T Nation

New Job - Corrections Officer

I am beginning a new job on January 7th. I’ll begin training to be a corrections officer for Michigan Department of Corrections. I am fairly sure there are other corrections officers on this board. Anyone have any good advice for me? Thanks.

[quote]StevenF wrote:
I am beginning a new job on January 7th. I’ll begin training to be a corrections officer for Michigan Department of Corrections. I am fairly sure there are other corrections officers on this board. Anyone have any good advice for me? Thanks. [/quote]

I hear you can release a successful rap album fairly easily after this.

[quote]StevenF wrote:
I am beginning a new job on January 7th. I’ll begin training to be a corrections officer for Michigan Department of Corrections. I am fairly sure there are other corrections officers on this board. Anyone have any good advice for me? Thanks. [/quote]

I thought your were a fireman. Did you get tired of it, or maybe injured?

[quote]JEATON wrote:

[quote]StevenF wrote:
I am beginning a new job on January 7th. I’ll begin training to be a corrections officer for Michigan Department of Corrections. I am fairly sure there are other corrections officers on this board. Anyone have any good advice for me? Thanks. [/quote]

I thought your were a fireman. Did you get tired of it, or maybe injured?
[/quote]

nope that wasn’t me. I would love to sit around and get paid to do nothing for hours!

[quote]StevenF wrote:

[quote]JEATON wrote:

[quote]StevenF wrote:
I am beginning a new job on January 7th. I’ll begin training to be a corrections officer for Michigan Department of Corrections. I am fairly sure there are other corrections officers on this board. Anyone have any good advice for me? Thanks. [/quote]

I thought your were a fireman. Did you get tired of it, or maybe injured?
[/quote]

nope that wasn’t me. I would love to sit around and get paid to do nothing for hours! [/quote]

Did you once use a fraternal order shield or something like it as an avatar? I guess I am just mis remembering.

no sir!

I remember thinking this thread was an interesting read:

Steven,

After having done time in the joint, other than what you will learn from being a CO (Corrections Officer, and this is how people will address you). I would recommend ALWAYS showing respect to inmates. Don’t be submissive or Mr. Nice-Nice, but show them respect, as many of them are pissed for being locked up.

The overall sentiment will be inmates hating cops and vise versa, but if you show respect you will be ok. Trust NO inmate, and you might even be swayed into selling cellphones in the joint (which can bring in up to $500 per phone), but you could lose your job.

Just be on the defensive, clock your check, enjoy the pension and benefits, and play sudoku all day. You are about to get paid bank to babysit grown men.

[quote]MaximusB wrote:
Steven,

After having done time in the joint, other than what you will learn from being a CO (Corrections Officer, and this is how people will address you). I would recommend ALWAYS showing respect to inmates. Don’t be submissive or Mr. Nice-Nice, but show them respect, as many of them are pissed for being locked up.

The overall sentiment will be inmates hating cops and vise versa, but if you show respect you will be ok. Trust NO inmate, and you might even be swayed into selling cellphones in the joint (which can bring in up to $500 per phone), but you could lose your job.

Just be on the defensive, clock your check, enjoy the pension and benefits, and play sudoku all day. You are about to get paid bank to babysit grown men. [/quote]

Good advice here. I know a lot of corrections officers. One is still working in Rikers and he says he loves it. The others I know are in county lockups and they also love their jobs. In county, they see all the same guys back in time after time. So they get to know them. Often they have to work extra shifts and all of them make mega bucks. With low senority, you get stuck with holidays and the worst shifts.

One I know pretty well retired a few years ago after getting in his 20… at age 46.

Rob

Do a couple of years then drop a mixtape, pretend to be affiliated with a real crime syndicate, and claim you’re “the biggest BAWSE that (we’ve) seen thus far.”

Did 14 months as a CO. You will be called a cop, you will feel the most uncomfortable as you ever have in your life, the job is monotonous, very boring and routine. Don’t try to do more than your job, meaning don’t enforce rules that your peers don’t. Do you’re job, show respect but don’t be a push over. Much better to be a hardass and lighten up as the inmates get to know your work habits than the other way around. Biggest thing I would offer as advice is to get some comfortable insoles for your boots. Standing on concrete for 12+ hours a day wrecks your joints after a few weeks. Look professional and do your job. It’s easy once you get a daily routine down.

Watch out for fleece johnson

[quote]Ballin4Christ32 wrote:
Did 14 months as a CO. You will be called a cop, you will feel the most uncomfortable as you ever have in your life, the job is monotonous, very boring and routine. Don’t try to do more than your job, meaning don’t enforce rules that your peers don’t. Do you’re job, show respect but don’t be a push over. Much better to be a hardass and lighten up as the inmates get to know your work habits than the other way around. Biggest thing I would offer as advice is to get some comfortable insoles for your boots. Standing on concrete for 12+ hours a day wrecks your joints after a few weeks. Look professional and do your job. It’s easy once you get a daily routine down. [/quote]

thank you. Did you end up quitting or what?

