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Archive for May, 2009

“There’s one in every group!” Part I – Define interruptions during training

May 27th, 2009


How many times have you seen what promised to be a positive training event turn sour because someone in class had an overriding compulsion to make unnecessary distractions?  Despite the knowing eye rolls exchanged by quieter colleagues, the interrupter will not relinquish the floor to the facilitator without difficulty.  At training time, this phrase rings particularly true: “There’s one in every group!” Read more…

Staff relations, Training

Do I creep you out?

May 27th, 2009


You can take the person out of the corrections. But can you keep corrections out of the person? Can professionals clock out and leave all deeply ingrained corrections habits behind the walls? Or are we doomed to perpetually monitor and observe even when we are in our relatively safe place away from the institution? Read more…

Inside Out, Self Scrutiny, Uncategorized

My introduction to contraband control

May 21st, 2009


Last week, a corrections training colleague from a North East state contacted me regarding contraband control.  He wanted  to converse about about an article that I published in 2006. The article was called “A big Deal About a Little Contraband”.  His main goal was to expand his agency’s contraband control training module. Read more…

Contraband Control, Self Scrutiny

The death of teamwork

May 20th, 2009

Teamwork is the oil in the engine of progress.  It is the viscous substance that prevents the breakdown of parts.  Without teamwork, resources are squandered, deadlines are not met, and hostilities fester.  In other words, a world without teamwork becomes more difficult than it needs to be.

The following is an account of a breakdown in cooperation.  Read more…

Staff relations

How to counteract two types of corrections anti-mentors

May 14th, 2009

With the influx of so many new staff each year, the need for good mentors in the profession is crucial. However, not everyone will have the best interests of the trainee in mind.  Read more…

Self Scrutiny, Staff relations, Training

Is the glass half full or half empty?

May 14th, 2009

Someone once asked me if the glass is half empty or half full. I replied, “I am not really concerned if the glass if half full or half empty. I tend to check if the glass is clean.”

This was not some sarcastic reaction to an inquiry about whether I was a more optimistic or pessimistic person. It was an assessment for the feel of the organization. And this was a special nod toward realism and context. Read more…

Assessing the organization, Staff relations

Luck, catastrophes, and corrections

May 9th, 2009

Please note:  The following is not meant to inspire fear.  It is merely a corrections-eye collection of thoughts concerning how we deal with possible disasters.



Do you believe in luck, fate, or blind circumstances?  Do you consider humanity as helpless puppets merely doing the bidding of Agents of Fortune?  Or do we control our destinies?  If you are unsure, please consider the following.


Mark your calendars for February 13, 2029, dear readers.  On that date, the asteroid Apophis will come uncomfortably close to earth. Some people even contend that the earth may be destroyed (or at least very badly damaged) by Apophis on Friday the 13th   of that year.  Read more…

Inside Out, What the...?!?

Consider the hero within

May 7th, 2009

 Corrections is a profession that has many elements of danger.  Every day, staff are subjected to potential peril.  Because of that, not everyone will even consider working in such conditions.  Yet, corrections’ ranks are filled with dedicated professionals who perform well under adverse conditions. When you think about it, there is heroism inherent in what we do. Read more…

Self Scrutiny

Paradise (or pair of dice) inside the walls

May 7th, 2009

Is it worth it to you as an instructor to spend a few dollars to impart a valuable lesson?  Are you willing to tread on the edge of  absurd and flashy in order to make a point?  These are decisions that all corrections trainers must make at some point.


Some classroom exercises  can sometimes come out of left field.  A strange concept that does not appear to have anything to do with corrections or criminal justice often takes the participants off balance.  When you can bring the idea back to our vocation, it makes the lesson even more potent.


In “Paradise inside the walls”, participants will learn about contraband control and the inside economy.  All that is needed are a few pair of dice (pun intended), and some gift wrapping. Read more…

Contraband Control, Training, What the...?!?