Halbert Unit 'roll call' honors fallen officers

“Roll Call” opening ceremonies on Wednesday, May 10, at the Halbert Unit in Burnet are held by Office Joyce Vance, Officer William Reams, Officer Tracey Rivero, Officer Guillermo Gonzales, Sgt. Marvin Yarber and Kathleen Thompson of Risk Management.


By Amy Prayer
Burnet Bulletin
When people think about prison, they usually think of criminals. Rarely do they think about the people working in the prisons — people who take the drive every day, check in and out of these correctional facilities on a daily bassis.
However, these correctional officers and staff members are there and, all things considered, their time “on the inside” at the prison is usually longer than many of those incarcerated.
On Wednesday, May 10, the Halbert Unit, located in Burnet, held a “roll call” or memorial service for correctional employees across the nation who lost their lives in the line of duty, making the “ultimate sacrifice.”
“We do this once a year — honor our fallen correctional officers and employees,” said Susan Kelly, the warden's assistant at the Halbert Unit.
Correctional environments take their toll on all who pass through the gates. Walking into prison, one is immediately hit by the odor of bodies being housed together, the noise of voices trying to be heard, the sound of footsteps bouncing off of iron and concrete walls and the feeling of violence, looming all around.
Correctional officers must be “on guard” at all times as they try to avoid becoming a statistic. Ten correctional officers lost their lives nationwide in 2016, including TDCJ officer Mari Johnson, who was killed in an assault July 16, 2016, in a prison kitchen storage room at the French Robertson Unit northeast of Abilene.
For more information on the Halbert Unit and other Texas Department of Criminal Justice units, go to tdcj.state.tx.us.

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