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Apr 07, 2010
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: The Club House / New Female CO1

I second adjinstructor’s ideas. We are all subject to manipulation. On the surface, it would seem that an identified sexual predator would not be a problem; however, it is quite the opposite. Some are quite adept at it. There is an inmate in the system I work in who has turned 5 females during his incarceration. The department made a video and in it, during a series of interviews, he says it is the pride of turning, the pride of getting over the ‘system’ that motivates him. The victim is secondary to the result.

Men are subject to their own issues and all CO’s are subject to being manipulated. Just be aware of your surroundings. And always report any incident, no matter how seemingly insignificant. That will always keep you safe.

And remember, true love is not found within the confines of a prison.

 
Feb 24, 2010
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: The Club House / CERT rank structure

I spent 2 years on our ERT (Riot Control) team: team member, squad leader and then the Assist ERT Commander; thens spent 5 years on our SORT (Hostage/Lethal Team): team member and administrative officer. The teams for our state are part time positions, meaning we train one (ERT) or two (SORT) days a month. Rank within the team is based on ability as is recognized by team members and the leadership structure within the team. The exceptions are the Commander and Assistant Commander Position. For ERT, the warden makes the final approval based on an interview before a board. For SORT, the Director of Prison Ops and the Executive Director select after an interview process.

For myself, my time on ERT was spent as an officer. I made Sgt after being the Assistant ERT Commander; Lt after being on SORT. The relationship with line staff and supervisors has always been contentious. Training takes staff away from facilities when we are operating at or below minimums; during activations to be at other facilities it causes stress…generally a lose/lose proposition. It takes the upper management saying that this will happen and just simply deal to get it done. Not pleasant. Occasionally you get some one who has spent some time on special teams and understands what they do and how they help facilities in the long run and bigger picture….

 
Nov 18, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Should ex-offenders be allowed to vote?

xfelonjoe,

The formatting here has gone to crap. Would you repost please? I missed almost half of the last paragraph. As for being the only ex-felon here, that is ok. Your voice needs to be heard. But be forewarned, you are not likely to get a lot of sympathy here.

From what I have read so far, you have made some significant changes. My hat is off to you.

As for what sent you to prison, was it the act of getting high or the act of denying the owner of an item (in this case a bicycle, other instances it is money ie Madoff) its future use and all future benefits that come from possession of that item? Getting high may have led to taking the bike, but it was the second that got you to prison. It is the taking of what is not yours and denying the owner both its current use and future use with all the benefits that stream from that future use that got you there.

As for CO’s and their behavior, I could not read that paragraph because of the formatting issue (could be my machine, but all other web sites I visit do not have that issue which leads me to suspect it is this site).

And my apologies to suetigger for getting her moniker jacked.

 
Nov 18, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Should ex-offenders be allowed to vote?

Yes to the question posed: being allowed to vote after release (the debt is paid); Yes, that is a ton of information to digest…I think that what tiggersue is saying is that so much of what we assume about people is based in something other than truth or reality (the two are not necessarily the same) that to broadly paint a whole classs of people as being incapable of preforming a basic civil function says more about us than about the group itself.

And yes to esfellonjoe: you have got some issues to deal with starting with who is responsible for what. Tiggersue’s critique is also applicable to you, Joe.

 
Nov 18, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Everything Education / Slashed?

We have a hiring freeze at all government agencies except those deemed essential: State Police, the Judiciary, and Corrections. Education has been cut as have all the other agencies. As spending by consumers continues to decline, revenues are continuing to fall and more services are on the chopping block. We are having to cut another 2.5% on top of the 12% we have already cut…and there is probably even more to be cut before it is all over.

 
Nov 18, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Health & Wellness / Red Cross Blood Drives

Yes. In Colorado, the Department allows hospitals come to facilities to gather blood from staff members. I have given in the past and will do so in the future.

 
Nov 18, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Should ex-offenders be allowed to vote?

Yes.

 
Nov 18, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: The Club House / Where in the world are you

I am in Canon City, Colorado. Been in corrections for over 11 years. Worked in the Ad Seg facility, External Security (Perimeter Patrol or how to make circles in the dirt and get paid for it), and currently work at a medium custody facility….

 
Sep 26, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Can we deny inmates access to newspapers, magazines as an incentive for better behavior?

