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Dishonest Correction Officers

 

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Male user commander 277 posts

I agree with Jamestown, honesty is of the highest order. Integrity and moral values are much needed also. It was so hard to tell some of my staff to quit nit picking at the Inmates just to get them mad. I used to tell them that if they jacked an Inmate up for nonsense and I had to respond and then use force on the Inmate, it was all bad if I found out what they did. The officer would then go behind my back and tell other staff that I was soft. In turn the other staff would let them know what I was all about. I was very flexible. If you needed your ass tore, Inmate or staff, I could do that. If force needed to be used, I could do that. I adapted to whatever the situation required. Most staff respected me as well as most Inmates. They knew when I got there, no matter what, I would handle the situation. I usually would talk and then let the Inmate or staff decide how far it went. I was never one for immediately dispensing discipline unless the situation required it. As far as Officers changing attitudes, that is highly possible. Seen it happen a few times. As far as dirty staff changing, never seen that happen. We did not give them the opportunity. They were fired and in some cases prosecuted. We are held to a very high standard. You know that when you hire in. The job aint for everyone. If you do it once, you will do it again. A lot like committing adultery. If you were into it once, it becomes easier the 2nd and 3rd time. Don’t believe in that. Do the job, protect staff and inmates, go home. That simple.

 
Correction officer jamestown0509 313 posts

Honor is a term that I have associated with being in the military when we were in parade formation the bands were playing, the flags were flying and at that time the honor I felt was that of being in the military service and so proud of my country and fellow servicemen and women. I was impressed when General William Westmoreland came to the Philippines to give the Air Force Cross (the highest honor) to an airman and he told us to break rank and surround him near the stage, I will never forget that. I think that as correction officers you should strive to be the best that you can under the very difficult circumstances that we work, to excel in your everyday jobs or assignments, to always think about safety and the protection of yourself and your fellow officers and to treat everyone as you would want to be treated. We are not correction officers who are hired to be an ass to everyone we encounter including inmates and staff. You need to treat others with respect to gain respect. If a fellow officer is a jerk then you sometimes have to face him or her and get a discussion going about their attitude toward you. Sometimes that works and other times their ego comes out and they resent you. Can officers change attitudes, well yes some can and some can’t, it all depends on your personality and if you are willing to change your outlook about yourself, your job and what you want from it. We have discussed this quite a few times in the forums but honesty to me is paramount in corrections or any law enforcement job. If you are dishonest you do not belong in corrections, if you make up lies about what you did during a shift, if you deliberately change a report to lie about what you did then again you should not be an officer.

 
Male user dominic.perry 4 posts

Interesting dialouge from commander. I want to ask one question to all of you. Is it possible in your opinion, that an officer can change to strive for honor? I’ve seen some inmates change, perhaps for religous reasons, family reasons, and whatever. I don’t mean the ones who give lip service, we all know about those. But is it possible, that officers, perhaps some, can arrive at a point in their lives, may begin to see things differently? Dishonesty accumulates and darkens one’s soul. Is there redepmtion? How does an officer, who is honest, over come the problems that do exist which challenges his/ her values in your opinion? Like jamestown, I to am a CPR instructor and have seen some things. I to was challenged by some things. We all have, perhaps seen some things that are really crazy. So, where do we start? And I would like to suggest that not all officers in a clique are bad. Perhaps one needs the commoradery of others with like values. That doesn’t mean it’s all bad. When I do a CPR session, I often see folks begin to have a zeal about something. I think if we look for what is in common between us, we can begin a discussion. The goal, is honor, and not to give up. What do you think?

 
Male user commander 277 posts

Very good stuff from dominic.perry, black diamond and you, jamestown. We just covered a lot of ground here. It is paramount to ensure the OJT instructors (in ohio prison), are of high caliber and want to teach new staff. I completed 26 years and 2 months of actual service in a Maximum Security Prison. I bought 3 years and 10 months of Military time to get my 30 years and get out. I was fed up with fighting the good ole boy clique. I was the assistant shift commander (lieutenant) for 2nd and 3rd shift. We, supervisors worked 3- 13 hour 20 minute days. Out of 27 supervisors, I would say that half were there doing their jobs and going into the trenches to teach our staff. I always felt when I was an Officer, that if ever I became a Lt., I would lead by example. When I became a Lt., I was invited into a few cliques and refused to lower my standards or my morals. I live by a code of honor and never believed in getting anything for free. I felt it should be earned. Several Officers became aware that I did not like brown noses or snitches. By snitching I mean constantly telling on every little thing that happens to try and gain favor from a Supervisor. I made it know I would not tolerate abusing inmates or dealing with them. Simple process, give them what they have coming, thats it. Nothing more and nothing less. You either have honor and stand for the right things or you don’t. It just takes time to weed them out. They all eventually stand out and get caught.

