Recently, a reporter asked Paco for an assessment of “prison guard morale.” Based upon the feedback received via the comment threads, emails and the now defunct Forums, I posited there was no discernible change in Bargaining Unit 6–Morale remains at an all time low.
Which isn’t to say the correctional officers’ and parole agents’ lots haven’t worsened appreciably in the past 5 years or so. Notwithstanding a series of setbacks, defeats and bloody noses, morale didn’t budge because it couldn’t get any lower.
A lieutenant at CIW once told me, “If morale was good they would send a team of auditors down from Sacramento to figure out what we were doing wrong.” He advised me to take a look at my last paystub and consider how much I made when I was employed in a high morale workplace. Point taken.
Low morale is a hazard of the corrections profession–CPO’s are compensated for the soul sucking esprit de corps void. Unlike shift differential or uniform allowance, there is no separate check or even a breakdown on the the stub; it’s built into the base salary. NOW those salaries are going down by 5%!
The grim truth is, those who work or worked in California prisons have kept the lid on things for decades–Whether morale is up or down, the job gets done.
“They call it the “toughest beat in the State” for a reason, kid,” the Lieutenant said. “Now suck it up and go pick up my food at the snack bar.”
Have a safe week at work. Remember, you do this job for the people at home.
Promote good morale there–Focus on what is truly important.