10 things I wish I knew before becoming a CO

Would you still have become a corrections officer knowing all you know now?


By C1 Staff

Beginning any new career can be daunting, but beginning a new career in corrections will damn well make your head spin if you're not prepared. 

That's why we recently took to our Facebook page with the following question: What are some things you wish you had known before becoming a corrections officer?

No one appreciates how dangerous the job really is.
No one appreciates how dangerous the job really is. (Getty Images)

Knowledge is power, as they say (though your head's probably still going to spin on day one).

Here's what some COs (and their families) had to say:

Angi McGarry: How poorly you are treated by management, and how good the inmates have it. How no one appreciates how dangerous the job really is.

Kyla Doucet: Your personality changes before you even realize it. The job changes the way you view and deal with everyday people. Less patience for everyday drama.

Britta Haberstroh: That your crew will be your family. I see my co-workers more then I see my own family. I have seen some other comments of having to watch your co-workers. I can honestly say I work with an awesome team and they are family to me. I don't ever have to worry about things with them and we all teach each other. They have my back and I have theirs. I know deep down they would jump in and save me as I would do the same for them. We are close and that's what's a good team in my mind is about.

Talena Fowler: From a CO's wife here: I wish I'd known how hard the job is on relationships. Now we have "safe" words to say that make him step back to realize that he is not at work and to reevaluate how/what he is saying.

Lindsey Drescher: I didn't realize each hat we have to wear: Officer, Protector, Punisher, Nurse (Healthcare provider), Caretaker, Dietary Provider, Shower Overseer, Maintenance Person, Laundromat, Transporter, Court Security Official, Information Provider.

Todd D Barton: 24 years with the MADOC, I have seen everything. If there is a list of things to pass along, these are them: Save every report you write, record every place you work, remember faces, always watch your back, trust and respect are earned and most of all, at the end of the day you only have your integrity. Without that, all the other things don't matter.

Brandon Smith: I wish I would've known how it would change my personal life. Hard for me to have fun in a crowd. I'm always on alert.

Andrew D. Piera: Remember, you are doing time just like the inmates: 8 to 10 hours with a 14 to 16 hour furlow in between. The inmate culture is no different that the CO culture. Don't trust anyone until they are worthy of your trust, especially career supervisors. Like inmates, many are politicians that are only looking after their own interests and, as a result, if there is a choice between you or them, you will lose. You will have only few people who will watch your back and you will have to prove yourself to get their trust only after you prove that you have their back.

Chris Baxter: You will see more genitals than they ever told you that you would. So many genitals...

What would you say to those considering a career in corrections?

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