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Archive for August, 2010

The key to it all

August 25th, 2010

Imagine a formidable citadel, completely impervious to invasion.  The structure is an utterly unassailable fortress.  In other words, no one can get inside without assistance from those within.





Of course, an alternative to banging on the front door is to find the key and enter.  Yet, who but the very brave or equally foolish would walk up to the front door, use the key, and enter into the presumably heavily fortified territory of an enemy?


The foregoing is not some sort of allusion to The Lord of the Rings or any other against-all-odds literary journey.  This is a parallel to our real life battle against staff division.  Read more…

Staff relations

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

Can’t see the forest for the trees

August 4th, 2010

Idioms provide wonderful expressions that explain common human behaviors. For example, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” means someone who does not always see the larger perspective because they are focused on the minutiae. I believe that any one of us at one time or another in our career can’t see the forest for the trees.





Still, detail-oriented staff help keep our facilities safe.  They pinpoint problems in operation through intense scrutiny.  They find little anomalies that are really the tip of the iceberg of larger perils.  Without meticulous colleagues, many dangers can be overlooked. 


Sometimes, though, certain details are not the crucial points.  In other words, too much focus can be poured into the wrong vessel.  Read more…

Contraband Control