May 6 to 12 marks National Corrections Officers and Employees Week, a week dedicated to more than 468,000* corrections officers who serve in facilities across the country. When the Museum opens, visitors will learn about the hard and valuable work these officers do every day in the Corrections area of the Being an Officer exhibit.
Visitors can step into an eight by six foot steel cell from the former Lorton Correctional Complex in Lorton, Virginia.
The Corrections area includes graphics, objects and artifacts related to prison life and the corrections field. Visitors will also be able to view a video following a day in the life of a corrections officer.
Lorton was the primary corrections facility for the District of Columbia for close to 100 years. The facility was conceived during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration in 1908. It was viewed as a national model for prison reform because of its dormitory-style architecture and philosophy of providing prisoners with healthy outdoor work and education. The prison closed in 2001 due to dangerous overcrowding and extensive repair needs. More than ten thousand inmates were transferred to federal prisons across the country. The prison bars that will be on display in the Museum were cut from a maximum security cellblock at Lorton just prior to renovating the cellblock into condos.
Museum visitors will also see the cast figure of Osceola (FL) Corrections Officer Resheemah Taylor. In 2009, Officer Taylor was confronted by a violent inmate who had taken another officer hostage and changed into that officer’s uniform. The inmate was already serving three consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole when he put a gun to Officer Taylor’s head. Officer Taylor was able to wrestle the gun away from the inmate and subdue him while calling for help using her portable radio. Her bravery in the face of death saved many other lives that day. She was awarded the Presidential Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor. Her story, along with those of other heroic law enforcement professionals, is part of the Museum’s permanent castings installations.
*468,600 in 2016 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics
See a video of Officer Taylor’s casting being created for the Museum:
Category: Museum Insider Post