Corrections Final Research Proposal

Pages: 6 (1776 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Official Operational and Administrative Duties and Responsibilities:

The principal responsibilities of employees in the custody of the HC State prison system is to (1) contain and (2) control the inmate population. The purpose of containment functions are to protect the external civilian population and society from convicted criminals; the purpose of control functions are to protect the inmates from one another. However, your most important responsibility is to ensure the physical safety of your fellow officers and other HC State employees for many reasons, including the fact that your ability to fulfill this institution's containment and control responsibilities at all times.

The HC State protocols, policies, and procedures are codified into a manual and your ability to execute your prescribed duties requires that you understand every section and subsection of that manual. The main purpose of that manual is to provide guidance based on generations of information made possible by the experiences and sacrifices of all of your predecessors, particularly in specific matters and concerns where intuition and training are insufficient in and of themselves to protect you without the benefit of hindsight.

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At this institution, you may ALWAYS ask questions about anything in the manual that you do not understand completely. You may NEVER deviate from the manual without specific authorization from a superior. Furthermore, you have an affirmative responsibility to identify any and all manual sections or subsections that you do not understand completely within your probationary employment period and to seek appropriate guidance with respect thereto.

Research Proposal on Corrections Final Assignment

Your main operational duties consist of following checklists and any and all official orders in connection with conducting inmate headcounts, controlling the movement of inmates at all times, patrolling assigned sectors, maintaining official records, enforcing any and all institutional regulations and policies through established protocols and procedures, protecting the constitutional rights of inmates, facilitating the grievance process as required by law, and ensuring the physical safety of inmates, corrections officers, and other institutional employees and visitors at all times.

Life and Death on the Inside:

The gentleman pictured on my right is Sergeant William Steinholtz who was a corrections officer at this institution from September 14, 1999 until his watch ended on the afternoon of June 20th, 2007 when he was killed by an inmate. Sergeant Steinholtz neglected to enforce Regulation 221.15 prohibiting any plastic eating utensils in inmate residence units. He had allowed the inmate convicted of his murder the unauthorized privilege of a plastic spoon as a reward for his cooperation and for providing helpful intelligence on prison gang activity on prior occasions. Sergeant Steinholtz died 12 minutes after the broken end of that plastic spoon pierced his jugular vein.

According to the inmate who took Sergeant Steinholtz from his family at the age of 31, he genuinely liked Sergeant Steinholtz, but had received a direct order from his "shot caller" to murder the Sergeant. The inmate expressed remorse but believed he had no other alternative because disobeying the order would have resulted in his murder at the hands of his own gang. The history of Regulation 221.15 goes back almost 40 years to the first violent assault in this institution perpetrated by a broken plastic spoon.

Most of the individual policies and procedures in the HC State Prison Manual represent tragedies and other crimes of opportunity and of design that have occurred in the past. In many cases, failure to abide strictly by the manual will result in a repeat of the tragedy or crime that a specific policy or procedure was intended to prevent. Therefore, you may NEVER deviate from the manual on your own initiative.

On the other hand, the manual is not perfect; in fact, every update that is distributed during your career is proof that the manual itself is continually evolving and improving by incorporating input and observation of prison operations. On some occasions, your supervisor may suggest a specific interpretation of a stated regulation or policy that may conflict with your understanding of the manual. It is your duty to seek guidance and to follow your supervisor's interpretation of the manual.

ALWAYS conduct your duties in the most humane way possible and in accordance with applicable laws, policies, and procedures. NEVER befriend or trust an inmate or allow yourself to be manipulated by inmates in any way. Remember that anytime inmates are not confined to their cells, they outnumber you at least 20-to-1 and that you are essentially unarmed. Institutional policies and procedures and the specific orders of your superiors are your only real protection in this dangerous environment in which we work to protect society from its most dangerous individuals.

Prisonization from Inmate's Perspective:

There are definitely rules to surviving in prison; they are as follows:

1. Lone individuals are targets for predators. You are much safer as part of a group than as an individual. Racial identity and gang affiliation determine your identity on the inside. Regardless of your personal feelings about race and ethnicity, when you're on the inside, you gravitate immediately to the social group that most closely reflects your racial and ethnic identity. As a Caucasian man, if you see only black and Hispanic groups in the yard and one group of white Aryans militant types, you go straight to the general area of the white Aryans. Maintain a respectful distance but establish immediately that you know which group is yours on the inside.

2. Until you are accepted as a member of a specific group, do not accept any unsolicited favors from other inmates, ever. There are strict codes of repaying debts on the inside and no favor comes without a much higher price than it is worth. Refuse any favor unequivocally and without offending or "disrespecting" anyone in the process. Do not accept cigarettes ("No thanks, I'm trying to quit); do not accept a free roll at lunch ("No thanks, I'm full); and do not accept any offer from any individual inmate to "watch your back." The inmate who offers to "watch you back" is looking for an opportunity to exploit you by generating a debt on your part. He MAY be a problem when you refuse his help; he WILL be a bigger problem if you accept his "generosity."

3. Avoid direct eye contact with inmates you do not know but do not look down if your eyes meet. Don't look away either and don't let anyone stare you down. Avoid this problem by practicing the art of "not noticing" someone in your bathroom mirror before you go away. You do this by not blinking while you are looking at each other but only after you have casually shifted your gaze away from them. Any sign of weakness, intimidation, or fear will be noticed immediately and exploited.

4. If you are "called out" or threatened with violence, respond appropriately by pretending you are not afraid to fight, face the individual and throw the hardest punch of your life even if the guy is twice your size. You may get beat up a bit and you will get punished. But there is a good chance that you may never have to fight again while you're inside. Back down, allow someone to invade your personal space, push you, or intentionally disrespect you (especially in front of other inmates), and you will have a much harder time inside.

5. Having to fight beats getting fucked, even if you lose the fight. Rape does happen in many prisons but most victims are those who are not part of a group, those who allow themselves to become indebted by accepting "favors," those who do not respond when they are disrespected, and (especially) those who demonstrate fear and a reluctance to fight if they have to.

6. Follow staff instructions and the rules of the institution but do not appear to other inmates to be unnecessarily cooperative with or friendly to the guards. If you must address a concern or a problem with a guard, remember that almost everything you do inside is being watched by other inmates. Talk to staff in the most private way possible and be aware of your body language at the time. Inmates are experts at interpreting unspoken communication and can tell from the other side of the yard whether you're complaining to a guard or being questioned or warned by a guard. Make sure you look like the conversation is not voluntary on your end from the view of a distant observer.

7. Never be perceived as a "rat." The lowest status of anybody in prison are those who inform on other inmates, rapists, and sexual offenders, especially child molesters. They are housed separately for their own protection and are often the first (and most serious) victims of violence during any kind of prisoner uprising or rebellion.

8. Watch you back (literally and figuratively) as much as possible at all times and try to imagine ever bad case scenario that could arise from your behavior at all times.

Corrections Officer's Recollection of a Riot:

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