 
Correction officer jamestown0509 313 posts

As an instructor myself (CPR/First Aid) I do try to keep my students interested by breaking up the technical parts of the class and by relating the class to their particular needs. For example I tell students that CPR is important for yourself and your family as you never know when someone might need CPR or first aid. I do understand in the correction setting how boring some think it is to get the same classes over and over again year to year (suicide prevention, right to know, use of force, defensive tatics, etc). Its up to the individual instructor to keep it interesting to the class and with some subjects like hazardous materials the technical info is very dry and boring so your students tend to ignore the whole class by looking out the windows, talking or worse sleeping. As for rumor passing that’s a very difficult thing not to do as some tend to hear a juicy bit of information about a coworker, especially when that person is someone we don’t particularly like. Training new officers is a continuing process and they need to learn to listen, pay attention to details, take notes if needed and listen to their supervisors.

 
Male user dominic.perry 4 posts

jamestown, you probably hit it right on the head on 2 fronts. The cliques can do a lot things to more then separate themselves from the rest. And it’s true when something goes down, there is a rush to be all in. My question to you is, what has been your experience whenever there is taining? Sometimes there are time constraints that limit maybe a good topic, or everyone, instructors and staff getting trained are so much in a hurry to get out of there. It’s been my experience that when training day comes, everyone is too tired or just don’t care. What makes a training session special for you? For me, it’s when the instructor is really interested in being there and has someting to say the makes sense for my everyday activity. We can change perspectives by always being constitant with our attitude. The cliques will have to agree at some point, that when something does go down, you are the person they can always depend on. And that is the start. When they have to say to themselves, that you are the person that never talks about somebody else, that you don’t do the things that ware down the “all in” thinking. Blackdiamond had some interstings things to say about new recruits, that says something about how they are trained, or am I wrong? Persons of honor is what we need to strive for, for ourselves and how we present ourselves. This kind of stuff spreads. Ever notice that when driving to work you see someone give a break to another person, then that person does something good. It works both ways, bad conduct spreads bad conduct, and good conduct sreads good conduct.

 
Correction officer jamestown0509 313 posts

The officers who are in trouble as Black Diamond mentioned are those new hires who just came out of the academy then get sucked into doing things for inmates, favors, etc. Dominic you wrote some good comments about communication and getting along together as officers. Sometimes I think the cliques in the department are so entwined that no outsider will ever be part of their social interaction. They will say hi to you and then when you walk around the corner talk about how stupid you are or they don’t like you or something else. In my experience there is a lot of “back stabbing” in corrections and throwing officers under the bus to save yourself or brown-nose with the Sgts or Lts. I have always said that our communication went down the toilet when email started to replace the conversation between a supervisor and subordinate. “Send me an email” is not communication, its just a way to say you read the email when you probably didn’t. So when things went south and some job or task wasn’t done or a deadline not met by management I pulled out my hard copy of the email I sent months ago and said to them, “well see you did know about that, here is my email.”About the only time I have seen officers work together is when there is a backup call then everyone responds and we work together to take care of a situation. Training really needs to have more emphasis on ethics.

 
Female user blackdiamond 1 post

Over half (58 percent) of the Correctional Officers who had substantiated allegations of misconduct, and who received discipline of at least a 1-day suspension between 2001 and 2009, were disciplined for conduct that occurred within their first 2 years of service. It has been identified that 1,020 Correctional Officers hired during that time period who had had substantiated misconduct allegations, such as physical abuse of an inmate or misuse of government computers, resulting in at least a 1-day suspension. Of those 1,020 Correctional Officers, 587 were disciplined for behavior that occurred within 2 years of their start dates. It seems to be some cracking down of the misconduct of corrections officers, but its sad to know that people are not even safe in the prison system.

