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Question for THRers who work in corrections

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by chaim, Jul 21, 2005.

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  1. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I know this isn't gun related, but I do ask the mods to keep it open a little while anyway.

    Today I just took the exam for a job as a correctional case worker for the State of Maryland. It was the second level of screening for this job (I may be called for an interview within a few weeks if I move to the next level). This is not a correctional officer position of course, it is basically social work (looking at an inmate's history in and out of prison, some interviewing, and determining security placement, education placement, work release placement, and possibly being one level of evaluation for parole).

    I know real life isn't the movies and again this isn't a CO position, yet the people I'd be dealing with if I get this job would not exactly be boy scouts.

    What can I expect if I get this job? I know some people in this position would not exactly be pleasant to deal with (to say the least). Some would be outright hostile and possibly violent, especially if they thought I'd recommend something contrary to what they wanted. I assume there would be backup whenever I would deal with an inmate (at least nearby on call). Of course, I would not have access to any weapons (I'm not even sure if I'd be allowed pepper spray). In the non-correctional officer, support positions like this one, do inmates usually respond better than to their CO's? Is it a less advesarial relationship (I'd assume so since teachers, psychologists and social workers try to establish some degree of rapport)?

    While I know that in general having better unarmed defensive techniques is always a positive thing, in a position like this would it be a good idea to seek more training now? In your state/city/county (or whatever administrative unit is in responsible for your job setting) are people in these positions even allowed to fight back if attacked or are they required to rely on help from nearby COs?

    Again, the bottom line is- what should I expect if I get this job?
     
  2. 308win

    308win Member

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    You should PM Dave McCracken on the Shotty Forum
     
  3. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    I think too armoredman is a member here - sure he is a CO. Of course Preacherman also has a wealth of experience from prison work.
     
  4. Norton

    Norton Member

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    Chaim,

    If you would like to meet some of your potential clients, you can come hang out with me at my school :neener:

    Paging Dave McCracken....Mr. McCracken please report to this thread :p
     
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I was a prison guard briefly quite a few years ago.

    Social workers seemed to be fairly well regarded by the inmates: they were thought to have a certain amount of power in the system, and could sometimes be prevailed upon for preferential treatment.

    Be prepared to hear a good many lies.
     
  6. Bopleo

    Bopleo Member

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    Dont worry about it, prison is not like the movies, or the HBO show OZ.

    The worst thing you have to worry about as a staff meber in a prison is your fellow staff, it is often they are the ones holding the shank in your back.
     
  7. Spot77

    Spot77 Member

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    I frequent MCIJ, MCIW, Patuxent Inst, and a few others in the course of a day's work. The one really odd thing I noticed was how close of a relationship many inmates build with their CO's. For the most part there SEEMS to be a bit of mutual respect - at least enough to avoid complete chaos - although I'm sure there's plenty of exceptions. I'm as nervous as a long tailed cat in a house full of rocking chairs in those places, especially MCIW - Maryland Correctional Institute for Women. The ladies there ARE NOT very nice to a semi un-ugly white guy.

    Chaim, I hate to be the first one to say it, but your faith will probably cause you some grief, hopefully nothing more than some schoolyard-like teasing.
     
  8. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I've thought of that myself and I'm pretty sure you are right. Some white power and black power types (two groups who especially hate us) aren't exactly the cream of the Earth and seem more likely to end up in prison.

    If I get the job there is a chance I'll not wear the yarmulke at work. I'm not sure yet because there is also the chance that once they get to know me, other than the white power and black power types, some people there may give me a little credit for being sincerely religious. Sometimes it seems to get respect from some of the strangest quarters.
     
  9. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    I'll run your question past my mother this weekend. She used to hold that same type of position (social work) for the Florida Dept. of Corrections until two years ago.
     
  10. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Thanks for the headsup, folks....

    Chaim, a couple things.....

    First, do not trust anyone. The MD system is rife with corruption, and inmates have deception down to a fine art.

    Second, Bigotry is the most common indoor sport. One shift Commander I had was fond of using the word Jew as an adjective, as in Jew Doctor, Jew Lawyer, Jew Town, Jew Boy, ad nauseam. A good friend of his is the current Warden at MCIJ. Both benefited greatly from Affirmative Action.

    The White Aryan Resistance had members and sympathizers in both the staff and clientele. So do various "Islamic" groups, which are little but gangs in prison.

    My Religion was probably a factor in my not advancing past Lt. The black bigots hated me on GPs, and the white ones for not laughing at their "Jokes".

