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The Fly Behind The Wall

The Fly Behind The Wall

By The Fly Behind The Wall

The Fly Behind The Wall was created to spark discussion about professional life behind the wall. As a civilian, non-uniformed, employee I experienced jail and prison very differently than an officer would have. I served as a Prison Administrator for almost two decades in multiple states; seeing and experiencing way more than I would have liked to.

Each facility has it's own culture but being agile is key to a successful career. Here with me, you can expect some edu-tainment. I will tell you stories that you may both find entertaining and educational. Join me Behind the Wall!
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The impact of toxic employees in the Correctional environment
The impact of toxic employees in the Correctional environment
There are many ways that toxic employees adversely impact the correctional environment. It is the responsibility of leadership to ensure that those negative employee behaviors do not go unchecked. Here are a few positive qualities we see in non-toxic staff: 1) they value and align with the mission; 2) they portray excitement for their position; 3) they enjoy learning and show excitement towards growth; 4) they respectfully communicate; 5) they have long-term potential; and 6) they are trustworthy and responsible.
23:28
March 14, 2022
Things Correctional Staffers Need to Know
Things Correctional Staffers Need to Know
Working in Corrections is no walk in the park. We come to the table with our technical skills and are tasked with learning a whole other set of skills in order to successfully navigate the occupational hazards inherent in the environment. It is critical to our professional and personal success that we are intentional about being learning the ins and outs.
25:47
February 14, 2022
Role Ambiguity: How do we stop it and minimize the confusion it can cause?
Role Ambiguity: How do we stop it and minimize the confusion it can cause?
As non-uniformed employees we exist in this weird intersection where we have to be on the top of our game in our particular field of expertise and we also have to be highly engaged in everything safety and security. We have to be vigilant at all times and when we are not the environment can be quite unforgiving. While as an employee you have to do your best to learn the ins and outs of your environment as an institution we also have the responsibility of making sure our employees are adequately prepared to engage in this environment. There are times when we have not safe guarded our staff. We can do better providing direction, motivating and shaping the path forward.
29:36
January 31, 2022
Are we ready? Risk management is Key!
Are we ready? Risk management is Key!
We are in the business of managing risk. Safety and security is our top priority. In some instances policies and procedures cripple the ability of individuals to identify the risks they face, to properly evaluate, communicate and address them. We cannot continue to be an institution that reacts. We have to constantly evaluate the risks that walk through these institutional doors and prepare teams to address them.
21:21
January 24, 2022
Information is POWER!
Information is POWER!
There is an age old debate about how much information is too much information to provide to the civilian workforce. There are some administrative directives that prohibit information being shared. However, there is information that can be shared that isn’t always shared. Is it possible for us to break down the barrier that divides us? I believe that it is and it all begins with establishing trusting working relationships with each other.
18:53
January 17, 2022
Season 3: Where are we now?
Season 3: Where are we now?
It’s been a while but I am back! In this episode I am just providing an update on the business and all of the happenings over the past two years. I cover everything from Civilian Corrections Academy to the release of my new book, The Cage Was Her Cocoon: A Journey from Prison Administrator to Entrepreneur.
33:29
January 10, 2022
Connie, what am I suppose to do? ---I think one of my colleagues is in a relationship with an offender
Connie, what am I suppose to do? ---I think one of my colleagues is in a relationship with an offender
Many custodial facilities have implemented anti-fraternization policies that regulate contact between staff and inmates. These policies either limit, or altogether prohibit, interactions between employees and current or former inmates and their families. Offenders cannot consent to any relationship behind the wall so this violation will end in termination and possibly jail time, depending on the details. If you are aware of any such relationship you have an obligation to come forward and report it. You never know, you may be doing your colleague a favor.
17:07
August 24, 2020
Compassion Fatigue
Compassion Fatigue
We are not supposed to have compassion or empathy but we do. We hear the offender stories through our clinical interactions and they can be heartbreaking. We fight the good fight and advocate for treatment, that advocacy is not always supported. Over time, we get tired of fighting, we lose the ability to continue to care and we find ways to disconnect. Folks on the outside just don't know how hard it can be to get programming and introduce new treatment modalities. Sometimes, it is hard to identify but when we do, managers must support the service providers to help mitigate some of the pressure and avoid burnout.
