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Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

Book Review: The Correctional Officer: A Practical Guide (2nd Edition)

August 19th, 2010

The Correctional Officer: A Practical Guide (2nd Edition)

by Gary F. Cornelius

Carolina Academic Press, Durham, NC,  2010 406 pages.


Reviewed by Joe Bouchard


Safety is written into all mission statements of all corrections agencies.  It is an overriding concern in the demanding job of a correctional officer.  How does one convey the duties and necessary philosophies of this agent of safety?  Is there a source to put corrections staff on the right path of security while balancing the realism of experience?


Gary F. Cornelius, a corrections veteran of nearly three decades and prolific author, has updated into a second edition one of his very useful resources, The Correctional Officer: A Practical Guide.   Read more…

Security, Training

Knocked off square

July 22nd, 2010


Corrections – the domain of the ever vigilant. We have eyes that never close, watchful and intent. We watch for patterns, the unexpected, and the many nuances of human nature.



Part of human nature is the need to gain advantages over who you might consider your adversary.  Consider how you might watch, for example, the signs of someone trying to render you flustered.  Here are a few methods that enterprising antagonists might use to knock you off your square.  How many of these have you experienced? Read more…

Security, Training

Canary in the mine

June 2nd, 2010


I have heard a few stories about my family’s past concerning the hazards of working in the anthracite coal mines of Eastern Pennsylvania. Clearly, miners faced many perils. Cave-ins, black lung, and poisonous gasses are just a few of these. Of course, these hazards are with the industry today.  And while mining is not quite what it was in Dickson City in the 19th century, I cannot help to wonder if they used canaries in the mines.  The image is evocative and iconic.



Just as in mining, past and present, not everyone would willingly work in corrections.  Read more…


Simple contraband control tools

March 31st, 2010


The fight against contraband is perpetual.  Slowing the inevitable tide is like sweeping the ocean back with a push broom.  Your forward momentum in attacking the pervasive problem is tediously slow.  You feel like you are trying to navigate a tricycle through a sand dune.




Like any facility through history, the one at which you work is full of contraband.  Inmate ingenuity seems to strip the potency of staff experience and diligence.  You recognize the potential peril in every bootleg transaction. 



Do you declare contraband control futile? Read more…

Contraband Control, Security

Control contraband by addressing the exchange of services

February 11th, 2010

Economics is a pervasive and potent force.  There is a wide range of emotions connected to supply and demand. Wars have been fought over the exchange of goods.  Perhaps this is as old as humanity itself. But the fact remains that we are governed by how we acquire goods.


For quite some time, the United States has been moving from an industrial economy to a service economy.    And though the service industry is very real, the products that they produce are less tangible than manufactured goods.

Let’s apply this to the illicit inside economy of a prison.  Read more…

Contraband Control, Security

Adventures on paperwork mountain

January 28th, 2010

It was an intimidating stack of paper that accumulated during my absence from work.  It was roughly the same dimensions as three large law books.  Though the pile of paper was an inanimate object, it seemed to mock me. Like it or not, I had to deal with the tedious task of filing.  I had no choice but to assail Paperwork Mountain.

Despite our steady movement into the digital age, corrections still runs largely on paper.  And while we may one day bid adieu to paper, do not count on this happening in this part of the decade. Read more…

Security, Self Scrutiny, What the...?!?