I am a correctional officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions Division for a little bit over 2 years now. I have worked graveyard shift (5:30pm-6:00am) for the past year and a half. I work General Population, but I spent 6 months working in Administrative Segregation. I am a 22 year old white male, who started this career field after my cousin told me about it, when I was tired of barely scraping by working for Wal-Mart and unable to find other jobs in my area.

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/UiGSlrq.jpg

I will answer as many questions as I can, but I will not give my unit information or offender names/numbers/etc. I will substitute all names for the sake of storytelling should anyone ask.

Edit: Updated proof picture

Edit 2: WOW, I didn't expect this many replies! I'll get to your questions as fast as I can

Comments: 796 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

Niall93148 karma

what is the weirdest thing you have found in somebodys cell?

BossmanRC294 karma

A homemade penis pump made from a cut open coke bottle rubber gloves and a straw to blow in. I had no clue what it was, the offender told me about what it was because I had no clue. I caught a lot of hell from my supervisors and coworkers for weeks because of that. lol

angrypotato1124 karma

Whats the scariest situation you've been in?

Have you ever "gotten close" to an inmate?

BossmanRC212 karma

When the lights went out, and the generators took a few minutes to kick back on when it was snowing and sleeting. I was in a housing area in the pitch dark with 30 or so G4s (medium custody offenders) all around me. They are the troublemakers for General Population on my unit. Nothing happened, but I wont lie I was scared shitless.

I dont know what you mean by "Get Close" Do you mean like romance or being buddies with them?

angrypotato192 karma

Buddies. But now that you mention it... Has any officers had a romantic relationship with inmates?

BossmanRC200 karma

I don't consider any of them friends, or buddies. They're murderers, child molesters, rapists, etc. There are plenty of them I'm more friendly to because they never give me any problems and are polite, these guys usually older offenders.

Officers get fired all the time for relationships with offenders, not all female, there are a few males too. It's probably the number 2 reason people get fired in TDCJ. Number 1 being unexcused absenteeism.

MethBear92 karma

Craziest thing that has happened to you?

BossmanRC200 karma

Having a homemade blowdart covered in feces and urine shot at me, but my puncture proof thrust vest caught it thankfully. The whole incident happened because I told him I wasn't going to allow him to go outside to the Recreation yard because he was on restriction, and I wasn't gonna argue with him over it, so I kept walking past his cell door.

MethBear133 karma

Well that escalated quickly! What did you do to him since he tried to clearly infect you with his doo doo dart.

BossmanRC126 karma

Called my Sergeant down, he and the Lieutenant show up with our Response team and he surrenders the blowdart gun and darts under his cell door and they handcuff him and take him to a Pre-Hearing Detention Cell to await to be seen for the incident in major court by the Disciplinary Captain. Dunno what all happened after that.

MethBear43 karma

Soooo he didn't get a beat down or anything?

BossmanRC90 karma

No, the whole incident is recorded on video both from the buildings control picket cameras and the handheld recorder they brought to videotape the escort.

rikia6886 karma

If Texas released all non violent offenders, how would that impact your prison population ?

BossmanRC206 karma

Statewide? Probably a little bit, but the thing is that nonviolent offenders become violent offenders inside prison. The Prison system is a college for crime, Ive seen guys come in on charges with marijuana possession, look like guys I go to church with and are polite, after a few months they're causing problems on the housing and work areas, trying to steal from the kitchen, doing everything they can to get over on us. I can honestly say I've only encountered a handful of inmates I could see being released without causing society problems.

enokeenu70 karma

Do you think prison could change in order to not generate worse criminals?

BossmanRC49 karma

I really don't know how it could, and I don't really think it will ever change. I know it sounds like a weak argument but a lot of rap music really makes prison culture sound appealing to a long of young kids who don't have anything.

enokeenu48 karma

Yeah , but what about the poor schmuck who gets caught with a small amount of drugs on them because their SO left it in the glove compartment and they get a mandatory 10 year sentence due to mandatory minimums?

