On the Other Side of the Bars: Sault Ste. Marie Correctional Workers on Workplace Trauma


Grace and Lori had already put in their order for brunch by the time I joined them at the table at Casey’s restaurant. They were sitting across from one another sipping their coffee. Grace is on the cusp of fifty and Lori is in her early forties. Grace has big brown eyes and an enthusiastic nurturing disposition. Lori appears younger than her years and there is a softness about her.

Between them they share just over forty years of experience working in corrections. Today, both work as correctional officers at the Algoma Remand and Treatment Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The two women are more than colleagues or work buddies. Their friendship is bound stronger and more profound by the similar trauma that they both experienced on the job seven years apart from one another.

“You can go first,” Lori said to Grace just as the waitress slid their plates of bacon and eggs onto the table. “You went through it before I did.”

“Ha! That’s your way of saying I’m older,” laughed Grace. And so she began.

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