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Lisset Landa

Immigrant Archive Project
Lisset Landa emigrated from Mexico alongside her mother and siblings during her early childhood. Her formative years were spent in California, where she currently serves as a corrections officer. Despite the inherent risks of her profession, Ms. Landa shared with us her genuine affection for her role. This sentiment stems from the profound sense of respect and recognition she garners not only from her colleagues but also from the inmates under her charge.
Show transcript
00:00
So many times that my friends weren't there for me.
00:03
I said, you know what, I have to step up to the plate.
00:05
I have to beat my fears.
00:07
I have to become somebody.
00:09
I gotta be stronger for myself.
00:12
For me.
00:12
God put me here to be a strong person and to take care of myself
00:17
respect myself and love myself.
00:24
Currently, I'm an officer for the Sheriff's Department.
00:29
I'm like a jailer.
00:30
You can say I take care of about approximately, well, on different
00:37
days.
00:38
It varies but usually 300 inmates just, you know, with two
00:44
other deputies and myself with almost 300 inmates, male inmates
00:51
300 male inmates.
00:55
I take it, these aren't the Bernie Madoff type of my, with some
00:59
pardon criminals.
01:01
Hm.
01:02
Sometimes, sometimes because mostly the inmates that I take
01:08
care of or you know, that we watch.
01:11
It's usually, you know, your, what, what do you wanna call
01:16
it?
01:16
Uh, gosh, DUIs people that, you know, violate parole, domestic
01:24
violence and drug addicts, drug addicts that are ordered
01:30
by court, you know, to serve their time in jail.
01:34
But mainly that's it because the facility where I work at,
01:38
it's a level one through seven and, you know, one being the
01:43
lowest, like a parking tickets or warrants, pedophiles in
01:48
there as well.
01:49
Oh, yeah, we have pedophiles, we have child molesters, Gangsters
01:56
Of course, we have a little bit of everything, a little identity
02:02
theft, um, which we call it criminals.
02:08
It just a little bit of everything.
02:10
It's a totally different world.
02:13
But I love, I love what I do.
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I think that I love my job because I feel so respected among
02:23
my coworkers, my partners and the inmates.
02:28
I treat them fair and I feel so comfortable just I know that
02:33
because I've been, I've been left alone mostly all eight hours
02:38
of my shift.
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I've been left alone with 300 of these inmates and I have to
02:41
walk once an hour to make sure they're all alive and nobody's
02:46
beaten up or nobody's missing an arm or whatever, you know
02:49
And I can, I am, I feel so sure of myself that I can go inside that
02:54
Barrack because each Barrick holds about 100 inmates that
02:58
I can go inside and I can just walk by myself, walk by myself
03:04
all the way to the end of the Barrack to check every single one
03:07
of them and come right back alive.
03:10
I know I know that they will not do anything to me.
03:13
I feel, I think as women, we have an extra instinct and we know
03:19
that, you know, when something's gonna go wrong.
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Of course, if you feel it, if I sense it, I won't go.
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But I thank God I've never had that feeling never because I
03:28
treat them all fair because like, like I, I forgot there was
03:33
an officer another officer that told me, you know what I know
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that because sometimes among our partners, we, we tend to
03:44
have problems because some of them are really, really bad
03:48
with them.
03:49
They treat them like animals, they degrade them.
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And some of us are like, you know, they call us softies.
03:57
You know, they, we, we give them too much, we help them too much
04:02
But there was an officer that told me once that he said, you
04:05
know what?
04:06
I treat him fair because I don't know if somewhere around this
04:10
world, you know, somewhere around the world I have a cousin
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or I might have an uncle.
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I might have a grandpa, a father that's in jail also.
04:17
And I wouldn't want somebody to treat him like those people
04:20
treat them, you know, and that kind of like, wow, it stuck with
04:24
me, it stuck with me and it stuck with me all, all this time.
04:29
And that's why I know that these people will not do anything
04:32
to me because I always always treat them fair when I get really
04:36
really mad.
04:38
They know I'm that they know how my my facial expressions change
04:43
my tone of voice change and my posture changes and they know
04:48
when I'm talking business, it's business.
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When you tick me off.
04:52
Don't, don't talk to me because you're not gonna get absolutely
04:55
anything.
04:56
So just go back mo most, most of all, I kind of feel like a counselor
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sometimes because I talk to these guys.
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You know, I feel like I feel like telling them, you know, I think
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I had a worse childhood than you.
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I think I had less things in you.
