Suited Up For CERT

At times, all attempted means to resolve a situation are exhausted, leaving no other alternative than to suit up and deal with it. CERT has a definite purpose in corrections that demands specific equipment designed to help its members achieve the desired outcome of restoring order in an unpredictable condition.

Various circumstances can increase the likelihood, but a potential for riot is always present in the corrections environment. However, the greatest tumults aren’t always faced externally with the inmates, rather the chaos is often found on the battle ground of our heart. The devil uses the daily stress and chaos of the corrections environment to push and beat us back, pulling us to and fro different ways, sending us reeling back and forth in confusion and discord.

Suiting up with the armor of God isn’t a last resort, it is the first action to combat the internal riots we confront and contend against on a daily basis. Make an assessment of the current internal riot situations of depression, actions of fellow staff, verbal abuse, disputes, confrontations, envy, hatred, fatigue, responsibility, duty, or other mutiny that may be rising up in your heart.  We don’t back up in a riot, we push forward, continuing with force, even when it involves an individual that has proven to be hard to deal with.  Some internal riots are harder to face than others, and there are some battles we may dread fighting again, as we experience more resistance being put up from our flesh. 

Each piece of gear for a member of CERT has an important protective purpose, even though upon first examination and use, certain items may seem cumbersome and difficult to fight in, over time one grows accustomed to battling in it and experiencing the benefits, permanently fading any prior reluctance.  It would be dangerous to go into a riot scenario without all the gear on and fitted properly.  We have grown accustomed to trying to fight our spiritual battles without God’s armor on, lacking the protection that it affords, which may lead us to great injury.

God has made all the provision in His Word, we do not have to face the spiritual battles bare and exposed. The shield of faith quenches the fiery darts of the devil. Just as  CERT members suit up for the physical riot, making sure they have all of their equipment on and fitted properly, let’s determine to make full use of everything God has provided for our defense against the riots of our soul.

Ephesians 6:11-18 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in highplaces.Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”

Learn to Do Well

Learning to do well does not come naturally to any of us, and we find that it is possible to resist instruction that goads us in that direction.  Some of us have had good teachers of truth and proper behavior, but really learning it involves measures of  God-dependent self-denial and application of the principles in our daily lives. Without personal application, we may have been taught to do well, but in effect, we haven’t really learned.

Isaiah 1:16-19“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:”

The corrections environment presents a need and a hindrance for us to learn to do well.  Ideally, officers should project distinctly different behavior, which supports the fulfilment of God’s design for us in Romans 13 as a minister of God for good. Various pressures and stark realities of our negative environment can serve as an impetus for sometimes faulty personal foundational philosophies that must be overcome in learning to do well.

Learning to do well is not going to make us a soft pushover.  In fact, a literal look at this admonition identifies the outcome of  being sound.  If something is sound it is founded in truth and cannot be overthrown or refuted.  Firmness and strength are embodied in soundness, which can help an officer recognize inmate manipulation more readily, and stimulate the courage to stand strong against it. 

Soundness of a squad comes from individually stable, tethered members, all learning and striving to do well. This promotes regard for fellow officers, unity, and promptness in execution of duties, minimizing self-serving actions.  It’s easier to be quick to run to a call for help that produces an exhilarating increase in our pulse, prompting us to action than it is to immediately rise in response to the mundane demands of our duty without waiting for an order. However, both extremes require that we learn to do well.

If ye be willing” is a qualification all of us can meet.  Hence, it is possible that any of us can escape the crowded category of the complacent and learn to do well as we seek the truth in God’s Word on a daily basis, while submitting to counsel from those who consistently openly demonstrate well-doing in their daily lives.  Such a pursuit involving communication and collaboration with God and others will reveal His constant willingness to work with us, guiding us into all truth and His perfect will.  On this path of doing and being right, we will find less internal turmoil and strife, leading to peace, allowing us to enter into the “good of the land” to feast on routine soundness in judgement, duty, and daily life.  2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”

Unbanned Protection

Corrections work has always posed physical danger demanding a need for personal protection.  Over time, various devices have been available to aid us in protecting ourselves and controlling inmates.  Our facilities differ in policies, protective equipment, and allowable practices which seem to be ever changing often with the inclusion of more restrictive limitations as we seek to conduct corrections operations in a safe and secure manner for all.

Although our personal protective equipment in corrections can be limited, our spiritual and emotional protection is limitless due to the attributes of Jesus Christ.  God is unlimited and cannot be bound. The encouragement necessary to combat every attack we face is supplied by Him, including any oppressive regulations related to being able to do our job. We can find Christ as our dependable shield of defense through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and prayer. As use of force reports get more complicated, the simplicity of Christ has not changed.

 

Hope for my Heroes this Christmas

Hope for My Heroes this Christmas

(Written by Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson)

Hope for my heroes on the silver line

Hope to endure what I can’t define

Hope for what they daily face

Hope in dealing with the human race

Hope has come to this dark place

Hope so strong and full of grace

Hope to live and hope to die

Hope to sustain us when we cry

Hope to help in times of need

Hope to give great peace indeed

May you embrace this gift of hope

Through Jesus Christ we all can cope

Merry Christmas Corrections Officers!

