Sunday, February 20, 2011


Correctional officers are unappreciated for performing one of the most difficult public safety tasks in society – controlling the most uncontrollable and dangerous dregs of society. They are harassed day in and day out by inmates, 24-7. Correctional officers are just as confined in prison as the inmates, the only difference being that at the end of their shift they can go home – that is if they haven’t ended up in a hospital or morgue.

Recently Dorina Lisson, the Australian anti-death penalty zealot and hyper human rights activist, excoriated some correctional officers as abusive and brutal uneducated idiots, and all those on the execution team as ‘crazed sadist bullies.’ She accuses ‘many’ correctional officers of engaging in ‘predatory animalistic behavior towards prisoners.’

Lisson's concern for ‘caged human beings,’ as she calls them, would be admirable were it not for the fact that she bases her accusations on her personal opinions and on the publicized reports of highly untrustworthy complaints by inmates, their families and friends. It is obvious that Dorina has never taken so much as a single step in the shoes of a correctional officer.

Most correctional officer recruits have no real idea of what they are about to experience. Joe Bouchard, a veteran correctional officer, gives newbies some good pointers on how to survive and succeed in their very difficult and dangerous new career.

By Joe Bouchard
February 14, 2011

Do you remember when you were a fish? Can you recall the discomfort, trepidation, and uncertainty of your first days in the corrections profession? For most of us, it was like carrying the weight of the world.

Although it was over 17 years ago for me, I remember my first days in corrections in the same detail as though it were my latest meal. I felt as encumbered as Atlas bearing the weight of the world on his mythical shoulders. First impressions are lasting, after all.

Working in a prison is something one has to experience to fully appreciate. Certainly, training and research help new professionals adjust. But no amount of training, reading, and reflection can match the value of actual time on the job. I believe that I learned many lessons in my first days of employment. Here are a just few of them:

__Every second is a test. Prisoners constantly tested me from all angles to see my vocational worth and general malleability. The range was from subtle ruse to blatant aggression.

__All staff eyes are watching. I knew that many colleagues were scrutinizing me very closely. They wanted to also test my mettle and reliability.

__There were so many policies to learn. I could not believe the voluminous literature that I had to become accustomed with in order to become effective at my job.

__Keep things in perspective. Initially, I failed to keep things in perspective. I was frozen in fear of litigation and physical attack. My personal worries hindered my view of the greater, interconnected picture. Gaining perspective tempered my trepidation.

__Balance is key. Obsessive fear of attack can paralyze. Complacency can make one a target. Cool vigilance is the best moderation.

__Things will improve if you keep working at it. In the early stages of my career, the stress and anxiety from each day led me to want to quit my job daily. I dreaded going into work each day.

Eventually, I discovered that, as a staff member, I could exercise considerable control of my area and of my career. I could be the architect of my own vocational fate. I merely had to apply those lessons.

For example, I realized that it is no big deal that I am tested from all sides. I simply had to pass the tests with the plain application of policy and procedure in a firm but fair manner. Also, moderation helped temper the fear and change it to respect for my environment. I learned to think ahead, yet not tire myself out on contingency plans. With all of this, the stress declined. I actually grew to like my job very much. Balance, balance, and balance.

I learned that those and other lessons are fundamental for success in corrections. I was not the only one who has ever felt “the six month jitters”. It was a common occurrence. So, in sum, Newbies are not alone. All of your colleagues have gone through the same as you.


Dorina Lisson said...

Hello? ... take a look at my full comments again, without editing or assuming before you publish my comments.

I have stated several times that "some" not all correctional officers are abusive people, as "some" have been found guilty of various abuses of prisoners.

The evidence is based on referenced facts, including news articles, law enforcement and court documents, etc. It is not simply my opinion, as you all so wrongly and accuse me. Grow up please!

Not all prisoners are troublesome, but I agree that "some" prisoners can behave like animals when they are treated like animals. It makes sense to me!

It is my opinion (as I have a right to) that abusive people should not be employed in any capacity with caged humans, just as abusive people would never be allowed employment in any capacity with caged animals.

No morally decent person can honestly consider the execution-team of correctional officers to be kind loving and caring angels. A killer is a killer, is a killer - nothing to be proud about!

If you don't agree - I DON'T CARE !!!

BarkGrowlBite said...

Dorina, you are so full of it!

Apparently you do not read too well because if you could, you would have noted that I wrote that you'excoriated some correctional officers as abusive and brutal uneducated idiots.' Again, I wrote 'some'!

And when you accused COs of engaging in ‘predatory animalistic behavior towards prisoners,’ you did not say 'some,' you said 'many.'

Dorina, when you make your rediculous accusations about the execution team officers, you are blowing smoke out of your biased ass! Most of those officers are loving husbands and fathers doing a job that needs to be done. The scumbags they are executing have been found guilty of the most horrific of crimes and are not fit to remain among the living. (Please read my post, 'Just A Passionate Latin Lover' as just one example. Oh yes, I also mentioned you in that posting.)

Those execution team members are every bit as morally decent as you are. They may not be angels, but I'll bet you are no angel yourself, young lady.

Centurion had this to say about our differences: 'I don't mind a good argument. Arguing with an agenda driven emotional fool however, does not a good argument make...'

I do not agree that we cannot have a good argument, but Centurion sure pegged you right when he referred to you as an AGENDA DRIVEN EMOTIONAL FOOL!

BarkGrowlBite said...

I forgot one point, Dorina. When you say 'that "some" prisoners can behave like animals when they are treated like animals,' you're wrongly assuming that they are being treated like that. Well, you've got that wrong too!

These inmates behaved like animals way before they were ever imprisoned. That's why they are doing time in the first place. They sure as hell are not in prison for singing off-key in the church choir.

bob walsh said...

Dorina, I hate to attempt to burst your bubble (I am confident I will not actually be able to bust that bubble of self-rightousness and indignation of yours) but, all things considered, prisoners in this country in general and in California in particular are treated very well. They get three good meals a day, they get better health care than all but the very rich get "on the streets", and their life expectancy within prison is actually much greater than when after are released.

Its true they are not allowed to freely associate, are told to a large extent what to do and when to do it, but they have amply proven, most of them NUMEROUS TIMES, that they can not be trusted to act appropriately in a free society.

Your assertion that they are treated like caged animals is factually incorrect and clearly self-serving.

I have a great idea. Why don't you come to California, commit several felonies over a period of years (because, except for murder and child molestation, that's what it takes to get into prison) and try it out. Then at least you would be voicing a first-hand opinion rather than just parroting liberal horsecrap.

Dorina Lisson said...

Again .... I DON'T CARE what you think or to assume about me. I SIMPLY DON'T CARE!

You can label me any nasty name you want ... I DON'T CARE !!!

I am a human rights activist and I will continue to expose human rights abuses.

If you disagree ... I DON'T CARE !!!

BarkGrowlBite said...

Sure you care, Dorina. Otherwise you wouldn't be responding.

Blut fear not, we all really love you!