Jon,

I agree with you that many who work in Corrections have the attitude of lock ‘em up and throw away the key. That is more than likely, not a good attitude to have. For example, recently an individual by the last name of Masters was released because DNA evidence exonerated him. He spent 10 years in prison for a crime he did not committ. The supposed crime occurred when he was a teenager. He graduated, spent 8 – 9 years in the Navy, got an honorable discharge, returned home. Within months of his return, the prosecutor charged him with murder. He was tried and convicted. Only persistent efforts by people not related at all to the area, crime or any person involved with the case revealed that the original detective and prosecutor apparently conspired to hide evidence, kept evidence from the defense attorney as well as a host of other ’nice’ things.

Some folks in prison did not do a thing. They were scooped up by a dragnet and having insufficient resources to defend themselves against a prosecutor who is up for re-election needs to ‘beef-up’ the resume…..

At the same time, CO’s who do take that position of lock em up are possibly engaging in a defense mechanism to keep inmates at arms distance to prevent being caught up in a lot of the games that get played.

As for the idea of ‘habilitation’ or ‘reform’, that is a debate that has gone on for a while. From the Quakers who tried to reform by creating solitary confinement to modern forms. There is much that is positive in those efforts. There is also a lot that is just incorrect and dangerous.

Conversely, the idea of locking them up and throwing away the key is now showing how irresponsible that is with the nations money. Society has the right and needs to protect itself from those who violate the rules. As an example of where this two needs mesh poorly is in the case of sex offenders. Clearly, predators need to be removed. However, when they are released, forcing them to live under bridges is not an answer either.

Consider the instance of an 18 year old male who gets convicted of statutory rape of a 16 year old. He gets the label ‘sex offender’ for the rest of his life in many jurisdictions. What may have been a truly honest mistake gets a person lableled for the rest of their lives. Not a really productive outcome. Clearly this is overly simplified, but outlines some of the issues, particularly the disparity in treatment between male and female sex offenders (although to be honest, that might be an opinion of mine and not supported by the evidence).

How this relates to being able to have materials to read in AD SEG or Punitive Seg: the idea of control and the goal. I believe that while inmates are in prison, our job is to manage their behavior. Our job is to use those tools we have at our disposal to manage them in a manner to that they are safe: from themselves, each other and from rogue staff. If we can manage them by conditioning certain freedoms (something to read, exercise, or what ever) upon certain types of behavior and that works, then that is what we, as professionals, should do.

The theoretical underpinnings of managing behavior is murky at best. For every theory put forward, there is usually (but not often) enough counter evidence to bring it into question (too small a sample size, bad study criteria, and others). There are many in society who are dedicated to removing ad seg, special housing facilities or what ever name they go by, from the ‘prison system’ in the US. They cite evidence supporting their contentions; point to various elements in the law to support their contentions and other lines of argument.

However, those of us who work inside the systems can testify to how safe prisons systems tend to get when those facilities do exist.

Ultimately, the idea of ‘free will’ versus ‘determinism’ is a matter of personal values. In our culture, the concept of free will is the accepted norm. The individual makes the choices they do and receive the consequences of those choices. That is what makes cases such as the Master’s case I alluded to above so wrong. The individuals we select to assist in making that determination violate the critieria we have established.

I have to agree with Mudflap and the others in this matter. I choose to have that beer. I chose to have the 12 thereafter. I may not have been capable of making responsible judgements about driving nor about the specific decisions involved in driving the vehicle when I ran into the van of kids on the way to where ever, but that does not mean I did not choose to engage in that behavior.

It is simply a tenet of our society that I am reponsible for my decisions and bear the responsibility for those decisions. In that sense, yes, those inside our prisons chose to be there…..

 
Sep 12, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: The Club House / Looking Professional

I can’t count the number of times I have heard inmates talk about officer’s who clearly need to push themselves away from the fried chicken table. It paints the whole field in a bad color….

 
Sep 09, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: The Club House / Looking Professional

Mudflap and iceonfire, you have hit it on the head. It is not when we are ‘walking our beat’; it is when we are out on the beat that our bosses see us. They form an opinion and it takes dynamite to remove that impression. They work hard for their money; they have reason to see a good return on that investment which happens to be us. We should look the best we can be to show that they got good value for their dollar.

 
Sep 01, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Can we deny inmates access to newspapers, magazines as an incentive for better behavior?

Shakey,

Some still do. A study done 4 years ago by a group of PsyD (Clinically oriented psychologists) students and instructors looked at the use of the DSM IV. Students are taught to interview the client, review their notes from the interview, then look in the DSM IV for the symptoms and select the diagnosis from that.

Actual practice is for the therapist to decide what is wrong with the client by refering back to their value system, find the diagnosis that matches that and make that designation. Quite troubling.

