money to hire C.O.'s. Yet there's still nobody there to work? My facility is receiving grants so that they can hire more staff. But there's still no C.O's at my facility. That means the warden at my prison is misusing funds that are suppose to be going to hiring staff. How can I say that? Simple, because as I speak and write this article I haven't seen a C.O all day. Its been the same way for over 6 months. There's prisons across America with this same issue which means prison officials across america are misusing federal funds because they arnt used to hire any C.O's. Now I ask you, where do the funds come from? Hardworking tax payers. Citizens who work hard for their money is getting it taken away in the form of taxes and its given to wardens in the form of grants only to be misused. If you ask me, its unfair to the hardworking citizens for their money to be given away to be misused by prison officials because it isn't being used to hire more correctional officers. In conclusion, the shortage of staff is a major issue which needs to be addressed on a higher level. its a problem thats effecting everyone and can become an even bigger issue if it isn't handled properly.

Author: Hayes, Jamil/KING Millz

Author Location: Georgia

Date: February 11, 2020

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

If this is your essay and you would like it removed from or changed on this site, refer to our Takedown and Changes policy.

Takedown and Changes Policy
Browse More Essays