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You Will be Dead to Me
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 03/19/2018

Cemetery The following is an installment in "Icebreakers 101: Hello, My Name is Problem", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.

I will conclude this book with a little corrections soul baring. I have had hundreds of students over the years. Dozens of them have gone to work in our correctional facilities. I am very proud of them and realize that they help protect me as well as others.

I taught them how to enhance safety through contraband control. Of course, one has to learn contraband tricks in order to foil them. Unfortunately, it is a number’s game – with many quiet successes comes a single, yet loud failure. One of my students used some of these tricks to help a prisoner escape. It is a matter of public record and the student turned corrections officer turned convict, actually served time for those actions.

I had a crisis of sorts until I realized that no one could have stopped this if the student truly wanted to traverse this illegal route. Since then, I have issued a caveat to all students to whom I teach contraband control:

If you are on the right side of the law, I will help you find contraband and enhance safety;
If you are on the wrong side of the law, I will inform the inspector at each facility at which you are housed that you have special, dangerous knowledge. You will otherwise be dead to me.


If that sounds a bit harsh, remember the notion of betrayal, selfish schemes and fellow staff and the public put in danger by a rule breaker. I simply have no sympathy for staff who have gone wrong. How do we make this into an icebreaker?
  1. Tell a few staff gone bad stories involving contraband
  2. Gary Cornelius’ “Art of the Con” is a good source for this
  3. Consult the internet
  4. Ask seasoned staff for stories
  5. Have student conduct internet searches for the penalty for furnishing contraband to prisoners
  6. Cover all fifty states and compare data.
There is altruism in teaching others how to effectively function and excel as corrections staff. The grand goal of enhancing safety for staff, prisoner, and the public is weighty and worthy.

Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014” and "Operation Icebreakers: Shooting for Excellence" among others. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.

Visit the Joe Bouchard page

Other articles by Bouchard:


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