Integrity

Integrity is where it all starts and encompasses every realm of our lives.  The dictionary defines integrity as “entire, the unimpaired state, particularly of the mind; completeness; moral soundness, purity, incorruptness, uprightness; honest, and whole.” This is quite a goal in corrections work.

Valuables are often locked up securely or kept in a secret place.  One of the most priceless qualities we can have is integrity, yet it is so easy to lose and the least guarded.  Maintaining integrity can be easier when there are no temptations around or when you are surrounded by others who have integrity, but it’s often hard to maintain integrity working in the hostile environment of corrections, whether it’s integrity of the body or the mind.  The devil knows how to work on our integrity with the particular struggles that we have as individuals in relation to the multiple facets of our duty. Ever have a sound, noise, or a voice that’s irritating? You can handle it for a while, then you have got to leave. What if you can’t leave? Your integrity will need to be maintained on purpose or destruction is inevitable.  Protect this valuable possession.

Samuel Richardson said, “Calamity is the test of integrity.” The body will lose some integrity due to age and other corrections environmental stressors. Our mind can lose integrity by intemperance and by the constant attack from the harassing load and constant weight of corrections work. Even so, there are practical things we can do to combat those losses.  Most importantly, spiritual integrity can increase continually: the older you grow in the Lord, growing and maturing as a Christian, the more integrity is gained. This is possible because of Jesus Christ. He is complete and entire. We are to have the unimpaired mind of Christ; Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  This encompasses the life of integrity that God calls us to live, including treating those in our custody right, using whatever level of the force wheel is necessary.

A Corrections Christmas Day

A Corrections Christmas Day

The family gathers round

They are missing you most

But they understand your duty

And the importance of your post

 

Thank you for your faithfulness

At your station this Christmas Day

I want to express my gratefulness

But it’s more than mere words can say

 

There is no one to pass the turkey

Or ring the Christmas bell

As you fulfill your vital mission

Checking cell by cell

 

It is still Christmas Day

Yet there are no halls decked with holly

And the scenery behind these walls

Is anything but jolly

 

No shared holiday traditions here

Of tinsel strewn upon a tree

And mistletoe under which to kiss

Or praying child on bended knee

 

Here in this concrete city

There are familiar things today

Of miserable choices and clanging steal

From which you’d like to turn away

 

One has responded to the call

Hope arises in my mind

He has brought a gift

A precious treasure to find

 

From Bethlehem’s manger to Calvary’s Hill

All the way to this jungle of concrete and steal

He has brought hope and peace for you

Strength and comfort that are real

 

The manger of Bethlehem was lonely and lowly

For our dear Saviour’s birth

May you fully comprehend

The excellence of His worth

 

I am thankful for you corrections officer

And for this gift of salvation today

So you can have the best and what matters most

This blessed Christmas Day!

 

If These Gloves Could Talk

 

If these gloves could talk they would break the silence revealing the things we’ve touched and handled that we don’t want to speak of yet are imbedded in our minds.  Seeing and hearing what we see and hear affects us, but there is an additional effect when “hands on” must come into play.

 

Gloves are for protection in a number of ways; there is no hesitation in using them and no doubt about the necessity.  May we be as diligent in applying what is needed to protect our hearts while we serve in the corrections environment. Proverbs:4:20-21,23 “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart…Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”Comfort and peace can be found as we communicate with Him, trusting in His Word.

Headed for the Brow of the City of Corrections

Photo from dc.florida.us

Headed for the Brow of the City of Corrections

As we walk and work in the city of corrections, I see some parallels for application from Luke 4:16-30 in which Jesus was led to the brow of the city.  It is a curiosity to me, but He allowed them to lead Him a high point of the city. The Bible doesn’t say how they led Him, maybe by the arm, but He willingly walked on His own.  The full intent of those leading Him was to cast Him head long; then the Bible says, “but he passing through the midst of them went his way.”

What leads you to the brow of the city?

  • Some are led by pain, grief, and sorrow.   Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and    carried our sorrows”
  • Some are led by anger.  Proverbs 25:28 “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city  that is broken down, and without walls.”
  • Some are led by others. Galatians 5:7 “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye      should not obey the truth?
  • Some are led by failure.  Proverbs 24:16a  “A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again
  • Some are led by fear.  Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:  I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea; I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

There are all kinds of ways to be led to the brow, especially in the corrections environment. By God’s grace and mercy, we can pass through the midst and go His way.  It is a serious matter, we cannot afford to be cast headlong.

Everything that He did was for us and to teach us.  It has taught me that no matter how far someone or something has taken us or led us off our path, we can turn and go His way, if we have trusted Christ. Even if we allow ourselves to be taken, as He allowed himself to be taken, we can still turn, pass through the midst, and go His way, the way of the cross.