American Correctional Officer Intelligence Network (ACOIN)

American Correctional Officer Intelligence Network (ACOIN)

Oregon has Payroll deduction.

“The mission and purpose of American Correctional Officer is to promote the wellbeing and safety of publicly employed Correctional Officers and corrections professionals; to improve the working conditions for all who work in public corrections; to share best practices so that all can benefit; to educate the media, general public and our elected officials about the daily challenges we face; to seek progressive change to meet those challenges; to provide information, research and mutual support for all associations, unions and fraternal organizations who count corrections professionals among their members; to establish an international communications network among corrections professionals; to provide a national voice for our profession and to continue to protect the public by working to ensure that our nation’s prisons, jails and juvenile justice facilities are safe and secure.”

Heroes behind the walls.wmv

A tribute to all professional correctional officers and the danger they face

As modern Corrections Officers, aside from frequently putting our lives on the line, we are a combination of Police Officers, Social Workers, Counselors, Security Specialists, Managers, and Teachers.   As state Corrections Officers we oversees individuals that have been convicted and sentenced to prison.  While many think that all we do is observe inmate behavior to prevent fights or escapes, our responsibilities reach far beyond this because in these days and time we have evolved into having highly specialized duties.  Our working conditions can either be indoors or outdoors, depending on our assigned duties, and indoor environments can range from perfectly acceptable duties to not so much acceptable duties ranging from overcrowded, hot, and noisy housing units or recreational areas.

We tend to work a five-day week, in eight-hour shift, but because Security must be provided around the clock, shifts aren’t always Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., we as Officers are expected to work overtime, weekends, and holidays.  Although our profession potentially dangerous work, we primarily enforce regulations through communications skills and moral authority, attempting to avoid conflict at all costs.

Most of us attend to our duties unarmed, while a few of us work positions in towers with the companionship of high-powered rifles. The majority of our work leads toward the mundane or as mundane as you can get under the circumstances.  Duties such as checking cells and other areas for unsanitary conditions, weapons, drugs, fire hazards, and any evidence of infractions of rules are part of our normal day on the job.  We must also enforce and inspect security measures, such as locks, window bars, and gates for any signs of tampering along with inspect mail for contraband.  Even though most of us will perform any and all of these tasks or MORE, we are also responsible for escorting very dangerous inmates to and from cells, recreation, visiting, and dining areas.

Through the Oregon Accountability Model (OAM), we also aid in the rehabilitation, and not simply the incarceration of inmates by role modeling and helping to arrange daily schedules that include library visits, work assignments, family visits, counseling appointments, etc.

I am a firm believer that the Pro-Social Role Modeling we provide to the inmate population / culture does work on the majority of inmates (not all inmates).  But what we fail to recognize or train our staff on is the Anti-Social Negative Role Modeling that the inmate population / culture provides us in the reverse.  This doesn’t happen overnight, just like the positive Pro-Social doesn’t either, face it, sometimes helping inmates can take its toll on us also.  Routines that can also affect us sometimes include checking to see that inmates aren’t making weapons, attempting to escape, fights / staff assault, murder, staff manipulations or even suicide attempts create different emotional and physical affects in each of us..

But being able to talk about what we do and see helps to give you the ability to separate yourself from some of the inhumanities that you see inside of the prisons.  This is sometime the hardest part of our chosen career.  It’s sometime just being able to talk about it, deal with it or separate yourself from it before when you go home to your loved ones.

Because in our profession “THANK YOU” or accommodations are far and few in-between, I also want to personally express my thanks to all of you for keep each other safe so we all can go home safe to our loved ones!


Be safe and support each other.

Sgt. Michael Van Patten,
Special Operations Sergeant
Oregon State Penitentiary
(503) 378-4063

AOCE President

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