The Jan. 21 article concerning correctional employees caught my attention. As a former warden of two western Kentucky prisons, my career has seen the loss of two fellow employees at the hands of inmates, two hostage situations, a sexual assault, numerous physical assaults and daily verbal assaults of correctional employees.
As citizens, we many times follow the news of horrific crimes committed against others by criminals. But after the trial and conviction our thoughts often end there. This same criminal's life continues behind bars and it is the correctional officer/employee who interacts with this individual eight hours a day.
Correctional employees know the importance of their jobs, which is providing safety to our communities. It takes a special person willing to sacrifice personal safety for their fellow citizens. In the back of their mind they know too well the dangers of their job, while also realizing their goodbye to family members before leaving for duty could be their final goodbye.
They deserve more. They deserve more pay than average, but raising their pay to at least the national average is a start. Funding the statute regarding longevity pay in an effort to prevent the constant turnover is another.
I encourage you to be mindful of the men and women who contribute to our safety. Tell them thanks by writing or calling your legislators and asking for their support in raising their pay and funding longevity pay, both of which are so very much deserved.
Thank you to The Paducah Sun in reminding myself and others of the role correctional employees play in our safety. I also hope The Paducah Sun continues to be a voice for correctional employees.
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