Saturday, July 31, 2010

The CO's Initial Checklist

In 1997, the journalist Ted Conover was a corrections officer candidate in New York State, taking a course on chemical agents at the training academy run by the Department of Correctional Services.

The instructor, an officer named Vincent Nigro from a medium-security prison downstate, began the first class with a one-liner.

"What's the first three things you get when you become a CO?" he asked the assembled recruits.

Nigro waited a moment, then provided the answer. "A car. A gun. A divorce."

A humorous line, to be sure, but pointing to the hard realities of the job to come. In exchange for a measure of financial security, correctional officers take on work in a setting that can turn violent at any moment. And the ensuing stress takes a toll on many marriages.

Is there data on this, one wonders? A study comparing the incidence of divorce among corrections workers with the general population?

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