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Large vs. Small
By William Daly , CPM, CCE, CJM
Published: 11/29/2010

Big small ‘Cause your hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no, you’re in then you’re out, you’re up and then you’re down, it’s wrong when it’s right, it’s black then it’s white etc, etc, etc.

For those of you that are pop culture enthusiasts or have teenagers, you recognized that these are some of the lyrics to a recent song by pop singer Katy Perry. I often here these lyrics on the radio and realized that I at times have experienced some of these same issues, only in this case when it comes to jails and prisons the focus will be on Large vs. Small.

I have had the privilege to attend some very informative seminars and training where a large cross-section of correction community usually attends. The one thing I tend to notice during the course of these seminars is the disparity of attitudes and insight between large and small jail personnel. Now, let me be fair this is not everyone and I too sometimes have been guilty of this same generalization, however, the larger facilities and/or departments tend to have less than compassionate viewpoint for their smaller department counterparts when issues are discussed.

Case in point, I once heard a question posed to the audience, whereby the instructor followed up with asking the attendee, how many inmates do you have in your facility? The answer was maximum 200. Now this response resulted in what is called “sucking your teeth” or “flat tire” reverberation. These reactions and echo's are not generally associated with positive responses and more often as disgust, disbelief or “what are you a fool” counters.

Having worked both sides of the spectrum, there are advantages and disadvantages to each sides viewpoints and environment, however, let it be known that each has its own unique yet common issues. Just like other professions, this question continues to be debated and is often brought up in relation to personal fit, as opposed to, competitive in nature.

Whether sizing up your college of choice large or small, big city/small town, small business or large corporation, big or small government has, is and will always be a topic of discussion, Corrections included.

So what about Correction Facilities? Is one size better than the other? Are the inmates less volatile in smaller departments than larger ones and vice versa? Is the staff smarter, more skilled or able to handle situations better than the other? Is the budget different? Is the politics different? Is the physical size of the facilities an advantage or disadvantage? Is the training different? Are the inmate programs equal? Is promotion improved in one or the other?

The point of this article is this, we all are in this business for a variety of different reasons, but ultimately to provide a service to the cities, states, towns and communities we belong too. When push comes to shove, all of us in the correction field need the support, trust and cooperation of each other plain and simple.

Editors Note: Corrections.com author William Daly, a veteran in the field of Corrections, entering his 24th year. Daly is a retired Captain from the New York City Department of Correction and Currently the Acting Director of the Salt River Department of Correction, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Other articles by Daly


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