What It's Like To Work As A Prison Guard
- Q. Why were you interested in this job?
A. It's one of the better jobs in the area, and my mother did it for 15 years as I was growing up. I knew it so I went in for it.
- Q: What's the pay like?
A. It pays decently. I make close to $2,000 a month after taxes. The benefits are great; I pay close to $29 a month for full health coverage, dental, life insurance and short- and long-term disability insurance.
- Q. Do you worry about your personal safety -- even off the job?
A. Personal safety is always an issue, I can just hope that I'm all right when something goes down. You do start acting differently on the outside, and behave differently than normal, you'll find yourself not wanting to sit with your back facing a door, or looking everyone dead in the eyes, just out of habit after a while, but usually it's nothing big.
- Q. Is rape a big issue in your prison?
A. It happens, we can't always stop it. It's always a big issue, but we do our best to make sure they're safe from rape, or any sexual harassment for that matter. We take it very seriously.
- Q. What's the worst insult or slur an inmate has said to you?
A. I think the one that sticks the most was: "I'm doing two life sentences in here, you think killing you is going to f*** with what I'm doing?" Not really an insult, but it's the worst thing I've listened to.
- Q. Have you met anyone who's been wrongfully imprisoned?
A. I haven't met a man who hasn't owned up to what he did. They know they should be there and I know it's my job to keep them in.
- Q. Do you know the crimes committed by the inmates?
A. We're not allowed to know what they did, they can tell us, but we can't go into records and look specifically. I choose not to know that way it keeps me in a professional state around them. I can't act one way to one and one way to another; that doesn't fly.
- Q. What do you spend most of your time doing?
A. A lot of time spent on shift is actually filling out paperwork; everything is documented. I work the night shift and have to count four times in the eight hours that I'm there. I also spend a lot of time turning out inmates for chow time, medical reasons and other various things.
- Q. Have any prisoners tried to escape?
A. Not anyone while I've been working here. I think the last attempt was seven years ago.