Consider the following scenario from your textbook:
The emergency body alarm was sounded in the segregation unit at 9:20 a.m., and nearly 20 staff members responded swiftly to the crisis. One of the responding staff was the new institutional Director of Security, Steven Conklin. As he arrived on the scene in the maximum-security penitentiary, Conklin observed an inmate armed with what appeared to be a large homemade knife. The weapon was being brandished toward a group of correctional officers, effectively keeping them at a safe distance.
Conklin saw the officer-in-charge of the unit, Sergeant Mazalla, begin to unroll a fire hose from the closest fire box, and several officers were preparing to turn the hose on the inmate to pin him down. Conklin flashed back in his mind to the security conference he attended two months prior, where the state prison security chief had warned all attendees that it was unacceptable to use fire equipment for inmate control needs and he wanted the practice to stop. He said institution leaders had to crack down on this practice. Unfortunately, Conklin had only been on his new assignment for five days and had not yet discussed this change with his correctional lieutenants and sergeants.
Conklin yelled to Sergeant Mazalla to stop and waved him over to talk. Mazalla was angry both at the situation in segregation and at the interruption to his planned response. The armed inmate was screaming at staff and the officers involved were growing upset at the lack of response to the threats. Conklin told Mazalla that he did not want the fire hose used in this situation because he felt it was misuse of fire equipment. Mazalla was incredulous and his verbal response was less than politically correct: “Why the hell can’t we use the hose? We’ve always used water to control an armed inmate!” Conklin did not wish to discuss the issue in front of many staff, and he was really feeling pressed to deal with the situation. He quickly responded that he simply did not want the hose used and Mazalla yelled, “Then maybe you’ll go take the damn shank away from the inmate!” Conklin immediately jumped back at Mazalla and the argument escalated.
As this verbal altercation was taking place, another officer who knew the inmate began talking to him and after a few moments, the officers could see the anger of the inmate begin to dissipate. The inmate dropped the knife and agreed to allow the officer whom he knew to place him in cuffs. He was moved back into a cell and secured. This solution to a crisis resulted from a line staff member taking the initiative, while his supervisors loudly argued about the use of the fire hose.
For your initial post, analyze the scenario and evaluate the following. Include a synthesis of academic concepts.
· Was Director Conklin doing the right thing by stopping the use of the fire equipment? Assess how he handled the situation.
· Why did the leaders at the scene allow themselves to be diverted from the emergency situation? Assess whether this diversion was appropriate. Why or why not?
· How would you have dealt with the situation? Explain why.