Even the most effective form of treatment (by clinicians own acknowledgement) is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Studies done by independent bodies (non-psychologists: sometimes done by the AMA, sometimes by NIHM) show that even CBT is no more effective than placebo procedures……

 
Aug 30, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Can we deny inmates access to newspapers, magazines as an incentive for better behavior?

See what a SEG placement creates! Another indication of just don’t go there……

 
Aug 25, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Can we deny inmates access to newspapers, magazines as an incentive for better behavior?

Jon,

You are correct on who wrote the Constitution: Madison had more of a managing function during the writting of the Constitution. Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania did the physical act of writting the Constitution. The Virginia Declaration, which had an impact on the Constitution, was written by George Mason, which parts of the Constitution was modeled on. Thank you for pointing this fact out.

Madison wrote the Virginia Plan while waiting for the Constitutional Convention ot begin. The Virginia Plan had a major impact on the design of the US Government: the bicameral legislature, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. The Plan also laid out the powers of each branck. This document was written by Madison and the framework of the Constitution can be readily seen in this document. In this sense, Madison did write the Constitution as he laid out the fundamental principles contained in the Constitution. Madison drew from the ideas presented by John Locke in Locke’s Two Treatise on Government (although there is a contentious discussion of this, this idea is generally held to be an accurate assessment of his role and impact). Here, Locke drew on the idea of property as the basic reason for human cooperation and the basic reason humans organize themselves into societies.

As to reward/punishment, external forms of reward quickly lose their effectiveness. This occurs either because the reward or punishment is overused or it becomes a tool for manipulation by the person whose behavior is trying to be molded. The example generally given is: you do a certain behavior and I give you a reward. What is being taught is: in doing a act, there is a reward for doing it; no reward, no act. The goal is the reward not the act which is what is desired.

Intrinsic rewards can fall into the same trap: it requires knowledge of the individual in order to be successful. This later is a far more effective tool. However, to be truly effective, the reward schedule must move from initially rewarding effort to rewarding the performance. It is the first stage that runs into problems as many people refuse to acknowledge the importance of this first stage.

What is more affective is to create a logical connection between behavior and consequent. The example usually given is: you made the mess, you need to clean it. The action of creating a problem is then related to a consequent action of having to make the solution. The logical connection is being made rather than a simple reward schema.

 
Aug 25, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Can we deny inmates access to newspapers, magazines as an incentive for better behavior?

The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson with minor revisions by the Continental Congress. The Constitution of the United States was written by James Madison, who also co-authored the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. Jefferson clearly favored the Individual over the ‘State’ while Hamilton, Jay and Madison prefered a strong central government, weaker state governments and restricted individual rights. A majority of voters today would not have the franchise in 1796; only landed white males had the right to vote. Only these individuals were seen to have the experience to see beyond the petty issues of the masses to make the proper decisions regarding rule of the country. The Bill of Rights were forced on the original writers as a compromise to get the Constitution passed by enough states to form the United States of America.

 
Aug 20, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Can we deny inmates access to newspapers, magazines as an incentive for better behavior?

Jon,

Yep, we have just been spammed…..or slimed to quote Bill from Ghost Busters…..

 
Aug 19, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Can we deny inmates access to newspapers, magazines as an incentive for better behavior?

I agree with Mudflap; you are free to join. It is always good to have different perspectives on an issue. I do have a question, what is that link about?

 
May 06, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Security Central / Best way to handle unruly inmate

Congratuations! Welcome to a wonderful careerfield. There are many challenges: from inmates, fellow staff and administration. But even those do not offset the abiding pleasures and good things that the field can bring you over time.’

 
Apr 30, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Economy & Stimulus / Stimulus Package Response

Jon,

Yes, you are correct: it was more than just simply a public works project. However, what was produced? Nothing but massive amounts of destruction. Nothing productive was created, but the vast majority of professionals and lay agree, it ended the depression era. The public debt rose to unprecendented levels. No investment in industry was made….

As for Ayn Rand, the world saw what unbridled capitalism brought the world. The period in the United Kingdom from approximately 1810 to 1850 was capitalism without restriction. The same almost occured here in the 1870-1890’s. Not pleasant at all. Ms Rand had an axe to grind against Stalinist Russian. Even her brightest accolyte now acknowledges that people in capitalist systems do not work in their own self interest. Greenspan banked on that; we are paying for that blind belief.

 
Apr 29, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Letter of The Law / Can we deny inmates access to newspapers, magazines as an incentive for better behavior?

I agree with Mudflap on this. The issue here ( as I understand it…) is whether their behavior warrants added restrictions. Ad Seg is usually reserved for housing inmates who cannot abide by the rules in general pop. There are exceptions as in my state where if an inmate is identified as a gang member, it is usually straight to seg. For corrections, the problem then is managing behavior once the inmate is in the system. Does granting an inmate access to reading material aid in controlling their behavior. I think it does; if the inmate is reading something, then generally he or she is not thinking of how to get over or get to an officer.

