Correctional Facilities & Corruption Combined
Correctional facilities house some of the most violent individuals in America. Keeping these criminals in line is the fiduciary responsibility of a correctional officer. These officers are held to a much higher standard than your average law enforcement officers. This research paper will discuss the corruption amongst correctional officers, gratuities received, motivation for corruption, and how corruption is dealt with in the department. Along with research will be a case study addressing two different scenarios relating to the research topic. Corrections and Corruption Defined
A correctional facility is defined as a place in which people/criminal offenders are confined, and usually deprived of a range of personal freedoms (Correctional Facility, 2013). Usually offenders who have been found guilty of a crime are released into the hands of correctional officers where they remain responsible for them until they have served their time sentenced. It is assumed that the offenders will do their time under less than desirable conditions to deter them from repeating another crime. Proper ethics and humane treatment is always considered during the offender’s rehabilitation. Corruption can be defined as the moral perversion of integrity, being dishonest, corrupt, and the immoral deviance of one’s integrity (Corruption, 2013). Corruption is a form of deviance unfortunately seen within the walls of a correctional facility.
Types of Corruption
Gratuity is common within the confines of prison walls. It is usually involves free meals, services, and/or discounts. Although they are vaguely considered fringe benefits of a correctional officer’s job. However, gratuities violate their Code of Ethics because they involve a financial gain or reward not given professionally. Brutality or excessive force, harassment, ridicules, and disrespect is a frequent form of correctional abuse. While many officers are often mind-changed when putting on the uniform, others see it as an escape-goat for their frustrations or mental aggravators. Misconduct and favoritism are also issues all related to one another. Misconduct refers to the wrongdoing violations of departmental procedures. Favoritism refers to the unfair “advantages” one has when there are friends or relatives involved in the same workplace. Narcotics have also found their way into the correctional facilities by means of prisoner smuggling and officer smuggling. In a social occupational setting such as a prison, officers are often bribed with gratuities and favors for drugs in return. There are virtually endless opportunities to drink or take drugs while on duty. It is more intriguing when the correctional officer actually becomes the dealer or seller. Corrections Code of Ethics
According to the American Correctional Association, Correctional Officers of all types are obligated to adhere to the ACA’s Code of Ethics. The following are a few codes having to do with corruption and self-integrity adapted in 1975 at the 105th Congress of Correction (American Correctional Association, 2010): As a Correctional Officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice. I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare or others. Honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of the land and the regulations of my department. Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty. I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the institutional rules as well as the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities. I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service. I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession…law enforcement. Motivation for Corruption
Oftentimes, corruption and deviance is often the product of monetary gain and green. Although there have been some ridiculous attempts to claim undercover reassignment as defenses, officers are still disciplined accordingly. Poor pay, working conditions, resentment against their employer, gang affiliation, and stress are all motivations of correctional officers to engage in corruption (Prenzler, T, 2009). While there are thousands of inmates, there are few correctional officers. This can lead to social intimidation – resulting in social and professional deviance to prove one’s worth amongst a group, even if they are the officer (Prenzler, T, 2009). Correctional officers have a great deal to offer prisoners in return of smuggled contraband, money, proceeds of crime, sexual favors, assistance with escape plans, favorable reports, access to certain privileges such as phone calls, mail, better accommodations, work, and easy assignments. When it comes to prison gang corruption, female correctional officers are unfortunately, the standard pray. Because of their empathetic and sympathetic attitudes, they tend to be more sensitized. Sensitivity led to one of the biggest prison corruption ring of this decade. During the month of April, 2013, a very prestige and well organized ring of corruption was brought to light. A leader of the Black Guerilla Family, Tavon White, was released into the custody of correctional officers at Baltimore City Detention Facility (Hellgren, M, 2013) in 2009, where he ran a criminal empire. After impregnating not one, but four female correctional officers, with their help, he was able to smuggle drugs and illegal cell phones used to connect to the outside world (Goodman, L, 2013). Tavon White single handedly took over a prison. During a phone interview, Mr. White claimed, “I’m dead serious …. I make every final call in this jail … and nothing goes past me, everything comes to me” (Hellgren, M, 2013). Corruption Statistics
According to the Transparency International – USA statistics division, there are an estimated 2000 correctional officers currently engaged in corruption. It is also estimated that a further 1200 officers are involved in an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner (Michael, M.). The drug trade within prisons is worth approximately $300 million a year, with an inside prison inflation of over 1000% of street market value. Mobile phones and SIM cards are another extremely value commodity, and particularly crucial for the operation of many organized crime syndicates. California Department of Corrections’ figures show that 5,897 phones and SIM cards were confiscated in 2007/2008 (Michael, M.). However, Department of Corrections reported having confiscated roughly 12,000 illegal phones (Michael, M.). With wide spread corruption costing our states and government millions of dollars, the counteraction seems very ineffective. Punishment
Some may think correctional officers may be far worse than police officers on the street because of a simple abuse of power. While police officers cannot decide the punishment, it is said that correctional officers oversee the punishment. But, many of them take punishment into their own hands to maintain an alpha reality for themselves. Abusing given power only to head down a path of unethical corruption can only lead to more crucial punishments. In July of 2012, six inmates from Sampson Adult Correctional Facility submitted a hand-written letter to the U.S. District Attorney of Greensboro, North Carolina complaining that staff had forced them to perform numerous humiliating acts for the entertainment of the guards, including stripping nude and pretending to have sex (Howerton, J, 2012). Inmates also reported being forced to gulp an extremely hot exotic hot sauce purchased off the Internet and coat their genitals with it as well. Those who performed for the guards were rewarded with preferential treatment, work assignments, food, cigarettes, beer, and drugs; although tobacco and alcohol were banned from the prison (Howerton, J, 2012). Upon investigation of the situation, it was found that 18 correctional officers partook in this unsoundly activity.10 officers are currently facing racketeering and drug charges, while the rest are facing money-laundering charges as well as inhumane treatment of a human being. It is estimated that these officers will spend anywhere from 8-34 years for the corruption and deviance they participated in (Howerton, J, 2012). Thankfully, the Department of Justice seeks an ultimate punishment for departmental corruption. After all, how effective can a system be if there is corruption in those who are there to deter?
