Each year in the U.S. prison system, hundreds of corrections officers are put in life-or-death situations throughout the course of their work. While being a corrections officer is an inherently dangerous profession, there are many precautions that can be taken in order to limit the exposure to serious injury or death that those tasked with keeping the nation’s prisons safe have to take on.
Locked up, but still committing crime
Robert Johnson spent 15 years of his life as a corrections officer in one of Florida’s most violent maximum-security prisons. Hired on in his early 20s, Johnson quickly proved himself to be an enthusiastic and capable corrections officer, earning a series of promotions as well as the respect and admiration of his supervisors.
By the time Johnson turned 30, he was already a member of the prison’s elite SERT team, which stands for Special Emergency Response Team, and is responsible for intercepting and detecting contraband, dealing with dangerous and violent inmates and other jobs that are considered too dangerous for normal corrections officers to carry out.
On one occasion, as part of his routine duties involving the searches of inmate cells, Johnson uncovered a package that had been hidden underneath one inmate’s bunk bed. The package contained an estimated $50,000 worth of heroin. It was one of the largest single busts in the history of the Florida State Prison System and made Johnson somewhat of a celebrity among the officers.
However, the heroin belonged to a powerful gang operating within the prison, and they didn’t share the enthusiasm towards Johnson’s anti-drug exploits. Using an illegally smuggled cell phone, the gang’s leader was able to communicate with some of his soldiers on the outside. He put out a contract on Johnson’s life, valued at $6,000. An ex-convict who had sworn allegiance to the gang was given the job.
On an early morning, when Johnson was preparing to go to work, the gunman kicked in his front door and fired six shots at nearly point-blank range into Johnson’s stomach and chest. The lifelong corrections officer barely survived, since enduring 23 surgeries and incredible amounts of daily pain.
However, after less than a year of recovering from the nearly fatal incident, Johnson was back at work in the corrections industry. This time, though, Johnson is working for Securus Technologies, one of the leading provider of prison safety technologies in the country. He is working as a salesman, selling a device known as the Wireless Containment System, which Johnson assures clients would have completely prevented the incident that nearly claimed his life from occurring in the first place.
With the ability to detect and intercept 100 percent of unauthorized communications placed from contraband phones, the WCS can stop illegal phone use in the nation’s prisons dead in its tracks.