March 5, 2024

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Managing High-Profile Inmates

Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for my friends in corrections and it’s about dealing with high-profile inmates.

Be professional, recognize the risks, and act accordingly.

High-profile inmates are well known in the press because of the notoriety of their crimes or their celebrity status. They generate a great deal of media and public interest.

What can go wrong when these inmates enter your facility? Bad publicity, security breaches, even death or injury to the inmate, to name a few. We know these things can happen at any time. But the presence of a high-profile inmate may increase these possibilities and lead to preventable complications such as civil litigation.

The good news is all these things can be avoided just by doing what we already do. Be professional, recognize the risks, and act accordingly. The inmate must be viewed and treated as equal to all the other inmates. Grant only those privileges required by your policy and the inmate’s classification level.

Document all staff interactions, conversations, and provisions of goods or services to high-profile inmates. Limit their contact with other inmates to avoid manipulation of the inmate or attending staff. Prohibit any staff attempts to gain familiarity or personal favor. No selfies, no autographs.

Your efforts must recognize the threat posed by the inmate as well as any threats posed to the inmate. These considerations should include required staffing, use of restraints, visitation, and transportation requirements.

Establish lines of communication with all involved stakeholders. Be sure to advise and confer with officials at the courts, hospitals, and other custody facilities in the event the inmate must be moved. Consider, if possible, assigning dedicated custody staff to the high-profile inmate. Maintain and document 24/7 observation. Monitor the press and look for inaccurate statements, quotes, or stories.

A high-profile inmate could be coming to your facility tomorrow. So have a plan. Don’t get caught by surprise.

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

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