That being said, ad seg needs to be restrictive. Many of the items inmates get should be based on the level of supervision required and ad seg demands high levels of supervision. In our system, there is the Code of Penal Discipline (the ‘Legal System’) and there is a behavioral management system. When an offender becomes inappropriate in some manner, say verbally abusive (a minor deal but still a way to highlight the system), the officer can deny that day’s exercise period. This is done immediately to consequent that behavior. The inmate can also be written up for that offense and go through the internal legal system. I think it would be overly heavy handed to do that in this instance, but it is an option. The two systems run side by side.

Consistent treatment inside such a facility is also a requirement.

 
Apr 21, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Economy & Stimulus / Stimulus Package Response

Naw, go BEARS…..

I understand the frustration of seeing money being spent to support businesses and organizations that recklessly got the nation into the current situation. Our (and this really describes the system around the world, if this is taken as a general model….like Corrections Academies describe the particular system in general, each facility will be different) financial system is composed of the very visible, banks, and the not so visible, the shadow banking system. For a majority of Americans, the local bank, that bank’s relationship to larger regional banks and the Federal Reserve System handles 100% of their needs. It is what we know and work with.

However, for large corporations and wealthy individuals, this system does not work. That system is too cumbersome: slow, too many requirements, and other ‘economic deadweight’. So a secondary system works. In this ‘shadow’ system, firms create ways to borrow money, lend money, develop means of protecting against losses from investments and other necessary transactions. As economic systems mature, these latter functions become more important. Parallel to this shadow systems development and a partial reason for its creation is the need for higher returns. The need for higher returns is to offset the prospect of losses incurred from doing business or investing (such as new factories, new product lines, new financial instruments). All of this is unregulated which generally means there is no requirement for listing exactly what is being loaned to who, what kind of financial instrument is being made, and where the transactions are occuring.

The lack of transparency relates directly to why these markets exist. The traditional system is too cumbersome and slow. This is particularly true in the age of the internet…..but it is also the problem. When the ‘sub-prime’ market collapsed (and actually, only a small number of those loans failed, a majority of those loans were being paid by people who otherwise would never had the chance to own a home), the monthly payments those people made disappeared. Those monthly payments (flows) are what companies like Countrywide then ‘repackaged’ (grouped together to sell to a third party) and sold as an asset. What was a liability was sold as an asset. This possibility was created by a re-writting of laws in the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II administrations. This dismantled the a lot of the banking regulatory process created after the 1929 Crash.

Those companies which bought these repackaged loans also bought insurance policies against a possible default (Credit Default Obligations-CDO’s). These CDO’s also had monthly or quarterly or yearly payments associated with them. These were then repackaged and sold as assets. Another layer of financial instruments was created to take advantage of the opportunity to earn money. So when a small portion of the initial underlying system failed, it led to a cascading effect and other failures. The problem for those of us on the street corner down on Main Street is that when this shadow system fails, it creates fear. This fear is based on the fact that there is no ‘transparency’ in the system: who owns what, to whom is any money owed and how much has been obligated.

When that fear runs rampant, banks do not loan money (looking at the balance sheets of large banks today, April 20, 2009 you will see that those banks have large amounts of money) to any one unless it is at a high rate of interest. Basically, money disappears.

Again, those of us on main street do not feel these effects until later on in the process. This latter stage occurs because people who have invested in the stock market see their wealth disappear when the market collapses. The market collapses because when the shadow system starts to fail, companies and people need money to pay off obligations or to fill the void created by companies, institutions or individuals make when they fail to pay. The only way to get money is to sell assets: stocks and bonds, subsidiaries that are earning a profit, and similar transactions. And being relatively clever, the first to be sold are the marginally profitable (why sell the gold and diamonds, when rubies will work). However, as more of these assets hit the market, their price goes down making the amount of money to be gained from their selling much less. This in turn, leads to selling more valueable assets which face the same pressure, more on the market means less to be made, which leads to a downward spiral.

In turn, people seeing the value of their 401(k)’s, for example, decline drastically, stop buying goods or start buying cheaper goods. This leads to an increase in inventories at retail stores which stop buying from wholesalers who in turn stop buying from manufacturers. Faced with this decline in sales, all the ‘agents’ in the supply chain lay-off people. This inturn, reduces the number of people who can buy goods. Which leads to a further reduction in sales (demand) which leads to further lay-offs and the spiral continues. This is where it really impacts those of us on the street corner on main street.