 
Male user dominic.perry 4 posts

Dishonest Corrections Officers: a possible solution; I have seen dishonesty in our workforce, and have reported it. Criminal activity either by inmates or officers prospers through crimanal communications. Criminal communications works better than the good guys communications. Why? Because they, the criminals, are of one mind. They don’t actually have to speak, they could just jesture; we’ve all seen it or know something about the way they communicate. We, the good guys, don’t communicate as well. Why? Because we sometimes are not of one mind like the criminals. The good guys sometimes become angry, disgruntled, due to money, non advancement, or jealousy, and you can mention hundreds of different reasons. We don’t communicate the same way. In fact, you can say that in all law enforcement agencies, FBI, U.S. Marshals, the State, County, police; we are not on the same page for hundreds of different reasons. We also don’t follow through with best hiring practices. A person of honor helped with good training can go along way. Do we do that? What is our critera to hire officers? What training do we conduct to create good communications or rather “the on the same page communications”? We need to ask the right questions and come up with solutions instead of shaking our heads about dishonest employees. It’s not enough to finger point. We need to set in motion the kind of communications which we can all draw into with the same reference point, and training which clearly points towards being the honorable person. We can strive to being the best we can be. Everyone has to be all in, on the same page from top to bottom. That means adminstrators, setting goals to conduct training with the all in attitute. It’s US against them. We need to be on ONE page. We need the training classes to promote the idea of “we are all in this together.” We are the “good guys gang” if you will. We need to talk to each other in like manner. We could also due with training classes that teach us how to better respect each other through constructive feedback communications instead of the “I got you” attitude. We may all have so much in common with one another that we may never realize.

 
Correction officer jamestown0509 313 posts

I agree with the complacency that some officers think that the routine day is always routine. Far from the truth. I would like to have a dollar for every time I was on the floor or dorm and some goofball inmate started fighting with another inmate and I was the only officer on the deck. One of the most dangerous times I think is during recreation where blocks of inmates come out and you never know what they are up to. One of the clues we always used was when an entire block went to rec that normally one inmate only goes you are pretty sure there is a fight brewing. I have always obeyed the SOPs and rules and I think you need to be professional at all times. One thing that always upset me was to see a young officer playing games on the computer, reading a book or magazine during day-shift which is one of the busiest shifts there are. I do think we need to do something about new COs coming into the facility from school, its really not adequate to have them on the blocks with an FTO. We have been assigning a new CO with an FTO and one regular officer on the same floor in case something goes down. You and I are somewhat of the same mindset about academics. You could have a Doctorate in Criminal Justice and not be able to work a jail. I always told new officers it takes over one year to be an efficient CO…

 
Male user commander 277 posts

Didn’t hear about that one. Very sad. People don’t realize how dangerous it is to work in a Jail or Prison. Must watch everything you do, say and how you talk. I no longer have to be politically correct. Never was when I worked at the Prison either. Just have to be careful. I always treated the Inmates the way they treated me. If they show respect, they get that back. If they act like an idiot, they get treated like one. I was never on a negotiations team. Not very good at that. I always used tact and I always got the job done. Most convicts showed me a lot of respect. I was the same everyday. If you broke the rules, I made sure you were held accountable. That went for my staff too. I was a stickler for all rules, there are some minor rules, that you can use to gain intelligence and use to your advantage. Have to apply common sense a lot. I don’t think they teach that at any Academy. You learn that through proper upbringing. Rather be super intelligent with common sense that have all the Academic degrees in the world. Sounds like you are blessed with common sense and smarts. Rare combination. Keep doing what you do.

 
Correction officer jamestown0509 313 posts

You mentioned bullets. I read about a small jail in the south where a deputy sheriff went inside the jail with his gunbelt on that had a speedloader in the front. While he was talking to a female inmate about her boyfriend who was wanted she saw that two bullets had fallen out of the case and onto the floor inside her cell. Some time later that same deputy came to interview her again and when he approached the cell she shot him point blank, got the cell keys, his car keys and with the help of her boyfriend escaped jail.

 
Male user commander 277 posts

I agree 100%. Throughout my career, I watched employees placed under investigation for bringing in dope, knives, etc. Never understood why an employee would place trust in a convicted felon. Don’t they understand the person they are dealing with is incarcerated. FOR A REASON!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow……. Blows my mind. After the riot in 1993, an Officer got caught bringing bullets into our prison. People on the outside don’t understand the need for bullets. “They don’t have guns.” Those of us on the inside (staff), understand how easy it is for an Inmate to make a makeshift weapon capable of firing bullets. Now the big thing is to smuggle in tobacco. In Ohio, it is not a felony. So they just get fired. I guess the people like us, will never understand the need for people to deal with inmates. I gave them what they had comin’, good, bad or indifferent. Nothing more, nothing less. It is a job. Inmates never tried people like me. They say, the Inmates are the best judge of character, they are not wrong.

 
Correction officer jamestown0509 313 posts

Probably a thorn in the side of our profession (similar to police officers) is finding out one of your fellow officers (perhaps a personal friend at work) has been suspended, under investigation or arrested for passing contraband. For myself an officer who gives contraband to any inmate regardless of the reason is someone who needs to be removed from the job permanently. How can you take an oath and then violate your duties as a CO by introducing contraband into your facility? What amount of money that you were given or promised by an inmate is worth losing your job, your family, your income and possibly freedom by being incarcerated yourself? I just get really upset when I read about an officer who violates their oath, their trust and their responsibility to other officers by accepting or distributing contraband.

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