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Sometimes I didn't even have food to eat and you're over here
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telling me that you're using drugs, you're committing all
05:18
these crimes because your parents separated.
05:21
Like, come on, bro, like why, you know, God put us on this earth
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to, to, you know, to create our own destinies, I believe, you
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know, it's up to you what you wanna do with your life.
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That's how you're gonna live and that's the example you're
05:37
gonna, you know, leave for everybody else to see if you wanna
05:41
live your life like a criminal, then you're always gonna be
05:44
down here, you know, treated like a criminal, treated like
05:48
less of a human being, you know.
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But if you give respect hard, work hard, you're gonna get somewhere
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you know, and I, I try to talk to him.
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I wish I could open up to them and tell him what I went through
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you know, I mean, since I was a little kid, you know, but I don't
06:06
know most of these criminals they, it comes from their ancestors
06:13
They have cousins, grand grandpas, uncles, brothers, fathers
06:20
that have lived in prison all of their life.
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So they know that's their world.
06:25
They grew, they grew up around the, you know, talking about
06:28
prison, talking about deputies, talking about officers
06:30
Oh yeah, I'm gonna shoot that deputy.
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I'm gonna shoot this, I'm gonna shoot that.
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I'm gonna kill this fool.
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I'm gonna kill that fool.
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It's so normal to them.
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It's like nothing.
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It's like they can do that every day if they want to drive by
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shootings.
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It's like so normal to them.
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It's just their, their, their mentality so much different
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And that's why I wanna raise my daughter differently from
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my mom, from these criminals.
06:57
I learned from absolutely everybody.
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You know, because they're here to teach me a lesson too, to
07:02
teach me that I shouldn't give my daughter absolutely everything
07:07
You know, because I take care of a, um, well, he's one of the
07:13
inmates in my facility.
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He has a very famous mom, very, very famous.
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And, you know, he, you know, the way he is, he's very cocky.
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He thinks he can get absolutely everything.
07:27
And that bugs me.
07:29
It's like, you know what, I don't want to give my daughter absolutely
07:31
everything because she might end up like this, you know, like
07:34
a brat, just a love, a brat and it bugs me.
07:39
So, you know, I wanna, I think that nowadays you gotta teach
07:43
your kids with actions because words are just in and out.
07:49
You know, I lived it with my little sister.
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Uh, I would talk to her but she still went and did her own thing
07:57
She got pregnant at 17 and blah, blah, blah, you know, just
08:01
like all my other sisters.
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So I think that with visions you gotta see it to believe it aids
08:09
You know, I, I worked at a nursing home prior to being in a job
08:13
I was totally the opposite.
08:14
I'm telling you, I gave all I could.
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I always felt like I had to take care of everything.
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I felt like I had to be everywhere to help everybody that I could
08:24
You know, I did, I did um, CN a work for five years, taking care
08:29
of the elderly.
08:30
Loved it too.
08:32
I loved that job.
08:33
But, um, yeah, you learned, I learned a lot.
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I learned to value my life.
08:39
I learned that I don't have to be rich as long as I'm alive and
08:43
I'm healthy and I'm able to talk, walk, eat and see what else
08:48
do I want?
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I gotta appreciate.
08:50
Absolutely.
08:51
The simple things in life are the best.
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You gotta think that way.
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You gotta laugh, you gotta think positive and most of all have
08:58
faith.
08:59
And that's, that's, that's why I think I'm where I'm at because
09:04
I feel really comfortable.
09:05
I love what I do.
09:06
I know that if I quit this job and I do something else, you know
09:10
go for RN and I'll be a nurse.
09:13
I know I can do it and I can do it because I feel I, I mold, you know
09:18
to where I wanna go and what I wanna do, you could give advice
09:24
to yourself at the age of five.
09:26
When you first came home.
09:28
Are you gonna make me cry and go back and talk to that little
09:32
girl who came over and saw some terrific things.
09:36
Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
09:52
Um What I would say to a little five year old that, you know,
09:58
came here for the first time.
10:01
Mhm.
10:03
I would tell her that everything would be ok um to have faith
10:14
because God is fair with absolutely everybody.
10:18
He gives us all, you know, our five senses and that's more than
10:24
we can ask for and we make our own destiny and you know, ask for
10:29
help.
10:31
No, like God says, are you that thing that, you know, like it's
10:39
a, you can make your life to be a beautiful life.
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So just have faith and be patient.
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Be very patient and humble.
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They'll get you to places to very high places.