recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
I am a Correctional Officer (7 years) AMA

Edit: Hey I'm gonna call it quits. Thanks guys for all the questions. It got to the point where it was too negative and to many Epstein questions. Thank you!

FAQ: Male prison. Florida. Idk about OITNB. Epstein....I plead the Fifth.

November 29th 2019
interview date

I didn't clarify before you sue is. Medical staff was down there with him getting it out and it was HANDED/RETRIEVED to the Sergeant for evidence and a report


Heads Up! You seem to have tried replying to a parent comment which doesn’t exist here.


in the podcast 'ear hustle' which is dope, they talk about racial segregation as just default. The exception, if I remember correctly, being the inmates who play the game DND. Are there programs or efforts to encourage racial integration, or is it just a matter of course?


Really just a matter of course. Now when I say that they are plenty of inmates that don't care about racial segregation. But whenever it comes to a fight or brawl they will side with their race 99% of the time.


People think it’s a sure thing that child abusers will get taken out once they get to prison. Is that true? Also, how would the other inmates find out what that person is in for?


They will most likely get beaten up but rarely killed. And when they make phone calls they ask someone on the outside to look it up since it's all public info especially since they're a predator.


Do upstanding/peaceful inmates receive a special treatment?


Kinda in a way yeah. Like me for instance if a inmate is really respectful and genuine about it if he asks me to charge his tablet during the day (they are only supposed to be charged at night) I might do it if I get a chance. I do it to show the other inmates that I can work with them if they are respectful.


I volunteered with the chaplain as a mentor to the inmates. During my orientation led by a correctional officer, I was quite taken aback at how pessimistic her view of the inmates were. She had come in as a cheerful, optimistic mentor two decades prior, but since, has the view that the inmates are always scheming, always out to get something from the kind-hearted people who want to help, and she discouraged us from any relationships with them, even after they've completely served their time (she recommends crossing the street if seeing them walk towards us). I'm not sure where I stand between punitive and rehabilitative justice, nor am I one of those people that constantly sees the good in everyone, but her attitude seemed way too down. Is your experience the same as hers? Ultimately, I want to help these guys however I can, but that's hard if I follow what she says about purposely keeping my distance. I do understand that to some degree, barriers and hierarchy are necessary so that isn't lost to me.


You have to head her warning but at the same time just legit help them.ALOT want help but don't get it.


I’m curious about how you keep prison life from bleeding into regular life? Lots of CO’s in my family and one family member in particular got to the point where she treated her kids like inmates.

Also I’m sorry it this has already been asked, but have you worked more often with male or female populations?


I treat others as they want to be treated and my wife is very understanding. She will let me come home and take a nice long shower to decompress and have dinner ready for me. It's a team effort really. Males


I read that depression is common among correctional officers. How do you think your job affects your mental health and do you have any recommendations for maintaining a good mental health?


Yeah I suffered from that and a short temper when I started working there. But the prison will give you 5 free sessions with a therapist with the Employee Assitance Program. Also having a good hobby to decompress with. And seeing how you can use this place as a footstool to something better


My older brother has recently been sentenced to prison for about 10 years. Any advice I should give him about making the best of his situation?


Sorry I saw this earlier but I couldn't find it til now. But just to take advantage of everything the prison offers that can help him. And just to overall improve himself. Fat? Work out and get healthy! No high school diploma? Get his GED!


What are some of the worst things you've seen in prison?


I remember coming onto shift one night and I look over to the eight and on the top tier the inmate had a razor stuck in the foreskin of his penis and finally got it out and cut his sack open and handed his testicales when I finally came up there to relieve the other officer.


If you were given a blank check to reform the prison system what changes would you make and why?


Officers more pay. And more programs and better education for inmates to explore their interests so that when they get out they have all the tools ready to not come back. And better working facilities. We have 4 maintenance civilians that fix something broken all day everyday.


Any insight on what it's like to work as a cook at a facility? My brother is considering taking jobs as a supervising cook at both federal and state level facilities.


I actually work in food service and work with a civilian back there and it's not bad just to be headstrong and not be dirty.


