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Letter: Adequately staff prisons to protect officers, inmates

Adequately staff prisons to protect officers, inmates

Unfortunately in the society we live in today, prison facilities are a necessity to keep convicted criminals from inflicting more harm on law-abiding citizens.

Many of those prisons in New York State are located in rural areas, like Western New York. They incarcerate some of the most violent criminals in the state.

The men and women who are employed as correctional officers are tasked with the extremely important role of keeping all of us safe. They do this on a daily basis, despite the fact that the prisons are more violent today than they ever have been.

Despite a prison population that has declined by over 4,000 inmates in the past five years, correction officers are getting assaulted by inmates at a record pace. Assaults on staff have risen 50 percent since 2010.

However, officers continue to do their job professionally and with little fanfare, despite adverse conditions.

Contrary to what some might think, we have men and women who come to work each day, help maintain order inside the prisons and help rehabilitate inmates who are willing to become a productive part of society.

The officers are also a large part of the communities they live in. They volunteer their time for countless charities and get involved in many civic duties that benefit many communities in the western part of the state. Much like our local police officers, firefighters and emergency responders, they deserve our respect for the difficult job they do.

We need an administration that respects the work our members do and provides them with the necessary staffing and the resources that will improve the safety for officers as well as inmates.

Mike Dildine

Western Regional Vice President, New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association