January 30, 2024

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Complacency in Corrections

Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for all my friends in corrections. And it’s about a topic near and dear to my heart – complacency. 

If you work in a correctional facility, you know it’s no place for complacency.

Complacency is that feeling we get when we’re satisfied with our abilities to the point we ignore or fail to see risks. Complacency is the opposite of situational awareness. As the saying goes, routine builds familiarity and familiarity breeds contempt. Complacency can cause us to operate on expected outcomes. It dulls our senses toward the probability that something unexpected will occur. In short, complacency kills. 

If you work in a correctional facility, you know it’s no place for complacency. Why? Because the risks and dangers never go away. Statistics don’t lie folks. Inmate-on-staff assaults, injuries, escape attempts, and the ever-present contraband threat. These challenges plague our correctional system each and every day. 

How do we avoid complacency in correctional facilities? It starts with recognizing how complacency negatively affects operations. Complacency in use of force, weapons and control devices, and inmate control can get staff hurt or killed. Complacency also allows contraband to enter our facilities. It is complacency that can result in inmate manipulation and inappropriate staff-inmate relationships.  

So, what’s the answer? Diligence. Know the dangers of complacency. Where possible, change up the routine. Vary the times you do safety checks or the pattern you follow to distribute meals or linens. When it’s quiet on the unit, be on guard. Don’t get comfortable. Ask yourself “what if” to help anticipate and prepare for things that could go wrong.  

We use training to teach our folks how to do a wide variety of things the right way. Pointing out the direct consequences of complacency should be an integral part of your training program. Use policy, procedures, and training to emphasize the battle against complacency. 

Let diligence be the standard. Leave complacency where it belongs – outside of our correctional facilities. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off. 

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