It is widely known that corrections is a difficult environment and officers get little recognition. From long hours to dangerous situations, it’s easy to ask why officers do the job. For most, that answer is easily traced back to one extremely important reason: family, and providing them with a humble living.
That’s why family is this month’s value in the Move Forward Campaign. Click the poster at left to see it larger.
“This career is a double-edged sword – we do it to provide for our families, but the stress of it can separate us from our families if we aren’t careful,” Cotton Officer Steve Hammond said. “It’s so important that we open up to our loved ones and appreciate and make time for them.”
“I chose this career to provide for my family, but there is so much mandatory overtime. There are times we make plans with our families and we have to miss them because we have to work,” Hammond said.
Families inspire COs to do the job with pride.
“When I walk through the gates, I know what could possibly transpire inside,” Bellamy Creek Officer Mindi Vroman said. “Knowing that my family understands the importance of what I do and is behind me 100% keeps me motivated on the task ahead and anchored in doing the best job possible.”
MCO is dedicated to serving not just corrections officers, but their families. We know mandatory overtime is taking a toll on families, and we are constantly advocating for more staff. We are also developing a partnership with MDOC to help them not only recruit but retain corrections staff. All of us and our families depend on it.
When you go home after your shift, make time to connect with your family. After all, they’re the motivation for all that we do.
Corrections staff are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Prisons never close, and dangerous situations can unfold any time of the day or night. Corrections staff work holidays, weekends, and evenings. They routinely miss holidays, special events and moments with their families. In addition to regular shifts, many officers are mandated to work overtime, sometimes more than once a week, due to the staffing crisis.
That is why this month’s value in the Move Forward Campaign is sacrifice. Through the campaign, we’ll introduce a new value, accompanied by a values poster, every month until Labor Day 2018. Look for this sacrifice poster in your facility soon. Read more about Move Forward. (Click the poster image at left to see it larger.)
Every day when corrections staff go to work behind the walls, they make a sacrifice. Not only do they sacrifice their physical and mental health, but they sacrifice moments with their families and friends. Compounding this problem are officers’ irregular hours and forced overtime.
“It’s extremely difficult to be told, at the end of your shift, that you’re going to have to work another eight hours,” WHV CO Voncha Henderson said. “Officers must quickly make arrangements for childcare, cancel appointments, and back out of social events. This unexpected work really takes a toll on our mental and physical well-being. It’s especially disheartening when it happens around the holidays when everyone wants to be at home with family.”
While corrections staff aren’t the only profession to work long and irregular hours, they make the most of it because what they do matters across the state. They know that sacrifice is going above and beyond in their work place to make a positive impact on those incarcerated and their coworkers.
And, as always, let’s not forget that due to the unpredictable nature of this work, some corrections officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.
If you are off work around the holidays, please take a moment to think of the corrections staff sacrificing their bodies, minds, and time with their own families to keep Michigan safe.
In this Field Days podcast, MCO staff talk about Move Forward, MCO’s campaign to promote corrections and forensic officers and the values and standards that set them apart in the criminal justice system. Listen to the podcast now.
Andy Potter, Vice President/Chief of Staff, and Jeremy Tripp, Government and Political Affairs Director, are interviewed. Thanks, MDOC, for promoting Move Forward!