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LETTER: Prison, jail staff deserve praise

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We are now facing a national crisis; we have not been tested in this manner since WWII, and from a health care perspective, we have not been tested like this since 1918. There are so many heroes in this war, but one group of heroes I want to make sure we do not forget are the correctional workers who enter prisons and detention facilities on a daily basis. They too have families, they too are frightened, they too are frustrated, but every day they enter prisons and jails to do their very best to protect the public while maintaining the health and safety of staff and offenders.

I do not think anyone would argue that any get paid commensurate to the job they have. And what is amazing is they continue to do it. They continue to work, when most probably would like to stay at home, because they understand it is their duty. Having been involved with institutional corrections for more than 45 years, I am very proud of the work they do.

I think it is very important to remember it is not the line correctional worker who dictates policy or even whom they have in prison and jail. Someone else provides the policy and says who needs to remain confined. And while many have opinions concerning this, they march onward. Only recently have I heard some in the media comment about the sacrifice of correctional staff. Generally, they talk about how well people were prepared or not prepared and the devastating effects COVID-19 could cause from a public health perspective in prisons and jails.

The individual correctional officer or the staff nurse or the food service foreman have no say in much of this. They only know they go in because it is their duty. While there are so many heroes, I am biased, these heroes are among those we should thank the most.

Art Beeler