What's the most heartbreaking experience you've had?


Having a good friend of mine kill himself because his wife that worked at the same prison was having sexual relations with a couple of inmates.


How much incoming mail gets read? (I send my nephew letters about Pokémon and grocery shopping and books I’m reading.) Do they skip over the boring letters from the Aunts?


Everything. Multiple times.


What is something that you think the general public does not know or understand about your job, or prison in general?


It's not as bad or dramatic as people make it. As long as you're fair and consistent and don't let them walk over you then you will be fine. Inmates respect the staff that have time in.


Have you ever met someone you genuinely believed to be innocent/wrongfully convicted?


Yeah. An inmate is in prison for life because some POS raped his 5 year old daughter and he killed them. He is a very stand up person.


Is prison rape as common as most people think?


Not really. ALOT of them lie about because we treat it with such seriousness and gets another inmate into trouble and into confinement immediatley.


What type of leadership development opportunities are there in this field after the academy?


They are everywhere tbh. You just have to be willing to move to a bunch of different prison if you want to rank up quick. Or put in the work and bide your time if you don't want to leave ur facility.


What level prison do you work at? Do you see more fights at the higher level? Have you been in a fight with a inmate?


It's a psych camp. And fights happen about a t least once a week. And yeah pushed me up against the wall and I eventually got him down but he socked real good on the side of my head.


Has any celebrity been an inmate where you work?


That wide neck dude that everybody made neck memes about came through for a couple weeks and transfered.


Worst physical altercation you've seen between an officer (maybe yourself) and an inmate?


An inmate beat the dog shit out of an officer out of nowhere cuz he was high on k2. And no the officer is not an asshole.


Rare AMA that is not actually a self promotion or advertising, love it! Do you ever go deep in thought about what would it be like if you had a different job?


All the time and I'm actually going to school right now for Software Developer.


What’s the weirdest thing you have found up an Inmate’s butt?


A galaxy note 8. Took him 3 hours to get it out.


Do you think that prisoners come back to prison so fast due to not enough help/tools in prisons or due to the stigma outside that no one wants to employ you ect when they are outside?


I think it's both tbh.


Does your facility sell the whole shabang chips? If so have you tried them?


Yeah they do and no I haven't but the inmates sat they are really good.


What's something you wish would change about the prison system?


The way the administration treats us. They act like since they ared way above rank that they're poop don't stink and it feels like I'm not on the same team as them.


I've spent about 5 years on and off as an inmate,

Have you ever had anyone put peanut butter in there was cheeks before a strip search just to fuck with you?


Lol no but sometimes I'll joke with the staff and inmates stuff that would be hilarious in those situations.


Okay, who's the dirty CO supplying drugs to inmates for cash on the side and how hard is it to report such things?


Idk and not hard if able to find out.


How did you land this job at such a young age?


Just apply. In Florida they can hire 18yo. When I started it was 19.


What if am inmate required a service dog? What is it like for them, do they get to have there dog with them or are they sent to a special prison?


They are assigned inmates as helpers.


As a former inmate, im just curious.most C.O there kinda didnt give a shit about us, like they werent exactly bad, but just didnt give a fuck if we need toilet paper, or when our cells floosed with toilet water. The ones that were nice to us pretty much got fired. Im curious if taking on this job, if you have to kind of look down on inmates (for lack of a better word)to be able to work around them? Imo when i was locked up, whenever there was cool C.O, fellow gaurds would give them more shit than any of the inmates, why is this?


They take kindness for a weakness. O just act like a boss on a construction site. Still the boss but I'll work with you


I am a young-ish (33y) female therapist who owns a private practice, but has always wanted to do therapy in the prison/jail system. I am not completely busted looking, so many people have warned me against working in a prison/jail with male inmates for my safety, or have said I wouldn’t be taken seriously during therapy sessions. What are your thoughts?


They might listen to you more. They tend to listen to females more especially if you are somewhat attractive. But you are gonna run into your liars and manipulators. Just part of it.


are the jits worse than the adults?


No most of the time they are really intimidated by the whole prison aspect unless they have been in and out already at a young age.


