|Do Not Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money|
|By Contrenia C Fann|
A former co-worker of mine stated that she was monitoring her detail outside the control room when her inmate asked her to look at the staff on the sidewalk. She thought that something was wrong. It was the beginning of the second shift and the officers were leaving the briefing room to go to their post for the day. A Deputy Warden, Lieutenant, and Correctional Officer were standing on the wall. It appeared as if they were just speaking to the officers, until a couple of the female officers walked passed them. My former co-worker and her inmate viewed the staff admiring the officers’ “assets”. The inmate quickly responded, “How are they [inmates] going to respect the officers when they [supervisors] don’t?” That incident reminds me of what my Grandmother once said: “Do as I say not as I do.” My former co-worker stated that she did not entertain or respond to the inmate, but she did admit, “The inmate was right. Some officers use and get used for their honey” from supervisors.
There are supervisors and staff that indulge in relationships against policy, rules and regulations. These relationships, which I refer to as “honey”, may cause the work environment to be unpleasant, because employees are bringing emotions or lust into the workplace. The Bible speaks of Lust as one of the deadly sins. Just like the inmate, I remembered my Grandmother saying, “Tail will send you to jail or hell.” Once supervisors have relationships with their staff members, they are already in hell. Eventually, everyone will be in jail because of rumors, gossip and lies.
I dated someone in another department midway through my career. He was not in my chain of command nor was he ever my Supervisor in the past. However, this person had dated my Supervisor unbeknownst to me, which caused a lot of unwanted confusion and drama. I was the speculation of gossips and lies; I hated to go to work. My supervisor became resentful and began to show signs of retaliation because of my relationship with this person. My co-workers took sides, because some did not want to get caught in the line of fire, others just wanted to gossip, and there were some that could not understand what was the problem seeing as my Supervisor had gone on with her life after their relationship. In the end, this honey almost cost me my money; money that I really needed. He transferred and my life got a little easier, but I vowed never to have any relationship with a co-worker that would compromise my career again.
We are living in a time that jobs are scarce, cost of living is going up, and families are enduring good and bad times. On top of that, law enforcement jobs are very stressful within themselves. When an individual joins the department, they do so with a mindset of, “I have a job and I want to make a career out it.” They hope to advance up the ladder. Considering all of his or her job duties, salary and family life, why would he or she want to worry about who is sleeping with who? It is definitely not a part of the job’s duties.
Reports state that divorce rates have always been very high in the law enforcement arena. Fraternization has been around for many years, and it has been detrimental in the day to day operation of several businesses. Many unlawful harassment and sexual harassment suits have been filed. These lawsuits have caused many staff members to lose their jobs as well as their homes and families. Not to mention agencies have paid out millions for employees trying to get their honey on the job.
Currently, Corrections is dealing with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. They are constantly telling staff not to bring in contraband or to have sex with inmates. In my years and experience, these unauthorized relationships between staff and supervisors have not only cost money, but they have hurt a lot of innocence staff that merely just want to do their jobs.
Remember, when you decide to get your honey where you get your money there are other bees that want some honey as well. There are flies that are on the wall that will report rumors, gossips, and lies. There are also other species who don’t want honey, they just want money.
Contrenia C. Fann is the author of "Commonsense: Do Not Play Games With An Inmate" and the soon to be released "Common Sense: Misconduct Between Staff and Supervisors; ‘Do Not Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money’”. She is a sought after expert and frequent panelist on correctional issues and has appeared at nationwide conferences to include: the National Association of Hispanics in Criminal Justice, National Association of Black in Criminal Justice, International Association of Correctional Training Personnel, Women in Corrections Conference, and the Southern States Corrections Association Conference.
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