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Corrections pros are not just guards

May 8, 2012 - Robert Lampert, Director, Wyoming Department of Corrections

Editor:

May 7-11 is observed in Wyoming as Correctional Professionals Week.

Corrections employees have provided for the safety of Wyoming families and individuals for 137 years under various agency names and, for the past 21 years, as the Wyoming Department of Corrections.

A system that began with the receipt of the first inmate in 1875 now has 2,243 inmates under its authority, including the 162 inmates currently housed in adult community corrections centers in Wyoming.

As this agency has evolved, so have its staff and the expectations of them. Employees, once considered in the aggregate as "guards", now do much more than guard prisoners and, as such, are truly deserving of recognition as corrections professionals.

These unsung heroes dedicate their lives to serving crime victims and to ensuring the safety of our communities through the incarceration and supervision process. They do so by role-modeling socially acceptable behavior to the offenders they supervise, by reinforcing the positive pro-social behaviors displayed by those offenders seeking change, and by redirecting inappropriate behavior in continuously holding each offender accountable for his/her own actions as they occur.

"Corrections" is the process that occurs as a result of the supervision, professional concern, and unselfish commitment of our state's corrections professionals.

That's the impact our professionals have. Our staff makes a difference not by punishing, but rather through accountability, mentoring, interventions, rewards and sanctions, treatment, partnerships with other agencies and community groups, and by assisting offenders in their efforts towards leading a law-abiding lifestyle.

The work they do has become multifaceted - their work goes beyond supervision and surveillance of offenders - and is therefore deserving of the designation as a respected profession.

During their week of special recognition on May 7-11 and throughout the year, we should honor and respect the work these professionals do for us each and every day of the year.

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