A Review of "Newjack - Guarding Sing Sing" by Ted Conover
Ted Conover's foray into the world of corrections started as undercover expose of the Sing Sing prison system. He soon discovered a world rarely seen by those outside of corrections. More than once, Conover was advised that he was not a "prison guard" but a correctional officer and he quickly learned exactly what that meant.
Richard Lessington, a correctional officer in the District of Columbia, said, "Corrections officers become for each inmate their mother, father, counselor, priest and disciplinarian." It became apparent to Conover that most everything that was taught could be disregarded. Correctional officers were not just there to "guard" the inmates and enforce regulations. He soon discovered that instinct and past experiences were the best, and often only, guides in situations that he would encounter and that the line between right and wrong actions was often very gray. Conover stated that inmates advised him on more than one occasion, "You're going to learn, CO, that some things they taught you in the Academy can get you killed."
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