Com'on Let Me Hear Your Stories!


October 17, 2005, 04:49 AM
OK, I'll give you all an update. The Pre-Employment Briefing thing went well. A little scary but my cousin has let me in on the real side of county Jail. No problem. They said alot, in three hours even I was amazed at how much you can say about Corrections.

But as I get closer to the day when I will start this job, I would like to have some good stories to tell, and to also have something to go by.

I'll try and keep this gun-related. Anyone know if I will be hands on with weapons during the 5 week Academy? For me it will actually be vacation, I have been on night work for the last 3 years. I know I will be going to nights, but that's ok, shift differential pay is nice. They don't have that where I work now.

So bring it on fella's, give me your low down and dirty stories from the inside. :)

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October 17, 2005, 07:18 AM
Joey, relax, sit down, take a chill pill...

You should NOT try to enter the Academy with all sorts of stories to tell. You're there to learn, not to come across as the expert who knows it all and is there to make the world safe for mankind with his presence.

Go in low-key, keep a low profile, learn all you can, and listen to those who've been there. When you get on the job, remember that the inmates will be watching you like hawks, and listening for anything that can be used against you. If they can turn other staff members against you by spreading stories, or blackmail you by using something against you, or even make you miserable by innuendo, they will do so. Your best defense is professionalism, a low profile, and as few "stories" as possible!

Live long, and learn well.

October 17, 2005, 07:34 AM
Your Academy is only 5 weeks?

October 17, 2005, 08:42 AM
Your Academy is only 5 weeks?

Yeah, it is only five weeks. why should it be longer?

October 17, 2005, 08:58 AM
You may want to take note of what Preacherman said.
I don't know how rough it will be where you are at, but I have a friend who does corrections in NC. He said that normally, he tries to be polite to both guards and inmates without looking weak, and just keeps a low profile while still doing his job. That was at the begining of his job there (several years ago) and he was still sticking to that policy as of a couple of years ago when I last spoke with him. (I've been busy!:neener: )
Guess I'm just a fan of the the old saying "You'll learn more by keeping your eyes open and your mouth closed."
Best of luck to you.:D

October 17, 2005, 10:01 AM
I also agree with what Preacherman said. Without a doubt, they don't want a "know-it-all", or someone who sits and says, "Yeah, I've heard THAT one before!"

Open your ears, eyes and BRAIN! Retain as much as you can during the training phase, and if note- taking is allowed, it will probably benefit you to do so. While a 5-week school might not sound very long, it might be a "condensed" version of what used to be, say, a 10-week course....since many agencies have had to cut-back training due to financial reasons.

Do what you GOTTA do, and do it to your best abilities. After all, none of us (as far as I know) have any "expertise" in what you're getting into. Heck, when I finally got off my rear-side and applied for law enforcement positions, I only went through 2 written exams and 2 oral interviews before being "tentatively" hired by one of the agencies. After that, I went through the remainder of the testing procedures and a thorough background investigation....and passed with flying colors.

I merely "dummied-up" about what I had "heard" from others. I adhered to all of the rules during the training, and paid attention to the instructors.
Sure, I was nervous about "passing", but so did most of my academy classmates!

October 17, 2005, 10:19 AM
I've been in corrections for a while, and am currently a Correctional Sergeant for AZ DOC. Our basic policy is the best one for anyone working inside - "Firm, Fair, and Consistant". Playing favorites with staff or inmates opens up a breach to be exploited by inmate gamers. Remember, inmates have 24 hours a day to think up ways to mess with, or compromise staff, and they will. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes a veteran convict get off more than watching an officer arrrested for bringing in drugs or other prison contraband to him.
One question - are you working the jail, or the prison system? Jail is arrestees right off the street, prison is long term detention. Jail inmates are likely to be wilder, hopped up, drunk, crazy, etc. Prison inmates are a little calmer, as they already know what thier sentance is, how to play the game, etc. I work in the prison system.
Our academy is 9 weeks, including one week OJT in the unit the cadet will be assigned to upon graduation. Yours is not the shortest - BOP is only 3 weeks.
Stories from inside fall into two catagories - unbelievable but true, and fairy tales. Neither one will do you any good in the academy. Worry not, your instructors will tell you plenty of war stories, and thiers will fall in the first catagory.
One thing you will learn is diplomacy - if it's you and another officer working a chow hall with 150 inmates rolling around, you learn how to get them to do what you want without sparking a "disturbance". It's not hard to learn, sometimes hard to do. You will always be outnumbered, and unarmed. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and one last thing - never lie to any one inside. Staff will hate you, and never back you, and inmates are professional liars - they can smell one.
Good luck - this really is a good job, and one that can be very enjoyable.:cool:

October 17, 2005, 10:31 AM
by unarmed in the food hall, do you mean no club or anything? do you ever have to deal with the fact that some of these people are in here for life and might do whatever they want to regardless of the consequences?