14:30
August 17, 2020
Leader As The Advocate
Leader As The Advocate
In general, we don't like tense and uncomfortable situations but sometimes, as the leader, you have to engage. Your team needs to know that you have their backs and will stand up for them. There will be times where the leader will need to sit at the table and defend the actions of their team. You cannot be afraid to have those crucial conversations. They not only show your character but build confidence and strengthen the commitment and cohesion of your team. Do not be afraid. Remain professional. Engage.
20:19
August 10, 2020
Mentorship Behind the Wall
Mentorship Behind the Wall
We all could use some professional development. Individuals who work in Corrections are no different. Unfortunately, there are not many facilities with a formal program available for employees. If you are interested in mentorship, it is important that you identify the person who you would like to serve as a mentor and discuss the possibility of establishing a mentor/ mentee relationship. You also have the option of speaking to your supervisor about this need and asking for some guidance. Know that you do not have to do this alone, there are many people who would be willing to share their experiences and insights.
18:13
August 03, 2020
Being A Change Agent
Being A Change Agent
Change is inevitable. As civilians we come into Corrections with diverse backgrounds, diversity of thought and a willingness to make meaningful contributions. Corrections is built on a traditional, paramilitary foundation that may not be so willing to embrace change. However, when you have done your due diligence and are ready to bring an issue forward Custody will listen. You need to be certain of the systemic implications as it relates to safety, security and the fiscal commitment. You've got this!
20:04
July 27, 2020
Walking the Tight Rope
Walking the Tight Rope
Working in Corrections is no simple feat. You need to understand what the internal practices are and what the rules and regulations are. It is possible to navigate these unfamiliar waters with success. Be certain to ask questions and not take anything for granted. Find people who yo can go to for information and build a strong working relationship with. Though your central office is a source of support the ownership is on you to build your facility-based network of support.
20:31
July 20, 2020
Connie, what am I suppose to do? ---Getting Staff to Cooperate
Connie, what am I suppose to do? ---Getting Staff to Cooperate
Facilities have a lot going on and your staff is not interested in the layers of politics. They want to come in and get their respective jobs done. With that said, as a leader, you need to understand the politics and the impact they can have on your team. It is imperative that you are transparent in your communications and explain to them what is happening. Clarification always seems to work, they may not like it but will understand and respect you. 
19:57
July 13, 2020
Civilian Silence
Civilian Silence
Civilian employees bring a wealth of diverse experience and knowledge to the industry. Unfortunately the culture, in some facilities, is not one that is particularly inclusive of civilian employees and their expertise. If adequately trained, civilian employees can be a reliable source of intelligence to support the mission, vision, and goals of the institution. Of this 700,000 employee industry, civilians account for approximately 175,000 unheard voices. How powerful would it be for us to unlock their silence and work together seamlessly to achieve the mission?
12:05
July 06, 2020
Civilian Corrections Academy
Civilian Corrections Academy
Alleyne & Co. LLC understands how challenging it can be to work in the correctional environment, having worked in the environment for almost two decades. Adding COVID-19 to the equation makes it substantially difficult. Our mission is to serve as a resource to civilian employees by providing them with the crucial skills and insights needed for a successful and safe career in the Correctional System. Enhancing professionalism in Corrections; prisons, jails, detention and community services is an added bonus. In this time of prison reform, Alleyne & Co. LLC endeavors to positively influence the mindset of the people who will work directly with the offender population; that impact will go far beyond those who participate in training. This hybrid model of training is a much needed departure from how they have always done it. This training is for civilians by a civilian and not by an officer who lacks the soft skills and ability to relate to the civilian experience.
20:42
June 29, 2020
Gender Behind the Wall
Gender Behind the Wall
It can be very difficult as a woman in law enforcement. Sometimes we struggle to be heard and are underestimated. We put a great deal of pressure on ourselves to prove that we deserve a seat at the table and that we add value to departments. Being intentional about my value and contributions was the approach I took.
21:14
June 22, 2020
COVID-19 Behind the Wall
COVID-19 Behind the Wall
During this unprecedented time in the world we have a deadly virus spreading behind the wall. To-date, many staff and offender lives have been lost. The environment was created for safety and security, not to manage infectious diseases. Yes, there are a number of protocols that are in place to help protect the staff and offender population but we have never seen anything like this. People in jails, prisons, and detention centers continue to be at extreme risk of infection from COVID-19. More safety precautions are being put in place but the administration is doing all that they can amidst the rising conversation of prison reform.
22:52
June 15, 2020
Fear: Is it ok to be afraid?
