We start National Corrections Worker Week a bit early with our guest columnist’s nostalgic look at his first days as a CO. Brian Dawe discusses what training was like when he began his career in the early 1980s. He also provides a brief history on the birth of the national nonprofit, Corrections USA, created because of the mismanagement and hesitation over CO training. While great strides have been taken in officer training, it’s not an uncommon opinion that more still can be done to properly prepare officers for what corrections throws at them at every shift.
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On the Blocks – Training days past and present
By Brian Dawe
Reflecting on the past, encourgaging change for the future
“CO Dawe reporting for duty.”
“Dawe you got unit 4-3. You know how to get there?”
“Yes, sir, but what do I do?”
“Do you know how to use a phone?”
“You’ll be fine.”
It was 1982 and my first day as a CO working at the largest medium security prison in Massachusetts. I had just completed two weeks of “training”, the majority of which centered around not getting fired; don’t take sick leave, don’t come in late, don’t ask stupid questions, read your post orders and policies, obey orders, keep you’re gig line straight and your uniform sharp. There was little else except for the mandatory firearms qualification, half a day of self-defense training and an hour or so on working with restraint equipment. Primarily we studied policy and procedure so as to not expose the state to any unnecessary liability.
Here I was going into a profession where everyday 88 officers are assaulted, where communicable disease is three to five times higher than on the streets, where I was to be in control of 40 – 44 convicted felons with no weapon and not even a radio to call for help. I remember thinking when that huge metal door slammed shut behind me as I went through the sally port, “what the hell am I doing here?” More
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Regarding Taming the wild, 5/6/07
This is a great article. I have spoken to the inmates myself at the auctions and they really appreciate and relate to the wild horses. They take pride in what they have done. I can't think of a better program. Wild horses are truly special and it takes special people to take the time to understand and communicate with them.
Director, "Save a Life" Wild Horse Training Program, Wellington, NV
Regarding We are who they say we are, 4/29/07
Joseph Bouchard's article speaks to the need for a concerted effort to promote "Community Norm Change." Like most subject matter, like prison in society, there's more so than not an emphasis on sensationalism, by the media, who sit at a distance to perform their work. Very few understand,"up close and personal reporting," so they continually feed the public negativity.
It's no different from Stereotyping blacks, Hispanics, or the poor. My model to this challenge is of a macro-perspective known as the FIT Model for Community Norm Change.
Frequency of dialogue.
Intensity of dialogue and action.
Time is the leverage to make it happen, when frequency and intensity are on her side.
This process needs the concerted effort of all involved in the criminal justice system . I honor your attempt and hope that judges, probation officers, police, community volunteers, faith-based organizations, et al. will champion your cause with the assistance of a close up and personal informed media personnel.
Joseph's article represents a pivotal start out of the gates! Let me place one caveat to all of this. The Prison Community need more transparency, so that it can be seen for what it truly represents. Closed institutions like the police and prisons cater to the sensationalism of the unknown.
A former probation and parole officer, educational consultant and adjunct professor with international experience spanning the Caribbean, Canada and USA.
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Upcoming stories on Corrections.com and the Corrections Connection ezine
Focus Issues 2007
We are currently accepting submissions for all issues.
CORRECTIONS.COM FEATURE STORIES
Taming the wild
On the flatlands of northern Nevada, roughly 14,000 wild horses run free. They make up 60 percent of the feral horse population in the U.S., and are big business in Nevada, where they can be sold for ranch work, horse shows or riding off into the sunset. But first they must be tamed. More
The Estimate of Adversarial Sequence Interruption Model (EASI) might sound like a complex scientific procedure, but it is actually the protocol developed by Sandia National Laboratories to test the effectiveness of security around nuclear plant facilities. SNL used EASI to ensure terrorists couldn't sneak into the facilities and detonate bombs. More
The infamous painting Reflections' by artist Lee Teter shows a man standing at Washington DC's Vietnam Memorial. In the black granite, which is etched with the names of those that died in combat, soldiers stare back at the man while he grieves. More
American Jail Association
The American Jail Association (AJA) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting those who work in and operate our nation’s jails. AJA’s goal is to provide the best and most current information available through our American Jails magazine, extensive training seminars and publications containing information the jail professionals rely on. Learn more.
American Assn. of Anger Management Providers elects new president
The American Association of Anger Management Providers appoints a number one rated Anderson and Anderson anger management provider–Carlos R. Todd, as President. More
Triton Industries announces corporate membership
Triton Industries, Inc. located in Chicago Illinois has announced that it has become a corporate member of Corrections.com. More
American Correctional Health Services Association (ACHSA) to hold national roundtable on medication assisted therapy and harm reduction in correctional settings
Announcing a National Roundtable Meeting on Medication Assisted Therapy and Harm Reduction in Correctional Settings to be held on June 4, 2007 in conjunction with the American Correctional Health Services Association (ACHSA) 2007 Multidisciplinary Professional Development Conference in Reno, Nevada June 5-7, 2007. More
California point man
With the attention California has been getting lately about its battered corrections system, we though this profile about Robert Sillen, the point man for a federal judge charged with updating California's prison medical care system, would provide interesting insight... More
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Emotional Survival for Public Safety Personnel
This course addresses the dynamics of a public safety career. We enter as idealistic and committed employees and along the way have to find ways to avoid becoming cynical, angry and self destructive. More
Verbal Judo: Excellence in Tactical Communications
Course content helps enhance safety, diffuse dangerous situations, lessen stress at home and work. More
Sailing Into The Future With Success
Date: 6/3/07 - 6/6/07
MASCA is proud to announce their annual Conference which will be held at the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa, located in Groton, Connecticut. The conference will provide informative workshops and networking opportunities for all individuals that interact within the Judicial process. More
BJA Regional Information Sharing Conference
Date: 6/4/07 - 6/6/07
State and county executives, managers and implementers sharing key developments in the critical areas of information sharing policy; privacy and security; coordinating broad-based information-sharing initiatives; and the latest technologies and standards. More
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.
- Edgar Allan Poe