October 17, 2005, 11:10 AM
I can't tell you any good "stories," but I can give you a piece of advice. A close friend works in corrections. He used to work at the juvenile facility at Vernon, Tx, and he's moving back home to Lawton, OK soon to work in the facility there. His father worked at Lexington and Lawton, OK, and has just gone back to LE with one of the local agencies down there.

Both of them said "DO NOT SPEAK TO, LOOK AT, OR OTHERWISE INTERACT WITH AN INMATE UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO!" They will take every opportunity to get something on you. My friend mentioned several times that the juvies will ask you for gum. He said that's the most common trap. They see you chomping on Juicy Fruit, ask for a stick, and just being nice, you give them one... Well, that can get you fired, and the inmates know that. Blackmail ensues, and pretty soon you're bringing them crack. Always pay attention, be in condition orange or better whenever you're near inmates as it is your job to maintain order, but on the social level do your best Helen Keller impression.

Armoredman is spot-on with the stories bit. Both my buddy and his dad have told me stories that had my hair standing on end, but they're so consistent with human nature that they don't seem fabricated.

October 17, 2005, 12:21 PM
The suggestions offered here by other THR members who work in corrections are good. All I can offer is remember that no inmate will ever be your friend. If you try to be 'friends' with inmates, they will interpret that a sign of weakness because anyone who sucks up to them must be afraid of them.

Standing Wolf
October 17, 2005, 08:41 PM
They're all hardened criminals. You're not. They're never going to understand you. You're never going to understand them.

That's okay.

October 17, 2005, 09:58 PM
The suggestions offered here by other THR members who work in corrections are good. All I can offer is remember that no inmate will ever be your friend. If you try to be 'friends' with inmates, they will interpret that a sign of weakness because anyone who sucks up to them must be afraid of them.

There is not much more I can add to the good advice so far. Always act firm, fair, and consistant, as armoredman described. Emphasis on consistant. The inmates have their own 'culture' and 'rules'. They will never respect the badge, but they will respect the man wearing it if you conduct yourself appropriately.

I found the inmates who had been to prison previously were always the easiest to monitor. They knew how to 'program' and do their time. It was always the young bucks that were the problems...and the females. The only time I ever was 'for real' attacked by multiple assailants, it was in the female tank.

Booking is fun. Feeding and Laundry Exchange are not. Always be aware of who is behind you. Buy some good boots. You'll be walking tiers a lot.

October 17, 2005, 10:00 PM
Preacherman has a lot of logical things that he passes along. I believe this to be another pearls of wisdom and would go along with it.

You're a good egg Preacherman, and I've learned a lot from you.

October 18, 2005, 05:45 AM
One question - are you working the jail, or the prison system? Jail, unfortunately our Prison system doesn't pay squat. Plus Hunstville is a long way away from me.
"DO NOT SPEAK TO, LOOK AT, OR OTHERWISE INTERACT WITH AN INMATE UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO!" I'm pickin' up what your layin' down.:) However I think it's going a little far to say not to look at them, it is my job to observe them and manage them, kinda hard to do if you don't look at them. And as far as being spoken to I'm sure they will talk, I'm not opossed to talking but they won't get anything out of me but answers. If i have any! I already know obviously not to share personal information of any kind. My cousin who has spent several years in Texas Jails and Prisons told me sometimes the guards will talk to inmates in order to get information from them, if there is something going on on the inside.

I went to a second interview yesterday morning, and for the fourth time total to the Recruitment office. The deputy I spoke to said that he didn't see anything holding me back but that it wasn't up to him, my folder had to make it through the Lt. and Capt. and a few others. I feel I have the Job but you never know.

I know they need to know all these things that they ask questions about, but I did feel like they were trying to trap me into answering a question differently then I did in the Blue book they gave us to fill out a week before. I know it is the job of the investigator to well......investigate, but the way they re-worded and re-arranged the same darn question was rediculous. I am not a criminal, I have no record and barely have any speeding tickets. 3 in my whole driving career. But yet I'm still put through the ringer like I'm hiding something. Erghhh!!! I hope after the polygraph exam that things will lighten up a bit. Although I am nervous about the polygraph, I mean what if they interpret my nervousness as lying? Then I don't get the job. Not fair if you ask me. There's a reason there not admissable in a court of law. But I don't know, I guess I'm just a little nervous. I think being denied employment by them would totally ruin my chances of ever working in LE ever again. And being how this has been a lifelong dream of mine, I've got alot riding on this.

Thank you for all your advice!

October 18, 2005, 06:35 AM
One pearl of wisdom that came from working in the probation service over here (UK).

Apply the rules without fear or favour. If you cut people some slack then you're making it real unpleasant for the gaurd that doesn't. According to my acquaintances most assaults on staff member A were caused by denial of what inmates had come to believe were their rights allowed them by staff member B, where in fact those "rights" were not allowed.

Never, ever, under any circumstances bend the rules. The inmates WILL exploit it and armoured man was spot on about them seeing getting you fired as a hobby. Don't take it personally though, you may even be amazed by the inventiveness and downright deviousness they display.

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