Fear: Is it ok to be afraid?
Fear is a human emotion. Despite this expectation for employees to be able to disconnect from what they see, the reality is that there are things that happen that cause you to pause and feel the feeling of fear. It is not easy managing the vicarious traumas that we are exposed to on a daily basis. As civilians we have to remain situationally aware and never ignore that gut feeling; your intuition is rarely wrong.
18:07
June 08, 2020
Connie, what am I supposed to do? --- Report Writing
Connie, what am I supposed to do? --- Report Writing
When you are asked to write a report, write the report. There is no need to make more of the situation than there is. Incidents happen all the time and you want to make certain that you have accurately recorded all of the details as you saw it. Never compromise yourself or misrepresent yourself.
10:52
June 01, 2020
Welcome Back! Season 2
Welcome Back! Season 2
Connie has been a busy bee, doing her darnedest to make sure that the voice of the civilian is at the table. Connie takes the time in this first episode back to give an update on Alleyne & Co LLC and all the new developments with the Civilian Corrections Academy. An overview of the eight module training curriculum, "A Civilian in Their House", is provided and some updates as to what we can expect from this season. New episodes will drop every Monday for 15 weeks! Join us Behind the Wall!
16:22
May 25, 2020
Episode 17: Growing old not so gracefully behind the wall
Episode 17: Growing old not so gracefully behind the wall
Aging behind bars poses challenges. There are many studies that shed light on how prison conditions can affect the health of older inmates: the limited and noisy physical environment; the bullying and physical violence experienced by older inmates; involuntary negligence of prison staff due to limited training and inadequate knowledge of the care required by older inmates; limited health education and lack of access to medical care; high costs of specialized resources required; the often overlooked mental health issues that are exacerbated by the loneliness and social isolation of the prison environment; and poor access to health care and social services upon release from prison.
18:39
March 07, 2019
Episode 16: Reality of Working Behind the Wall
Episode 16: Reality of Working Behind the Wall
The Department of Corrections is not, by nature, a safe place to work. It is the collective efforts of all correctional staffers that make it a safe place to work. That does not come without major challenges. Do you go to work every day knowing that you could be injured or killed or that a coworker could be injured or killed? It is not easy questioning policies and procedures that you know aren’t right, knowing that you may get chewed out by your administration, placed on a crappy post for the duration of your rotation, be placed on administrative leave, or ultimately fired. There is a gross misunderstanding of those who work behind the wall and the politics that they have to juggle all while maintaining the safety and security of themselves, the facility, the department and the community.
35:49
January 06, 2019
Episode 15: Conflict Behind The Wall
Episode 15: Conflict Behind The Wall
Conflict behind the wall is inevitable. This complex environment has so many moving parts and components that have to be taken into account with every decision. Alignment can be detrimental to the safety and security of the environment and individuals but key components have to be in place. When the stakes are high, many find it difficult to keep calm, manage their responses, set limits, and handle those challenging questions. Can we manage conflict behind the wall without getting into physical confrontations? Yes, it is possible but it takes effort and transparent communication.
28:48
December 17, 2018
Episode 13: Advocating Behind the Wall
Episode 13: Advocating Behind the Wall
Advocating behind the wall has its challenges. There is no reason why you cannot use your voice to bring forth in issue that you believe needs to be addressed. Standards change, times change, and passed practices need to be brought up to date. No one wants to be characterized as an “inmate lover”, as that can color everything you say or do. Always be professional and present the facts.
23:43
December 07, 2018
Episode 14: Discretion
Episode 14: Discretion
The word discretion can be such an ugly word depending on the context. As a Prison Health Administrator when I would hear discretion, I knew there was some sort of scandal or crazy happening associated with it. I was going to be forced to go into work during the off hours. I’ve had many of those calls asking for discretion. Here’s one of them!
22:11
December 07, 2018
Episode 12: Mental Illness Behind The Wall
Episode 12: Mental Illness Behind The Wall
The correctional environment is not inherently conducive to optimum mental health. The ability to adjust to life in prison would be challenging for just about anyone, just imagine having a mental illness and trying to understand and process everything around you. To add insult to injury, you are now living in crowded living quarters and there is no privacy, putting you at an even higher risk of victimization. That reality makes prison for a mentally ill individuals a very tough pill to swallow. Correctional facilities have become the largest provider of mental health services. Despite the best efforts of mental health professionals some offenders do not receive the appropriate level of care. Systems are challenged by budgetary constraints and limited access to crucial tools needed to properly diagnose. Unfortunately, for the mentally ill population, all too often that means solitary confinement, neglect and, in some cases, death.
