Discover Corrections Website-American Probation and Parole Association

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[Audio Begins]

Len Sipes:  From the nation’s capital, this is DC Public Safety. I’m your host, Leonard Sipes. Ladies and gentlemen, Discover Corrections is our topic today. It’s a website for job seekers and employers, for mainstream and community corrections. At our microphones is Mary Ann Mowatt, she is with the American Probation and Parole Association Council of State Governments, and she is heading up this website that includes literally hundreds of jobs from employers and people looking for work all throughout the correctional system. Mary Ann, welcome to DC Public Safety.

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Thank you!

Len Sipes:  Alright, tell me a little bit about your website. Describe the website to me.

Mary Ann Mowatt:  The Discover Corrections website was launched in February 2012, and the website really was designed to not only provide the public with a positive image of corrections, but also provide employers and job seekers an avenue to, number one for job seekers, to look for employment on a national basis, and for employers to recruit on a national basis. What Discover Corrections enables you to do is to, for employers, is to reach a local and national audience of informed and interested, qualified candidates. It also allows agencies to provide a profile about their agency and to add specific information so that the employee or the you know, possible job candidate, is able to make a good decision about applying for that position. Also employers can search resumes, registered job seekers, and they can do this at no cost. And that’s what we find is very appealing to agencies.

Len Sipes:  It’s an amazingly comprehensive website. You’ve got little vignettes up there about jobs and corrections, and about what different people have done over time, so it’s an interesting website, and the bottom line is anybody interested in a career in corrections, so you could be sitting there in Rhode Island and say “You know, son of a gun, I’ve always wanted to live in Hawaii. I wonder what parole and probation jobs are or what correctional officers jobs are available in Hawaii.” Correct?

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Correct. And you can easily go to the Career Resource section on the website and click on the state you’re interested and look at the various corrections agencies, be it jails, detention centers, prisons, and community corrections agencies.

Len Sipes:  Now you have juvenile agencies as part of this process as well, correct?

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Correct. And most recently we added additional content regarding juvenile detention centers and just juvenile, what am I looking for Leonard? You know the area of juvenile corrections.

Len Sipes:  Oh juvenile justice, yes.

Mary Ann Mowatt:  And really what that needs.

Len Sipes:  Yeah.

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Thank you.

Len Sipes:  Okay

Mary Ann Mowatt:  And tribal…

Len Sipes:  And tribal.

Mary Ann Mowatt:  …justice as well. So it is more of a comprehensive view of both of those focuses.

Len Sipes:  Now you’ve got close to three hundred jobs as of today on that website. That’s three hundred jobs that are all good paying, that are probably 95% government jobs with good benefits, and they are there. Right now people are looking for candidates for those three hundred jobs, right?

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Oh exactly. And I don’t wanna forget our private agencies. If you look at our website, one private agency has sixteen job openings currently. And that includes you know, training and procedure coordinators, a licensed electrician, case manager positions, client monitoring positions. So there’s a variety of positions that people really can consider outside of what we, you know, think of the traditional positions such as correctional officer or probation officer; it also includes positions such as IT and nurses, and dentist positions. So we want individuals to consider a career in corrections.

Len Sipes:  Well considering that we have seven million people on any given day who are under the auspices of a correctional organization, whether again it be mainstream, whether it be parole and probation and that doesn’t even begin to include jails to my knowledge, if I remember that correctly. So there, you know, this is just, and people are gonna say, “Well gee that’s a sad commentary letter,” but this is a growth area. Whether we like it or not, regardless of the how we feel about it or not, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of jobs in the correctional field and you know, I’ve been inside of prisons, I’ve walked alongside of correctional officers as they’ve made their rounds. That’s one of the most interesting and toughest jobs I can possibly imagine. You need a good, solid person to be a correctional officer. And I do believe that correctional officers, they really do not get the respect that they deserve, and that’s a very tough job. I mean, I’m a former police officer and you know, to be a correctional officer I think it’s tougher and probably more interesting than anything I ever did in law enforcement. So first of all we need good people to be correctional officers and there are correctional officer positions available. Correct?

