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  • New to corrections

    I am a new hire getting ready to start training, and wondered what advice you guys would give to someone just starting out in corrections. Is anyone familiar with the training academy here in colorado?? I start on friday, but will do my on the job training for 3 days first.
    Also, any other females have any advice or certain concerns about working in a mens facility?? (Obviously, keep everything strictly business-I have heard stories that I find just unbelievable!) I am 5'4" and not very big, but I have been working out really hard knowing that I will have another officers back and will need to be able to hold my own if somthing should happen. I was a cop in the military, so I have a bit of experience in that department, but I also know that there is a huge difference inside prison walls, and that I have a lot to learn! How much of an issue is size, and will this make me an automatic target right away? Also, how does one establish authority with the inmates-is this something that will be taught in training, or somthing that I will learn only from experience??
    Thanks!!

  • #2
    Originally posted by coloradocat
    I am a new hire getting ready to start training, and wondered what advice you guys would give to someone just starting out in corrections. Is anyone familiar with the training academy here in colorado?? I start on friday, but will do my on the job training for 3 days first.
    Also, any other females have any advice or certain concerns about working in a mens facility?? (Obviously, keep everything strictly business-I have heard stories that I find just unbelievable!) I am 5'4" and not very big, but I have been working out really hard knowing that I will have another officers back and will need to be able to hold my own if somthing should happen. I was a cop in the military, so I have a bit of experience in that department, but I also know that there is a huge difference inside prison walls, and that I have a lot to learn! How much of an issue is size, and will this make me an automatic target right away? Also, how does one establish authority with the inmates-is this something that will be taught in training, or somthing that I will learn only from experience??
    Thanks!!
    Well, I know they told the females in my academy to avoid wearing make-up or tight uniforms. They will flirt with you a lot so be prepared.As long as you stand your ground, you will be ok.

    Comment


    • #3
      Most of the stories you have heard are probably true, I have seen some nasty things go down involving female officers and inmates.

      Do your job and take no crap from inmates or your fellow officers.

      Having said that, at my unit there are only a few females I would count on in a fight the rest would probably run the other way (it has happened before).

      The inmates are going to try you harder than they are new male officers and the staff will be suspicious of you until you "prove yourself".
      the only true rehabilitation starts with a needle............

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by WarpedJoeSI
        Well, I know they told the females in my academy to avoid wearing make-up or tight uniforms. They will flirt with you a lot so be prepared.As long as you stand your ground, you will be ok.
        Yup

        Originally posted by TX_CO
        Most of the stories you have heard are probably true, I have seen some nasty things go down involving female officers and inmates.

        Do your job and take no crap from inmates or your fellow officers.

        Having said that, at my unit there are only a few females I would count on in a fight the rest would probably run the other way (it has happened before).

        The inmates are going to try you harder than they are new male officers and the staff will be suspicious of you until you "prove yourself".
        Yup
        Be sure you're right, then go ahead
        Davy Crockett

        Never pick a fight with an old man.
        If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you
        .


        PM me if you wanna swap patches.

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        • #5
          It's True, There Is Nothing Else Like Corrections. You Will Change. You Won't Notice It. Your Family Will Though.

          "snitches Get Stitches."

          "don't Be Skeered."

          "cowboy Up."

          "don't Sweat The Small Stuff"

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the responses! I am really looking forward to this-I also have no problem having to prove myself-I can't blame anyone for that, because I have seen too many times females not willing to jump in and do their job in similar fields, and this isn't one of those jobs, imo!
            Any issues with how your families handle the stress of this kind of career choice? I am hoping to eventually get on one of the special teams-I'm sure I'll have to prove myself (again, no problem, I am willing to work hard). What kind of process does one have to go thru to qualify for such teams? I'm sure each department is different, but I would appreciate very much to hear of any experiences!

            Comment


            • #7
              I've actually been a CO here in Colorado. The academy is a joke so don't get your hopes up that they'll teach you anything substantive. They'll give you a bunch of powerpoint about policy and inmate rights and tool control, but what they won't give you is the necessary skills to actually do your job. Once you get throught the 5 weeks, find someone at the facility you'll be working that doesn't kiss butt and isn't a screw up and have them show you the ropes. Be careful of the rumor hounds, as for some reason the CO's here in Colorado are more concerned with what each other are doing than what the inmates are doing. You can advance in the Colorado system, just keep your opinions to yourself for the first little bit or you'll get tagged a "know it all", which simply means you have half a brain.

