Letter: We don’t recognize correctional officers enough

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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Dear Editor, 

May 5-11 is Correctional Officers Week. 

Many of the more than 8.6 million Virginians likely do not know a corrections officer at the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC), but I guarantee they have benefitted from their hard work and dedication. 

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This is because correctional officers at the Virginia Department of Corrections work around the clock with our law enforcement partners to provide long-term public safety for all who live, work in, and visit the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our highly-trained officers serve on the front lines of our correctional facilities and often face the risk of personal harm. They protect the rest of our corrections team, the state-responsible inmate population, and the whole of Virginia. 

Corrections officers do much more in the course of their duties. The VADOC’s theme for Correctional Officers Week 2024 is “Public Safety in Action.” VADOC corrections officers are constantly in action for the agency and beyond. These officers assist with treatment and rehabilitation programs, which is crucial to the statewide re-entry initiative. Officers help inmates prepare for a smooth assimilation into their communities after release from VADOC facilities, which aids the department’s re-entry success rate. 

Additionally, VADOC corrections officers routinely assist their communities at large. I am so proud of our corrections team members who truly understand the importance of community spirit and public service. 

I appreciate our corrections officers at the Virginia Department of Corrections, giving their service to the Commonwealth. Their work is not easy. In fact, it is often difficult. Despite these challenges, their commitment to ensuring public safety in Virginia never falters. Their professionalism and dedication is truly commendable. 

I encourage you to tell any corrections officers in your life that you appreciate them, both this week and beyond. Above all, however, remember to tell them you appreciate their work to help to keep you safe. 

Chad Dotson 

Director, Virginia Department of Corrections