|Integrity and The Correctional Professional|
|By William Sturgeon|
The other day I had an opportunity to think about the topic of Integrity and the Correctional Professional. I guess I just assumed that the two areas went together like peanut butter and jelly. All correctional professionals, I am sure, believe they have Integrity and they probably do in the philosophical sense. Where I believe correctional professionals’ integrity is tested is in the ‘real world’ application of integrity. As I probed my logic, I started to question, what does integrity in a correctional setting mean – specifically!
I looked-up the definition of integrity:
My experience has demonstrated to me that your integrity “inside the walls” is as important to you as it is to offenders. Offenders will soon size you up and test the boundaries of your personal integrity.
Correctional professionals who let their personal integrity slip will loathe themselves more than the offenders will. The offenders will just take great enjoyment in bringing them down.
I have seen good correctional professionals lose their way (integrity) and end-up as offenders themselves, and who had be to housed in Protective Custody Units, their lives in complete ruin.
Integrity for correctional professionals manifests itself via multiple dimensions. Each day the integrity of every correctional professional is measured by multiple groups of people:
Other Correctional Employees
Other correctional employees may try to compromise the integrity of correctional professionals by approaching them to not follow policies and procedures, falsify reports, cover-up incidents, and/or lie!
For correctional professionals, as for all of us, there are two ways for us to compromise our integrity:
Offenders will use multiple methods and techniques to see if they can entrap correctional professionals. Offenders try to have correctional professionals compromise their integrity for a variety of reasons:
Regardless of what the reason, once a correctional professional compromises his/her integrity to offenders, that person is in serious trouble. If a correctional employee has compromised his/her integrity, the only thing left to do is report it to a supervisor or to the administration. Depending on how serious the issue, the correctional employee may be terminated, or worse, arrested. One thing is certain. The longer it takes a correctional employee to report his/her breakdown in his/her integrity, the more trouble he/she can get into.
Families of Offenders
Correctional professionals can compromise their integrity when dealing with offenders’ families when they fail to step up to the plate and tell it like it is.
Correctional professionals on occasion have to interface with offenders’ families. When these occasions take place, the offenders’ families are totally dependent on the correctional professional. Therefore, the correctional professional should:
The Criminal Justice System
Correctional professionals can compromise their integrity when dealing with others elements of the Criminal Justice System when they fail to follow the laws, policies and procedures for:
Correctional professionals can compromise their professional integrity by not conducting themselves as professionals and performing their duties in a professional way. Additionally, correctional professionals should always adhere to the policies and procedures of their agencies.
The general public expects correctional professionals to:
Integrity in the field of corrections is one of the characteristics that helps separate the correctional professionals from the offenders they are charged with incarcerating. Every time I hear of a professional in the criminal justice system compromising his/her integrity, it troubles me deeply. When this happens, the person who has compromised his/her integrity has let down the entire criminal justice system, all the men and women who daily place their lives on the line. Every time anyone in the criminal justice system compromises their integrity they betray the public’s trust and weaken the entire system.
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