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Some Texas corrections officers work without training

P1’s Gary T. Klugiewicz responds:

The practice of assigning correctional officers to work in a correctional facility without full recruit training is physically and legally dangerous for both the officer and the facility. Didn’t these correctional administrators ever hear of the
Canton v. Harris Case that established the doctrine of “Deliberate Indifference?” An agency can be judged to be deliberately indifferent to the public good if they assign an officer a task that they were not trained to perform. Providing little or no training prior to assigning a new officer to work in a correctional facility, would seen to cross the threshold established by this legal decision.

As Gordon Graham, a nationally known law enforcement risk management expert, explains so well, most risk management issues are predicable and preventable. There is an easy solution to this risk management problem: Provide officers with adequate pre-service training prior to assigning them to work in a correctional facility, design a correctional field training officer program them to participate when they arrive at the facility, and then, follow up with adequate supervisory oversight for the duration of their career.

Unfortunately, the Texas example is often repeated throughout the county where staff shortage, funding problems, and exploding inmate populations make it easy to make excuses. The problem with excuses is that they don’t defend against criminal and civil liability for failure of management to provide for a safe working environment for the officers and a safe living environment for the inmates. The term “knew or should have known” comes to mind. The management of the correctional environment “knew or should have known” that assigning untrained officers to work in a correctional facility would lead to unsafe conditions. Get ready to be held accountable and to pay.

By Kevin Krause
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, Texas — Dozens of newly hired Dallas County jail guards are going straight to work, supervising inmates for months before undergoing any formal training or taking the state's licensing exam.

Though officials say there have been no incidents attributed to the untrained guards, the practice of immediately putting them in contact with inmates is considered by some experts to be potentially dangerous — and costly.

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