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Feb 25, 2015
Male user anthonygangi 2 posts

Topic: Security Central / situational factors


When classes are taught in regards to the power of manipulation, the educators provide a learning experience that centers on dispositional factors that lead to target selection by the inmate population. Studies in social psychology have proven that we judge the failure of others in a manner that exploits character flaws and one’s personal failure is judge in a manner that involves the study of the situation. Situations are very powerful and have a tremendous influence on our actions.

Inmates are masters at understanding their environment and exploiting the situational factors that can be used as an aid in their manipulative tactics. For this article, I am focusing on the “us vs. them” tactic. This is a key tactic that must be understood in order to gain the knowledge needed in understanding how an inmate can take advantage of a situation in which a staff member’s vulnerability was created in a manner that lies outside their disposition.

There was a proposed situation that was brought up in our discussion board (Systems Information Analysis) on Linkedin in which a supervisor reprimands their subordinate in a manner that lies in view of the inmate population. The supervisor then leaves the unit and the staff member is left feeling demeaned and inferior. Through the supervisor’s actions, a situation has been created and can easily be exploited by the inmate population. A situation that will build from the inmate’s ability to become immediately empathetic, partnered with the staff member’s need to save face. The staff member has become vulnerable. This vulnerability stems from a created situation by the supervisor in which the inmate is now able to exploit.

In understanding manipulation and how it presents itself, either covert or overt, an individual must understand the power of the situation. For the staff member, in the above mentioned scenario, their situation has changed and is now being controlled by emotion. As for the inmates, the situation presented to them now shows a staff member who thoughts lie outside of logic and, instead, stem from emotional blindness. The staff member may feel the natural reaction to redeem themselves by venting to the empathetic ear displayed by the “overly concerned” inmate. At this point, the inmate’s advice may be centered in a way to employ the tactic mentioned above, "us vs. them”. In order to move forward with this tactic the inmate will expose many techniques that highlight concern, friendliness, and similarity. These techniques are used to disguise the inmate’s true intention. The true intention, mentioned above, is centered on changing the staff member’s perception of the aforementioned inmate. Eventually, the change in perception creates a different situation for the staff member. This staff member may no longer see an inmate as an inmate. The empathetic ear displayed by the inmate has led this staff member to believe that the inmate understands their situation and, therefore, is now being led down a manipulative path that was created by the supervisor’s unprofessionalism an aided by the inmate population. The staff member’s need to feel competent lies on their need to justify their situation. Having demeaned the staff member in view of the inmate population, the supervisor has created a situation in which this above mentioned staff member may feel the need to redeem themselves. This redemption may come in the hands of an empathetic ear provided by the “overly concerned” inmate.
In some cases, manipulation can arise through situations that we, as staff members, produce. We need to be logical and prepare ourselves for the consequences, both good and bad, that follow our actions. We need to be objective in our line our work and not be blinded by subjective emotion. Inmates are masters at exploiting chance opportunities and will easily maneuver into position when the opportunity or situation arises. As mentioned above, the “us vs. them” technique is easily employed when a situation arises in which most of the hard work is already done. Staff that has been belittled in public view now becomes an open door to that above mentioned tactic. Overall, we must know that an inmate can take their time and choose who they believe will be the perfect target for manipulation, or we can save them the work by creating a situation in which the target is provided.

Feb 25, 2015
Male user anthonygangi 2 posts

Topic: Security Central / power of obligation

Power of Obligation
There are no favors to be granted by an inmate to correctional staff. Favors are considered to be a key tactic used by the inmate population to foster obligation. Obligation is defined as an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment. This definition listed above is the main reason why correctional staff is not in the business of giving and receiving favors. There is no time in our career in which we, as correctional staff, should feel that we are morally or legally bound to actions dictated by the inmate population that lies outside our prescribed roles. Feelings of obligation can lead to favors committed by staff that can jeopardize the safety and integrity of the agency in which we are employed. Obligation to an inmate can blind correctional staff and limit their ability to see the potential threat that a returned favor can produce.
If an inmate comes to your area and volunteers to help you, you need to ask yourself, "why?” What is this inmate expecting in return? If the word favor has been employed, you need to make that inmate aware that we, as correctional staff, are not in the business of giving or receiving favors. If the inmate is given an order to do something, then it becomes the inmate’s responsibility to do it to the best of their means. There will be no sidebar in which the inmate tells staff, “I only go the extra mile for you and if there is anything else you need, don’t hesitate to ASK”. First off, we, as correctional staff, do not ask. Asking implies that the inmate has a choice to either say “yes” or “no” to your REQUEST. If that is the case, saying “yes” by the inmate can be interpreted as a favor being granted. Correctional staff must be made aware that you are to give your order in a professional manner in which respect is given, but there is no option within your order for a response that lies outside the affirmative. If correctional staff gives an order disguised as a request (“can you….”/“if you don’t mind…..”), then you are giving the inmate the opportunity to change your order into a favor being granted. By this standard, the inmate will be given the chance to employ a sense of obligation that can be used as a way to garner favors for susceptible staff members.
In closing, we are all aware of giving orders in a professional manner. Having said that, these are orders and should never be disguised as a request. Request, in essence, may make the inmate think they have a choice and, if that is the case, your granted request by the inmate population will be seen as a favor that may lead correctional staff into feelings of obligation.

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