[quote]MaximusB wrote:
Just be on the defensive, clock your check, enjoy the pension and benefits, and play sudoku all day. You are about to get paid bank to babysit grown men. [/quote]

One of my coworkers is getting ready to retire from my agency, his second retirement. The first was from corrections. He was a guard, and while working nights did the work for his master’s degree in social work. He was our children’s crisis guy for maybe 10 years. Perfect job for him as he is completely unflappable when things get bad and also doesn’t mind long stretches of boredom.

4 things that you should know that you wont be told in training.

They (inmates) all have aids.
Don’t bring anything in for them.
Don’t take anything out from them.
If they don’t have a reason to be out of their cells, they need to be in their cells.

These things may be politically uncorrect, but it will keep you safe, and keep your job.

A couple of more thoughts- treat them with respect whether or not they deserve it. Don’t show fear, even if you are peeing down your leg, they can smell it. They are not your friends. Your first name is Officer. Start out hard, and dial it back until you find where you are comfortable at. If things even look like they are going south, call for assistance before things kick off.

Don’t underestimate any of them. They may be 5’4" and 140 pounds, but they may know how to fight. If you are issued tools, (spray, etc) use that, don’t put your hands on people. When you put your hands on someone, do it with authority. When you make that decision, you should have already called for assistance.

Don’t try to be soft, if you get to that point, your choice is made, make sure you get control. Learn to yell, and yell loud. Know who is behind and to the sides of you. Grow a big bladder, and learn how to go without eating for long periods of time. When they teach you take-downs, don’t think about them, just learn them, and know them. When you have to restrain someone, you won’t think about the movements neccessary, your training will kick in.

Stay in shape. Try to look as sharp as you can. Grow thick skin, they will harass you as much as possible, but don’t give it back to them. Open bean holes standing to the side- they can reach through, grab your duty belt, and stab you. When you are looking for contraband, ask yourself where would I hide my dope/cigarettes/booze/porn/stinger/shank etc if I had it, then look there.

Don’t trust a one of them for a minute. Be prepared to use things to gain and advantage- Don’t be afraid to use a radio or a flashlight as a blunt instrument, if it comes down to it. A folger adams lockbox key held between the pointer and middle fingers can be real useful. If you work a segregation unit, and you have someone that likes to gas you- buy a yellow rain slicker, and wear it when feeding. Verbal abuse is better then a cocktail. Don’t bluff them, they will call it.

Due Dilligence- 20 months working in a max custody prison, (at 19-20 no less) and 4 years as a county jailer.

Also as far as training goes- practice sprinting, slowing down for about 5 seconds to assess the situation, and then being in the fight of your life. Practice hand and grip strength. You can muscle a lot of the cons down, but there are a lot of them you don’t stand a chance with. They have all day to lift weights, you don’t. Plan on rushing to an alarm, assessing the situation, and then fighting. Futhermore, plan on fighting someone who’s only positive activity all day is lifting weights for two hours.

Lastly- and probably the most important behind my four simple rules in the introduction-

If two inmates are fighting, or even killing on another, wait for a second officer. It may be a ploy to mess you up, and even if it isn’t let the inmate get hurt first, make sure your at least evenly matched.

If an officer loses a cell block- and he or she is in there with 50 to 100- mosey on in and get your ass beat with them- the inmates are not that dedicated.

Lastly- if you find yourself plumb damn beat- IE surronded, with weapons, give up those keys and lock yourself in a cell. If you find that your getting your butt whipped, but your holding ground, fight, fight, fight- don’t give up, and don’t surrender those damn keys- I have worked almost my entire life in corrections- if a CO is locked in a cell, then they get negotiators, if there is a brother or sister in blue fighting for their life- then they can’t get negotiators, because there are prison guards tearing down that door to assist.

Again- that comes from my above advice- if a CO is fighting for his or her life- it don’t much matter what standard operating procedures, policy etc. are- Those who grew up under the old school will gladly take a chance of sacrificing there job to get you out of there. If you treat the inmates with respect, but set your boundaries- you may have more help then you expected, but don’t count on it.

My best example- I worked in the honor dorm in a max custody prison for a while- it was count time, which meant time to rack in- we had a tool that didn’t belong there- he was on the first tier, and proceeded to tell the sgt. off, a really decent man in his 60’s who had worked correction in TX, OK, and KS, I came running down from the upper tier, clinking my cuffs- (again, find something that sends a message that you are gonna fight, and fight hard, whatever that may be, shaking spray, clinking cuffs etc)

The inmate told the sgt. to call off his guard dog- (was a lot bigger at 19…) The sgt. asked him if he was refusing to lockdown- I looked on the tier, and the first 5 or so inmates were out of there cells, but they weren’t eyeballing the CO’s. We treated them fair, and decent. They were not our friends- but they sure as hell didn’t want officer asshole to show up tommorrow if we got our asses beat- they were hanging out in case we needed a hand.

