One of the biggest challenges facing correctional staff is dealing with deception and manipulation from the inmate population. Despite being behind bars, inmates can find numerous opportunities to exploit situations for their own advantage. Whether for some kind of gain or just for fun, the manipulative games inmates play can cause serious disruptions in the orderly operation of an institution. Well-meaning employees can find themselves in compromising positions, and talented professionals can have their careers ruined by being unwittingly manipulated by sly inmates.
Game Over! Strategies for Redirecting Inmate Deception helps correctional staff and volunteers recognize and respond to these con games by delving into the nature of inmate deception and manipulation. Drs. Elliott and Verdeyen discuss the aspects inherent in prison life that encourage inmates to lie and deceive. In addition, they explain how manipulation as a way of life is a reflection of the exploitative view that inmates have of others. By understanding the purpose and the perceived benefits of deceptive behavior, and by recognizing the situations that are most likely to allow such behavior to occur, correctional employees are in a better position to spot a set up or con and respond appropriately without being deceived.
Learning to identify inmate deception does more than protect the employees. It also provides positive treatment for the inmates. When inmates get away with deceiving staff, they do not gain anything. They merely continue the unhealthy behavior patterns that got them in trouble in the first place. By detecting and stopping their con games, correctional staff show inmates honesty and integrity in action, modeling pro-social skills that the inmates would do well to emulate.