End of Week 244 – Sadly, Politics On Hold…

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I’m dealing with not feeling the greatest and not being able to stay home because so many people at my work are already out sick.  However, I still made most of my workouts this week (missed only Saturday).  As far as eating is concerned, I am trying something new.  I bought a couple of different types of protein bars to eat for breakfast and lunch and during the day – the “several small meals” plan.  Then I will eat a normal dinner with special attention to protein, low carbs, and portion sizes.  I start this tomorrow (Monday) and will be sure to either maintain or increase my exercise along with it.  Should be interesting.

The pretender has people up in arms over his executive order banning the immigration of Muslims from certain countries into the US.  The judiciary stepped in, and two separate judges have placed a stay on the order.  The pretender, in one of his famous tweets, called the gentleman sitting on the federal bench a “so-called judge”.  It appears the pretender does not appreciate our system of checks and balances.

Things are still in turmoil politically in the rest of the nation, but here in Delaware those concerns have come to a screaming halt.  We have something more serious and more important to consider.  Early in the week some inmates in “C” building (a housing unit) at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, DE (Delaware’s largest maximum security prison) took several Correctional Officers and one Counselor hostage and held the situation for an entire day and night.  That was bad enough, but when the situation finally resolved it was discovered that one officer had been killed.

Sergeant Steven Floyd died by blunt force trauma.  His body was found in a closet.  He is the first correctional officer to be murdered in the line of duty in Delaware.  Again, that is bad enough, but my husband (a retired Correctional Captain) hired Sgt. Floyd, sat on his promotion board, and was his supervisor for almost 10 years.  I haven’t seen my husband this devastated since his mother passed.  This is being taken very personally.

An inmate disturbance is one of those things where you don’t know what you would do until you are faced with the situation.  There are two prime examples of this stemming from what just happened.  Sgt. Floyd was lured in by a planned inmate fight, overpowered, and beaten to death.  During all that he somehow managed to yell to other officers before they came in – warning them that it was a trap.  It has been acknowledged that he saved several lives by doing this.

The other example is from the other side of the conflict.  In the group of people taken hostage there was one female, the counselor.  When it seemed she was being threatened during the standoff, a small group of inmates – maybe four or so – shielded her and protected her from the other inmates.  When she was released she was unharmed.  Not sure what to say about this except that if the protecting inmates are not the same as the murdering inmates I hope they are recognized somehow for what they did.

My husband knows a lot about the Department of Corrections.  The Correctional Officers Association is blaming our former governor (we just got our new one) for budget cuts, under staffing of prisons, and thus indirectly causing this week’s incident.  All that may be true.  However, according to my husband, if our new governor wants to make some real improvements at JTVCC he should start by examining the prison’s administration – the Warden, the Deputy Wardens, the Majors – most of whom have been “kicked upstairs” after being responsible for things like the hostage situation in 2004.  To put it in my husband’s words, “The warden and the deps are too busy backstabbing and stepping on other people for advancement to worry about security.  Consequently, security goes to hell.” They, and their history, should be examined for nepotism and political influence.

What this incident did for me was emphasize how Corrections has always been “the red-headed stepchild” of law enforcement.  There are many people in our country today who do not trust the police.  There are also many who support the police.  When people talk about their feelings toward law enforcement, the police are the only ones mentioned.  No one ever thinks of Correctional Officers.  It took the death of a CO to get people to make their outrage known; to make people notice how overworked and underpaid COs are.  No one outside the system knows very much about life inside a prison.  It is very much a case of “out of sight, out of mind.”

To honor the sacrifice of Sgt. Floyd we cannot let correctional officers become, as a friend of my son once said, “the invisible faces of law enforcement.”  Clean house at the top, pay and support the ranks, and respect those risking their lives daily.

Until next week….

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