How often do you have your life threatened by inmates?


At least once a week


How is the food they give the inmates, do you get the leftovers?


It's not that bad for the most part. And no I bring my own stuff.


How many people did you catch diddling their fiddle on late night head counts? No pun intended.


This one guy was beating his meat like it owed him money and I walked up and he pulled the covers over him and started reading his magazine


Former CO here, what state? Private, federal, or state? What are the biggest issues at your facility?


Florida. State. Staffing and Administration not giving a damn and mandatory overtime.


I've been a Correctional Officer for 9 years. You doing this AMA while at work? Boring job....


Lol no and yes and it is very boring.




How chill the majority of inmates are. And how manipulating they can be.


What's your favourite colour?


Finally I've been waiting for this


1.)Have you ever felt unsafe working there? Like you were threatened by inmates?

2.) are there small correction officers working there ? Are there many women in that field?

3.) what is vacation like?

4.) how do you feel about working with criminals who have done such horrendous things?

Sorry for so many questions, I’m quite curious


1.) Plenty of times. Just rely on my training. 2.) Yes and yes. 3.) Plenty of it if you don't call out. 4.) I don't try to look them up because of me being a father and if they a re a child predator I don't want to be biased towards them and do something stupid


Would you say your prison is a country club, a hellhole, or somewhere in between? In college I toured a state prison here in Michigan and the officers described it as the nicest prison in the state for both the inmates and the officers. That particular prison has the lowest staff turnover rate in the state, so jobs there open up once in a blue moon.


Oh wow! In between but it can turn into a helllhole real quick. Staff turnover is awful where I work.


Do officers get into it with the inmates?


Oh yeah. Shouting matches for the most part.


I have a friend who is a CO and another friend who was incarcerated for several years (was in a separate facility than where my friend works and was released several years ago, has stayed out of trouble since). My friend who is a CO refuses to meet my second friend because it is apparently against the rules to have any kind of friendship on the outside with a felon. Is there a similar rule in your state?


Yeah for 1 year unless parents or child.


Ever brought anything into your facility to sell? I was a free staff in a Cali Prison for about 5 yrs, I ended up getting caught bringing in phones and tobacco and had to do some time because of it. You live and you learn.


Nope never. Too chicken shit to do lol.


My stepbrother works as a guard in a maximum security prison in Canada. It's the only job he's ever had, started right out of school. He says (and honestly believes) that the prisoners are not human. He call them cockroaches I believe that someone can be broken beyond repair, but that they are still human. But I don't work with them. So do you think of them as broken people or not people at all? Or none of the above?


Some maybe but not all. Really based on experience


What's the most tempting bribe you were ever offered?


I haven't been offered yet cuz I made my stance known that I'm not foe it.


This is so weirdly specific but always been curious:

In an episode of Bones, the lead said that the last thing a prisoner would do is harm a pregnant woman. She (a pregnant woman) then walked through the middle of a brawl in a prison cafeteria. All the inmates leapt out of her way so as not to touch her.

Is there any truth to that? I know that situation would basically never happen, but if it did, could you see that being the inmates response?


Yeah for the most part if they are aware


Hope I'm not too late to the party and that this hasnt already been asked... but whats the one stereotype about the correctional system that really frustrates you?


That all we do is beat inmates. It happens but every job has a dark side.


My gf is a corrections officer of 7 1/2 years.

Not sure how your state works but up where we live, you get partially vested after 10 yrs and fully vested after 25.

My gf never seems to have an actual answer for me whenever I bring up the subject of her leaving after the 10 year mark. Sometimes she wants to stay "be a leader" (re; be able to use the OC spray) and other days she cannot stand going back to that place.

You may be able to tell I'm a somewhat frustrated spouse/partner as our whole relationship seems to revolve around her work-life.

My question is centered around wondering if the 10 year pension and her leaving is a realistic goal? Do most COs in your experience who make it to 10 years typically stay for their whole working lives? Is there turnover in your facility? Would you personally stay for the [until retirement age] requirement is met?


