|Snowflakes - Volatile and Over-Sensitive Prisoners|
|By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ|
A lot of things have changed since retirement from the prison system. Our younger generation prison population has been molded into a group of whining and over-sensitive and easily offended “snowflake” type of generation that has been coddled for too long and often raised with a spineless approach on how to handle responsibilities and act mature when faced with controversy or complexities in life. If anyone has ever attended a ‘boot camp’ setting, they know what ‘snowflakes’ are and how they are changed to toughen up in order to face the real world they are in.
This factor must be included in the increased risks of staff assaults and confrontations. The world as it stands today, is raising a bunch of newer generation brats that has shown the highest levels of irresponsible behaviors and lack of maturity of being too easily offended or disrespected by others. They are in generally classified as incapable or unable to deal with the harsh realities of incarceration and retribution designed by the criminal justice system creating more frequent violence and non-compliance issues for staff to handle. One can readily see the solution for such self-inflicted trauma is to stay out of jails or prisons.
I have longed believe the school pipeline to prison is real and if you track these ‘safe places’ where students, from the high school to the college campuses, demand things that are unreasonable and sometimes believed to be an ‘entitlement’ to their mere existence, it is easily understood why prisoners act the same as they do. It is reasonable they find everything inside prisons and jails “uncomfortable” and out of their “safe space” because there are no such conditions inside prisons. Prisons are not designated to serve as “safe zones” therefore lacking their expectations and attitudes created in society and our schools today.
Consequently, prisoners are filled with a flash of ‘trigger warnings’ that causes them to feel ‘unsafe’ and over-react to the instructions or directions of correctional officers. It is almost insane to believe they want to be coddled like there were in the free world but that no such conditions exist behind bars. Allegedly, this ‘trigger warning’ causes trauma and often results in conflicts or confrontations. Trigger warnings are over-reactions to over-sensitivity to anything they consider ‘offensive or harmful’ to their mere existence in the prison world. An unrealistic approach to coping inside prisons or jails as nobody can assure them the expected protection to be shielded from such trigger warnings.
What it comes down to is a lack of mental ‘toughness’ in our young prisoners today to cope with the world without the total dependence of mom or dad’s help. Unless they do toughen up mentally and psychologically, it is going to be very difficult for them to live in the real world behind bars. We are today dealing with a mass group of culturally shell shocked over-reacting young people, who are set to be outlawing or resisting anything offensive to them translating this into a ‘disrespect’ matter thus justifying physical violence or other sorts of retributions.
Correctional employees and officers are not assigned or hired to hug prisoners and shed a sea of tears for these people who committed serious felonious crimes to be confined in a restricted environment. Even those who committed non-violent offenses tend to turn violent due to their lack of control of their own emotions or expectations. This is the major reason for the distressing symptom of increased staff violence perpetrated for all the wrong reasons creating a new war zone inside prisons as they carry-over their school day bullying and resentment. These prisoners won’t accept a new way of thinking. They are in dire need of ‘old school’ mentoring but even the older prisoners, don’t want to get involved any more with these youngsters who infer this to be meddling or disrespecting their own values or existence.
This form of political correctness is out of control and hampers the reality of the prison world when young people exposed to the prison extremes are offended and take actions to retaliate against the officer(s) or the administration because they don’t agree with the management style or programs instituted at their prison facilities. Anything that might make someone feel the least bit “uncomfortable” is now being labeled as a “micro-aggression," and at schools all over America “safe spaces” are being set up where young people can avoid anyone or anything that may make them “feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or challenged."
Needless to say, prisons cannot be a ‘safe space’ or a ‘free expression’ zone without following the established rules and regulations. Safe space protects individuals from feeling uncomfortable and denied the right to be relaxed or full self-expressed. One can guess that if someone want that kind of living, they should remain out of prisons or jails where the rules are made to protect the majority of the prison populations and not their individual egos.
Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."
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