There are few occupations we can think of that would be more high stress than working as a prison guard. Television and film have given us countless depictions of life behind bars, and none of them show it like a walk in the park - for prisoner or guard. One reddit user asked:
The answers were almost all pretty intense, but we managed to pull 20 stories that struck a chord with us. Some of these may be intense for younger or more sensitive readers, so be careful as you move ahead.
Setting the scene:
1997; local Jail with a very big budget crisis.
The jail was on the 4th floor of the courthouse and the chow hall was in the basement. So we would have to take the prisoners up and down to eat. The elevator was junk. It broke down with me and 13 felony inmates trapped inside of it. Four were convicted murderers waiting on a bed to come open at the prison. I was trapped in a very tight space with some very bad people unarmed and alone.
They helped me crawl through the escape hatch in the roof of the elevator so I could get help. No escape attempts and no violence. It was scary, but went pretty well considering.
At last, my day has come. In lieu of one "scariest day," allow me, as a CO in the State of Florida, to tell you all of the scariest incidents to occur to me in the past few years.
-From the point you're hired until your graduation from the academy (roughly 6-12 months) you are advised to not get into any physical issues with an inmate. This can lead to awkward and dangerous instances when a new person is assigned to work in the Close Management buildings. On one particular day, I was assigned to assist an officer with escorting CM1 (most dangerous) inmates to their rec cages. For whatever reason, the officer I was with neglected to follow standard procedure and have said inmates step backwards out of his cell. The door rolled, and the cuffed inmates bolted between us, ran up the stairs to the second level, and started attempting to remove his cuffs. This inmate, I found out later, had a reputation for enjoying his beating of COs. It took nine officers to take him down and return him to his cell.
Fun fact; the officer I was with attempted to blame the whole thing on me since I didn't run after the inmate. He was shutdown when cameras revealed that he, as a certified officer, had ALSO not given chase.
So, I worked night shift at this jail for around two years, right before I went to the academy, I was working a control room that looked over four different pods, called F-Block. Easy pod, most of them are trusties and minimum security, so they're whiney, but usually not ones you have to worry about much. This block is set up where three of the pods are set up with cells, and there's one pod that is an open pod, meaning bunks and no cells. So two days a week, we do a razor night, pretty standard stuff, the worst part is making sure you get the razor blade back. After handing out the blades, about thirty or forty minutes pass when inmates start banging on the window to get me and another guy's attention, and hitting the call box rapidly. Sadly, this can be a normal occurrence because they'll play that as prank to get us riled up. So the guy I'm in the control room hits the button to answer the call box.
Other CO: Yeah?
Inmates: You need to get in here now.
Other CO: Is it an emergency?
Inmates: Yes, please get in here.
So since I'm the newest of the two, I get the pleasure of walking into the open pod and seeing what's going on. I walk in and just freeze for a second, there's an inmate laying on his bunk with blood coming from his neck, self inflicted. So I call a signal and wait for back-up to get there. Soon me and another guy (also hasn't been to the academy yet) rush over there. The inmate is still alive and he is determined to die, he kicks the other CO away and he begins to slash the blade towards us in a threatening manner to tell us to back off. The other CO goes to one side and holds the guys arms down to his own chest, so the inmate uses this time to just slash his neck even further.
About that time, nurses and superiors find their way to the pod, but the nurses can't come anywhere near them because he's still holding a blade. He scratches one CO who is one scene (the guy has Hep C) and finally the Captain elbows the guy in the best and gets him to drop the blade. We held tampons to the guys neck and proceeded to take him to medical.
Somehow, this guy lived. Turns out he declined a sentence that would have made him serve just 10 more months, but declined the plea and received 10 years to life.