There are 2 retirement programs. Pension and Investmant. Pension where im at is 8 uears to be fully vested. Invested 1 year and you can leave with what you and the prison put in. I'm about to retire and have $50,000 and go to a private prison and work on their pension


What is something that you wish people on the outside knew about the system/inmates?


Its broken and nobody cares on either side. (Those that do care get drowned out by the majority that dont)


How are your feet? I used to massage a client that worked in a prison and her standing muscles were like iron. Lots of hard surfaces to walk on and very long shifts, not to mention the stressful environment. Do you frequent massage parlors as self-care? Does your insurance cover massages?


No and yes


Is the job worthwhile? I'm certified in Florida, just trying to get a job.


It is cuz you get 2 free classes a semester for college, great insurance, great pension, but the pay could be better but that's what promotion is for.


Criminology Major here. Have you ever come across COs sneaking in things for inmates? They’re one of the top reasons paraphernalia ends up in prisons for a very minor profit. If so, was any punishment executed? Was it ignored by the higher ups?


Yeah but I didn't know until they were caught. Back than no but now it's a real problem and they are starting to give time for it.


I watched 60 days in on Netflix and loved it. Its it a real insight? Do you think this could work in other places?


I'm it's really risky. But entertaining tho lol


So what do you think of privatized prisons?


From what I heard not very good. But I work State so I can't honestly give you a good answer.


What gangs are most prevelant in your institution if any? I'm a Parole Officer with a gang caseload.


When I first started mainly Latin kings. But we fazed them out here and them. Now it's mainly white gangs like Arean Brotherhood and some small black gangs.


After some time at the job, do you get a sense of who is in there for crimes they actually committed and who didn't? Have you ever kept in touch with an inmate after they were released to make sure they stayed on their feet or any other reason?


You are legally not allowed to have ANY contact with inmates for a year unless immediate family upon their release. Now I have seen inmates out and about. Like at gamestop one day the inmate came up t me and said "they sarge how are ya doing?" And I talked to him and asked how he was doing and it turned out he has a good job at a call cente. You get a sense of who is in there for petty crimes and real ones


What do you think of the US's way of treating prisoners as well as the standards of the "corrections facility" you are working at?


I think it is very soft. They have 20 channel tv, tablets, endless hours of recreations, all kinds of commissary items. Don't really seem like punishment. They are just segregated from the world. The standards on paper are great but in reality half the people don't even follow it.


How did you get your position at seven years of age? That's impressive.


Lol I hate you


Do you recommend becoming one? I have been considering it for some time now. I have a half way decent job, but not much for benefits especially long term, so becoming a CO looks very enticing.

Also, do you get along with the other guards? Or does everyone keep to themselves?



I would but you really need to know what you want out of it before you do it. And it's a family environment


What did you rank in the FScale?


Just an officer. Never had a desire to move up. More freedom for other cushy positions.


Late to the party, but I gotta ask, what would you think about a fellow CO dating a defense attorney?


Lol smart move


Does anyone do it better than the Macho Man Randy Savage?


Hell naw


What made you want to take such a difficult job with dangerous people? Is the pay good?


I was young and never worked anywhere but fast food so they offered double that and some and the medical insurance is just absolutely fantastic. And depends but my opinion no.


Husband of a friend is a CO at a women’s correctional facility. She says it’s about once a week some CO is being escorted out the door and fired for some sort of violation on the job such as “fraternization” etc. Does it happen often in your workplace?


More often I would like unfortunately. Maybe not once a week but a handful of times a year.


Are there any unspoken rules among the prisoners? Is there any sort of hierarchy?


No stealing and hate for child predators.


What do you think is the hardest part of your job?


Dealing with the many personalities that a re there and their triggers.


Have you ever reported another officer for corruption or abuse?


Thankfully no but I've had suspicions of some.


My current boss is a 10 year former correctional officer. Now an office manager and she’s tough to deal with. Any insights on this mentality to help me? Also, what’s the pay like for this job, and benefits?


Kill her with kindness. Depends on the state. But the insurance benefits are amazing and so is the pension.


