>There’s a new show on myNetworkTV, or at least we just newly discovered it. It’s called Jail. All it is is snippets of people being booked into, well, jail. Usually these folks are the kind of people you may have just seen on Cops getting scooped up.
It’s a pretty enlightening show, and you see lots of weird stuff. You see people who want to wear skin-tight uniforms because they like the way they feel, males who get mistaken for females, maniacs banging any part of their body against any hard surfaces they can find and being put in restraint chairs, oh the list goes on and on. But it got me thinking. How does anyone who works in a jail keep their sanity? All they deal with day in and day out are people who are brought in who don’t want to be there. They’re mostly unpleasant, and if they’re not unpleasant, they’re crying and screaming their innocence, as if that will make the guards change their mind and release them. The guards’ job is simply to keep them safe and get them through the process. No one can be trusted. In a prison, I can at least see some potential for rewarding interactions. Prisoners are there for a long time and come to accept it. There are activities guards can lead. There’s a chance to see progress. But work in a county jail where people come in, get thrown in a cell to either sober up or go to arraignments over and over and over again cannot possibly be rewarding, or at least it has to be extremely rare that something rewarding happens.
It got me thinking. That job has got to suck about six zillion times more than the cycle one sees when doing social work-related jobs. I’m sure the burnout is high, but how does a guard even look forward to going into work the first week? I’m picturing a guard getting ready for work and thinking “What will it be today? Will I get spat on? Shat on? Will I have to break up a fight? Will I have to throw someone in a suicide smock? How about a restraint chair? Maybe I’ll have to throw everyone in lockdown because somebody got a home-made tattoo and we have to find the equipment. Or, on a good day, I’ll just have to shove some unhappy folks through the booking process and I might sustain some scratches and bruises. I can’t wait!”
Maybe someone who works in a jail can set me straight. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it at all. They are better people than I could ever dream of being.