Even though I have been a nurse for many years, I had no prior experience working in a correctional facility, nor did the conversation of working with prisoners ever come up. Two words summed up my orientation to a correctional facility; situational awareness. In fact, situational awareness applies to become most any correctional staff member. The facility orientation provided critical, on time, and relevant information in preparing me to make informed decisions relating to the mission, vision, and values of the facility, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, how and when to retrieve policies, and where to find important information and resources for both routine and emergent situations, just to name a few of the topics that were discussed over a four-day orientation session. One lesson which had a strong impact was an article and video titled, The Sting: Anatomy of a Set-Up. The article, written by James Topham (2018) is an exceptional work which I feel should be read by all individuals who plan to work in correctional settings, or those who are already working in the system and have not read it yet. In essence, the article describes how inmates set up spider webs, so to speak, to trap and manipulate staff members through deception. If inmates are successful at this game, they can receive illegal contraband, sex, and status among peers. The only losers of this game are the staff members which can be terminated from their employment, face criminal charges, and in rare cases face death. At the end of the orientation week, I felt confident and prepared to operate from an informed perspective working in a correctional facility.
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Topham, J. (2018). The Sting: Anatomy of a set up. Retrieved on 9 Dec. 2018 at http://www.hendonpub.com/resources/article_archive/results/details?id=2836.