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Correctional Officer/Prison Guard

Salary

Good. Union-backed-good. You will likely be making in the neighborhood of $150k after a couple decades on the job, once you figure in the federal matching pensions, possibly even more if you rise to the ranks of supervisor or manager of other officers. Hm.

You'll have mixed feelings about the money as a taxpayer—and then as someone who has to do this needed but frankly awful job. For the cynical, it's a human septic tank management company that you'll be working for. You are being paid more than many doctors make yet you barely graduated high school. But who else is going to do this job? 

There are all kinds of pressures against such relatively high pay. Every few years a politician suggests "outsourcing" to save money. That is, in California it costs about $70,000 a year to maintain a prisoner; in Arizona it costs less than half. What about shipping out the California prisoners to Arizona's high desert where they are mostly stored like canned goods, and buying endless Southwest tickets for family/friends/old drug dealer pals to visit any time they want, more or less? It'd save taxpayers billions. That's "billions" with a "b."

Your job would be threatened if this law was passed. Luckily for you, your union knows this and negotiates for "lifetime employment" guarantees if you've been on the job 10 years or more, making you something of a "lifer" yourself. If your job is ever removed, you'd still collect something like 80% of full pay for 20 years or more just for...doing nothing. Hope you like golf.

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