    The case workers I've known have been a greatly mixed lot. Some were fine people, others little different from the clientele. They pack a fair amount of weight inside, since they can put people in for jobs(A privilege), lower security status, and parole.

    A mistake there by a case worker can release a monster on the street, like the late Flint Hunt or the late John Thanos. The former was paroled when he ambushed a cop, the later killed four teens in convenience store robberies because he "Wanted everyone to be as miserable" as he was. He had been released early due to ar error by his "Case Counselor". Both received the Death Penalty.

    A case worker sent James Ireland to a minimum camp,where he set up a plan to lure young girls into his reach. He is still doing life for rape and murder.

    Another wanted to parole Alfred Lawson early on his 20 years for 1st Degree Sex Offences on minors. One of his victims was his own 8 year old son, who required surgery to repair the lower end of his digestive system after the attack. I stopped that move myself....

    Few things are respected inside besides power. Case workers have some power, but the kind that most inmates respect the most is physical power. You may have some backup from nearby officers if things get hinky, but that backup varies greatly in quality. Like all prison systems, MD's biggest problem is lack of competent, trained and motivated personnel.

    Learn to fight. It's a job skill inside. And no, you won't have pepper spray, or any other weapon available. Or course, almost anything can be used as a weapon.

    As to whether getting that job is a good idea, that's not for me to say. The job needs doing, but the conditions inside are life shortening.

    FYI, half the COs who make it to retirement die within 5 years, most from stress related disorders. Average life expectancy is shortened by 12 years or so.

    HTH, PM me for anything you still are unsure about.
     
  11. sd

    sd Member

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    spent four years as a correctional officer.Not familiar with your exact position but did have social worker types to see inmates. Trust no one. You will be lied to. Even if you get into a nervous situation remain calm, cool, collected and don't let it show, and I'm talking about inmates and staff. You don't want things to ever get to the physical level so be tactful and professional with others at all times, verbal skills (the ability to communicate with various types of people) are very important. Be prepared to get burned out, but of course don't go into it with that attitude. If you tell someone you are going to do something, do it. Don't make promises you can't keep.
     
  12. Norton

    Norton Member

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    Oh? Who else was with you? :neener:
     
  13. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I am a Correctional Sergeant here in AZ, working a high medium sex offender yard. Our system is slightly different than what you guys describe. Our programs side is a separate, but still part of the correctional officer series. To wit, thus;
    Correctional Officer I - rank of cadet, probationary officer.
    Correctional Officer II - where most line staff are.
    Then, staff can either promote to the supervisory side, or the programs side. Program ranks are CO III and CO IV, pay grades close to LT and Cpt, respectively. They wear civilian clothes, and handle all inmate programming, but have gone the route of being officers, and carry OC, radio and cuffs. They can promote or demote out of programs, as well, and some of the best Lts were COIIIs before promotion, as long as they did Sgt for 2 years as well. This way no one can sidestep supervisory requirements, and go COII,III, Lt.
    Make sense? This ensures our prgrams staff have the same skills we do.
    Reccomendations? Easy - get self defense training, of any kind you can, the dirtier the better, unless being held hostage while being gang raped sounds like fun... See if you can qualify for the OC training and authorization to carry it. If MD has half a brain cell, you will be issued a radio while inside the walls. Learn the radio emergency procedures, and practice them. Keep your radio ON YOU, not on the desk, not in your bag, not next to your hat, ON YOU! Don't turn it off/down, because your interviewee is talking quietly - THAT'S WHAT HE WANTS. Think about what can happen after an inmate gets you to turn off your radio..
    Trust absolutely nobody incarcerated. They are there for a reason, and it isn't jaywalking. Yes, there are innocent people in prison - just ask them....
    UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES REVEAL ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION OF ANY KIND. This includes your first name, where you live, what you drive, what you do off duty, your religon, etc. Inmates can use the oddest sounding information in strange ways - remember, they have 24 hours a day to figure out how to screw with staff, and a lot of them do exactly that. Not all of thier time is spent plotting to escape, or kill their cellie, but just plain mischief, and most importantly, how to corrupt staff. Anyone can bring in drugs...
    All illegal substances came into prison one of three ways - staff, visitors, or delivery. Don't let your self be gamed into this - it's a great way to unwillingly switch sides, and see how much prison time MD gives for promoting prison contraband. This can be items as innocent sounding as a paper clip - straightened and sharpened, can be used in a number of ways, especially with fresh infected blood on it. AIDS won't transmit easily that way, but Hep C will, and Hep C is EVERYWHERE in prison. Good idea - carry a few pairs of latex gloves in your back pocket while inside. So get very clear direction on what is or isn't contraband, and what items staff may carry/have, and what inmates may have.
    Get to know your staff, the officers who will back you up. This may sound corny, but bring in a couple dozen doughnuts to shift briefing, and ask permission to introduce yourself.
    Be aware, staff can also set you up for games, usually just stupid hazing, like asking for air samples, window press checks, stupid things like that, but some prison systems allow for dangerous idiocy like the "Heart Check", when an unsuspecting officer is locked into a rec pen with unrestrained inmates, and they are given a few minutes to thump the new fish, to see " if his heart is in it". This can, and has, gotten people killed.
    If you work a female yard, prepare to be told you are the sexiest, most handsome guy in sight, as long as they think they can get something out of you, something as little as makeup, all the way to "smuggle me out in an A/C box. (happened) Females fight less, but whine a LOT more.
    Last, and weirdest, I have to say, this can be fun. There are tons of interesting personalities inside, and although you have to take all stories with a ton of salt, you can hear the most bizzare tales....like the guy under the forced shower involuntarily keistering the scrub, (true), or the guy who used feces to write "Kill COs!" on his cell wall,(true),or the guy who made a complete chess set from feces, (true), etc...
    Whew - sorry for writing a book.....
     
