The State Schools are supposed to be "secure facilities" and indeed, for the most part, they are.  Very few kids seem to get over the fence and/or back out into The Free without our letting them -- and that's a GOOD thing.  In that aspect, we're all doing the jobs we're getting paid for, keeping the kids securely locked up behind the fence to serve their sentences.

Sure, it comes at a high price.  A VERY high price.  The cost of maintaining secure youth lockups is millions and millions of dollars a year...  but is it worth it??  What's it worth to Society to keep an arsonist or child molester or doper locked up for a few years?  We currently spend over $130,000 a year to keep each kid behind the fence here at Giddings... so they can enjoy they new 3-D TV provided for them, play pool and foosball in the gym, and get housed/fed/clothed.  Gee!!  Wish the State treated ME that good!  Maybe I need to go out and kill someone, huh??  Oh -- no -- dang... I'm too old for The Good Stuff.  They'd probably just treat me like a -gasp- criminal.  And for cheap; about $20,000 a year.  Still, not an unreasonable price to keep these badasses off the streets, I'd say.

But there's another kind of "security" I'm thinking about -- and that's JCO JOB SECURITY.  We all know there really is NONE, since we're all "at-will" employees.  We stand the chance of being fired for any reason or even NO reason, today, tomorrow, next week... but we continue to hang on, best we can.

What we REALLY do is operate under an illusion -- that if we keep our noses clean we'll continue to enjoy a monthly paycheck, health insurance, paid vacation, etc etc.  Problem is, I still don't feel much SECURE!  I never know when I'll be told to work a 12 just as I'm getting ready to leave a shift... or if one of the kids will attack me when my back is turned... or I'll be treated with contempt for who and what I am or look like or... or... or... there's no end to the INSECURITIES I deal with on the job, you know?

The way people feel secure at a job is when their supervisors and Admin ACTIVELY SOLICIT feedback, don't make empty promises, don't lie or cover up problems, fairly share the workload, and provided a work environment that is AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE, given the nature of the job.  We all realize our jobs aren't for the timid... we DO have to take calculated risks to carry out our duties... but still, there's always a nagging insecurity nibbling away that I'm asked to take UNNECESSARY RISKS -- and that is NOT a secure feeling at ALL.

When we don't or can't discipline the kids on campus -- and we really can't, anymore, since CoNextions came on the scene -- the kids have simply done whatever the hell they want, knowing the consequences will be a fluffy "Thinking Report" or a non-enforced carpet restriction or some such thing.  Back in The Day, when a kid screwed up, he was given a restriction/consequence/sanction that had the DEFINATE POSSIBILIY of ruining his day or month or extending his sentence -- and THAT'S what kept them in line if nothing else.  They were made to PAY for their acting stoopid, in at least SOME SMALL WAY.  They -- and we -- were secure in the knowledge that actions had consequences, and consequences were definately going to be meted out. 

Now THAT'S the kind of security I'd like to see again around here!  When JCO's can work with the understanding they'll be backed up by their supervisors, the campus will go a long way towards being secure again -- for everybody.  The price is cheap enough -- all it will take is the WILL to decide this is a CORRECTIONS FACILITY and we need to correct things -- and people -- and policies -- that need fixing.  Do that, and we ALL can feel secure.