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Archive for October, 2009

Vacuums will be filled

October 28th, 2009

Think of the inexorably strong force of a whirl pool. If it has enough power, the vortex will pull anything from the surface of the water and plunge it beneath.  It is inevitable that vacuums will be filled.




I don’t really know about the physics of black holes, tornadoes or any other sort of naturally occurring vacuum.  But I have seen this in action in human interaction.  Read more…

Assessing the organization, Self Scrutiny, Staff relations

The bat incident

October 28th, 2009

I sit nervously near the scene of the incident mere moments after it occurred. As I write these notes, I am amazed at how unprepared we were.

The event was unexpected and discomforting, leaving four people nervous, clumsy, full of adrenaline, and confused. Notions of comfort and safety were shattered in an instant. A presence had breached our safe zone.

It sounds like this is some sort of post mortem of a crime, terrorist act or some sort of calamity. However, the source of the trepidation was a single brown bat. Read more…

What the...?!?

The three foundations

October 19th, 2009

Developing our individual professionalism can seem endless.  It is like climbing a very long stair case with no sight of the end. 



What makes us do what we do on the job?  Our performance rests on our personal professionalism.  Read more…

Self Scrutiny

Contraband control: Assess your process

October 19th, 2009

Despite the popular notion, contraband control is much more complex than officers serendipitously intercepting bootleg. At its most optimal state, it is a multileveled process of discovering the value and routing of illicit items. And, alert staff often discover surprising but pragmatic utilities of most common possessions. Read more…

Contraband Control


October 16th, 2009

A note from Joe Bouchard:

What do Jails and Prisons have in common?  The answers are as varied as the number of professionals  who offer their wisdom.  One thing that we can agree on is this:  The experience of staff taken captive is one all should hear and consider.  Our colleague from Kenton County Kentucky, Scott Colvin shares this thought provoking article with us. 






BY Chief Deputy G.S. Colvin, CJM, Kenton County, Kentucky





HEADLINES April 12th 1993: “Convicts siege Ohio Prison”  “guards taken hostage at Lucasville”. These are but (2) headlines of the nation’s  heralding that a hostage situation and prison takeover had developed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville Ohio, there was death, and mayhem –disaster and sadly there were (11) individual officers  taken hostage, marking their first day of captivity of the longest Correctional Hostage situation in American history. Read more…

Guest Author, Training

Rain clouds usually mean rain

October 14th, 2009

Read the signs


Rain clouds usually mean rain. It is not illogical to suppose that we may get wet soon after we observe meteorological cues on the horizon. But do we always obey the signs?




How many times do we fail to see the obvious?   Why do we think that we are above reading the signs?  Ignoring helpful forewarnings is foolish, and often is the downfall of the complacent. 


I just had a humbling experience.  Read more…

Self Scrutiny

Training Programs Staff with the Tripod Model Part 2

October 14th, 2009

In part one of Training Programs Staff with the Tripod Model, we reviewed the Departmental Perspective, the professional Perspective, and Standard Tools.  Let us now look at strategies to bring these concepts into practice.


The responsibilities of the trainer. Who initiates this?  The answer to that is as different as all corrections systems are.  The request for new, comprehensive training like this could originate from the line staff in the particular niche.  Or, the catalyst can arise from some perceived need as seen from the official leader of the group. No matter where the request comes from, the training office should take an active role. First, the training committee has to be aware of the origin of the training request.  Of course, centralized permission is necessary.  Read more…

Training, Uncategorized

Perspective, change and fish

October 8th, 2009

There once was a big fish in a little tank.  She had her fill of all food, eating first and as much as she wanted.  Life was good for this particular fish, as she lorded over all that she saw.  All of the other fish gave her plenty of room whenever she swam by.  All creatures in her world respected and/or feared her.



Then one day – and without warning – the inevitable waves of change introduced a new fish to the tank.  Read more…

Assessing the organization, Self Scrutiny, Staff relations

Training Programs Staff with the Tripod Model Part 1

October 8th, 2009


How do you train a corrections programs professional?  This question may sound like a bad joke, particularly if it is followed with, “Very carefully!”  But there is really some truth to that.  Specialized niches need specialized training content. 


Certainly, basic mandatory instruction is crucial.  Courses such as CPR, unarmed self-defense, remedies against manipulation and infection and pathogen control are necessary for all corrections staff.  They serve as annual reminders of vocational fundamentals.  But shouldn’t corrections training address both sides of the hyphen?  Consider the corrections-librarian, for example.  Is the librarian component receiving a much subordinate emphasis compared to the corrections part? Shouldn’t the left and right side of the equation get more or less equal development? The needs of some groups are not always apparent. Sometimes niche professionals such as prison librarians have not asked themselves these questions.

Read more…


Information vessels as contraband

October 1st, 2009


Finding a specific contraband item in any facility can be difficult.  As a matter of fact, it is not unlike finding a specific tree in a forest.  Often, we are sometimes faced with the task of locating a very specialized, elusive item. 


Quick!   Without thinking, name a contraband item.  What did you say?  Shank?  Tattoo gun? Betting slips? Whatever your answer, it probably was blurted out rapidly.  Like word association, ideas come quickly. Quite simply, everyone can describe a tangible example of contraband when asked. Read more…

Contraband Control