Red Flags – Are We Paying Attention to Staff?

The National Institute of Corrections has conducted training for several years entitled "Staff Sexual Misconduct with Inmates." At the conclusion of that training, participants are asked to list those behaviors that they now see as RED FLAGS -- events, actions or activities that should have tipped them off sooner to the possibility of staff sexual misconduct. The following are examples of these behaviors.

  • Over-identifying with the inmate ("my inmate") or their issues (i.e. blind to inmate’s actions
  • Horse-play, sexual interaction between staff and inmates
  • Inmates knowing personal information about staff
  • Isolation from other staff
  • Inmates has letters, home telephone numbers, or photos of staff
  • Staff granting special requests or showing favoritism
  • Inmates in an unauthorized area, or repeatedly out of their assigned place
  • Staff spending an unexplainable amount of time with an inmate
  • Telephone calls to and from staff/inmates
  • Inmate grape-vine, inmate snitches, inmate/staff rumors
  • Staff in the facility during "off hours"
  • Pregnancy or a diagnosis of STD
  • Staff overly concerned about an inmate
  • Drastic behavior change on the part of an inmate or staff
  • Staff having sole involvement with a particular inmate
  • Unusual balance, or activity, in an inmate’s commissary account
  • Staff having excessive knowledge about an inmate and his/her family
  • Staff intervening, or helping with the inmate’s personal life, legal affairs
  • Staff sharing food or snacks with inmates
  • Staff testifying for an inmate, requesting special treatment for an inmate, writing letters to judges, etc. on behalf of an inmates
  • Staff delegating their duties to inmates (supervisor of cleaning, assignments)
  • Staff bringing in large amounts of food, soda, snacks
  • Overhead conversations between staff and/or inmates which are sexualized in nature, or refers to the physical attributes of staff or inmates
  • Inmate sexual activity
  • Indispensable inmate: "Only one who can do this job."
  • High/low number of inmate grievances
  • Inmate wanting to go to work early or volunteering to stay late
  • Staff confronting staff over an inmate
  • Staff intercepting inmate disciplinary infractions or editing infractions
  • Staff tracking outside inmate calls (number and content of call)
  • Inmate improving his/her appearance, dress, make-up, hair
  • Isolated posts/positions/work assignments
  • Staff can’t account for time during work hours
  • Staff’s family being involved with inmate’s family
  • Increase in contraband in an area
  • Staff working in a secluded area with inmate(s)
  • Staff taking inmates out of cell at unusual times
  • Staff in personal crisis (divorce, ill health, bankruptcy, death in family)
  • Staff who consistently work more overtime that peers and who volunteers to work overtime

The Center of Innovative Public Policies, Inc.  |  1880 Crestview Way  |  Naples, Florida 34119-3306
Phone: (239) 597-5906  |