Corrections is one of the most punishing careers out there. We are surrounded by society’s proven worst by their actions. The environment is full of manipulative, violent predators who hate us just for the crest we wear on our shoulder. Can we make corrections into a good career? Read on, and judge for yourself. “Corrections can destroy you, or it can set you free”. This is something I keep in the back of my mind, especially after a challenging or frustrating day. Working in this environment exposes us to concentrated humanity on extreme ends of the spectrum. Day in and day out we deal with people that have poor emotional regulation and murderous capacities. If we can win in this environment, we will become truly strong. The glaring question of course is how? It helps to re-frame the goal. Converting these incarcerated people to be like us is not the goal, that comes later. The goal is to make ourselves strong inside the storm. I want to be clear here, weathering the storm does not mean shouldering abuse day in and day out. That isn’t winning either. That is simply the continual struggle until we collapse under the weight and pressure of it all. Understanding perspectives and language outside of our own is key. These people come from a different environment and upbringing than we are, and wired differently. They learned to survive physical and emotional abuse, drug addicted parents, poverty, etc. This does not justify their actions, but we need to understand why they act this way so we can respond appropriately. Criminals understand the use of violence, bribery, extortion, intimidation etc. as the language they communicate with. Alright, that’s the starting point of understanding the environment we chose to work in. It will take effort, study, and application to be successful. Behavioral studies are a must. Understanding why people act the way they do helps tip the de-escalation scales in our favor. In a split second, this helps determine if an action is personal or merely venting. It’s very important to understand this concept. A person who is venting off will calm themselves down if not provoked further, but a personal attack is significantly more dangerous because we are the source of the anger. There is a high degree of unpredictability here as well, which may involve drug use, mental illness, and emotional state. A more direct approach is required. Remove ourselves from the area, or intervene immediately. The bonus in learning behavior as a skill? It affects every other interaction in our personal lives as well. The value of this can’t be understated. On to the next section, physical ability. A prison environment is full of individuals that respect strong capable humans. Fitting into this category will instantly lower the many problems we face. Our muscles work better, our posture is correct, and we walk with more confidence when we are physically fit. That’s only part of the equation though. We do not have the affordances of tactical equipment at our disposal. In a prison setting it comes down to humans in a caveman type setting. Learning a combative type discipline with live resistance is a must. Most people don’t understand how hard it is to physically restrain another human, and to do it without causing injury is even harder. Definitely not a lesson to be learned the first time when it matters. The bonus in committing to this training is that it continually allows us to vent out our own frustrations in a safe manner. When we have unpleasant encounters, we still get a trickle of the chemical cocktail. The chemical cocktail is nature’s performance enhancer. The downside with the cocktail is if we don’t burn it off, it accumulates in our system and causes problems. It makes us jumpy, quick to react to things, and more defensive. It’s like putting race fuel in your car, but the race gets cancelled and we are idling around with it in the tank. To conclude, corrections can be very difficult to strive in. It takes dedicated work, and effort on the part of the individual. It’s a great environment for personal development if we make it the goal. This is how we inspire and motivate others to do the same, and how we set the example for those incarcerated. While we may not change their outlook on life completely, we can all learn to better get along inside the same space. A little personal time invested may save years of stress.