  14. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I kinda figured in addition to likely having some bigotry come from some of the inmates that some staff would have a problem as well. That kind of job, any job where there is a potential for danger, kind of generate a feeling of brotherhood and brotherhoods usually aren't very tolerant of people who are different from the rest. Also, while most people in such jobs are good, decent people, CO and police positions have a certain degree of power and thus sometimes attract people who simply want the power over other people but who may not be the greatest group of people (I'd also assume most such people wouldn't get promoted very high, but you never know).

    I figured that as well. Given that, with the exception of those inmates who just don't have the brain power to figure things out, I would assume this might lead to somewhat better treatment from most inmates.



    That is pretty much the only thing that actually scares me about possibly getting this position. No one is perfect and everyone occasionally makes mistakes. My hope is that when I do make mistakes (if I'm offered and if I take the position) it is on side of caution and someone who may "deserve" to get a privilige or release doesn't because of my mistake and not the other way around.

    One thing that concerns me, I've worked jobs with some strange rules before. In the MD prisons are caseworkers, teachers, psychologists, and others who aren't on the CO staff even allowed to use force if needed? Common sense would dictate that one can defend themselves, however many jobs have rules that defy common sense. I can easily see such a workplace requiring human service workers (who need to have a bit of rapport with the people they are working with) to rely on nearby COs for their protection. Now, even if there are such rules it won't stop me from seeking additional self-defense training (we are all responsible for ourselves and I want to be prepared) but it would be good to know what I'd be facing. A friend has a friend who did her internship for her MSW in the prisons who was thrown up against a wall by an inmate, and if he really wanted to hurt her some real damage could have been done by the time the COs got there (as it was the inmate only wanted to scare her) and I will develop some more ability to do for myself if/when needed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2005
  15. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I'm usually pretty good with that. Everyday small scale frustrations and anxieties can lead to me getting a bit anxious, frustrated, or angry ("Darn it! Where are my darned keys", "oh my gosh, I'm going to be late, I can't be late! Darned traffic jam!", etc.). However, I've had several experiences where things could have become very ugly and I know in a real situation I react calmly and deliberately. Years ago when I worked at a major department store a guy came in with a gun to "visit" one of my coworkers who had reported this guy for shoplifting. Everyone (customers and employees) scattered, I stayed calm and while my coworker and the security guard on scene delt with the guy with the gun I stayed about 10 steps back to keep an eye on the thug's buddies in case things got out of hand. At the same store, the head of security needed help subduing a shoplifter who was fleeing and was now trying to fight him, most of the employees hid when he asked for help- I helped. When in a long term substitute teaching position at one particular middle school I had to break up fights weekly and I was one of fewer than half a dozen people who would be willing to step in to stop it with certain of these kids (some of these kids were near my size and stronger than I am, and this was a neighborhood where the kids definately knew how to fight). I've diffused people who wanted to fight me or friends, I've had a gun pointed at me, I've had encounters with bigots- I know in a "real" situation I react quite well.

