N is for New Boot

This is one term I believe, that may have been brought into the prison system by Correctional Officers, especially those ex-military “Bosses” who found themselves home from the ‘wars’ with no place to work other than the prisons. New Boot refers to brand new, straight out of the academy, correctional officers. These new officers know absolutely everything there is to know about the prison system, offender management and security operations. If you don’t believe this to be true, just ask a New Boot, he or she will tell you it is so. The New Boot appellation, can stay with an officer anywhere from two weeks to twenty years, depending on his/her particular mindset. I’ve always thought there were four categories of people living in the state of Texas: 1. Those persons currently in prison. 2. Those persons just out of prison. 3. Those persons working in the prison. 4. Those persons not in prison… yet. Such an attitude might be hard to understand by persons not in prison… yet and persons not working in the prison, but for those Behind Bars (both staff and offenders) the prison becomes the world and it seems that everything in the world revolves around the prison system in one way or another. Persons working for the prison system are misunderstood by the General Public, their families and their friends. If they work for the system long enough, they make the transformation (silently and without grand aplomb) from New Boot to Old Hand. At any rate, by the time the New Boot makes it to Old Hand, he/she might find that friends and family no longer relate to them and some even lose former friends, making new ones from work and, unfortunately, they might lose wives and husbands as well. Though this is a terrible thing on the surface, it is not unusual for them to find solace in each other’s company and many, many persons working in the system also have spouses working in the system. These sorts of incestuous relationships lead to any number of problems. The staff and officers learn many things from the offender population and like babies, they pick up the worst habits first. Having wives, husbands, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and cousins all working in the same business can lead to all sorts of nepotistic situations (if that is a word). Sometimes the nepotism (another N-word) worked positively for those involved, but oftentimes, it worked to their detriment, since the blurring of lines between blood and money can create extremely slippery slopes.

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