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Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

A cornucopia of corrections catchphrases – part 1

January 27th, 2011



(Author’s note:  These and other corrections truisms can be found in “Wake up and Smell the Contraband” 2nd edition by LRP Press.)


Corrections truisms are the voices of experience from our vocational past.  They are part of our living culture.  Information gained from many hard fought battles is encoded in each verbal knowledge nugget. As we repeat these to newer colleagues, we are transmitting part of our profession. What tumbles from our mouths today may serve as a cornerstone of corrections philosophy in the future. Read more…

Assessing the organization, Self Scrutiny, Staff relations, Training

Blazing and training dynamics

December 16th, 2010

 There are some staff dynamics that look uncomfortable to the untrained eye.  However, many seemingly contentious exchanges are really the expressions of respect.  In other words, this is an instance of professional blazing meant in the best of ways. 




One of my favorite out-of-state colleagues recently attended a presentation that I conducted about effective icebreakers and group activities.  There were two good dynamics in this for me.  First, this colleague is an accomplished trainer and would certainly offer good, constructive suggestions to me at the conclusion.  Second, the person in question is my all-time favorite sparring partner.  She is an incomparably adept blazer, playful and unyielding. Read more…

Security, Self Scrutiny, Staff relations, Training

Survey – Eating the elephant

November 17th, 2010

Recently, I presented “Eating the elephant” in Boston for the International Association of Correctional Training Personnel.  I was part of a three person team which also included Rachel Donovan and Laura Noonan, both from



The main theme was that by using agencies can have more flexibility.  It was based on the old question, “How do you eat an elephant?”  The answer is, “one bite at a time.” Read more…


Mentoring: dominate, accommodate, or enable

October 28th, 2010

Giving someone a meal will keep hunger away for a day.  But to teach a person to fish can keep hunger away forever.  The role of a true mentor is to plant the seeds of capability and knowledge in fertile ground. 





When the experienced become mentors, corrections has a potentially potent tool for staff training.  Granted, policy and procedure are written cues on how any new person should perform.  But experience-laden advice about how most prisoners are likely to react to any given situation is also very valuable. Read more…

Assessing the organization, Staff relations, Training

Climbing the wall that divides staff: W.I.T.H. – U.

October 12th, 2010

The following is an excerpt from Joe Bouchard’s keynote speech to the Wisconsin Correctional Association in September. Thanks to the wonderful corrections professionals that make up this association.  


Staff division is like an immense wall barring access to the ideal of safety.  The existence of division makes possible lapsed vigilance, vengeance, sabotage, and even violence.  Sadly, this is one of corrections’ stressors over which we have a degree of command – but never seem to control. 




Identifying that which divides us is very simple.  It is difficult, however, to reverse inter-staff animosity and derision once it starts.  Read more…

Self Scrutiny, Staff relations, Training

The new training?

September 16th, 2010

The colors were enticing.  Anticipation built as I thought of the surprise within. The gift bags were presented to an eager recipient. Then the cruel trap was sprung.  There was nothing within.  The glitzy promise of a present evaporated like a drop of water on the hood of a car in Phoenix in August.  Not all that is promised by outward appearances will really come to be.




Has the packaging for training ever promised more than it delivered?   It may have all of the bells and whistles.  It may seem modern, exciting, and interactive.  The training might even utilize all of the technological wonders available.  Yet, it could be an empty experience.


Electronic training comes in many forms.  In a sense, DVDs and videos are a part of this.  Also included are webinars, webcasts, teleconferences, and anything a trainer can pull from the internet. Read more…


Preparedness, hostages, and hurricanes

September 2nd, 2010

There are two stories in the news right now that should give all corrections professionals and public safety personnel cause to ponder safety lessons.  The hostage incident in Maryland’s Discovery Channel Building and the imminent North American debut of Hurricane Earl should implore us to review our disaster preparedness plans. Our written operating procedures for emergencies are those that we never wish to use, but gratefully execute when necessary.


the-plan Read more…

Security, Training

What Do You Tell a Rookie?

August 25th, 2010


By  Lt. Gary F. Cornelius (retired)




            Recently I entered a new phase of my correctional career-conducting jail officer basic training in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  After I retired from jail duty, I got back into writing and conducting jail in service training.  I have now been asked to help out several academies by conducting state approved jail basic courses in legal matters, special inmate populations and suicide prevention.


I have to admit-I enjoy it.  New recruits or what we affectionately like to call “rookies” not only need the book learning and skills training to pass the academy, but they need the wisdom and lessons learned by us veterans.  All of us veterans who have worked in corrections a long time know that we are different at this point in our careers than when we started. Read more…

Guest Author, Security, Staff relations, Training

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

Destination Intimidation: A survey

August 12th, 2010

At the American Correctional Association Conference in Chicago last week, I presented a workshop called Destination Intimidation.  This dealt with recognizing bullies in correctional workplace.  It was well attended by energetic and insightful participants. 




At the conclusion of Destination Intimidation, I distributed a survey about the bullying topic.  Almost everyone shared their knowledge.  So, in the spirit of expanding the base of corrections knowledge, here is what our colleagues had to say. Read more…

Assessing the organization, Self Scrutiny, Staff relations, Training