Tammy Shaski: Correctional Officer
Every day I go into work, I basically have two goals: to maintain safety and security in the jail, and to help rehabilitate offenders so they’ll make different choices upon their release back into society.
Local 13 - Civil Service, Corrections Component
If you ask Tammy Shaski what she does for a living, her answer is clear: “Every day I go into work, I basically have two goals: to maintain safety and security in the jail, and to help rehabilitate offenders so they’ll make different choices upon their release back into society.”
But she and her fellow correctional officers know this can be easier said than done. They have a tough job, and must feel passionate about the vital part they play in our justice system. “I do this because I like knowing I’ve done my part in helping someone change their life around,” she says.
These days, though, it can be frustrating and downright dangerous to go into work. With chronic overcrowding and the proliferation of incarcerated gang members, correctional workers must often struggle simply to maintain order, with rehabilitation programs taking a back seat to security.
“The whole community suffers when we can’t run adequate programming for inmates,” she says. “The fact is, the more inmates who get out of gangs or overcome their addictions, the safer our neighbourhoods become.”
Shaski remains committed to the dual role her job demands. “In my workplace, we keep criminals off the streets. That’s job one. But when they’re done their time, they’ve got to have some options or we’ll just see them again, back in the overcrowded system.”