What is defense against drones dropping contraband into the yard?


In Florida we are told to do the same thing


Do you feel guilty when you break laws yourself?


I don't break any (I speed a little while driving so sue me).


How close to reality is "Orange is the new Black"?


Never seen it or worked at a female institution. So idk really. Sorry.


I have heard from several people that co’s are the worst. They know where cameras and blind spots are and have heard just mean shit you all do to inmates. Is this true and what have you seen?


Just like some cops it's there.


Is that thing about “find the biggest guy and start a fight with him on Day One or you’ll be marked as a victim” really true?


In one of your replies to an ask, you said it was boring, how so? What is your routine like


Make your round, do your log, take them out to rec, feed. Rinse and repeat.


Have you ever felt sorry for the way an inmate was treated?


Yeah sometimes we get overreact but we are human.


I have an idea of how rough the job can be (a majority of the time), my father is a CO of 19 years, so i have a lot of respect for you guys. I hope you’re doing well ;) My question is how are you doing? Also what led you to become a CO? (Past job, training, etc?)


Doing good gonna cash out soon and the fact that I had only high school education and this was my best path for the pay.


How are former police officers treated as inmates?


They are put in the PM (protective management) unit. Which my facility doesn't have one anymore.


Are there any realistic tv representations of prison?


60 days in is closest.


Have you actually managed to ‘correct’ anyone?


Idk I hope I helped someone but I'm not legally allowed to be in touch with them for a year when they leave.


Do you think many of your fellow colleagues smuggle in contraband for the prisoners? If so, what's the most usual stuff they bring in?


Cell phones and drugs


Is the job worth it? Looking into positions at Florence ADX but this would be my first foray.


It can be just know what ur getting into


1) Would you be in support of decriminalizing weed/opioids to keep non-violent offenders out of prison?

2) If prisoners had a basic income of $1,000/month when they were released, do you think that would help them get on their feet again?


1.) Yes and 2.) No. I say this because they're are to many homeless people with nothing but you commit a crime and start getting paid when u get released? But my facility gives them $100 on the way out and say good luck


Who is respected the most among inmates? What are these people in for?


Gang leaders. Anything and everything except child predators.


Why choose this profession?


I was young and no college. And this layer the best with that type of education. But I'm going back to school to be a Software Developer. The state will pay for 2 classes a semester so it's free as well.


As this job is tough mentally, do you or any of your correctional officer employees go to therapy, and how do you cope with all the shit you see while in prison?


I did. We just be there for one another and ask out families to do the same. It's a team effort.


Why do most correctional officers feel like they have all this power?


Some let it go to their head.


How many walkers have you killed?

How many people have you killed?



I like u


How do you deal with the smells?


Idk help me!


How long before new guys get on the payroll of inmates? 6 months?


Usually less tbh.


Did you have go through school to become a correctional officer?


An academy for like 3 months and a state test


Can you work as a CO while using medical marijuana?


How often do guards goof off enough to have an Epstein happen?


Yeah it's possible. Mainly not goofing but being lazy.


Which tv show or movie represents the jail life accurately?


60 days in.


Trigger warning: mentions suicide.

What does suicide watch mean exactly? Are you supposed to be monitored 24/7? If someone on suicide watch commits suicide, what is the procedure to deal with such a thing?


A round every 15 minutes in a isolated cell with a turtle suit on (a turtle suit is something you wear that is impossible for a human to rip up and make a rope to hang with). All the big bosses take over after that and the area cannot be messed with and somebody has to watch their body until it leaves.


Your take on Epstein? Suicide, murder, or escaped and alive?


Dead and gone.


How did you feel about minorities before correctional work and now? Or if you are a minority do inmates treat you better or worse? Im related a guard and his outlook has changed on the subject after a year or so.


I'm Hispanic and my little brother is half black so mother changed for me. Although the Hispanic inmates try to be my "buddy".


Got a favorite soup?


Anything cambells


I know it's ended but I'm hoping I can get a response

How do you feel about drug laws?


Marijuana is fine Gov are just dumb and don't know how to educate themselves on the benefits of it. Anything else unless prescribed is not good.