Those of us who work in corrections work for state agencies which receive funding from taxes: federal (transfered back to us via grants and other means), state (directly as the annual budget) and local taxes. The budget is generally created via the legislative process. But the legislature will receive input from the administrative branch which gets its information from each agency. And an agency, will be looking ‘down the road’ at what the agency expects its costs to be in two or three years, modifying it for the year that budget is actuall proposed. The state administration will look at projected revenues and the costs of operations from the agencies and submit the budget to the legislature. The legislature follows the same process (most legislatures have a mirror budget analysis process-balance of power in order to maintain honesty in the system). After a contentious session, the budget gets passed and life goes on. However, in a period of declining revenue, cuts need to be made (particularly in those states that insist on a balanced budget). That is when we in corrections get stressed out the most: who is going to get ‘layed off’.

The Federal Government is not burdened with this balanced budget requirement. In times of financial distress, the Federal Government can run deficits by filling in the gap created by the decline in spending. The Fed can build roads, buy new fiberglass cabling, and a host of other goods and services to stimulate the economy. This is where a loan analogy can help explain the process. I go buy a house. I do not have all the money needed. I do have some and the bank is willing to loan me the money. I buy the house. Construction workers are hired, plumbers hired, electricians are hired, and a host of others. I repay the money over time. Obviously the catch here is the payback. It has to be done. In the case of the Fed, it means that a few years from now, we are going to pay more in taxes. Generally this is the case. But the pain we avoid now is offset by our ability to be better able to withstand it later (no free lunches). By stimulating the economy now, far fewer people are put out of work and that has very positive effects on everyone.

To really understand why this particular (the ‘recession’ which began in 2007) is so bad, consider this. In 1980, financial services and the financial sector accounted for approximately 5% of our national income (GDP). In 2006, that sector had grown to 40%. The only other time the United States saw a similar relationship was in the 1920’s. And the economic turmoil created then started in the same sectors: real estate and finance, financial instruments created in an unregulated market to support real estate purchases and development.

I understand this response took a lot of space on the servers at Corrections.Com, but I think that a complete response is needed. I tried as much as is possible to avoid any non-main stream explanations as is possible ( I believe I provided a completely mainstream explanation).

Again,

GO BEARS!!

 
Apr 15, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: A Broader View / Want to Start A Female Correctional Support Group

I do not know if support groups for female CO’s exist or not. You might look up (GOOGLE) support groups in general for ideas and female support groups more specifically for issues that relate to female support groups.

Hope that helps.

 
Apr 08, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Security Central / Best way to handle unruly inmate

I back mudflap on size does not matter. I have seen several ‘petite’ officers handle situations that a couple of the ‘knuckle draggers’ created. And I have seen several situations where no amount of talking or presence was going to help. Thankfully the ‘knuckle draggers’ were there. I think it takes a range of people to manage a unit: those who can talk to inmates and resolve situations and those who can ‘take care of business’. No one way succeeds all the time.

Good luck on the job interview!

 
Apr 08, 2009
Male user charst46 24 posts

Topic: Economy & Stimulus / Stimulus Package Response

It is very clear that many people do not understand what has happened in the last 2 years. Which is not difficult to realize considering that even those who made the products at the source of the problems do not understand it also or if they do, need to be prosecuted for any number of relevant crimes (fraud, failure to perform due diligence in the performance, false and misleading representation and many other possible crimes). But once the processes blew up, the only source of stability was/is the government. And considering how well the government can perform, that should be enough in itself to frighten people into understanding just how much damage a small group of people did. And then to reward that same small group by giving them bonuses….

As for spending the country out of recession, as much as many do not like the idea, it does work. When the idea was first applied, unemployment was at 25%. Two years later it was just under 15%. That is a 10% decline; the current unemployment rate is less than that (8.1% as of 4/1/09). Congress and the President panicked at the size of the deficits and reduced spending sending unemployment and the GDP in the wrong directions again. World War II is cited as the reason for getting the US out of the Depression, but people need to realize that WWII was the largest public works program in the history of the world. It was not private industry that invested in inventory and manufacturing processes, it was the United States Government spending money that did that.

It worked. The world’s largest deficits up to that time pulled the US out of the Depression.

So it is possible for a country to spend its way out of a recession. And the country had relatively mild fluctuations in the GDP afterwards. It was only after the dismantling of those controls that the country started returning to the rapid panics seen in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. And it did not take to long for that to occurr. Controls removed in the mid to late 1990’s; first speculative boom and panic: 1999-2000. Second 2007-2009 and it is not over yet.




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