Bet­ter than my salary!

Cor­rec­tional of­fi­cer says na­tional award is one of the best gifts she has re­ceived

Jamaica Gleaner - - HEALTH - Ja­son Cross Gleaner Writer ja­son.cross@glean­erjm.com

RE­CEIV­ING A na­tional hon­our for her long and ded­i­cated ser­vice to the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices has given In­de­ria Hutchin­son a feel­ing, she says, greater than when she re­ceives her salary.

Hutchin­son was among a to­tal of 76 in­di­vid­u­als cur­rently serv­ing in cor­rec­tional ser­vices, who re­ceived awards last Tues­day at The Na­tional Honours and Awards Cer­e­mony, held at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, down­town Kingston.

“I was awarded for long ser­vice and good con­duct. This is more valu­able to me than my salary, some­thing that I am go­ing to trea­sure,” Hutchin­son told The Gleaner.

Hutchin­son has spent 14 years as a cor­rec­tional of­fi­cer and said her award meant a lot to her be­cause her job can bring its fair amount of chal­lenges.

She pre­vi­ously worked at the St Cather­ine Adult Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre, but is cur­rently as­signed to the South Camp Road Ju­ve­nile Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre for girls.

ROUGH AT TIMES

“A duty would start at 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. We mostly su­per­vise the girls. We make sure that they are up for school. It’s like a mother role. We en­sure that their hair is combed prop­erly and as­sist them with iron­ing their uni­form, and es­cort them to their re­spec­tive classes,” Hutchin­son said.

She added: “It is rough at times, be­cause some­times you try to reach them, but it can be very chal­leng­ing be­cause, based on the girls with their dif­fer­ent

is­sues, some­times they are very moody and you don’t know what is hap­pen­ing with them. You would say, how are you do­ing? And they say, ‘Mam, don’t ask me any ques­tion.’ That can be dif­fi­cult be­cause you want them to be happy, while within, they are un­happy,” she said.

Hutchin­son works with girls ages 12 to 17. “The most se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion I ex­pe­ri­enced was about six months ago. There was a fight be­tween two girls

and while try­ing to part the fight, I was stabbed with a pen that one of the wards had. We are usu­ally able to deal with what­ever sit­u­a­tion,” she said.

Orig­i­nally from St Mary, Hutchin­son said she de­cided to take up the job as cor­rec­tional of­fi­cer af­ter a mem­ber of her com­mu­nity was con­victed for mur­der and sub­se­quently went on pa­role af­ter serv­ing 20 years.

“There was a gentle­man who spent over 20 years in the

prison. When he came (back) to the com­mu­nity, for ex­am­ple, when he went to the shop, per­sons didn’t want to sell him. I said to my­self that he al­ready served his time, and I think it is so un­kind of the com­mu­nity not to ac­cept him. Look­ing at the sit­u­a­tion, it says to me that any­one can find them­self in trou­ble. That is what mo­ti­vated me to join the de­part­ment,” she told The Gleaner.

GLADSTONE TAY­LOR/ PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Cor­po­ral In­de­ria Hutchin­son (left) is con­grat­u­lated by over­seer Janet Bell-Fer­rigon dur­ing the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Na­tional Honours and Awards Cer­e­mony, held re­cently at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, down­town Kingston.

Cor­po­ral In­de­ria Hutchin­son ex­am­ines her award dur­ing the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Na­tional Honours and Awards Cer­e­mony, held at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, down­town Kingston, last week.

Cor­po­ral In­de­ria Hutchin­son.

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