BossmanRC63 karma

That poor schmuck is, if statistics are to be believed, now involved in a prison gang for protection and committing crimes inside the walls. Like I said in another answer, prison is a crime college. I'm not saying I agree with the sentencing, I just do what I'm paid to do. And a lot of these guys caught with small amounts of drugs on 3-5 year sentences are some of the most violent offenders you see inside the walls, because they know they don't have a lot of time and they dont feel like the rules matter to them since they go home after such a short time.

Ungulategourd83 karma

What do you think of the Stanford Prison Experiment, and do you think something like it could happen where you work?

BossmanRC82 karma

I had never heard of it until now, I'd have to read more about it before I would know how to answer this questions.

Niall9360 karma

do you treat prisoners differently depending on their conviction? such as you give child rapist a harder time than say drug dealers?

BossmanRC121 karma

You're supposed to treat all offenders the same way, and I honestly don't know who's in prison for what unless I look them up by their numbers when I get home. There's 2 types of offender, Convicts and Inmates.

Convicts are usually older guys who just do their time and stay out of the way not causing trouble. Inmates are troublemakers, always trying to get away with something, stirring up crap. We treat convicts better than inmates, it's just something we do.

The_Christ_Puncher47 karma

How long after you started did an inmate ask you to smuggle something in for him?

BossmanRC89 karma

First day out of the pre-service academy, I was assigned to a mentor in On the Job Training, working on the dormitories, an offender 'dropped' a note (or kite as we call them) by 'accident' at my feet as he walked by. Being new, I didnt think anything of it until I picked it up and read it a few minutes later, it said I was a nice looking guy and asked if I wanted to make some extra money for the holidays by bringing in chewing tobacco. 50 Dollars for 3 cans. Had instructions on how to bring it in and where to leave it and everything. Handed the letter in to my OJT Training Officer. Never found out who the guy was though

sabanerox43 karma

Have you witnessed sexual behavior among the prisoners?

BossmanRC107 karma

We have a big problem with offenders "Jacking" on female officers, as in they stick their penis up to the cell door where female officers can see them masturbating. That's one of our unit's biggest problems. As far as offender "relationships" go sexually, it's nothing like they show in the movies. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 can get offenders more prison time for even consensual sexual acts. Im not saying it doesnt happen, it does, but Ive never seen it personally.

deehunny18 karma

do you think that there should be female officers working in male populations?

BossmanRC156 karma

I personally don't see why a female would WANT to work in an all-male maximum security prison, but some of the best officers I know are female. More power to them

buddhabear141 karma

Have you had the opportunity to "get to know" any of the inmates, and if so, gotten to like them?

BossmanRC84 karma

Plenty of them I've gotten to know, like our janitor offenders. A lot of officers look down on "liking" offenders, but they're people just like you and me. Every officer has their inmates they talk to, that they can rely on for information and whatnot.

_freethinker_36 karma


BossmanRC27 karma

Done. Updated proof picture

Zamaza34 karma

I was a contractor for about 4 years and went to about 20 different TDCJ facilities. It's an "interesting" type of place to visit for a very short period of time...

I occasionally heard that sometimes non-violent problem offenders were put on "bus therapy", meaning they were transferred between facilities a lot. Is this a real thing? Or were the admins and the COs messing with me?

BossmanRC40 karma

I work on night shift, so we dont really do anything with transfers, but some inmates Ive talked to say they've been on 5-6 different units within a year, so I'd say it sounds pretty true

1minuteman26 karma

have you ever met an inmate who you genuinely believed to be innocent of the crime they were imprisoned for? if so what was the crime and how long did they have to serve?

BossmanRC42 karma

Actually none, we don't have the resources readily available to see what an offender is in prison for. The Inmate Records office has detailed descriptions of their crimes and all that, but we are only given their files when the offender is taken out on transport, known as "Travel Cards" 99.999% of the inmates will tell you theyre innocent, or their homeboy did it and lied, etc.

_freethinker_26 karma


BossmanRC79 karma

2883 per month, salary before taxes. 35k a year roughly. It's not amazing pay, but we work 4 days and we're off 4 days, and our vacation time builds really fast. When you take 4 days vacation, you get 12 days off. When you take 8 days you get 20 days off because of how are 4 on 4 off rotation works. All paid. I've taken two sets of 20 off, and three sets of 12 off and Ive only been working there two years.

