Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I was a juvenile detention officer

No really.  For two weeks over Christmas break when I was in college, I served as a bona fide juvenile detention officer in Sweetwater, Texas.

I was hoping to pick up something seasonal to make a little cash while I was home.  I assumed I would be working at the local KMart or something.  Then an ad in the paper caught my eye:

"Needed:  female juvenile detention officer."

There was something about "no experience" and "night shift" and "two weeks" and "we will train you and pay you actual money."  So, I was ON it.

Basically, the local facility only housed boys.  They were going to have two girls in their custody for two weeks over the holidays before transferring them somewhere else.  State law required that there be a female officer present in case there was a need for pat downs and such.  They had a few female officers to pull from, but none of them worked nights. 

Enter: 19 year old Christine

My training went like this:

"You can sleep right there.  If the girls wake up and need something, we will ask you to help monitor them.  But basically, you can just hang out and talk to us while we monitor the boys' rooms.  Or you can sleep."

I did a pat down on one girl, one time, before and after she had a visitor (worked a day shift).  The rest of the time?  Yup.  I slept.  On a bench.  Actually, one night there was an empty cell in the boys pod, so I was able to go in after all the detainees were snoozing and sleep on the empty mattress.  Not quite sure that was kosher with regulations, but what did I know?  I heard "mattress" from the lovely men I worked with and was snoozing by the time my head it the vinyl.

And got paid to do it.  BAM!

I was reading today about how the Livesays are talking to their kids about getting jobs and working.  Isaac was asking people to talk about their first jobs.  I decided to go with "weird job."


Jolene said...

HA! That is so funny! I was a Construction Worker (at age 17) and a Park Ranger (at 19) a Nanny for awhile and about 15 yrs of random Retail crap. Loved the Park Ranger and Construction Worker gigs, though...FUN stuff!

JenniferJ said...

I was a "sweeper" at an amusement park. I basically wandered from ride to booth visiting with friends making sure everyone knew where the party was that night (sort of like "Julie the Cruise Director") and picking up the occasional cigarette butt. Since I wasn't required to "be" anywhere, I sometimes snuck out soon after the shift began (hiding my broom & bucket in the bushes) and came back.....when I felt like it. I LOVED that "job" :)