High Stress, Low Glamor: Correctional Officers Struggle with Workplace Strains
By DAVID CRARY
AP National Writer
WEST SENECA, N.Y. - The commute takes about 40 minutes, from the notoriously tough state prison at Attica to Mike Verrastro's pool-and-patio-equipped home in this middle-class Buffalo suburb. Two different worlds, but the veteran correctional officer ruefully acknowledges the difficulty keeping them separate.
He sometimes catches himself yelling at his 12-year-old son in the tone he uses to berate inmates. Even at the dinner table, he occasionally speaks the crude language of the cellblocks. One incident, in which an HIV-positive inmate spat a mouthful of blood into his face, caused months of anxiety for him and his wife.
"People say you've got to leave your job at work - it sounds good, but it's not easy," Verrastro said. "A lot of times I yell and scream, and my kids look at me like I'm nuts."
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