_freethinker_18 karma


BossmanRC32 karma

I love the time off, but the trade off is that I've missed 2 Christmas Days, thanksgiving last year, and this will be my 3rd birthday spent at the prison. But it comes with the job, plus for every national holiday we work we usually get 1-3 days off worth of "Holiday Time" that we can use to schedule off later.

_freethinker_23 karma


BossmanRC46 karma

For now, I plan on staying here. I like my job, something new every day good or bad. My area doesn't offer much as far as employment goes that pays enough for me to think about leaving.

There are lots of departments you can work for. Laundry Service, Food Service, Maintenance, Field Force, etc. I don't think I've learned enough to try and promote to Sergeant. Maybe one day, I'd like to promote eventually and try and make my way to Lieutenant or Captain. Right now I'm content with being just a plain ol' CO.

kiwichris170921 karma

How do you do this????

By that, I mean how do you cope with what must be a stressful and demanding job? Have you had times where you have wondered "why the bleep am I doing this?"

BossmanRC39 karma

There are plenty of times where I'm stressed out, the offenders become irate and I wonder why I even started working there. Every single officer has that feeling go through their mind at least once a night. You just do it. Just take a breath, walk into a housing block outnumbered 144 to 1, and just do your job like you know. It gets easier as you stay there longer and the offenders get to know how you act. If you start off firm, but fair they're going to know what to expect the next time they see you. Some people just let the offenders run all over them, and that's when things get stressful, because you can get in serious trouble or fired because of someone else not doing their job because they are afraid to tell these guys what to do.

kiwichris170914 karma

That's the bit that freaks me out about this whole thing. You are willing to go in, outnumbered to that extent, armed with nothing more than a baton (i'm presuming), against a room full of people who will not hesitate to take you down should the opportunity arise. It's not something I would even contemplate doing. Do you have a other half, and how do they cope? Do they even care?

BossmanRC48 karma

We don't carry batons, we carry a 5oz can of chemical spray, and that's it. Your best tool is the way you talk to them. If you know how to talk to these guys in a way they can understand, you can diffuse a lot of incidents. It's all about how you carry yourself, you have to be a leader. How can they expect to change their ways if you don't show them. Lead by example. I don't tell them to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.

I have a girlfriend, she worries a lot, and can't tell me to "stay safe" enough. I appreciate all of it though. The best way to keep your significant other from worrying them is I don't tell her 99% of what happens at my work. She doesn't nee to know, it works for us.

awesom_o_400015 karma

Have you ever had to pull out your officer's handbook?

BossmanRC26 karma

The Officer's Handbook actually has a lot of useful information, but the upper ranking officers and more senior officers discourage carrying it on you as its not something they exactly want inmates to have obviously. I carried it on me a lot when I first started and it was really helpful. I dont carry it any longer though

protopod13 karma

Have you ever had to deal with riots?

BossmanRC20 karma

Not many have happened since I've been there, but the few we've had have been fairly small but very violent. We havent had but maybe two or three on night shift since I started

window56 karma

Do you think prison should be segregated by race? I am thinking maybe the white prisoners would settle down and do their time peacefully if they were not thinking they have to be tough to defend themselves in prison.

BossmanRC80 karma

As terribly racist as it's going to make me sound, blacks and hispanics cause probably 95% of the problems in our facility. Every riot we've had since I started has always been blacks vs hispanics. The facility is pretty evenly spread out race wise. There are plenty of white offenders that cause problems, but nowhere near what the rest of the guys do.

tftheenglishman2 karma

What would you say was the thing that you've witnessed that you were most disturbed by? And how did you cope with it?

BossmanRC6 karma

Saw an inmate who had slit his wrists and cut deep gashes all over his body, I was counting when I walked up the stairs on to the second row and saw a huge amount of blood covering the walkway. Took me a while to stop dreaming about that, it was bad. I talked to one of the counselors available to us through an employee assistance program a few times