Case StudyOfficer Fogerty, a 54 year old male, who has been working at Ironwood State Prison, is doing his daily rounds in “D” yard. Inmate Herrera approaches him and gives him a nod. Officer Fogerty, recognizing the gesture, approaches Herrera at the corner of the yard. They discuss an issue and Herrera hands Fogerty a wad of money. Officer Fogerty complies with Herrera’s request and will deal with him later. Officer Simpson, a 32 year old female, who has been a correctional officer for 3 years, clocks in for duty. Upon pass down, Officer Fogerty gives Officer Simpson a gesture, as well as a wad of money wrapped into a piece of paper. She slips it into her pocket without any hesitation. Later on in the evening, Ms. Simpson retrieves the note from her pocket to see a cell number. She checks out with the fellow officer on duty and tells him she is going to make rounds. With a simple wink, her fellow officer knew it was time for business. As Officer Simpson makes her way down the block, she is howled at and propositioned by other inmates. Laughing it off, she reaches her destiny. Opening the cell door, she untangles her hair free and begins to unbutton her blouse. Officer Simpson has been requested to fulfill a sexual activity in exchange for $900, giving a beneficial cut to all officers involved in the transaction. The three officers involved are all part of the corrupt sex ring within the compounds of the prison. Officer Fogerty is guilty of receiving gratuities for preferential treatment and sexual favors. Officer Simpson is guilty of sexual acts with an inmate and receiving gratuities for those favors. Officer Simpson’s partner officer is guilty of having knowledge of corruption and not abiding by the Correctional Officers Code of Ethics. Closing Conclusion
Ultimately it is up to people to maintain the integrity it needs to maintain an ethically true career in corrections. So many factors can play into why someone would want to be involved in corruption, but it takes a strong person who has established candor to not be influenced by criminals. Inmateshave 24 hours, 7 days a week, to think of ways to get a correctional officer to benefit them, or cross “into the dark side.” They are people who have strived to be manipulative, deceitful, selfish, and scheming (Thiroux, J., Krasemann, K, 2012). Correctional officers need to be confident in themselves and their overall mission with deterrence and rehabilitation. Although officers are not directly involved with rehabilitation, they are the only faces inmates see for the duration of their stay. They are the only influence of good they have in their lives at the moment. However, when correctional officers devalues themselves and choose to step across into a world of corruption, it makes the overall purpose of a Correctional Facility meaningless. If correctional officers can continue to allow inmates to control the interior walls of the prison, then how can anyone control the actual problem of crime? How can anyone be certain deterrence and rehabilitation has worked when these individuals are being supported by the same individuals vowed to supervise them?
RefrerencesAmerican Correctional Association. (2010). ACA. Code of Ethics in Corrections. Retrieved from http://www.intech.mnsu.edu/davisj/aca_ethics.htm Correctional Facility. (2013). Dictionary.com. Correctional Facility Defition. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/correctional+facility?s=t. Corruption. (2013). Dictionary.com. Corruption Definition. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/corruption. Goodman, L. (2013). Vancouver Sun. U.S. Gang Ringleader Takes Over Prison. Retrieved from http://www.vancouversun.com/gang+ringleader+Tavon+White+takes+over+prison+fathers+five+children+with+four+guards/8305594/story.html Hellgren, M. (2013). CBS Baltimore. Scandal Behind Bars: Accused Prison Gang Leader & Guard He Impregnated Plead Not Guilty. Retrieved from http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/04/29/inmate-charged-in-baltimore-prison-scandal-guard-he-impregnated-face-federal-judge/ Howerton, J. (2012). The Blaze. Prison Inmates Allege Correctional Officers Forced Them To Rub Hot Sauce on Their Genitals. Retrieved from http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/12/03/prison-inmates-allege-correctional-officers-forced-them-to-rub-hot-sauce-on-their-genitals/ Michael, M.