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Archive for September, 2009

How to be a ridiculous figure part II – Repairing

September 23rd, 2009

Sometimes, we become so comfortable with our professional behaviors that we get lost.  It is like walking in a corn maze for years trying to find a way out of our predictable rut.  Yet, unless we seek different ways to see ourselves and our roles in the institution, we are doomed to keep walking in the same forlorn manner.


 In part one of “How to be a ridiculous figure”, we examined some behavior that diminish safety.  They are the, self-abuser, bullies, those who are over-sensitive.  Also discussed were staff that will badmouth other staff, those who loudly opinionate, the know-it-all, staff who argue with offenders, and those who crack under stress. We know that these unprofessional episodes occur from time to time.  When they recur, they can be considered ridiculous. Read more…

Self Scrutiny, Staff relations

Line level intelligence gathering for STG activities

September 23rd, 2009




Are we just cogs in a large, complex machine, turning helplessly without purpose? That cynical sentiment may be common. But upon further examination, it is not entirely true. The statement needs to be qualified. Certainly, the term “cog in the machine” has a pejorative connotation. But if a large corrections agency is a complex machine, line level staff must be the cogs that keep the machine running. One of the most important functions of that particular machine is to provide safety for staff, offenders, and the public. Suddenly, the unobtrusive cog becomes a crucial part of a noble cause. And when the machine and all of its many components operate well, the common goal becomes more attainable.

One of corrections most pervasive problems is groups of offenders who work in unison against the safety of the institution. Some may call this gang activity. Others may term it as Security Threat Groups (STG). Whatever the terminology, this manifestation of cooperation in the perpetration of illegal acts is very destabilizing. Read more…


How to be a ridiculous figure part I: Recognition

September 16th, 2009


The confident professional who stumbles clumsily up the stairs…

The narcissist with the smug smile, oblivious to the spinach in his teeth…

Leaving a rest room with a foot long flag of toilet paper on our shoe or at our beltline…

Let’s face it, we are only human.  And when we are trying to operate smoothly, or even normally, we wear egg on our faces from time to time. These are unintentional incidents that may be forgotten after a while.  But, there are many more things that we do to ourselves that seem to be remembered in perpetuity. 

In fact, we may not realize just how ridiculous we can appear to other people. But the problem is not solely about embarrassment.  That is a lesser concern when we consider the haunting specter of self imposed security breaches.  Read more…

Self Scrutiny, Staff relations, Uncategorized

Disturbance on Lake Ego

September 16th, 2009

Let’s take a trip – an ego trip. It is very easy to do, and it is a journey in self-exploration. Just relax and let the words take you there.lake-ego

Imagine yourself on a warm and isolated beach on an idyllic inland lake. Fragrant winds blow inland. You are comforted by the pleasing mix of pine and maple trees that form a green and natural barrier from outside intrusions. Blissfully alone, you are in your safe place and secure from any outside threats. As you skip a flat stone on the glass-like, placid surface, tiny ripples develop. They cause nothing but pleasure. It is as if the lake is at your will as shapes manifest on it by your actions. In effect, you are lord and master of this little slice of paradise.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, there is a colossal cataclysmic collision of boulder on water. A stone as large as a rhinoceros shatters the lake’s glass-like surface, and heaves into your aqueous sanctuary by some unseen and powerful being.

Read more…

Self Scrutiny, Staff relations

Understand your creative cues

September 10th, 2009

During periods of fiscal flaccidity, corrections always needs new ideas and better ways of operating.  This is the time when those with proposed innovations can shine.  Brainstorming session, now more than ever, are quite essential.


Did you ever get a flash of inspiration that surprised you and your colleagues?  It is rewarding when ideas bear fruit as a new and efficient way of doing thing.



Unfortunately inspiration can be sometimes elusive.  Read more…

Self Scrutiny

We remember still

September 10th, 2009

Although time recedes from the horrible events of 9/11/2001, the lessons remain  relevant. We in corrections are always watchful.

The events of September 11, 2001 forced all Americans to think about what was previously inconceivable in the minds of most. Mainland America was attacked by foreign agents. In a way, our nation lost its comfortable innocence and geographical insulation on one Tuesday morning six years ago. However, unlike the majority of Americans, corrections staff were a bit more prepared to understand this. And that is due to our training and on-the-job experience. Read more…

Assessing the organization, Training

The significance of milestones

September 2nd, 2009


parthenonI remember my first year in corrections as if it were a meal ago.  Some years after that, I recall with the same clarity that my first article was published.  But what brings pride and amazement at one time may not be so as one gains experience. Read more…

Self Scrutiny, Staff relations

Selecting from a salad bar of concepts

September 2nd, 2009

There is no doubt that corrections professionals perform a very important job. Every moment we are inside the walls, we face potential danger from many directions. Some of these are obvious while others are unobtrusive. We are responsible to keep ourselves and inmates safe. In addition, when we consider whom we are really working for, we need to consider the general public.

saladWe understand the nuts and bolts of what we do on a daily basis. But how often do we see the higher purpose to our vocation?

Read more…

Assessing the organization