Celebrating National Correctional Employees Week - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Celebrating National Correctional Employees Week

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Most of us will never step foot into a prison and most of those that do are paying their debt to society.

But there's another group who spend as much time behind prison walls as the inmates.

They are correctional employees, dedicated to the safety and rehabilitation of the inmates.

Those workers are often overlooked.

Not only are the men and women overlooked but often not thanked for their hard work according to Montana Women's Prison Warden Jennie Hanson.

That's why she says this week is so important.

Jason Ness is a corrections officer at the Montana Women's Prison and said, "In here we don't have all the tools that regular law enforcement officers have."

The best tool Jason said they have is communication skills.

Jennie said they do more than what you see on TV.

She said they do some coaching, some guiding, and a lot of role modeling of what a productive citizen looks like.

Jason said he even helps inmates get their GED by tutoring them in math and other subjects.

He said the job is tough but worth it because it's very rewarding to see an inmate get parole and not come back.

He described running into a former inmate and the impact the correction officer's roles had on her life.

"I didn't recognize the lady at first. I mean she looked totally different. Then she started talking about all of the things she's doing now. She had gotten a job, had gotten an apartment, she got her drivers license and was driving around, and she's not yet come back to prison. And that's a good thing because what she learned here before she left obviously paid off because she's not come back yet." Jason shared.

The work done in the prison is something Jennie said makes a difference.

Jennie said, "It's an exhausting shift but it's also thankless. Not a lot of people sit at home and go when I grow up I want to be a correctional officer. These guys a lot of them have and they do it extremely well."

To celebrate and recognize the hard work the prison employees do, the Montana Women's Prison hosted a special lunch and painting class free of charge.

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