Second best story- an intensive management unit officer (IE- violent inmates they are trying to get back into general pop) was walking his inmates to the recreation yard- one of them got a piece of steel pipe- and busted his head open, knocking him out- again, he treated the inmates with respect, fair, and decent- several of the violent- non general pop inmates- called for assistance on the disabled officers radio, and restrained the inmate with the pipe.

Last story- We had a civilian storekeeper cut in the neck with a box cutter- I was in a tower that night and couldn’t get a clear shot, and did not know what was occuring- again, inmates carried her to the clinic for a lifeflight, and even assisted in fighting the armed inmate- Treat em with respect, right up until the point that they don’t deserve it based on their current actions, regardless of what they did in the past.

I know from experience- don’t seek out what they are in for- once you know, you can’t treat a chester the same.

[quote]BarneyFife wrote:
Also as far as training goes- practice sprinting, slowing down for about 5 seconds to assess the situation, and then being in the fight of your life. Practice hand and grip strength. You can muscle a lot of the cons down, but there are a lot of them you don’t stand a chance with. They have all day to lift weights, you don’t. Plan on rushing to an alarm, assessing the situation, and then fighting. Futhermore, plan on fighting someone who’s only positive activity all day is lifting weights for two hours.

Lastly- and probably the most important behind my four simple rules in the introduction-

If two inmates are fighting, or even killing on another, wait for a second officer. It may be a ploy to mess you up, and even if it isn’t let the inmate get hurt first, make sure your at least evenly matched.

If an officer loses a cell block- and he or she is in there with 50 to 100- mosey on in and get your ass beat with them- the inmates are not that dedicated.

Lastly- if you find yourself plumb damn beat- IE surronded, with weapons, give up those keys and lock yourself in a cell. If you find that your getting your butt whipped, but your holding ground, fight, fight, fight- don’t give up, and don’t surrender those damn keys- I have worked almost my entire life in corrections- if a CO is locked in a cell, then they get negotiators, if there is a brother or sister in blue fighting for their life- then they can’t get negotiators, because there are prison guards tearing down that door to assist.

Again- that comes from my above advice- if a CO is fighting for his or her life- it don’t much matter what standard operating procedures, policy etc. are- Those who grew up under the old school will gladly take a chance of sacrificing there job to get you out of there. If you treat the inmates with respect, but set your boundaries- you may have more help then you expected, but don’t count on it.

My best example- I worked in the honor dorm in a max custody prison for a while- it was count time, which meant time to rack in- we had a tool that didn’t belong there- he was on the first tier, and proceeded to tell the sgt. off, a really decent man in his 60’s who had worked correction in TX, OK, and KS, I came running down from the upper tier, clinking my cuffs- (again, find something that sends a message that you are gonna fight, and fight hard, whatever that may be, shaking spray, clinking cuffs etc)

The inmate told the sgt. to call off his guard dog- (was a lot bigger at 19…) The sgt. asked him if he was refusing to lockdown- I looked on the tier, and the first 5 or so inmates were out of there cells, but they weren’t eyeballing the CO’s. We treated them fair, and decent. They were not our friends- but they sure as hell didn’t want officer asshole to show up tommorrow if we got our asses beat- they were hanging out in case we needed a hand.

Second best story- an intensive management unit officer (IE- violent inmates they are trying to get back into general pop) was walking his inmates to the recreation yard- one of them got a piece of steel pipe- and busted his head open, knocking him out- again, he treated the inmates with respect, fair, and decent- several of the violent- non general pop inmates- called for assistance on the disabled officers radio, and restrained the inmate with the pipe.

Last story- We had a civilian storekeeper cut in the neck with a box cutter- I was in a tower that night and couldn’t get a clear shot, and did not know what was occuring- again, inmates carried her to the clinic for a lifeflight, and even assisted in fighting the armed inmate- Treat em with respect, right up until the point that they don’t deserve it based on their current actions, regardless of what they did in the past.

I know from experience- don’t seek out what they are in for- once you know, you can’t treat a chester the same.[/quote]

20 years served as a LEO. Never served in corrections but principles are the same. OP listen to the man. He knows what he is saying.

BarneyFife,

Although I do not have anything to do with corrections, I found your posts extremely interesting and insightful.

Thanks for posting

[quote]BarneyFife wrote:

If you work a segregation unit, and you have someone that likes to gas you- buy a yellow rain slicker, and wear it when feeding. [/quote]

May I ask what this means?

Good thread