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The week was designated by President Ronald Reagan under Proclamation 5187 enacted on May 5, 1984. It is designed to provide correctional employees, particularly direct contact line staff, the respect and recognition that they deserve. National Correctional Officers Week is observed annually during the first full week of May.

As part of the National Correctional Officers Week proclamation, President Reagan suggested that the week be celebrated through ceremonies and activities that provide recognition to correctional professionals for the valuable public service that they provide.

“Historically, correctional officers have been viewed as “guards,” occupying isolated and misunderstood positions in prisons and jails. In recent years, the duties of these officers have become increasingly complex and demanding. They are called upon to fill, simultaneously, custodial, supervisory and counseling roles. The professionalism, dedication and courage exhibited by these officers throughout the performance of these demanding and often conflicting roles deserve our utmost respect. The important work of correctional officers often does not receive the recognition from the public it deserves. It is appropriate that we honor the many contributions and accomplishments of these men and women who are a vital component of the field of corrections.”

–President Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 5187, May 5, 1984