              Anyhow, you'll get into a rhythm and you'll start to fit right in. Take advantage of the training opportunities like Armed Transport, Semi Auto Transition Course etc. etc, but don't get discouraged when you are passed over for them, as Colorado has a very entrenched "good ol' boy system". Just stick with it and you'll be alright, like most of the CO's on this board say.....Corrections ain't rocket science! Good luck and say hi to Lt. Campbell.

              Oh yeah, about the "special teams". There are two types of special teams within the department the actual SWAT type team is called S.O.R.T. and they are extremely secretive about their operation. Last I counted there were only a few COI's on the team and the rest were career level LT's and CPT's. I believe the SORT Commander is still CPT Walter and the 2nd in Command is LT Houston, but it's been a while so don't quote me. When I left there were still no females on the SORT team due to the EXTREMELY intense academy where they sleep deprive you and beat you up for a little over a week. There was one female in Denver though who's name I can't remember, that was hell bent on getting onto SORT however the entrance PT test required a Run, situps, pushups, and pullups and she couldn't complete enough pushups and pullups. The next bit of info should alarm you and hopefully open your eyes to the CDOC..... Because this female couldn't perform to SORT entrance standards (which had no gender differences), they were toying with creating a female standard which would obviously be lower than the male standard. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd like to know that the female SORT member coming in after me had to face the same rigourous standards as the males on the team.

              The other type of team is ERT (Emergency Response Team) which is at the facility level, whereas SORT is a statewide team. ERT is basically made up of the facility yes men who typically have little or no tactical experience as a foundation. You can easily get onto ERT, but most of the facilities make you wait your one year probationary period before you join. Be advised, it is not any great feat to join ERT, they will take anyone, there is a 275lb team member (not athletic or muscular) currently on the Denver Complex ERT team. This team member can't even run the length of the yard, which is dangerous in my opinion.

              So, now that I have talked horribly about the department, I'll say that it is a good career with good benefits and possibilities if you can wade through the crap and make it to the other side. Again, good luck and keep your eye on the prize.
              Last edited by correctionsguy; 04-01-2007, 09:49 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Lets see, where to begin... I have been an officer for 9 years in a male prison and it has been a learning experience. I have seen women come through who were so soft and insecure about themselves it took no time at all for them to get jammed up by a con. They were all given the option to resign before they were terminated and unlike many of our male counterparts in female joints they weren't charged with a crime although it's a state law that says it's a crime! They make every female C/O's job harder. Don't be soft! Don't get jammed up! I have seen women come through who were straight up B*****S and just got all the inmates in an uproar! Don't be that way either! Right down the middle of that is were to be. Let them know you are not there for their games or amusement but don't go super cop on them because you think you have something to prove. Be fair and consistant in how you handle them and how you handle yourself.
                As far as your size and/or willingness to do your job... When the time comes, male or female, big or small, you will do what you have to do. If can't or won't you will get someone hurt, if not worse.
                So far everyone has hit the nail on the head. I never wear make up inside, I always order my pants to big, no perfume. I had an IM tell me I smelled good once, it was my detergent, I no longer use scented anything! And I would guess from the reaction he got he probably never had the "balls" to say it to another female! LOL! I notice that I walk different at work, I call it my stroll. You will get watched as much by other staff as you will IM's just prove yourself and it doesn't hurt too bad! Sounds like you have a good attitude about what you are getting into. Keep it up there are days it gets tough and a good attitude helps. Not sure what more I can give you, hope this helps.
                Congrats! and Good Luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  This can't be said enough:

                  Be careful of the rumor hounds
                  Be careful of the rumor hounds
                  Be careful of the rumor hounds
                  "Keep up the good fight, pass the word, and teach others to fight back when unjustly assaulted--be it on the street or in the courtroom. Self-defense is a normal, moral act. So teach your family, friends, and students practical defense against both physical and legal marauders." by Jerry VanCook www.PrisonOfficer.Org

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I work consistently with 4 female officers on shift, so I might be able to offer some advice. It is true that you will be tested and that you will have it a lot harder then a male skinner officer. What you will be taught is to be fair, firm and consistent with the inmates and that is exactly what you should do.

