Better than my salary! - Correctional officer says national award is one of the best gifts she has received
Receiving a national honour for her long and dedicated service to the Department of Correctional Services has given Inderia Hutchinson a feeling, she says, greater than when she receives her salary.
Hutchinson was among a total of 76 individuals currently serving in correctional services, who received awards last Tuesday at The National Honours and Awards Ceremony, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
"I was awarded for long service and good conduct. This is more valuable to me than my salary, something that I am going to treasure," Hutchinson told The Gleaner.
Hutchinson has spent 14 years as a correctional officer and said her award meant a lot to her because her job can bring its fair amount of challenges.
She previously worked at the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre, but is currently assigned to the South Camp Road Juvenile Correctional Centre for girls.
ROUGH AT TIMES
"A duty would start at 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. We mostly supervise the girls. We make sure that they are up for school. It's like a mother role. We ensure that their hair is combed properly and assist them with ironing their uniform, and escort them to their respective classes," Hutchinson said.
She added: "It is rough at times, because sometimes you try to reach them, but it can be very challenging because, based on the girls with their different issues, sometimes they are very moody and you don't know what is happening with them. You would say, how are you doing? And they say, 'Mam, don't ask me any question.' That can be difficult because you want them to be happy, while within, they are unhappy," she said.
Hutchinson works with girls ages 12 to 17. "The most serious situation I experienced was about six months ago. There was a fight between two girls and while trying to part the fight, I was stabbed with a pen that one of the wards had. We are usually able to deal with whatever situation," she said.
Originally from St Mary, Hutchinson said she decided to take up the job as correctional officer after a member of her community was convicted for murder and subsequently went on parole after serving 20 years.
"There was a gentleman who spent over 20 years in the prison. When he came (back) to the community, for example, when he went to the shop, persons didn't want to sell him. I said to myself that he already served his time, and I think it is so unkind of the community not to accept him. Looking at the situation, it says to me that anyone can find themself in trouble. That is what motivated me to join the department," she told The Gleaner.