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Violence Behind
The Wall

Each day we walk where few people desire to walk. We pass from an unrestricted world of choices to a world behind a wall of eight foot fences and razor wire. We walk among, stand beside, and are surrounded by murderers, sex offenders, burglars and thieves, joy riders and car jackers, hot check writers, alcoholics and drug users, and the list goes on. These men and women housed in the numerous prison units in the State of Texas. Photo courtesy KTXS TV, Abilene, TX

Inside the fences, we are the minority. Offenders out number us many times. It is not uncommon for one corrections officer to provide security over 80 plus offenders. For this, we are throwed on, spit on, beat, stabbed and even murdered.

The offenders that are coming into the penal system are younger, more violent, and respect no one. They are serving longer sentences because of recent legislation. Texas is now the largest penal system in the nation, houses more offenders (163, 190) within its prison walls than any other state, yet fewer corrections officers are utilized. Another 14,600 offenders are expected to be incarcerated by the summer of 2005. At present, Texas Corrections Officers are rated as #44 on the national average for salary. Several county jails are paying their detention officers a higher salary with better benefits.

Corrections officers are quiting because of understaffing, higher assaults rates, unsafe working conditions, and a lower than average salary. They are seeking higher paying jobs which offer a safer working environment. As a result, those of us who remain are becoming targets for the offenders. They know when we are short of staff, and they know exactly when to strike. Seldom do we have enough staff to cover all of our needed posts. We are working double shifts and remaining on call to work extra when officers don't show up for regularly scheduled work days.

Staff assaults are on the increase. Aggressive behavior towards corrections officers has taken a sharp rise in Texas. Somewhere today, an officer, or support person, will be assaulted. Somewhere today, someone may be taken hostage by one or more offenders. Somewhere today, a corrections officer may even be killed. It could be you. It could be me.

I consider it a good day, when my fellow officers and I walk from behind the razor wire at the end of our shift without injury, and go home to our loved ones.

It is my hope that this web site will enlighten not only Correction Officers about what is happening in our work place, but will also education the public of the conditions and hazards of performing our duties. It is those duties which help make their towns, neighborhoods and streets a little safe for their families.

The poems that are on page 3 of this web site were written from an officer's point of view. While some people say the one entitled Hostage is a little gruesome, the fact remains, these events could become very real, very fast.

To my fellow Corrections Officers.... Be Safe.

The song you are listening to is Lean On Me. In the world of Gray and White, WE are all we have. Take care of each other.

M. L. Brown, former COIV

A note of thanks to
Sgt. Judith Merrill, Gatesville unit,
(my former shift supervisor)
who got me interested in these statistics.

According to a recent U.S. Justice Department study conducted to measure violent crime in the workplace, correctional officer was rated the fourth most violent job, surpassed only by policemen, cab drivers and private security guards.
Corrections Related Sites
TDCJ-ID Homepage Employees Retirement System Texas Public Employees Assn.
A.F.S.C.M.E. Local 3920 The Firing Line The Picket Newpaper
TX Corrections Officers Assn. Connections Magazine Corrections Connections
The Pipe Chase TDCJ Unofficial Employee Web Site CO's Resource Page
Am. Correctional Assn. Am. Justice Corrections Network Corrections Technology & Management
The Lounge TX Unofficial Prison Website Correctional Peace Officers Foundation
CO's and Creed Ours is a thankless job,
But someone must do it!
A Correction Officer's Prayer