Honoring Correctional Staff

On May 5, 1984, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, delivered a proclamation designating the first week in May as National Correctional Officers Week. The importance of all staff members who serve cannot be overstated, because each has an important role, whether civilian or security staff. Those who serve in the field can easily identify with the depth and spirit found in the context the nearly 40-year old proclamation. The President—and possibly the Nation—began to recognize that we are no longer “guards,” but trained professionals. In this article, we share some of the ways in which National Correctional Officers and Employees Week was observed in 2016.

Riverside Regional Jail Authority
Prince George, Virginia

Riverside Regional Jail Authority was in the middle of a barbeque to celebrate its employees for National Correctional Officers Week, and had to quickly transition from celebrations to an emergency situation due to a suicidal/homicidal individual approximately 100 yards away from the picnic area in which staff were celebrating.

Riverside Regional Jail Authority Jail officers quickly switched modes; they ensured everyone was evacuated safely. Operations continued as normal as possible at the main jail and pre-release center as personnel assisted the Prince George Police Department and Virginia State Police in securing a perimeter to protect the community and jail employees while the isolation, location and identity of the suspect were identified. In addition, staff who were not directly involved in the support of the emergency situation participated in relocating food to the main jail so that employees who had not yet attended the staff barbeque were able to enjoy the fine food and festivities.

Superintendent Jeffery L. Newton, CJM, commended his staff by sending out an email in which he stated that he “was proud of the manner that RRJA staff were easily able to transition from having a barbeque in celebration of Correctional Officers Week to assisting the Prince George Police Department and Virginia State Police in resolving the incident. You have a Great Team here and I am proud to be your Superintendent. Great Job By All!” 

The Command staff at Riverside Regional Jail Authority would like to publicly thank each of its jail officers and employees for your relentless and diligent efforts and contributions. This incident was a great example of the ever-changing circumstances that jail officers face in the daily performance of assigned duties.

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Beginning earlier in the week, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office corrections staff planned several week-long events, drawings, and activities to recognize the efforts of the corrections Officers who keep the community and inmates safe and secure.

On Monday, they held a drawing and gave away movie tickets, knives, car wash tickets, and more. Officers were served chips and salsa on Tuesday, and spaghetti with garlic toast on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, Hamilton County Mayor, Jim Coppinger, presented a Mayoral Proclamation in recognition of National Corrections Week to the media. After the proclamation, a cake recognizing Correctional Officers Week was shared, followed by announcing the winner of the guess-the-number in the Jelly Bean jar. 
On Thursday, all officers and staff were treated on every shift to a cookout with hamburgers, hot dogs, and many fixings. Lunch and dinner were served to more than 165 corrections officers and staff members at the jail. 
Friday held another prize drawing and Saturday was a welcomed day for sweets including a “Corrections Week 2016” cake and doughnuts for all shifts.

HCSO extends a huge thank you to the men and women throughout the Nation who chose this profession and carry out their duties with enthusiasm and professionalism.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office
Naples, Florida

In observation of Correctional Officers Week, the Collier County Commissioners presented the Corrections Division with a proclamation showing their support.  

Corrections members were treated to pizza, salad, and cookie bar sponsored by Trinity Services Group and the Collier County Sheriff's Office. Staff would like to extend a special thanks to Trinity Manager Teresa Ledford for her assistance in planning, and her delicious cookies. Sheriff Rambosk attended the luncheons acknowledging and personally thanking corrections members for their service.

In addition, Sheriff Rambosk prepared and signed thank-you cards for each member, commemorating the week. The Community Engagement Department developed a video highlighting correctional officers hard at work and added it to their website and social media pages.

During the event, a local healthcare provider, Synergy Health Center provided complimentary chair massages to show their appreciation and support to the corrections staff.

Sheriff Rambosk, Chief Roberts, Captain Richards, Commander McGowan, and Commander Gifford are proud of the staff of the Collier County Sheriff's Office Corrections Division and their dedication to this profession and their community.

Baltimore County Department of Corrections
Baltimore, Maryland

The Baltimore County Department of Corrections celebrated Correctional Employees Week with the theme of “Winners Bring Their ‘A’ Game.” On Motivational Monday, May 2nd, staff participated in a Policy Scavenger Hunt, where staff answered questions by searching the policies. One entry was selected to receive a $25 gift card.

On Trivia Tuesday, May 3rd, staff answered trivia questions about the Baltimore County Department of Corrections. One entry was selected to receive a $25 gift card.

On Wonderful Wednesday, May 4th, staff with perfect attendance were honored at roll call.
Not only did they receive a certificate honoring their perfect attendance, each person also received a certificate guaranteeing them a “day off” on a date of their choosing. A drawing was also held on each shift to select a person who was awarded an extra overtime deferment.

On Thank-You Thursday, May 5th, staff enjoyed a fabulous luncheon where everyone received gifts from administration. Both uniformed and non-uniformed staff were encouraged to wear a sports team jersey—staff entered their names into a drawing for Baltimore Orioles gift items including tickets to a baseball game. Staff also participated in a game where the participants tried to guess the amount of candy contained in a party-sized beverage dispenser. The winner won the candy and the beverage dispenser. Non-uniform staff participated in a drawing to win a chance to park in the garage for a week.