    I doubt I'd be there long enough to get burned out. If I take the job (assuming it is offered) I only plan to be there for a couple years. I think it would be very interesting to work in the prisons and would be a good experience for me. However, I would only do it while I went to graduate school- when I'm finished I actually want to work primarily with children with educational issues or depression (plus possibly adults with PTSD).

    I've worked with children and so I am used to keeping my info guarded from everyone but my co-workers.

    With one exception:
    I won't have to tell anyone my religion for them to know what it is. The yarmulke is one giveaway. Even if I didn't wear it at work (and I probably would), I'd have to put it on when eating and whenever I had to say a blessing (and there are many times during the day when that is necessary), so it would occasionally be seen by staff and/or inmates. Also, I wear tzitzis under my shirt- basically an additional undershirt with strings connected to it. While I wear the strings tucked when at work, they often will work their way out and it will generate interest and questions in others. Also, people who are paying attention may notice that I never work Saturday, Friday evenings (and have to leave early on Fridays in the winter), or any of the Jewish holidays.


    As for being careful about bringing anything in to anyone or becoming too friendly with inmates, I doubt it would be a problem. While human services workers need to establish rapport, keeping professional distance is just as important. I would not let myself get too friendly. As for bringing in anything, I'm usually pretty good at following the rules- especially those that make sense (and I know people can make very unlikely things into weapons). Heck, if someone wanted me to bring some food to them, I'd probably check with my supervisor if I felt any inclination to do so (but I doubt I would even be inclined to do so since I try very hard to be fair and part of that is not playing favorites- if I brought food to one inmate, I'd have to bring it to all inmates I would be working with).

    The introducing oneself and bringing simple "goodies" (umm, doughnuts [/end Homer Simpson voice]) to staff in the beginning is probably a good idea. I am usually pretty good at being friendly with my coworkers.

    That is part of why I'm considering this position. Maybe I'm odd, but I think that sometimes this job would be a lot of fun. I realize that normally it would be just like any other job, sometimes it would really suck, but sometimes it would probably be very interesting. While the people in prison may not all be exactly likable (an understatement perhaps), there will probably be a lot of interesting stories. Then, while I know it is rare, there are those who come in a thug and actually do leave "reformed"- some people do get their lives cleaned up in prison (drug rehab, education, whatever- and come out and get jobs and lead decent lives). When that actually happens it must be a great thing to see (and yes, I know it is rare to the point of almost being non-existant- I'm not that naive or idealistic about this potential job).
     
  16. skidmark

    skidmark Member

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    I have worked as a "social worker" for the VA DOC for going on 18 years, so can claim a small amount of experience, for what it may be worth to you and working in MD.

    First, there is little if any brotherhood inside, unless you are one of the residents. I have seen less gossip, backstabbing, and setting up of other folks in college sororities and in old folks' homes than what goes on in some of our smaller and lowest-security facilities. I always consider myself abandoned to the wolves when I pull up in the parking lot - just removes the time it will take to be PO'd when nobody comes to help. Do not count on your strength of conviction in being a religious/observant Jew to get you any credit or breaks. It is just one more place they will chip away at to see what happens once they get under your armor. And what the inmates will do will be even worse.

    Second, even during the years that I worked inside doing "therapeutic programs" and "individual casework" I do not think I made that much of a difference in the lives of my clients, and I'm not sure I did much for public safety except keep them busy thinking about what I was doing so they weree not concentrating on other plans to screw up or with the system.

    Third, there is a heck of a lot of paperwork that has to be done for so little progress accomplished. Unless you are looking at a position that is specific to drug treatment of mental health (I looked at the openings and read the limited job descriptions) I cannot see much between what MD calls a SW and VA calls a Case Manager. Both are paper pushers. I know that classification is important, and how much harm can be caused inside or outside by bad classification decisions. Dave has given you some of the best of what went wrong.

    All that being said, working for the state can be a great career, and if you understand the tradeoff between pay and benefits in state vs. private-sctoor employment, there is a good financial incentive to work for the state.

    What keeps me going is that I know my first objective is to go home at the end of the day with no more openings in my body than I started out with, my second objective is to be true to my own moral/ethical convictions, my third objective is to make what difference I can where and how I can, and my last objective is to live long enough so that there is nobody around to tell stories about what I have done in my career.

