Honoring COs for National Correctional Officers Week

The week was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan to acknowledge the courage and heroism it takes to dedicate your life and career to such a role

By Sarah Roebuck 

WASHINGTON — For 39 years, the first full week of May has been recognized as National Correctional Officers Week.

Correctional officers have a vital role in public safety. The week was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan on May 5, 1984, to acknowledge the courage and heroism it takes to dedicate your life and career to such a role.  

"Historically, correctional officers have been viewed as 'guards,' occupying isolated and misunderstood positions in prisons and jails," Reagan noted in Proclamation 5187. "In recent years, the duties of these officers have become increasingly complex and demanding. They are called upon to fill, simultaneously, custodial, supervisory and counseling roles. The professionalism, dedication and courage exhibited by these officers throughout the performance of these demanding and often conflicting roles deserve our utmost respect."

[RELATED: COs recognized around the country for National Correctional Officer's Week]

To honor correctional officers, many states issue their own proclamations. 

The Virginia Department of Corrections specifically recognized that VDOC has consistently maintained one of the lowest recidivism rates in the nation, most recently 20.6%, saying it is because of the well-trained and knowledgeable staff, as well as its acclaimed and accredited programmatic efforts.

To celebrate the week, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation highlighted a partnership with the Amend program at the University of California San Francisco, which sends "leaders throughout CDCR to Norway to study their approach to normalcy in corrections and success in expanding employee wellness."

AFGE also recognized correctional officers to commemorate the week. 

“This week, Correctional Officer and Employee Week, is reserved to recognize and celebrate the nearly 500,000 correctional employees across the United States. These are extraordinary human beings that run toward danger when most people go the other way. They hold the last line of defense between good and evil in our society,” said Shane Fausey, national president of AFGE Council of Prison Locals representing Bureau of Prison employees across the country.

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