A Reflection – Chances
More than a quarter of a century ago, I chose a profession that was considered to be the lowest rung on the criminal justice ladder. Hired on as a prison guard at a Santa Fe prison in New Mexico, just a few years after the second worst prison riot in the country had occurred, I learned the hard way that chance is the only legitimate way to prepare the mind.
I quickly learned that inside prisons, nothing just happens. There are many “flashes of insight” that warns us of the things that happen. It is by these insights, these precious moments of vision and understanding that produces the proper preparation that is the key to a successful career.
It is true, leaders must have vision and keen intuitive abilities to sense the presence of danger as well as calm. Under some of the best prison employees I trained to become a correctional officer and step up from being called or recognized as a prison guard.
This training, some formal and some very informal in nature exposed me to numerous key challenges for self-development and growth of the profession. At the same time, I was training, I learned to pay attention to my mentors’ instincts and intuition. It appeared they learned how to react to adversity or danger. I even took a formal education to seek that elusive degree in criminal justice.
The ability to synchronize feelings and emotions along with knowledge stepped up my abilities as well as those around me. After a dozen years of working in uniform, I transitioned from the line to the desk. Certainly, a step I have no regrets or qualms with as they helped me proliferate and promote those principles and ethics taught to me at the school of hard knocks.
My decision to leave the line for additional responsibilities as an administrator were cultivated by the position that required duties and responsibilities to ensure the safe and secure operation of an adult prison. It was true that many tasks and duties required were similar to the activities I was already doing.
Prison management is not and should never be performed in an evenly remote fashion. It requires a hands on approach that should focus on public and staff safety foremost.
The administering of duties and assure compliance in a very complex criminal justice field is critical to law and order. It also encompasses the very realm of human and civil rights that should never be ignored or trampled upon.
Currently, I get extreme satisfaction of my retirement and consulting in the business of prison best practices and offer my skills, knowledge and abilities to make the profession better and safer.
One could say that retirement has offered me an enormous satisfaction and opportunities for working in a relationship that focuses on research, training and other programs aimed at decreasing workplace violence, human right violations and the stabilization of civility within a hostile environment.
My compensation and blessings are achieved by listening and watching inspired individuals who want to excel in their career and leadership character.
From this view, I can speak with all individuals about the academics and benefits of the job – I often think to myself, coming up through the ranks as a rookie prison guard evolving in a professional correctional officer.
No longer a prison guard, and climbing the ladder as designed by opportunities and chances that gave me the vision to make something good happen in the lives of others and my own.