August 24, 2021

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Avoid Over Familiarity in Juvenile Detention

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for our friends in the juvenile detention profession. Today I’d like to offer some suggestions on ways to avoid overfamiliarity with juvenile detainees.

When you talk with a co-worker about the struggles you and your significant other are having at home, guess what, there are ears listening and eyes watching.

Most juvenile corrections academies and new officer orientations dedicate hours and hours of training on topics like officer corruption, ethics and honesty, use of force, and officer complacency. But academies and orientations sometimes fall short on delving deeply into avoiding overfamiliarity with offenders and detainees.

Let’s face it, many juvenile corrections officers have children of their own. Imagine if you will, a detained youth you are supervising is the same age as your child. The youth is going through a very difficult time in his or her life. They are detained and away from family and friends. That can, without a doubt, tug at even the strongest of heartstrings. Don’t fall for it!

As juvenile corrections officers, you need to understand that most juvenile detainees are very adept at befriending and manipulating staff.

Detainees listen and watch everything going on around them with great attention. When you talk with a co-worker about the struggles you and your significant other are having at home, guess what, there are ears listening and eyes watching. When you are experiencing financial problems and work a lot of overtime, yep, you guessed it. Listening ears and watching eyes.

So, what are some warning signs to watch for in yourself and co-workers that might signal an overfamiliarity problem? How about a coworker who receives personal advice or consolation from a youth. Or one who looks forward to sharing news (good or bad) with a youth. Never discuss your personal matters with youth(s). It’s just a bad idea, and an unprofessional thing to do.

So, remain alert and don’t fall prey to overfamiliarity with juvenile offenders. And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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