By JOE GORMAN
You can call Justin Beasley a jack of all trades. This makes his selection as Corrections Officer of the Year at the Ohio State Penitentiary on state Route 616 all the more impressive.
Beasley, 37, a graduate of Hubbard High School, performs just about every job a corrections officer can do at the facility and often switches work stations several times during a day.
Because of this, he must know a wide variety of jobs, he said. But he added he likes his assignments because he tends to do different things, and that makes the day go faster.
“I think it’s nice because it’s a break,” Beasley said. “Dealing with the same thing every day gets monotonous.”
Beasley was chosen from among staff members who were voted corrections officers of the month during 2013. From there, they were thrown into a pool to be picked for the yearly award.
The statewide officer of the year will be chosen in May at the Corrections Officers Training Academy in Orient. The Ohio State Penitentiary has a previous statewide officer of the year: James Burns, who won the award in 2010.
There are about 230 corrections officers at the prison.
Warden Jay Forshey said being nominated by his peers for the honor makes it more rewarding for Beasley.
“Officer Beasley was nominated by his peers to honor the backbone of his profession, the line officers,” Forshey said. “Justin is an outstanding officer and will represent OSP well.”
Beasley also said being selected by his peers is very gratifying.
“We have a lot of good officers here,” Beasley said.
Beasley has worked at the prison for seven years. He is a graduate of Youngstown State University with a degree in criminal justice.
Beasley said he was not sure at first if he wanted to stay in the corrections field, but he added that he enjoys his job.
“I plan on making this a career,” Beasley said.
Beasley said it took some time to get used to working at the prison, where some of the state’s most-dangerous inmates are sent.
“When I first started here, there’s some stuff that gets you upset,” Beasley said. “But after a while you just blow it off. It’s a safe environment.”
One surprise when he began working was that the inmates are out of their cells quite frequently. He said that was a surprise because he had heard before starting that they were locked down 23 hours a day.
“They’re out pretty much all day,” Beasley said.