Not all communities equally safe
Joe Davidson, Washington Post columnist wrote a column today that conservatives might jump all over as being liberally skewed and out of focus. First of all, writing about the dangers of being a prison guard gives attention to the occupation that most of us would not want. That’s OK.
My grandfather worked as a security officer at a state penitentiary and I recall his description of the environment and inmates. Many inmates turned a corner toward rehabilitation while just as many returned as repeat offenders. It’s a bad bunch, generally.
One would think that Federal prisons would have common operations and common standards for managing and securing the prison population. However, prisons include state and local prisons as well. While there is a Federal Agency providing oversight, I am sure that in our dispersed and distributed form of government, the operations are inconsistent.
In the bigger picture, law enforcement is not uniform either. Community demographics are different too. Therefore, communities vary as to their degree of safety.
One would hope that all communities are of equal measure, safe. Though that is not the case.
“Joe Davidson, Columnist
When correctional officers
By Joe Davidson, Published: April 28
Being a prison guard is dangerous work. But life could be a little less hazardous for federal correctional officers if the Bureau of Prisons provided more protective gear.
That’s the word from the American Federation of Government Employees, which is using a Government Accountability Office report to press for additional resources.
“Correctional officers are unarmed, violence is increasing and the inmate population has increased,” said Bryan Lowry, president of the union’s Council of Prison Locals. “Protective equipment such as batons and pepper spray would greatly enhance officer safety.”
This has been a long-standing complaint by the union, and the report gives them more ammunition:
“States have discretion over the equipment they make available to their officers, and officials in the 14 states with whom we spoke provided examples of three types of equipment they allow their officers to carry while on duty that BOP generally does not, including pepper spray and batons,” GAO said. “In addition, officials from 9 of the 14 states reported that they allow their officers to store personal firearms that they have carried when commuting to and from work on facility property, which BOP generally does not.”
It’s worth noting, however, that GAO said it knows of no evaluations on the effectiveness of equipment in ensuring officer safety. And 14 states is far from a majority of the 50.
The union also urged the administration and Congress to continue the Federal Prison Industries work program for inmates.
“It helps keep 18,972 prison inmates productively occupied in labor-intensive activities, thereby reducing inmate idleness and the violence associated with that idleness,” according to the labor organization. “It also provides strong incentives to encourage good inmate behavior.”
The Bureau of Prisons did not respond to a request for comment.”