36:34
November 12, 2018
Episode 11: New Life Behind the Wall
Episode 11: New Life Behind the Wall
Bringing forth new life is a beautiful thing. However, pregnancy while incarcerated can be very difficult. Aside from the physical environment, most expecting moms are hoping to be home by the time their child is born. If not, she has to mentally prepare to give her child away, to dad or a next of kin. Nothing about that is easy. Let’s talk about new life behind the wall.
27:19
November 06, 2018
Episode 10: Nutrition Behind the Wall
Episode 10: Nutrition Behind the Wall
Nutrition behind the wall is very tough. There is so much to be considered. You have the FDA, nutritional guidelines, community standards, state standards, best practices etc. let’s not ignore the budgetary constraints, the growing population, and the need to feed thousands of offenders multiple meals per day with varying medical profiles. is it possible to really get this right under the current constraints? If we don’t get it right offenders will be returning to their communities sicker and more dependent on community resources.
13:55
October 30, 2018
Episode 9: Healthcare Behind The Wall
Episode 9: Healthcare Behind The Wall
Providing healthcare behind the wall is extremely challenging. Providers are forced to work within cost and resource constrained boundaries with a population more medically and mentally compromised than any other population. Failure to meet their needs is a violation of their 8th Amendment rights. The world of corrections can be a very unforgiving environment and should you withhold any appropriate level of care that could mean your license and livelihood. It is not an environment where anyone is willing to take any chances with the lives of offenders.
21:11
October 23, 2018
Episode 8: Hiring Behind the Wall
Episode 8: Hiring Behind the Wall
This is a crucial activity in Corrections. We need to not only hire for technical skill but for common sense and compassion. We need to be mindful of individuals who may come into the system with questionable motives because those are the ones who make the inherently dangerous environment even more dangerous.
29:17
October 15, 2018
Episode 7; Politics Behind The Wall Pt. 2
Episode 7; Politics Behind The Wall Pt. 2
America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, right? We can only hope to get a fighting chance at the American dream these days. We have a system with inherent biases that diminishes what many have fought and died for. The prison industrial complex is just another way that America's citizens pull the short stick. Taxpayer money continues to fund the disenfranchisement and destruction of millions of lives by cranking them through the mass incarceration machine.
31:60
October 07, 2018
Episode 6: Politics Behind The Wall Pt. I
Episode 6: Politics Behind The Wall Pt. I
As an inmate life behind the wall is just that and the politics you have to learn to survive are just those. However, for an employee, you have to learn the scope of your role and the inherent politics there, the politics of your organization, your organization's relationship to corrections, correctional politics and the politics among the inmates. Anything less would be folly on your part.
27:23
September 29, 2018
Episode 5: Education, better life or moral conflict?
Episode 5: Education, better life or moral conflict?
There’s no secret sauce to successful reintegration into society. Education is our primary hope for rehabilitating prisoners; it leads to inner stability and wholeness associated with self-sufficiency.
24:56
September 24, 2018
Episode 4: School is in Session!
Episode 4: School is in Session!
Everyone you meet has the capacity to teach you something. I worked in an environment where school was always in session. I learned so many lessons from inmates and other correctional professionals. Journey with me to find out just what!
33:45
September 16, 2018
Episode 3: No Role Play
Episode 3: No Role Play
There’s nothing that could ever prepare you for working in a prison or jail. It was abundantly clear on my first day. I thought I was ready but had no idea.
42:40
September 11, 2018
Episode 2: What’s in it for me?
Episode 2: What’s in it for me?
Today we will have real talk and explore some opposing views. While my work with the inmates have made me sensitive to their needs I can see why many hard working Americans don’t think that they should be given any “handouts.” Reality check: we didn’t all start with the same opportunities and we don’t all know how to do better.
15:42
September 02, 2018
Episode 1: Curtains opened, “Roll Call!”
Episode 1: Curtains opened, “Roll Call!”
For over a decade I worked as a Prison Health Service Manager and Administrator. I have seen, first-hand, what life is like behind the wall. It wasn't until I was away from the environment that I could truly examine the impact incarceration has on all of those close to it. It is my intention to change the narrative of the 2.2 million citizens incarcerated in the United States.
20:43
September 01, 2018