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Celebrities Gone Wild
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 04/04/2016

Handcuffs The following is an installment in "The Bouchard 101", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.

Just as the sun rises in the east each day, there is an immutable pattern that we cannot ignore. Celebrities will get in trouble. Still, despite what some see as the predictable self-destruction, not all famous persons become incarcerated. Yet, there is a lot of attention poured over the airwaves by the media when certain celebrities fall from grace. Can corrections professionals and students benefit from this phenomenon through training?

Instructors can make a PowerPoint presentation whose contents are mug shot images of arrested celebrities. There is a veritable smorgasbord of famous mug shots to be seen online. They are there for the taking (with proper citations, of course).

Set up the animation on the slideshow so that the photograph is displayed first and that the name will appear with the click of the mouse button. Ask the class to identify the person in the mug shot. Once the class has had a chance to answer, click the mouse to reveal the identity.

You should have about twenty different celebrities presented in this way. Again, online choices are vast, so there is no worry about a lack of material. Here are some tips for selection:
  • Mix old with new. For example, in 2014, Justin Bieber is a new entry to this dubious group. Charlie Sheen is an older entry. The variety is good, as it will touch more elements of the audience.
  • Infamous works, too. For example, Tonya Harding was not initially as famous as she would become after the clubbing incident on Nancy Kerrigan.
  • Do not limit it to Hollywood personalities. Sports figures are well represented in this niche.
  • Throw in a tough one every now and again. For example, younger audiences might not know comedian George Carlin from his mug shot.
After the slide show, pass a work sheet to each person. You can also break the class into teams for a quicker turn around. (See sample work sheet following the descriptive part of this exercise.) The work sheet lists each celebrity that was shown on the slideshow along with two questions.
  1. What is his or her claim to fame?
  2. What is the crime?
Some of the answers may have already been discussed during the PowerPoint presentation. I believe that the facilitator should allow this, as one might hear interesting theories and gossip about the celebrity in question. The observant participants will have these answers filed away and ready to write on the work sheet.

Another option is to have participants answer these questions through the internet at a later time.

This exercise can inspire discussions on equity of treatment, burdens of celebrity offenders on an institution and staff, the psychology of fame, and the necessity of protective custody.

Love them, hate them, or shrouded in cultivated indifference, corrections professionals have to occasionally answer the unique challenges posed by celebrity offenders. And when a famous person is on the wrong side of the law, corrections almost always receives more attention from the public than usual.

CELEBRITIES GONE WILD WORK SHEET
  1. Nick Nolte
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  2. Robert Downey Jr.
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  3. Bruno Mars
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  4. Amanda Bynes
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  5. Tonya Harding
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  6. Snooki
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  7. Charlie Sheen
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  8. Billy Joe Armstrong
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  9. Anna Nicole Smith
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  10. George Carlin
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  11. Justin Bieber
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  12. Ozzy Osbourne
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  13. Tim Allen
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  14. Jack Kervorkian
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  15. Paris Hilton
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  16. Don Vito
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  17. Lindsey Lohan
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  18. Michael Jackson
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  19. Vince Vaughn
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?
  20. Rick Springfield
    1. What is his or her claim to fame?
    2. What is the crime?


Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014”. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.

Visit the Joe Bouchard page

Other articles by Bouchard:


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