It would be great if there was no need for a jail, but that is not the world in which we live. It is necessary at times for individuals to be isolated from society due to circumstances in their life.
As our world, laws and expectations have changed the jail has become not just a place to incarcerate criminals, but also a place to temporarily house those individuals who are dealing with substance abuse, and even mental illness. The challenges facing our local jail are demanding and constantly changing.
The men and women who choose a career as a Correctional Officer have far greater expectations placed upon them than just keeping criminals locked up. They are called upon to assess and respond to a wide variety of circumstances. They must react to various personality issues, violent criminals, suicidal inmates, persons with communicable diseases, the need for First Aid, individuals suffering from the effects of illegal substances, inmates and families who may be dealing with any number of social, emotional or even psychological issues. Along with these situations, they also serve 400 to 500 meals every day of the week, distribute prescription medications and do their best to see to it that inmate hygiene is observed and recreation time is allowed. Corrections Officers are also called upon to ensure that each inmate’s religious rights are met.
The days of the jovial town drunk letting himself in and out of jail are over. The standards and expectations on our jail are at an all-time high and still rising. I give my personal thanks to the people of Cocke County for your support, thoughts and prayers for the men and women who choose to be Correctional Officers.