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A Correctional Sense of Humor


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Male user Alex 16 posts

Bit of an old thread revival but Campi’s last post is so true. I both like the fact my BS meter is higher than the average persons and don’t like it, something to be said about ignorance is bliss as it can be very aggravating (and sad in a pitiful way) when someone is professing some truth or story to you despite you pointing out its flaws. My brother in Law is a con artist / Fraud guy (can’t choose family I guess…) and we don’t even see him much anymore because it so painful every time he opens his mouth.

As for he dark humour, I can get away with it a little around the family meals as my father was a cop so at least two of us get a laugh about it.

I recall a death in custody. We had just finished up getting the body out and preliminary investigation when the next 8 hour shift guys came onto the unit. They asked how the day had been and I could not help myself in my reply….“Eh, pretty dead!” Nope, there is no such thing as “Too Soon” in Corrections.

Getty rf photo of cat and praying mantis Campi 227 posts

I have noticed over the years that fond ability to see through people trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Sadly most people really have no idea what it is we do on a daily basis and still try to lie or deceive us. I always test people inmates, staff, friends, and even family with simple truth tests from time to time just to see the outcome. You would not believe the amount of lies people tell. The thing that strikes me the most is how often people just tell you what they think you want to hear. My daughter hates it for sure.

Male user frederickvdr 2 posts

Stay on as long as you can. I’m bored now that I’m retired out of the system. It remains a unique job where you really learn to take a good look at people who present themselves as wonderful angels.

Male user Squeeze 70 posts

2000 something study of Canadian Correctional officers indicated approximately 13% PTSD rate. I am convinced it is higher and the other 87% just chuckle like we do. And on a personal note I did not retire, daughter wants a horse, I’m sentenced to another 5yr stretch.

Male user frederickvdr 2 posts

I recently retired after 40 years in the prison’s system and as such, also saw a lot of what others could only describe as being simply awful (ritual murders,cannibalism, hostage incidents and some very serious assaults). I saw similar incidents of body carnage at motor vehicle accidents. It was many a time that I saw prison staff, policemen and paramedics laughing and joking at these scenes: People who were actually from very religious backgrounds and who were known to lead sober, law-abiding lifestyles.

The media and human right’s activists used to criticize us for this, but the humour was actually a psychological barrier which we had subconsciously developed to protect ourselves from the realization of the horrors that we were viewing. However, the very same critics had themselves not been exposed to the physical traumas and mutilations which we had to see and endure while performing our duties of having to manage these incidents and accidents.

We all went back to our private lives after these incidents and it was remarkable that people would stare at us in disbelief when we spoke and joked about what we’d witnessed: Thinking that we were simply callous and inhuman. However, many of us eventually developed psychological disorders as a result of these incidents. Joking about what we had seen rather served to protect us from the psychological impact of what we had endured.

Male user Squeeze 70 posts

Campi and Shakeyjake, you are both insightful. I believe also Campi that most people (the sheep) have no clue to the experiences we are subject to and have been desensitized by constant exposure. We just started a new hire class and I gave my orientation speech, I was dumbfounded that most of these officer have never had a bloody nose or given one. They seemed like they have been so protected and sheltered that they (except the three former pen C/O’s) don’t have an experience to base any response to violence. I think we have developed that sense of humor (bizarre as it is) as a way to cope. The recent incident with a school removal of a defiant child with the cell phone appalls most citizens because they have lost their sense of order, respect for authority and rule of law. So people become outraged when something occurs that they don’t have a appropriate learned response. I chuckled when i read the incident with the younger inmate and the response by the older inmate. It would happen with the same result no matter what institution we work in. That is the behavior we expect from inmates, consistent across the nation. I would bet we would all have the same reaction to, we would all be saying to ourselves “dumbass, what were you thinking?”

Flag1 1 shakeyjake 112 posts

It’s both, the lack of exposure & something deeper Campi, I’ve been carrying a badge since 1981 ( I not saying that to prove I’m…..never mind) lets just say, “I’ve been around awhile:)”. Even back then we had a dry sense of humor, one that only we could relate to. It all goes with the fact that we see things that the average person don’t or let’s say shouldn’t have to see. Some think of it as a shell to protect our minds, maybe that’s why people see us giggling to our selves for no apparent reason.

Getty rf photo of cat and praying mantis Campi 227 posts

Well anyone who has been in corrections for any period of time has noticed that the people in this environment have a warped sense of humor. I was talking with some fellow officers about some recent events and the humor in them. Like there was an event where a younger inmate was pressing an older inmate in the chow hall. The younger inmate decided for what ever reason to put his finger in the older ones food. This caused the older inmate to raise out of his seat punching the younger one all the way up. The younger inmate was probably struck 5 or 6 times before eating a hard hook. This knocked the young guy out. The older inmate then pushed the other inmate under a close by table with his feet and sat down eating his meal. Now talking about this incident made every face burst out in a smile or chuckles. This is some of the light hearted humor there is more dark humor but I digress. Now talking to a non correctional person about this very event didn’t bring about the intended response. Instead I got a almost appalled look and a line of questions like was the young guy okay. Then the typical why didn’t you stop it. This got me thinking why do correctional staff find this sort of thing humorous. Don’t get me wrong we have concern for the inmate who was knocked out he got medically checked and conduct reports written and discipline dealt out. Yet even when I sit back typing out this thread I smile reminiscing. The environment we work in plays a great deal into this. Is it the lack of exposure that non-correctional people get in the world lead to the difference between our humors or is it truly something deeper?

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