Today another inmate in Decatur, Alabama escaped prison. Theodore Dewayne Lockett worked a full day at his assigned employer, but when officers arrived to pick him up, he was gone.
You’ve probably heard of the psychopathic-like inmates who escaped from the Maximum Security Prison in New York. The investigation suggested that a staff member was involved in aiding the escape. One was killed and the other one shot and captured. Since then, another incident of an inmate escaping occurred in North Carolina.
So, how does it happen?
Do they come up with an explosive prison break you see in Hollywood? No. More times than not, it involves fraternization of staff. They influence people like you and me. It the correctional world it’s called the ‘Set-up.’ Consider these individuals as ‘streets psychologists’ with extensive years of real life experience, and perhaps used these ‘smarts’ a survival tool in their given environments.
So, how do we prevent it?
The following recommendations will help you avoid being set up and, like on the Matrix, you will see their attempts to manipulate you in slow motion and from a mile away.
First, we have come across an old, but excellent guide for self-examination of professional boundaries: The Daily Dozen
- Do you look forward to seeing a particular inmate when you come to work?
- Have you done anything with an inmate you would not want your family or supervisor to know about?
- Would you be reluctant to have a co-worker observe your behavior for a whole day?
- Do you talk about personal matters with inmates?
- Do you believe you can ask an inmate to do personal favors for you?
- Have you ever received personal advice from an inmate?
- Have you said anything to an inmate that you would not want tape-recorded?
- Do you have thoughts and fantasies of touching a particular inmate? Does this extend into planning how you can be alone with the inmate?
- Do you think you have the right to touch an inmate wherever and whenever you want?
- Do you have the feeling of not being able to wait to share good/bad news with a particular inmate?
- Do you think inmates are not allowed to say no to you, no matter what you ask?
- Have you ever allowed inmates to talk about sexual experiences or sexual fantasies, or tell sexual jokes in your presence?
*If you answered yes to any of these, you are at risk for developing an inappropriate relationship with an inmate. You should discuss this matter with a supervisor as soon as possible.*
Second, we recommend the following books as required reading for anyone employed with the Department of Corrections or the Bureau of Prisons:
Games Criminals Play, and How You Can Profit by Knowing Them it breaks down the anatomy and structure of the Set-ups, or the inmates’ plots. The real life cases in this book are not only informative but intensely interesting.
Verbal Judo helps you to communicate more confidently and persuasively in any situation. It shows you how to listen and speak more effectively, engage others through empathy, and use proven strategies to successfully express your point of view—and take the lead in most disputes.
Lastly, while the expectation is to be professional and treat everyone with dignity and respect, there needs to be “professional distancing and boundaries.” Being professional and maintaining our boundaries is not only policy, it is good security.