How accurate is the media stereotype of COs being abusers of the prison system?


Not very but it's there just like cops.


How do you feel about inmates who were only there because they were wrongfully convicted by being railroaded into a plea agreement by prosecutors whose only interest is to lie and seek conviction at any cost?

How do you feel about the fact that this wouldn't be possible if people didn't sign up for your job? Why don't you consider yourself to be part of the problem?


I don't like that some of these guys are in here for petty stuff. But I have bills to pay and I'm not the problem. That's like saying "you work at McDonald's so you contribute to the obesity problem" but at the end of the day if you break the law you knew what were doing and the consequences. We are not gonna change each other mind so good day!


What was the most difficult question you were asked in the interview process?


I don't remember honestly I was so nervous and it flew by so quick


What is your honest opinion of Jeffrey Epstein’s death? Do you think prisoner suicide under his conditions is believable?


Yeah I do. I mean a billionaire that lost everything? Makes me suicidal


What can states do to address the shortage of correctional officers? Jurisdictions tend to raise the salaries but that doesn’t have a long term impact, just works for a year or two before the staffing issue crops up again.

Thank you for what you do. It’s got to be one of the toughest jobs out there.


Really we just want to be compensated for what we do. And not work so much overtime.


Were you working prior to PREA and did it have that much of an impact?


No and no. The inmates for the most part manipulate the PREA process cuz of how serious we treat to get rid of an inmate they owe debt to or are scared of.


I have spent a significant amount of time wrongfully incarcerated and ultimately completely exonerated. Knowing corrupt government incompetence like this exists within government, how do you justify your salary to yourself?


I didn't do anything to you or anyone just doing my job the best I can while taking the punches you give me. I'm actually a pretty chill CO if you been down like you said I know you seen a good CO or 2 if u didn't ur lying.


Why is using a TTY device (for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing) so accessible for non deaf/hard of hearing inmates; allowing the freedom to dial any number they wish (without monitor) that isnt on the list of verified contacts they have while using the phone?


At our facility there is only one and it's locked away in confinement. If one needs to use it he will be escorted to confinement to use it and be monitored while using it. Idk who's letting them call u like that.


How do I break out of here?


Well if I told ya if have to kill ya


Has anything supernatural or just weird ever happened ?


Ummm? Not really?


How many people have you successfully corrected?


I'm not sure. I don't keep up with them after they leave. I try to help and offer advice.


Can you verify if they have jar full of gold teeth at Lake Butler?


It seems that the racism in prisons, like the race based gangs and segregation, is a holdover from previous generations of prisoners with life sentences. How long do think it will be until prison life becomes truly integrated?


Generations probably if that


how do you live with yourself knowing you are 100% part of the problem? Drink a lot?


I dont drink. And i didnt commit the crimes. I didn't have a lapse in judgment that changed my life for the worse. I try to help inmates when I can. It's part of the job. But I'm also not gonna be run over or manipulated by an inmate.


So how many minorities have you abused whilst being in a position of power over them?


Lol I'm Hispanic and my little brother is half black so take that SJW be somewhere else.


From your experience, what percentage of people would you say are impossible to rehabilitate?


Half and half. Even the the statics don't back that up.


What kind of bear is best?


Dont drink.


How do toy live with yourself?


Idk watch toy story and you'll find ur answer


How does it feel to be a cog in the system of mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex?




Is it possible to do your job and not become prejudiced? Seriously? I'm downvoted? I worked in an er and it was a Struggle not to become prejudiced after dealing with some entitled folks


Yeah I'm not. Of course I'm Hispanic and my little brother is half black soooooo


Do you think Epstein killed himself?


Lulz no comment.


Why are CO's usually such jerks?


Not all are but they get a big head.


How do you live with yourself?


By not killing myself like Epstein did.


Male or female inmates?


Why do you like looking at dudes buttholes ?




Can you go fuck yourself?


If the price is right


Why are you a piece of shit?








What do you know about inmates deemed "special"? By other officers, not inmates..I know you know what I mean..


Snitches or your convicts

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