Source: http:llwww.corr.ca.gov/CDC/PDFslCodeofSilenceMemo.pdf


chusetts, where John Geoghan, a defrocked priest convicted of molesting dozens of children, was falsely accused on disciplinary infractions by guards so that he would be transferred to a more punitive and restrictive set­ ting. Geoghan was later killed by an inmate in a supposedly more secure but more punitive correctional facility. Internal reform should also include screening of employees in order to improve their overall quality.

Another management enhancement practice would be to upgrade employee selection procedures to include psychological testing and formal pre­service training designed to screen out questionable employees. In addition, simple police checks of an individual’s background should be expanded to include in­depth background investigations of prospective employees. Some states are finding that members of street gangs are applying for jobs as correctional officers to assist in the expansion of the gang’s power inside prisons. Routine investigations have also found that individuals with felony convictions and even escapees have been hired as correctional employees. Another step would entail improving the working conditions of employees so that the quality of correctional worker is raised. Employees making just barely above the minimum wage might be attracted to sup­ plement their incomes through illicit behavior. Improving wage scales, enlarging job responsibilities, and broadening employee participation in deci­ sionmaking, as well as increasing efforts toward professionalism, all will help address the issue of staff commitment to the mission of the agency.

A fourth and final recommendation addresses the political environment of prisons. Prisons are located in the executive branch of government, and top administrators serve at the pleasure of the state governor or President. Correctional administrators have little control over political and community attitudes toward prisons and prisoners, but they should take steps to insulate their employees from external pressure placed on them to act in a way that benefits some constituent or campaign donor who seeks to intervene on behalf of an inmate. By requiring merit selection and promotion of employees, a correctional administrator reduces the impact of political interference in the operation of the agency.

In sum, controlling corruption requires a commitment by correctional administrators to provide leadership in setting high standards of ethical conduct, communicating and upholding standards of ethical behavior, and holding people accountable for their actions. This includes improving and upgrading the general correctional environment (particularly the working con­ ditions for staff) to protect employees from political pressures and to replace a tendency toward complacency with a concern for accountability. Oppor­ tunities for corruption must be identified and addressed, and the risks taken by persons predisposed to misconduct must be increased. It is doubtful that corrupt practices can be eliminated, but they can be reduced and con­ trolled. It is important to keep in mind the words of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy when he addressed the American Bar Association:

We have a greater responsibility, as a profession, and as a people, we should know what happens after the prisoner is taken away. To be sure the prisoner has violated the social contract; to be sure he must be punished to vindicate the law, to acknowledge the suffering of the vic­ tim, and to deter future crimes. Still, the prisoner is a person; he or she is part of the family of humankind. It is no defense if our current prison system is more the product of neglect than of purpose. Out of sight, out of mind is an unacceptable excuse for a prison system that incarcerates over two million human beings in the United States.

To upgrade and improve the prison in a democracy we must make sure that the prison be opened to the publ i c and its workings exposed to ci t i zens . The light of day shined on prison pract i ces will ensure that our expecta t ions for ethical conduct will be met.

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