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The Effective Correctional Officer.

The Effective Correctional Officer is a relatively short volume of 13 essays that will be valuable to novice and seasoned corrections professionals alike. Each of these easily readable chapters focuses on a specific aspect of corrections and offers solid advice that can help anyone turn a job in corrections into a rewarding career.

In the first chapter, "Career vs. Job: Why Become a Correctional Officer?" ACA Past President Helen G. Corrothers explores the officer's role and the reasons for taking pride in a corrections career. Her hopeful message is that everyone in corrections can make a difference in inmates' lives.

Richard Stalder expands on this theme in "Correctional Officer Role Ambiguity." He explores the unique role officers play in the institutional setting and discusses how they can fulfill that role without assuming responsibilities that are better left to other professionals.

In "Styles of Control and Supervision," Jess Maghan reviews ways officers can work effectively with today's growing and complex inmate population. He offers guidelines for assessing situations and applying appropriate supervision techniques to achieve effective communication and cooperation with inmates and co-workers.

The aim of "Keys to Effective Inmate Management," by Lt. Gary Cornelius, is to help officers avoid inmate manipulation. The article addresses ways to understand inmate culture, identify common manipulation strategies and learn to recognize and respond to legitimate inmate needs.

In "The Correctional Employee and Litigation," William Collins offers sound advice about what to do before, during and after being named a defendant in a lawsuit. This chapter will help potential defendants avoid unnecessary worry, costly errors and confusion about litigation.

Three separate essays on personal wellness, substance abuse and stress in family relations address topics related to personal conduct. These subjects are concerns for everyone working in corrections.

In "Wellness: An Important Lifestyle Choice for Correctional Officers," Vicki Verdeyen outlines how a program of personal evaluation, education, exercise and commitment to wellness can lead to physical and psychological well-being.

In "Staff Substance Abuse," Lanson Newsom looks at how substance abuse can result in personal and professional destruction and place officers at risk of offender manipulation. The author stresses the need for substance abusing officers to seek help. Just as important, Newsom writes, is the need for agencies and co-workers to be vigilant for signs of substance abuse and to make appropriate referrals.

In "Correctional Officers and Their Families: Dealing with Stress," Fred Van Fleet presents case histories that dramatize how officers can transfer job-related stress and difficulties in interpersonal relations to family relationships. He offers advice for recognizing when job-related stress is becoming a problem at home and suggests that focusing on the family, maintaining a positive attitude and communicating openly with family members can help officers deal effectively with stress. Perhaps most surprising is the author's observation that both male and female correctional officers experience the same types of problems in family relationships.

Essays on ethics, career advancement, racial identity, hostage situations and special needs inmates round out the book.

Although The Effective Correctional Officer is directed toward officers, the information and guidance it contains will benefit anyone choosing a correctional career.

Reviewed by Ron Andring, correctional officer, Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla, Wash.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Andring, Ron
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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