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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 199929 Find in a Library
Title: Achieving Successful Negotiations in a Correctional Setting
Journal: Corrections Today Magazine  Dated:April 2003  Pages:114-118
Author(s): Stephen J. Romano
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the elements of a successful crisis negotiation in correctional facility hostage situations.
Abstract: Correctional setting negotiations during siege situations require carefully thought out crisis management techniques. The priorities of the negotiation are the same as any other crisis negotiation: the preservation of life and the peaceful conclusion to the siege situation. The author outlines the advantages and disadvantages of negotiating in a correctional setting. Among the advantages is the fact that correctional institutions are physically secure and authorities are familiar with the site. Another advantage is the knowledge authorities have of the inmates who are conducting the siege, which can be used to the tactical advantage of the authorities. Disadvantages include the volatile group dynamics among inmates who may belong to different prison gangs and, therefore, have different agendas. Another disadvantage is the potentially negative relationship that correctional staff hostages may have with their inmate captors, which may compromise their safety to an even greater degree. The author goes on to offer helpful tips for managing successful negotiations with inmates. Tips include not offering concessions too quickly; instead, inmates should first be given the time to express emotions before they begin to problem-solve. Another tip is to quickly identify all leaders of the siege and meet with each leader in a face-to-face interview. The author cautions that while there are several demands that are impossible to meet, an outright answer of “no” should be avoided while also being careful not to lie to inmates. The author also suggests that all correctional staff receive training in first responder negotiation tactics in order to increase their chances of survival if taken hostage. Finally, the author notes that correctional sieges pose unique challenges, but if patience, flexibility, and creativity are employed throughout negotiations, there is an increased chance of a peaceful resolution.
Main Term(s): Correctional institutions (adult); Hostage negotiations
Index Term(s): Correctional Personnel Training; Inmate grievances; Inmate staff relations
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