Appreciate correctional officers who worked through virus
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This is National Correctional Employees Week and National Nurses Week.
Each year we take time out to recognize the efforts of correctional employees throughout this country to maintain public safety and provide opportunities for the successful reentry of those confined.
There have been volumes written about this short sentence, and I am not here to rehash those issues; I am here to comment upon the extraordinary year all correctional employees have faced in fighting the battle of COVID under intense scrutiny.
The brave folk, who are generally underpaid and the last to be recognized in the law enforcement world, have gone into institutions of congregate living, with little reality of social distancing, to enforce the courts’ rulings as well as providing health care for the almost 30,000 offenders in the North Carolina Division of Prisons as well as the 5,000 offenders of the Federal Correctional Complex and the numerous offenders housed in local detention.
From Day 1 of the pandemic, with often contradictory guidance, these officers and nurses have done what they do each and every day: protect the public.
Have there been errors and mistakes? Yes. And have there been deaths of both staff and offenders? Yes. All deaths are regrettable, and for those working in institutions, upsetting. The grief goes beyond staff, employees grieve not only other staff, but have empathy for the families of those who died in custody.
Special tribute should be given to the 12 employees of the North Carolina Division of Prisons who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving this year fighting COVID, and the one staff member at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner who passed.
These staff and the thousands of others who work in corrections daily need our constant support, and scrutiny. But this year especially, they need our understanding and empathy.
Editor’s note: National Correctional Employees Week is the first full week of May and National Nurses Week is May 6-12.
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