February 20, 2018

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Watch Your Mouth: Corrections Officers Must Be Careful Talking in Front of Jail Inmates

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for corrections. And Today’s Tip deals with talking in front of jail inmates. 

Do not forget that inmates are watching what you do. They are listening to what you say.

Like everyone else, custody officers get used to their surroundings after enough time on the job. The walls, the fences, and the sounds of gates and doors closing become the norm. Some days it’s a struggle to remember that they’re surrounded by people who have been convicted or accused of, crimes. I know it might sound hard to believe, but my friends who work in corrections tell me that it’s true.  

If you are not careful, you may forget your surroundings when you are talking to other staff or talking on the phone. Please do not forget that inmates are watching what you do. They are listening to what you say. Talking to another staff member about last night’s game is one thing. Talking about the door that won’t lock, the disturbance in the other housing area or this weekend’s staffing shortage is quite another. 

Inmates should not know about security issues. Inmates should not hear the details of an incident that occurred in another part of the facility. Inmates might use this information to plan an escape, to injure another inmate, or to hurt a staff member. Some people in our custody are skilled manipulators who will use everything they can to their benefit.   

Before you open your mouth, look around. Intentionally identify everyone within earshot.  

Avoid giving inmates leverage. Don’t talk about custody issues where inmates can hear you. Please do your part to keep security issues secure. 

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

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