CMRJ301

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Q. 1. Correctional employees are responsible for the functionality of the jail or prison in which they are assigned to.  They are divided into two sections the security and the program section. On the security side they are responsible for the movement of all inmates and the day to day lives of the inmates. “In this role, the security staff serves as a quasi-court system within the prison facility by hearing testimony related to the alleged violation, both from the inmate, as well as witnesses that might be correctional staff members or other inmates” (APUS). They are able to hand down punishments and infractions as they see and will offer disciplinary actions as needed. They are also responsible for the safety of the inmates as well. On the other side of the correctional role is the program role. They are responsible for rehab and re integrate these inmates back into society. They can pinpoint needs and make a plan to help them, this includes levels of security, what programs they can take and what will make them productive members of society. While these staff members encounter a variety of inmates and people they also have stress which adds to their daily life. They are in regular contact with inmates, some which can be violent and high risk inmates. They are held in  the same conditions as the inmates and are subject to restricted access and sensitive information.

When people are held with those who are criminals in any capacity for long periods of time there is corruption that can happen in very different ways some minimal and some bigger. “The level of compensation for staff working in many correctional agencies is not very high. Add to that the fact that these individuals are interacting on a regular basis with criminals that are willing to pay for assistance with smuggling in prohibited items and the temptation for officer corruption becomes high” (APUS). While correctional officers should be held to a higher standard there are different levels of corruption that happens. Inmates knowing that lower wages are paid to staff members they are able to pay them money to do things such as smuggle goods into the prison, contraband such as cell phones, extra privileges within the prison like outside time, perhaps better jobs and extra perks for money. You will also see things where there is sexual relations amongst prisoners and staff members. Another would be prisoners who want to manipulate the guards by offering them money so they are able to injure other inmates, they are able to control things and get away with offences. Money seems to be the motivator to this, there is also the factor of possibly knowing one another which is why things like rings, tattoos and other personal identifiers are used in order to have the inmates not be able to blackmail officers or use that against them.

I think that training is the number one aid to the issue. Being able to identify as a supervisor if a guard is having too much contact with an inmate, if someone is seeing something that can be thought of as corrupt they are reporting it and that there are serious consequences for doing so. I don’t think the answer is minimal contact with prisoners because not everyone is bad and cant be rehabilitated but that there needs to be no personal information or contact with them. I know that paying higher wages doesn’t always happen but possibly offer incentives like housing or bonuses or something that can maybe offset some costs so that financially they are okay.

Will

U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons. (n.d.). About our agency: Mission. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.bop.gov/about/agency/agency_pillars.jsp



Q. 2. 

Corruption continues to be a significant and widespread problem throughout prisons and jails in the United States. While security measures have been implemented over the years to prevent contraband from being brought into facilities during visitation by family and friends of those incarcerated, there has been an increase in corruption among correctional staff, officers, and employees, from top administrators, through the ranks, down to the officers. Unethical behaviors by correctional staff, officers, and employees, oftentimes motivated by greed, include accepting bribes or sexual favors from inmates in exchange for smuggling in contraband into correctional facilities. Some types of illicit contraband that is smuggled into facilities by employees include: weapons, drugs, cell phones, and tobacco products (Columbia Law School, 2016).

Additional factors that may cause otherwise moral and ethical employees (“employees” encompasses all personnel who work in a correctional facility) to cross the line and engage in illegal acts can be attributed to; low paying wages, working in a negative and dangerous environment, the constant fear of being exposed to the possible threat of physical harm, lack of support and appreciation by administrators and staff, and the exposure to working with disgruntled co-workers (Pittaro, 2018).

Employees who engage in illegal acts of smuggling contraband into correctional facilities not only compromise their own personal safety and values of integrity, but also put the safety of other employees and inmates in harm’s way, as well as breaching the security of the facility and elevating the risk for escapes and/or riots. For instance, administration officials within the Rikers Island prison in New York City have attributed the rise in violence and gang activity to the increased number of weapons, particularly edged weapons or blades that have been smuggled into the facility. Also, the use of cell phones smuggled into the facilities has allowed for gang leaders and transnational criminal organizations to continue to operate their criminal enterprises from behind bars (Columbia Law School, 2016).

Throughout the United States prison administrators and other government entities have implemented various type of initiatives to combat workplace corruption in the prison system. Prisons in Los Angles County and in Atlanta focused their corruptions initiatives in response to high-profile corruption scandals. In 2011, in Los Angeles County, the FBI investigated the abuse of inmates and corrupt deputies, with the help an inmate to collect information to assist in their investigation. Top officials within the Sheriff’s Department became aware of the inmate’s cooperation with the FBI, and the inmate was transferred to another facility under a different name. As a result of the FBI’s investigation, and the Sheriff’s Department attempt to derail the investigation, 10 prison officials, including the Sheriff and Undersheriff were convicted for their roles in the abuse, corruption, and attempted cover-up. In Atlanta, the FBI initiated an investigation into a kidnapping and murder scheme that was put into motion by an inmate serving a life sentence, by using a cell phone that was smuggled into the prison by a prison guard. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Ghost Guard” uncovered the smuggling for profit of cell phones by prison guards. The guards were paid between $500 and $1000 for each cell phone by inmates. The inmates in turn used the cell phones to commit various crimes from their prison cells, to include identity theft, financial fraud, and narcotics trafficking. The investigation resulted in the seizure of more than 23,000 cell phones from a prison population of an estimate 50,000 inmates (Columbia Law School, 2016).

References

Columbia Law School (2016). Prison corruption. The problem and some potential solutions. Retrieved from https://www.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/microsites/public-integrity/files/prison_corruption_-_capi_community_contribution_-_september_2016.pdf

Pittaro, M. (2018). Why are some correctional employees corrupt? Retrieved from https://www.correctionsone.com/jail-management/articles/why-are-some-correctional-employees-corrupt-sYYEMXfDygLiAQMB/

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