On Fantastic Friday, May 6th, uniformed staff were given the opportunity to order polo shirts that can be worn to work later in the year.

Staff had a delightful time being appreciated the entire week! 

St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office
Fort Pierce, Florida

St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Department of Detention celebrated Corrections Officers and Employees Week with food, giveaways, posters, and a fun slideshow.

According to Sgt. Sheila Miller, “The detention staff members work hard at protecting our community from the inside out and we wanted to recognize their hard work in a fun and meaningful way.”

Sheriff’s Office Detention members were presented with facility-compliant backpacks stocked with an agency-approved tee-shirt, new accreditation pins, a Department of Detention challenge coin, and snacks donated by Aramark food service.

Additionally, all facility employees were treated to a freshly made barbeque lunch and donuts from a favorite local shop for breakfast throughout the week. During lunch, a well-received slideshow of pictures set to music and taken of members in work and fun settings was played in the dining room. Several of the pictures were also featured in large format posters displayed throughout the facility.

The consensus among facility members was that this year’s celebration was one of the best; preparations have already been started for next year’s Corrections Officer and Employees Week. 

Correctional Agencies of West Tennessee
Shelby County, Tennessee

The Correctional Agencies of West Tennessee, which consists of the Shelby County Government Division of Corrections, Shelby County Government Sherriff’s Office, Tennessee Division of Corrections Board of Probation and Parole and Mark Luttrell Correctional Facility, combine jointly every year to host Correctional Workers Week for each facility.

Events include the Annual Prayer Breakfast, Opening Ceremony, Memorial, Honoree Banquet and the Agencies Picnic. The week brings so much morale to the correctional officers because this week is all about them and shows them just how much they are appreciated.

This year, the CAWT added the first annual golf tournament to the years activities. Participation was phenomenal and everyone had a fabulous time.

Butler County Prison
Butler, Pennsylvania

In the past, Butler County Prison in Butler, Pennsylvania observed National Corrections Employee Week, but much wasn’t done to show appreciation for the dedicated BCP employees. When Warden Joe DeMore was hired in April 2015, he set out to fix that issue. To start, Warden DeMore formed the Employee Recognition Committee (ERC). This committee is comprised of six employees whose mission is to find different ways to help ease the daily slog and relieve the stressors unique to the employees in this profession.

With the guidance of the Warden, a quarterly newsletter has been published to enhance communication and to acknowledge and celebrate the lives of the BCP employees. BCP challenge coins were made and sold as a fund raiser. An employee-owned vending machine was purchased and is available for all staff with proceeds benefiting all the employees.

The ERC went above and beyond with the coordination of donated food and logistical needs for meals during the 2016 Corrections Week. They went door to door at local businesses looking for support and donations. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Businesses were willing to donate food, golf course passes, hotel rooms, movie tickets, free massages, and much more. 

The ERC secured enough food donations for the entire week to cover all three shifts. The monetary value of all food and gifts was well over $1,500. Thanks to the support of Warden Joe DeMore, the ERC will continue to advance in its efforts to improve the morale and welfare of all employees of BCP.

Aramark Correctional Services Division
Philadephia, Pennsylvania

Aramark’s Correctional Services division, a leading provider of food, commissary, facility, and customized support solutions to more than 500 correctional facilities in North America, is proud to celebrate National Correctional Officers and Employees Week, May 1–7, 2016, with a variety of events at facilities across the country. 

Aramark recognizes the hard work, dedication and sacrifice made by corrections officers and staff throughout the country, and respects, admires and appreciates these men and women who work so hard every day to maintain safety and security in very challenging environments.

This year, in partnership with its clients, Aramark is honoring correctional staff by making a donation to the Correctional Peace Officers (CPO) Foundation on behalf of all correctional staff in the Federal, State, County and City jails and prisons.

The CPO Foundation is a national, nonprofit charitable organization created in 1984. Its primary function is to preserve and support the surviving families of Correctional Officers who lose their lives in pursuit of their chosen profession of protecting the public from those remanded to correctional custody and supervision in the Nation’s prisons and jails.

Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center
Manassas, Virginia

For Correctional Employee Week, the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center’s Employee Association hosted three events. They had Donuts & Coffee Day for two days to accommodate two rotating shifts; they also had an annual cookout for two days accommodating two revolving shifts.

The week was topped off with shifts enjoying two days of ice-cream socials. A great time was had by all. Having these events for the employees helps with the morale of the staff and it gives them a chance to come together, socialize, and take a short break away from the stress of the job.  

The jail management capacity is 1,040 inmates with 352 dedicated staff members who work hard to keep the community, inmates, and staff safe while serving a community of 500,000 people. The agency takes pride in helping the community wherever needed through various charitable contributions, including Feeding the Homeless, the Annual Children’s Coat Drive, Toys for Tot, and the annual Charitable 5K Run/Walk.


American Jails magazine invites jail facilities throughout the country to submit a news brief (up to 275 words) and photo/photos of their 2017 recognition activities. These news briefs and photos will be published in the September/October 2017 edition of the magazine. Deadline for copy and photos is June 15, 2017.

For more information, including photo resolution requirements, please e-mail Steve Custer at stevec@aja.org.