The Fly Behind The Wall
By Connie Alleyne
Each facility has it's own culture but being agile is key to a successful career. Here with me, you can expect some edu-tainment. I will tell you stories that you may both find entertaining and educational. Join me Behind the Wall!
The Fly Behind The WallMar 14, 2022
The impact of toxic employees in the Correctional environment
Things Correctional Staffers Need to Know
Role Ambiguity: How do we stop it and minimize the confusion it can cause?
Are we ready? Risk management is Key!
Information is POWER!
Season 3: Where are we now?
Connie, what am I suppose to do? ---I think one of my colleagues is in a relationship with an offender
Many custodial facilities have implemented anti-fraternization policies that regulate contact between staff and inmates. These policies either limit, or altogether prohibit, interactions between employees and current or former inmates and their families. Offenders cannot consent to any relationship behind the wall so this violation will end in termination and possibly jail time, depending on the details. If you are aware of any such relationship you have an obligation to come forward and report it. You never know, you may be doing your colleague a favor.
We are not supposed to have compassion or empathy but we do. We hear the offender stories through our clinical interactions and they can be heartbreaking. We fight the good fight and advocate for treatment, that advocacy is not always supported. Over time, we get tired of fighting, we lose the ability to continue to care and we find ways to disconnect. Folks on the outside just don't know how hard it can be to get programming and introduce new treatment modalities. Sometimes, it is hard to identify but when we do, managers must support the service providers to help mitigate some of the pressure and avoid burnout.
Leader As The Advocate
Mentorship Behind the Wall
We all could use some professional development. Individuals who work in Corrections are no different. Unfortunately, there are not many facilities with a formal program available for employees. If you are interested in mentorship, it is important that you identify the person who you would like to serve as a mentor and discuss the possibility of establishing a mentor/ mentee relationship. You also have the option of speaking to your supervisor about this need and asking for some guidance. Know that you do not have to do this alone, there are many people who would be willing to share their experiences and insights.
Being A Change Agent
Change is inevitable. As civilians we come into Corrections with diverse backgrounds, diversity of thought and a willingness to make meaningful contributions. Corrections is built on a traditional, paramilitary foundation that may not be so willing to embrace change. However, when you have done your due diligence and are ready to bring an issue forward Custody will listen. You need to be certain of the systemic implications as it relates to safety, security and the fiscal commitment. You've got this!
Walking the Tight Rope
Connie, what am I suppose to do? ---Getting Staff to Cooperate
Facilities have a lot going on and your staff is not interested in the layers of politics. They want to come in and get their respective jobs done. With that said, as a leader, you need to understand the politics and the impact they can have on your team. It is imperative that you are transparent in your communications and explain to them what is happening. Clarification always seems to work, they may not like it but will understand and respect you.
Civilian employees bring a wealth of diverse experience and knowledge to the industry. Unfortunately the culture, in some facilities, is not one that is particularly inclusive of civilian employees and their expertise. If adequately trained, civilian employees can be a reliable source of intelligence to support the mission, vision, and goals of the institution. Of this 700,000 employee industry, civilians account for approximately 175,000 unheard voices. How powerful would it be for us to unlock their silence and work together seamlessly to achieve the mission?
Civilian Corrections Academy
Alleyne & Co. LLC understands how challenging it can be to work in the correctional environment, having worked in the environment for almost two decades. Adding COVID-19 to the equation makes it substantially difficult. Our mission is to serve as a resource to civilian employees by providing them with the crucial skills and insights needed for a successful and safe career in the Correctional System. Enhancing professionalism in Corrections; prisons, jails, detention and community services is an added bonus. In this time of prison reform, Alleyne & Co. LLC endeavors to positively influence the mindset of the people who will work directly with the offender population; that impact will go far beyond those who participate in training. This hybrid model of training is a much needed departure from how they have always done it. This training is for civilians by a civilian and not by an officer who lacks the soft skills and ability to relate to the civilian experience.
Gender Behind the Wall
It can be very difficult as a woman in law enforcement. Sometimes we struggle to be heard and are underestimated. We put a great deal of pressure on ourselves to prove that we deserve a seat at the table and that we add value to departments. Being intentional about my value and contributions was the approach I took.
COVID-19 Behind the Wall
During this unprecedented time in the world we have a deadly virus spreading behind the wall. To-date, many staff and offender lives have been lost. The environment was created for safety and security, not to manage infectious diseases. Yes, there are a number of protocols that are in place to help protect the staff and offender population but we have never seen anything like this. People in jails, prisons, and detention centers continue to be at extreme risk of infection from COVID-19. More safety precautions are being put in place but the administration is doing all that they can amidst the rising conversation of prison reform.
Fear: Is it ok to be afraid?
Fear is a human emotion. Despite this expectation for employees to be able to disconnect from what they see, the reality is that there are things that happen that cause you to pause and feel the feeling of fear. It is not easy managing the vicarious traumas that we are exposed to on a daily basis. As civilians we have to remain situationally aware and never ignore that gut feeling; your intuition is rarely wrong.
Connie, what am I supposed to do? --- Report Writing
When you are asked to write a report, write the report. There is no need to make more of the situation than there is. Incidents happen all the time and you want to make certain that you have accurately recorded all of the details as you saw it. Never compromise yourself or misrepresent yourself.
Welcome Back! Season 2
Connie has been a busy bee, doing her darnedest to make sure that the voice of the civilian is at the table. Connie takes the time in this first episode back to give an update on Alleyne & Co LLC and all the new developments with the Civilian Corrections Academy. An overview of the eight module training curriculum, "A Civilian in Their House", is provided and some updates as to what we can expect from this season. New episodes will drop every Monday for 15 weeks!
Join us Behind the Wall!
Episode 17: Growing old not so gracefully behind the wall
Episode 16: Reality of Working Behind the Wall
Episode 15: Conflict Behind The Wall
Can we manage conflict behind the wall without getting into physical confrontations? Yes, it is possible but it takes effort and transparent communication.
Episode 13: Advocating Behind the Wall
Episode 14: Discretion
Episode 12: Mental Illness Behind The Wall
Episode 11: New Life Behind the Wall
Episode 10: Nutrition Behind the Wall
Episode 9: Healthcare Behind The Wall
The world of corrections can be a very unforgiving environment and should you withhold any appropriate level of care that could mean your license and livelihood. It is not an environment where anyone is willing to take any chances with the lives of offenders.