I spent 9 years at UW-W as the department’s internship coordinator. As such, I’ve spoken with numerous students going into the adul/juvenile corrections field. One of the most frequently talked about concerns was “being conned by offenders.” No matter whether your working in juvenile or adult corrections (and even students heading into law enforcement positions) this is a genuine concern. A good part of the tension lies between wanting to genuinely assist offenders in improving their lives and getting too attached. Click HERE and review this article on the topic.


7 Comments on Don’t be a Duck!

  1. This article reads like an episode of Law and Order. I feel it is a valid concern for law enforcement and corrections officers, as well as, educators. Getting too familiar with the people we are in roles of supervision over and developing connections with these individuals which are meant to teach/educate/rehabilitate can create blurred lines. It is imperative that, as professionals, we maintain levels of distance and create boundaries. Favoring the “good kids” by providing extra incentives or advantages, not enforcing rules, or giving privileges lends to similar situations.

  2. This article was not surprising to me at all. I have heard stories about correctional officers falling under the spell of inmates or whatever you want to call it. I think the article brought up some good tips on ways to prevent this from happening. I think it it sad that correctional officers have to be cautious of the inmates intentions but also the correctional officers need to know they are in prison for a reason. Correctional officers constantly need to be on their toes and just do their job. They don’t need to try and make friends, they just need to stick to their job. It may be valuable to read this article to future correctional officers or maybe at an orientation of some sort.

  3. Humans are emotional creatures, so it is not a huge surprise that this occurs. However, as with any profession that involves supervision of individuals or building connections with them, it is very important to maintain professional conduct. As the article explains, inmates analyze the behavior of the officers to the point where they may take advantage of any weaknesses. Correctional officers need to understand this and keep the relationship professional to ensure that they are not conned by the offenders.

  4. I worry that articles like this perpetuate the idea that criminals have lost their humanity. Although some criminals, essentially have, we have to realize that a majority of inmates that make up the prison system, including the juvenile facilities, are non-violent. I think it is really hard to asses our current prisons system, including these duck cases, when our criminal justice systems and prisons are not necessarily known for being strong deterrents of crime or rehabilitators of criminals…
    So my questions are why are these people manipulating the guards? Is it really just because they are criminals? Power struggle? Are the inmates needs being met? How can the prison improve the culture and relationships between the guards and inmates?
    As an educator, I have been told time and time again that the most important thing for students is to have a strong and positive relationship with students in order for them to have successful school experiences. Students will not learn from you if they genuinely do not like you. Yes, there is a line that exists, but that line is created through a trustful and safe relationship.
    Prisons and schools originally were created to serve similar purposes: social control. The difference between schools and prisons now (well, most schools and prisons) is the importance of social and emotional learning at schools and the idea that schools are places for students to feel safe. I understant that inmates are incacerated for a reason, but that does not make them less human. Human beings are social creatures that crave attention from one another, that depend on one another for learning and comfort. Maybe manipulation would not happen if prisons ran more as the rehabilitation centers they claim to be….

  5. One of the most valuable things I have learned during my time at Probation and Parole is where to draw that line between wanting to genuinely help offenders and getting too attached. This article didn’t surprise me in the least since I know how difficult it can be to prevent being sucked in by them. I admit that I’ve been working with an offender this semester at the jail and I have learned more about addiction than I ever could from any textbook. To make a long story short, he was denied Huber by the Assistant District Attorney and because I have seen so much change in him over the weeks, I advocated for him to get Huber for treatment. I felt like his best chance for success when released was to at least have started treatment. I’m happy to say that tomorrow will be his first day out for group, however, stuck in the back of my mind is the thought that he may get out on Huber and use. Yes, I have put a lot of trust in this young man and this is why the article doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been lied to a lot during my time here and I’m pretty good at detecting it because I’ve raised three kids and they were no angels by any means.

  6. I thought this article was really interesting. This shows that no matter who the person is and what they do for a living they can always be manipulated by others. To be honest, I feel like it should be obvious that there needs to be a line drawn between the person on parole, probation, inmate and the officer. Maybe I have distrust in people but I would not share my personal life with someone else, mostly if they are inmates or the person I am supposed to supervise. Plus, the officers do need some time of training where they would show them the possibility of manipulation and how to deal with it. I mean, we did learn this in class. It would be weird if they didn’t address that in training.

  7. I wasn’t surprised by what I read. This is not the first time I hear about such cases. I also agree that the article provided some good pieces of advice for prevention. This issue should definitely be addresses during training but as someone already said, we are only human being. Emotional creatures. Though some may be easier to manipulate than others, some criminals can just be so good at it that they could “break” even a highly trained guard. So sure, don’t be a duck, and absolutely report any suspicious behavior. And…sadly but importantly… don’t trust anyone. Especially in these kinds if settings.

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