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Correct. There are many and actually as I’m looking at the list, there are a number of correctional officer positions throughout the country:  Wyoming, California, just to name two of the states. And it is a very honorable position and when people apply for this job I hope they’re thinking about a career in Corrections as far as what steps can they take. Can this lead to promotional opportunities? Can it lead to other positions within the criminal justice arena?

Len Sipes:  And within any huge bureaucracy there are always opportunities for advancement, so if you start off as a correctional officer, I mean look, I started off as a cadet for a state police organization. You don’t get any lower than a cadet for the state police. So we all start off at these lower level positions and we go throughout our careers and we build and build and build, but you’ve gotta start somewhere and these entry level jobs within Corrections are just one excellent way of involving yourself in the criminal justice system. That doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Yes, we do want them to make a career out of it so we do want them to go into K-9, we do want them to go in Intelligence, we want them to go into the special tactical teams, we want them to go into rehabilitation programs. So, there’s endless opportunities for advancement, endless opportunities for career advancement, for pay advancement, for benefits advancement.

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Exactly. And I just, just a highlight, there was an article in our, you know, I live in a major metropolitan area, and it talked about the millennials not viewing government jobs as attractive or having stability but yet, you know to counter that, you know, government jobs offer pensions, which is very difficult to find in today’s world. Also medical benefits, health insurance, short term and long term disability. All of those are very attractive and I know for some young people, and certainly when I was in my twenty’s I didn’t often think about, “Okay, what am I looking at when I’m forty or forty five?” Pensions are very attractive. It’s an income you know, for the rest of your life.

Len Sipes:  As I approach retirement I’ve never been more sold on that concept. I think it’s extraordinary. And in a lot of cases there are twenty-year retirements for people in law enforcement and people in corrections. But let’s shift gears for a second. Parole and probation agents, now again, the emphasis here is that there are doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, public affairs people, there’s all sorts of positions at the Discover Corrections website. But in terms of parole and probation officers, again I’ve been out with them, I’ve worked with them, I’ve seen them doing what it is that they do. And again, immense respect that I have for parole and probation agents. Here in the District of Columbia we call them community supervision officers. They have an extraordinarily difficult job, sometimes a bit of a dangerous job, but the challenge is immense and the interesting jobs that they have, I mean, I don’t think there’s any more interesting job on the face of the earth than being a parole and probation agent, and you’ve got plenty of those.

Mary Ann Mowatt:  And let’s not forget the rewards, because many of us enter this career and I certainly had a long career in community corrections, because of the rewards and assisting people in behavioral change, and seeing those successes. Those are all very positive things that contribute to an individual’s career and it’s hard to conceptualize those rewards, those types of rewards.

Len Sipes:  Well we do want people to enter the Corrections field, we want to get the very best people we possibly can and that’s the whole idea behind doing this abbreviated version of DC Public Safety today, and to basically say “look, if you’re interested in a good job with decent pay, with decent benefits, with a retirement system attached to it, with the opportunity to be mobile, with the opportunity to build, with the opportunity to move into dozens of different areas, and you never will be bored in terms of a job in Corrections. It is the very antithesis of a boring job. You will always find yourself immensely challenged whether you go into mainstream corrections, or community corrections, or juvenile justice, right?

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Absolutely. And I just wanna add, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. We also have a section if you’re really wondering about a specific career; we have stories from the field. It is about real people telling about their careers and their experiences and where they’re at today.

Len Sipes:  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Discover Corrections blog, and also in the show notes I’ll put in those connections and I’ll put in the RSS feed for those of you who understand what an RSS feed is, but the whole idea is that you’re all over the place trying to promote the idea that you want a career in corrections, you want a good career, you want a stable career, you want an interesting career, you want a career with ten tons of benefits and good pay, decent pay I should say, then you go to right?

Mary Ann Mowatt:  Exactly!

Len Sipes:  All right! Mary Ann Mowett, she’s been our guest today. She is with the American Probation and Parole Association of the Counsel of State Governments. Ladies and gentlemen this is DC Public Safety. We appreciate your comments. We even appreciate your criticisms and I want everybody to have themselves a very, very pleasant day.

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