    Just to end on a high note - years ago at a statewide Wardens & Superintendents conference, the Deputy in charge of Operations (running the prisons, as opposed to paperwork or personnel) announced the ultimate solution to any future "incidents" (we do NOT use the "R" word - ever!) at any facility. I was to be paged, and to report to the facility ASAP. The Warden would tell the inmates they have 5 minutes to surrender, or I get put inside and they have to keep me. :what: That was the highest priase I ever got, and I hope I can still fulfill his expectations. :D

    stay safe.

    skidmark
     
  17. El Rojo

    El Rojo Member

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    PM Me your phone number and I will call you and tell you about my experience as a teacher in a federal low and minimum. These guys already hit most of the basics. Main points:

    1) Never trust an inmate, EVER!
    2) Inmates are not your friends, don't do an inmate any favors.
    3) Don't take work home with you.
    4) Establish trust and cooperation with the COs. They are the ones who are going to come save you. How much they like you depends on if they get their "slow walk" on or their "fast walk" on. I used to help the COs with their counts and they really thought that was cool since I really didn't have to do anything to help them.
    5) If you don't know an answer, don't answer. Get back to them. They are not going anywhere, anytime soon.
    6) Be respectful towards the inmates. They respect respect. At times you will have to say no and they will have to deal with it, but you don't have to be an ahole. Inmates tend to dislike COs, but they have a different attitude with programs staff.
    7) Love paperwork. If you don't love paperwork, don't apply.
    8) Don't talk about other staff members with inmates, don't listen to inmates when they talk about other staff. If they try to talk trash around you, tell them you won't tolerate it and the subject is closed.
    9) Quite literally it is the staff vs. the inmates. Don't ever forget it and refer back to rules 1 and 2. Back up your other staff memebers at all times, even if the staff member might be wrong. Talk to the staff member later when the inmate isn't around.
    10) Good luck. I loved my nearly 3 years of prison experience. I think it helped make me the successful public school teacher I am today.
     
  18. skidmark

    skidmark Member

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    :D +100,000,000,000,000,000,000,001.

    I did public school (high school English teacher, 9th & 12th grades) first and still think working in a prison is easier than those 3 1/2 years with the children.

    You have my admiration.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
     
  19. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    There is just something about that statement..... :what: :p
     
  20. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Member

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    What everyone else said plus;

    There's a book titled "Games Inmates Play" published by the American Jail Association. Find it, read it, read it again and take it all in as truth. It will help you keep your job, and possibly keep you out of prison yourself.

    Always tell the truth! They will not always like what you have to say but, if you get a reputation of BSing them, you're done.

    Keep your personal life out of the jail, PERIOD!

    Inmates are criminals. They lie, cheat, steal, con and manipulate all for their own percieved good.

    Never back down, no matter how scared you may be. Once you cut and run, keep going all the way out the door because, it's over.

    I have three rules I teach every new staff member.
    1. Don't take anything from an inmate
    2. Don't give anything from an inmate
    3. Don't ever forget who's side you're on.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2005
  21. El Rojo

    El Rojo Member

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    You know I wasn't joking when I said that, but I can see the humor in it if you haven't worked at a prison.

    What I mean is I know how to successfully interact with individuals now. I know how to say no, how to get compliance without yelling or screaming, I know that I am never to completely trust my students and to always check on everything they claim. The proper prison employee mentality really is a good one to have. You learn so much working in prison that when you get out of prison you realize a lot of work places don't have it.

    For example my co-workers have their head in the sand half of the time and they most certainly don't understand that it is the staff vs. the teachers. I work at a continuation school, but no matter where you teach, all kids are the same. They will lie, cheat, and steal if they can get away with it. Just today we had a parent calling giving us heck because her son said he had been going to school for the last three weeks. Oops, no actually he stopped attending two weeks ago. She asks her son again and he says he was at school but in some other male teacher's class. Guess what? There are only three teachers and I am the only male. Mom still believes her son. Grab a clue! He isn't stupid, he knows which class he belongs in and second the "other" teacher would have kicked him out if he wasn't on the roll.

    Seriously, I think we would be better off if all teachers had to teach in prison first. Inmates are much easier to deal with and the environment is more controlled. That way when our teachers get to public school, they know how to handle discipline and they can manage a classroom. It has nothing to do with our schools being run like prisons and everything having to do with just giving teachers skills they need to more effectively deal with a cunning and tricky student population. Anyone who thinks teaching is just about teaching is ignorant. Teaching is about discipline, classroom management, paperwork, and bureaucracy.

    Sorry, enough thread drift.
     
  22. MAURICE

    MAURICE Member

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    I work for the AR Dept of Corrections as a CO.
    Like Mr. McCracken said, do not trust anyone. There are a lot of bad COs out there and they will stab you in the back to make rank. Luckily here at my unit all the officers we have are good ones. I can say this because there arent many of us and we all know each other well.

