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Archive for December, 2009

Addressing the anti-policy rhinoceros

December 31st, 2009

Policy is the true roadmap to corrections operations.  It is the written manner by which we do everything from health care call outs to offender meal preparation.  Without policies and operating procedures, we wallow in the mire of ambiguity and uneven treatment.


Staff routinely encounter at least one offender who refuses to acknowledge that policy applies universally.  In other words, some prisoners steadfastly disobey the rules as a sort of self proclaimed right.  How many times have you heard, “That does not apply to me!”?



Read more…

Assessing the organization, Self Scrutiny, What the...?!?

The end is near

December 28th, 2009

You heard it prior to September 9, 1999 when computers were supposed to crash because the programs (allegedly) could not process the four-digit year 2000…


The Y2K scare was shouted everywhere just a few months after that…


More recently, the end is interpreted to fall on December 21, 2012…


There are even two solid dates that a large asteroid will impact the earth…dead-end


The end is near.  That is what everyone says.  There are so many would-be Nostradamus students in the wings telling you to prepare for the end. 


I suggest that this phenomenon is common.  But we have another end in sight.  It is the end of a year.  Read more…

Self Scrutiny, Staff relations

Thanks for 10 years

December 18th, 2009



Dear Reader:


January 2010 is the ten year mark for me in writing on various corrections topics.  In recognition of this, I am now going to thank many who have helped me along the way. 




Thanks to Linda Allen for helping me to understand how to walk around a problem and examine it. 


Linda Dunbar took a chance on me and helped me learn how to edit a professional journal.


Appreciation goes to Jim Montalto for fostering my creative writing identity and showing that a sense of humor can be incorporated into writing.


I owe Laura Noonen much gratitude for giving me the opportunity to open the aperture even more with “Foundations”.  


Angela Childers deserves recognition for showing me how to reduce unnecessary parts of my writing.


And certainly, for the readers I am truly grateful.  Comments and support over the years have motivated me. It has been an interesting and fulfilling ten years.  I can’t wait to see what the next decade will bring.  Thanks to all, those named and the many unnamed for all of the support and encouragement.  

Dear Reader

Some more thoughts on the Security Classification Process by Tony Owen

December 18th, 2009

 In continuing our thoughts on the Security Classification Committee (SCC) we need to look at what types of segregation there are and how a prisoner gets into them.



“Throw him in the hole until we decide what to do with him” was the common phrase one use to hear from the Captain. How many times have there been incidents in the past where a prisoner gets placed in the hole and then is forgotten because the officer goes on vacation without writing the reports.  The holidays come and no one in administration is around to decide what to do with the prisoner. Read more…

Guest Author

Destination Intimidation part III: Timed aggression

December 17th, 2009

Belligerence is rather easy to spot.  It can come in the form of aggressive driving patterns, cutting in front of others in a line, a dirty look, or a terrorist act against our largest city.  Clearly, aggression comes in many degrees.


However, some instances of hostility are better planned and better timed than others.  And inside corrections facilities, we have many opportunities to witness the nuances.


Time aggression is the act of executing a precisely planned hostile incident.  Read more…

Self Scrutiny, Training

Trainer says

December 17th, 2009

A big part of how order and safety are maintained in our facilities is through staff’s ability to deliver clear and concise instructions.  Do we always understand this?  Are we sometimes derailed by ambiguous statements?  Are we thwarted by the nebulous expectations of others? Read more…


Life Corrections by Tammy Gajewski

December 17th, 2009



During the last six months presenting Collaborative Case Management I have encountered a wonderful and diverse group of people that work in, for or outside the MDOC. The general reoccurring theme was their frustration with the lack of common sense in the department. Yet they diligently report to work and do their jobs 110% everyday. Read more…

Guest Author

Ten Things Wise Veterans Do Right

December 13th, 2009



This article is a collaboration between  Joe Bouchard & Caterina Spinaris Tudor


Veteran staff have many helpful, even life-saving tips to share with other staff and newbies. They have earned their wisdom from experience over the years, usually the hard way.


Here is a list of attitudes and actions of seasoned corrections staff which help them remain safe on the job and successful in their careers. Read more…

Guest Author, Self Scrutiny

The parable of the small pie

December 10th, 2009

Not so long ago, in a village quite like yours, there was considerable excitement.  The first day of October was fast approaching.  And as everyone knows, October 1st is Pie Day.  That is the special time each year that everyone in the village would get a chance to enjoy a slice of the Pie.




As long as anyone could remember, the Pie was always large and delicious.  Anyone who wanted could have their fill.  But this year would be different.  There would be a very small pie.  Everyone wondered if they would get a large enough slice to meet their needs.  Some others wondered if anyone but a select few would get anything at all. Read more…

Assessing the organization

Destination Intimidation Part 2: The Benevolent Bully

December 10th, 2009

For an institution to run efficiently and effectively, the three ”C’s” of effective operations need to be in place.  These fundamentals are:  Chain of command, Communication, Clique control. An effective leader will best drive these lessons home and make them part of the institution’s values. 


All three of these foundation elements are challenged by the specter of bullying in the workplace.  Bullies of all varieties thrive on control.  They rule through coercion.  Their presence often makes achieving the mission statement of any agency more difficult.  And sometimes when we endeavor to control bullying (or take out the trash) we might consider some unorhtodox methods.

take-out-the-trash Read more…

Assessing the organization, Self Scrutiny, Staff relations