The story is disturbing on several levels, but at its most basic it serves to remind ourselves of two important facts:
(1) Folks in the free world would probably not expect heroism, courage and compassion from prisoners for their guards. But these men not only put their immediate safety on the line, but may well have made themselves a target of bullies on the inside, yet they did not shirk.
(2) I think detention officers have the absolute worse jobs ever. The smallest mistake or bit of flawed judgement can cause injury to others or themselves. There is so much rage, bitterness and despair pervading the population, so much real danger and, unless the administration is both very competent and honorable, there is little pro-active support so staff can survive the challenges. Often the folks with the best capacity to support healthier prisons are elbowed out by incipient bullies. The temptation to justify what seems to be small "cheats" can erode the soul and the temptation must be especially harsh when daily exposure to a prison population might tempt one tho think, "Well, my cheat is nothing to what others do." Overall, lots of temptations, not much pay, abiding danger and little respect in the free world. It is little wonder that a marginal or poor administration can loose authority quickly.
So for today let us rejoice that even in desperate places honor can survive. And let us lift up in prayer those who struggle to maintain their faith, their honor, their humanity within prison walls, both prisoners and staff.
Oh, God of All Hope and Light, shine Your love and hope into the jails, prisons and parole offices that both those facing the consequences of errs and those who our society gives custody of them are inspired by each small act of kindness, each instance of honor, each moment of humanity to build better lives for all involved. The situation is grievous and altogether alarming, Lord. Show us each how we can "Remember prisoners as if (we) were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if (I) were in their place."* AMEN