    You dont want to treat inmates like they are animals, even thought some of them seem like they are. Most of them are human and have feelings. I treat inmates almost like I would someone on the street, and you do get respect for that. I rarely have to raise my voice. When I do have to, it is definitely not pretty. Arts grammaw would probably keel over.

    At the same time you do have to remember you are in charge. They will try to tell you how to do your job. They will try to play games with you at least until they feel you out. When they are doing something they should not be you cant let them get away with it. Even one time and they think its ok.

    You should be ok doing social work. You will be the one that decides if these guys are gen pop, pc, whatever, and where they should be unit-wise. You shouldnt have any problem there, but keep on your toes. Some inmates will attack the very nurses that are doctoring them up.

    You mentioned OC spray. You gotta feel it to deal it, so if they do allow you to carry it, it will be after you get a blast of it to the face.

    A couple rules I go by are common sense things like:
    Never give an inmate food (other than what they are fed by the kitchen) and never accept food from an inmate. Never buy anything from/sell anything to an inmate. I dont know their policy on tobacco or if you smoke, but never smoke around them and never offer them a smoke or dip (That is automatic termination here). Trust inmates only as far as you can physically throw them. They will snitch on you as quick as they will snitch on each other. Speaking of which, there will be inmates that will come to you will valuable information-keep an eye on these guys. They are the ones that wake up dead. Dont get wrapped up in any games they try to play, because they will try. Dont be their buddy or pal. You are like their parent or guardian. You are responsible for them and you tell them what to do. Dont let the line get fuzzy.
    MOST importantly- Never bring work home with you. When I go to work I put on my badarse mask. I take it off at the end of the shift. When you go to work you must appear sure of yourself and confident. Be cocky, but dont be a jerk, either. When I come home I am me. (Mostly) normal, quiet, regular guy. You cannot get them mixed up. This is the reason a lot of people in this job drink a lot, go thru divorces, and just appear to be arseholes in general.

    All that being said, I dont want to scare you off. I love my job. The pay is decent, good benefits, all holidays paid. Plus the work can just be plain fun at times. Im set to go through the firearms instructors course coming up in September, armorers courses, and a hostage negotiation course, and that with only 4 months on the job. Where you go in the dept is entirely up to you, even outside of security positions.

    I know this is/was a rambling post, but there is a lot to it, and I havent even scratched the surface yet, I'm sure some of these other guys will cover more ground.
     
  23. Bill2k1

    Bill2k1 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    lots of good advice, all I can stress is to not lie to inmates. If they think your a BSer you will never be respected. and NEVER talk about your personal life. As mentioned, your religion will be a magnet for hate, hope you have thick skin.
     
  24. MAURICE

    MAURICE Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    618
    Location:
    Lincoln, AR
    Someone mentioned the book 'Games Inmates Play' by the AJA. I have not read the book, but while going through academy we did have a course specifically on this, and constant reminders about games throughout the rest of the courses. Our instructors even set up our class with the inmate porters who work at the academy. We had no idea we were getting played and that is frightening. I cant stress it enough. Anytime an inmate wants something, ask yourself if this could be part of a game. Anytime, anything, any inmate. Some games they play arent serious security wise, but if you unwittingly play and lose, you feel like a moron. Things you think are nothing to yourself are everything to them. If that makes sense. It is a terrible feeling to know they are laughing at you behind your back.

    Edit:
    There is so much more I could say. I keep thinking of things to add.
    Someone mentioned compliance without yelling or screaming...Verbal judo is probably the most potent weapon in the prison system. An inmate comes to you with some type of problem, while at the same time you are trying to resolve another problem or are working on something (counts, grievances, whatever).
    Inmate: Mr. So and so, I blah blah blah....
    Staff member: I understand your frustrations/problems and we will take care of it ASAP, but right we need to [whatever]
    I: but, but, blah blah
    SM: Yes, I understand, I hear you, etc, but right now I need you to do[whatever]..

    This can go on for a little bit, but no matter how excited the inmate gets, calmly reassure him/her that you will be taking care of whatever it is, but you need them to get into line for chow, catch a rack for a count, whatever it is that has to be done. And then when you have time to resolve the inmates situation, DO IT.
     
  25. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    North of the City of Brotherly Love, West of The P
    El Rojo;
    I have a good friend who is a high school teacher (actually he was my teacher). We frequently comment on the similarity of our jobs. We joke that we're the only ones that believe each others stories.
     
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