                    Don't let the inmates intimidate you but stand your ground and keep an authoritative tone to your voice. They will also be more talkative to you because they feel they can manipulate your good nature. Don't hesitate to write an inmate up if you feel the situation warrants it and always let the inmate know you are writing them up. You can't have feelings or pity for the inmates and for god's sake if you do don't let it show. Carry yourself confidently and always be professional. Don't let them whistle or catcall you when you walk the run or unit.

                    Inmates will ask you stupid questions just to start a conversation with you. Be short and to the point. One thing I tell the new officers that I am training is that if a inmate is asking if they can do something the answer is almost always no. The reason is because if they could do it, they would already know it and wouldn't be asking you.

                    You will encounter two ways of thinking from co-workers that are male. One will be they will be protective of the new female officer and will keep an eye on you. The other will be she needs to be able to handle the inmates on her own and show the inmates that she means business. Unfortunately female officers have to prove to both inmates and her fellow officers that she isn't weak and can handle a situation when it arises.

                    Don't hesitate to ask your fellow experienced officers how they would handle a hypothetical situation. Always go over in your mind hypothetical situations on how you would handle different situations.

                    Above all else don't compromise yourself.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Excellent advice above, with one exception. Everyone, male and female, has to prove themselves with both the staff and inmates. And you have to prove yourself every single day. It's not only women who have to prove themselves. But, it's women who have a much more difficult time proving themselves in a male prison than men do, and I'm certain that it's the same for men in a women's prison.
                      "Keep up the good fight, pass the word, and teach others to fight back when unjustly assaulted--be it on the street or in the courtroom. Self-defense is a normal, moral act. So teach your family, friends, and students practical defense against both physical and legal marauders." by Jerry VanCook www.PrisonOfficer.Org

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bane
                        I work consistently with 4 female officers on shift, so I might be able to offer some advice. It is true that you will be tested and that you will have it a lot harder then a male skinner officer. What you will be taught is to be fair, firm and consistent with the inmates and that is exactly what you should do.

                        Don't let the inmates intimidate you but stand your ground and keep an authoritative tone to your voice. They will also be more talkative to you because they feel they can manipulate your good nature. Don't hesitate to write an inmate up if you feel the situation warrants it and always let the inmate know you are writing them up. You can't have feelings or pity for the inmates and for god's sake if you do don't let it show. Carry yourself confidently and always be professional. Don't let them whistle or catcall you when you walk the run or unit.

                        Inmates will ask you stupid questions just to start a conversation with you. Be short and to the point. One thing I tell the new officers that I am training is that if a inmate is asking if they can do something the answer is almost always no. The reason is because if they could do it, they would already know it and wouldn't be asking you.

                        You will encounter two ways of thinking from co-workers that are male. One will be they will be protective of the new female officer and will keep an eye on you. The other will be she needs to be able to handle the inmates on her own and show the inmates that she means business. Unfortunately female officers have to prove to both inmates and her fellow officers that she isn't weak and can handle a situation when it arises.

                        Don't hesitate to ask your fellow experienced officers how they would handle a hypothetical situation. Always go over in your mind hypothetical situations on how you would handle different situations.

                        Above all else don't compromise yourself.
                        I will be starting the academy for sheriff's detentions this summer and I am female. This is really good advice. I will definitely keep all this in mind for my future job in detentions. Thanks for posting this.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The best short advice I can give is to learn to say "NO" and mean it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yeah, if you can't say "No" and mean it, don't waste your time even trying to work supervising people who are in custody.
                            "Keep up the good fight, pass the word, and teach others to fight back when unjustly assaulted--be it on the street or in the courtroom. Self-defense is a normal, moral act. So teach your family, friends, and students practical defense against both physical and legal marauders." by Jerry VanCook www.PrisonOfficer.Org

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Listen

                              For the love of god please listen to your fellow CO's. Talk to the one that have been there awhile and trained a few other people. If a sergeant or a LT. or even a Capt. tell you where and how to do something just do it. I have a new cadet that used to be a security guard. She won't listen to what anyone tells her. All she does is keep a chair warm. She gets defensive if you try to talk to her and this both males and females. Plus she is oblivious to her surroundings.

                              Bane you know exactly who this is.

                              Just pay attention and learn the job as fast as you can. The learning curve is steep in this job.
                              It's a CERT thing. You wouldn't understand.

                              Comment

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