Over the past year, Michigan Corrections Organization has led a growing initiative within the MDOC to protect employee dignity and hold inmates accountable for both liquid assaults and sexual deviant behavior toward staff.
Joining MCO in this initiative was a unique coalition of agencies consisting of the Michigan Department of Corrections, Michigan State Police, and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. Each group played a key role in identifying current difficulties with prosecution, promoted best practices, and committed to ensuring agencies are fully trained to provide consistent referrals.
To share the work of the coalition, MCO created a short video that sheds light on the impact of these assaults and shares the stories of corrections staff, while lifting up corrections officers and the harsh realities of the career.
On Wednesday, Jan. 11, the Corrections Officer Dignity Video premiered before a packed room at Renucci’s restaurant in Ionia and offered corrections staff a first look and opportunity to offer feedback. Officers and their spouses said they enjoyed the video and appreciated the coalition’s efforts.
Officers Eric Mathisen, RMI, and Daniel Barnett, IBC, just graduated from the academy a few weeks ago and learned more about corrections work at the premiere.
“I don’t think people outside the department really know what happens to us,” Barnett said.
Sandy Rikkers, wife of ICF Officer Todd Rikkers, said she didn’t realize how frequently these assaults happen.
“It seems like it’s important for officers to talk to each other for support and their spouses,” she said.
Todd Rikkers said he’s glad to hear these cases will be handled with uniformity around the state.
“I really liked it,” Iantha Fyolek, wife of ICF Officer Paul Jensen, said of the video. “I thought it was very well done. The way the effects of these types of assaults were portrayed was true to form. These assaults do affect officers and their families.”
Watch the video now on Vimeo. (Video does contain some adult language.)
Please share this video with your family and friends. It might help them understand your profession and why MCO says corrections officers have Michigan’s toughest job.