It’s no secret that a lot of criminal activity takes place within prison walls. Some inmates are able to run criminal businesses and smuggle drugs and cellphones from their cells, while others may have inappropriate relationships with officials that lead to pregnancies.
As a former women’s prison inmate, I can only speak about what I have seen and heard in prison. In women’s facilities, the dynamics between guards and prisoners are very different because guards are mostly of the opposite sex.
However, I have done my research and talked to other prisoners to understand their experiences with manipulation by officers. Which brings me to today’s blog post: How Prisoners Manipulate Correctional Officers?
In this blog post, I’ll cover the following topics:
- Gender affects dynamics between prisoners and officers
- Prisoners can manipulate officials by using street behavior
- Blueprint for Manipulating Prisoners
Gender affects dynamics between prisoners and officers
In my experience, prisons are not much different from the free world in terms of how people relate to each other and to life in general – and manipulation is no exception.
In the Women’s Correctional Facility, the most common form of manipulation seen by Mistie Vance inmates was sexual in nature. Whether it’s a simple flirt or a sexual invitation, women in the civilian world can use their sexuality for manipulation, and the prison environment is no exception.
One of the major influences on the dynamic between officers and prisoners is their respective genders. Female prisoners may communicate differently with male guards than female guards, and vice versa for male prisoners.
“Whether it’s for cigarettes, drugs, or freedom from aggression (a blind eye to illegal activity), the lure of flirtation and possible sexual favors is enough to attract many correctional officers. Whether fabricated or real, there is never a shortage of sexual intercourse with criminals. Officers under investigation for sexual misconduct,” Vance said.
Another form of manipulation often used in prisons is the threat of legal action due to non-existent discrimination. Many correctional officers are afraid to punish legally illegal activities for fear of being accused of racism or sexism, among other things.
This is a particularly damaging form of manipulation because it can mock real discrimination that should be spoken out against. It also allows the guilty party to escape the consequences it deserves. True justice can never be achieved when it is manipulated through false discriminatory claims.
Prisoners can manipulate officials by using street behavior
Vance’s prison experience began when she was incarcerated in the spring of 2010. She recalled that period of life like this:
“I was a manipulative mess. As an IV addict addicted to prescription opioids and heroin, I would tell a lot of lies in exchange for money for treatment. I used my kids as an excuse to tell people I needed gas Or milk money. I traded food stamps for drugs. I pretended to be attracted to drug dealers so they would give me drugs.
I used to manipulate everyone and everything to get what I wanted, and even though I hated who I was, my addiction was something I couldn’t stop. Prison has changed my life and allowed me to work through the broken heart that led to my drug use and become the person of integrity I wanted to be.
Even now, it is a daily effort to maintain that integrity and not manipulate others. I’m currently going through a very painful breakup after three years of a stressful relationship but I don’t want my ex to see the extent of my pain and I’m trying to keep a strong exterior because I don’t want her back kind of A sense of duty or pity.
I don’t want to manipulate her kindness and the fact that she doesn’t want to hurt me. It’s hard, but it’s important not to hold back after I’ve come this far. There are countless ways in which people manipulate each other, and a remedial environment is no different than a real-world environment.
If you or someone you love is employed by a correctional institution, be aware that you can be the target of inmate manipulation at any time. Remember that most people have their own agenda, don’t let others inflate your ego to try to get something out of it.
Try to treat everyone equally and with respect, but don’t be fooled and you’ll be fine. No one is better or worse or more deserving of love and respect than anyone else. Be kind, but don’t let your kindness become a weakness through manipulation by others. “
Blueprint for Manipulating Prisoners
Correctional officers will tell you that prisoner manipulation occurs in every facility, sometimes with shocking results. In 2013, news broke that the Baltimore correctional system was so corrupt that the leader of a black guerrilla family had manipulated staff so much that he was running a gang behind the scenes.
He not only sold drugs and smuggled mobile phones, but also impregnated four female police officers. Two of the officers had his name tattooed on themselves!
in the book The Game Criminals Play: Find Out How They Profit, authors Bud Allen and Diana Bosta refer to the prisoner-on-counselor scam as “knocking down the duck.” “Duck” is an easily manipulated officer, and the deception starts with dressing up.
“They say things like, ‘You’re the only person who changed my life,’ ‘I can say you’re a better officer than everyone else,’ or ‘You should hear what Officer Smith has to say about you.’ These Kind words make staff feel good about themselves and what they do, and provide them with a sense of purpose,” said Prison Warden Laura Bedard.
The inmates then lowered their guard on staff, who prompted them to share information they shouldn’t. The smallest detail about an officer could lead to extortion if the wrong prisoner is encountered.
“For example, a staff member shares with a prisoner that he or she is in a relationship with another staff member. The prisoner takes that ball and runs off. He blackmails the staff member to do something simple first: When misconduct occurs, watch Look the other way, mail a letter allowing the inmate to move or allow the inmate to get a pass he shouldn’t have,” Bedard wrote.
Officers who obey a simple request are the “hooks,” and prisoners can then move on to bigger things. This is where the drug and cell phone smuggling and sex happens.
“He had staff overidentify with prisoners and underestimate his counterparts,” Bedard said. “Sometimes, because of what staff do, they can over-identify with the group of prisoners. They start to see prisoners as peers rather than people in their care, custody and control. You can see this in non-security positions too A little. For example, a maintenance guy who worked for several months with an inmate welder began to see him more as a colleague than as a criminal.”
Indeed, the prisoners did observe the officers’ every move. They see their strengths and weaknesses, and some do prey on the weak. Prisoners also know the officers’ work schedules and personalities – nothing goes unnoticed.
Both prisoners and officers must be careful while in jail. Dealing with the wrong people can mean punishment for prisoners and career end for officials.
If you were a correctional officer, do you think you would be easily manipulated by inmates? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources: Interview with WERDCC inmate Mistie Vance Downing A Duck: How Inmates Manipulate Correctional Officers