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  #1  
Old 22 July 2008, 04:46 AM
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snopes snopes is online now
 
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Police Statistics about correctional officers

Comment: I had read these statistics about correctional officers
circulated in an email, and I was wondering what, if any, were true:

Correctional Officers (CO's) have the second highest mortality rate of any
occupation.

33.5% of all assaults in prisons and jails are committed by inmates
against staff.

A CO's 58th birthday, on average, is their last.

A CO will be seriously assaulted at least twice in a 20 year career.

On average a CO will live only 18 months after retirement.

CO's have a 39% higher suicide rate than any other occupation and
have a higher divorce and substance abuse rates then the general population.
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  #2  
Old 22 July 2008, 09:11 PM
texaschristian
 
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It seems like you'd be safer than the general population, working in a place where the criminals are clearly identified, disarmed, and generally on the other side of a cage...
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  #3  
Old 22 July 2008, 09:13 PM
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Tarquin Farquart Tarquin Farquart is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
A CO's 58th birthday, on average, is their last.

On average a CO will live only 18 months after retirement.
These can't both be true can they? What's the normal retirement age for a CO?
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  #4  
Old 22 July 2008, 10:00 PM
Natalie Natalie is offline
 
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Either the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not treat COs as a separate occupational category or I am seriously failing at search-fu. I did find an early-2000s federally funded study on unconventional weapons in prison, which says that the injury rate for inmates in prison is 1.6/1000 annually, and for prison staff it's .97/1000. From what I can tell, they are including injuries from assault in that number.

BLS says there are about 500,000 corrections officers. I assume
Quote:
A CO will be seriously assaulted at least twice in a 20 year career.
is implying that this is the average rate, but even then the numbers don't wash. With 485 COs injured by assault on the job each year, it would take 1,030 years for 500,000 corrections officers to be injured, assuming that each assault was of a different CO. And of course, not all of those assaults are serious.
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  #5  
Old 22 July 2008, 10:26 PM
Matt H.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie View Post
Either the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not treat COs as a separate occupational category or I am seriously failing at search-fu. I did find an early-2000s federally funded study on unconventional weapons in prison, which says that the injury rate for inmates in prison is 1.6/1000 annually, and for prison staff it's .97/1000. From what I can tell, they are including injuries from assault in that number.

BLS says there are about 500,000 corrections officers. I assume is implying that this is the average rate, but even then the numbers don't wash. With 485 COs injured by assault on the job each year, it would take 1,030 years for 500,000 corrections officers to be injured, assuming that each assault was of a different CO. And of course, not all of those assaults are serious.
You are referring to injuries caused by assault, not numbers of assaults themselves. I am not at liberty to discuss numbers for the agency with which I am familiar, but that stat (a CO will get assaulted twice in a career) is the one that I find true, and possibly an understatement.
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  #6  
Old 22 July 2008, 10:38 PM
Natalie Natalie is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt H. View Post
You are referring to injuries caused by assault, not numbers of assaults themselves. I am not at liberty to discuss numbers for the agency with which I am familiar, but that stat (a CO will get assaulted twice in a career) is the one that I find true, and possibly an understatement.
Oh, I don't doubt that a CO will be assaulted twice in a career. But the OP said a CO would be seriously assaulted twice in 20 years. I would think that a serious assault would, by definition, cause an injury.
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  #7  
Old 23 July 2008, 02:23 AM
Matt H.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie View Post
Oh, I don't doubt that a CO will be assaulted twice in a career. But the OP said a CO would be seriously assaulted twice in 20 years. I would think that a serious assault would, by definition, cause an injury.
Damn that extra word...how did I miss that?
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  #8  
Old 23 July 2008, 03:00 AM
Grumpy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Correctional Officers (CO's) have the second highest mortality rate of any
occupation.
As of 2004, it appears they weren't even in the top 10. In the United States, at least, the deadliest occupation was logging, followed by aviation and fishing. Maybe that excludes suicides. Speaking of which...

Quote:
CO's have a 39% higher suicide rate than any other occupation and
have a higher divorce and substance abuse rates then the general population.
This implies that a prison guard (I see no shame in using that title) is far and away more likely to commit suicide than any other profession. The Straight Dope attempted to answer this question, and found guards were tied with salesmen, well below dentists, which are already down the list.
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  #9  
Old 23 July 2008, 03:21 AM
pinqy pinqy is offline
 
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In 2004, 5 correctional officers died on the job. Source
More crossing guards died on the job (7), let alone security guards (67).
CO is a crappy job, but it's not usually fatal.

pinqy
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