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Inspector General Report – Clinton Correctional Facility

Per the (electronic) NYT of June 6, 2016:

“At the start of overnight shifts, guards would falsify records to make it appear as if they were conducting rounds when they were in fact not; instead, officers acknowledged to investigators that they would read books or play crossword puzzles, the report said.”

It seems that an inadequate period of time has elapsed since Bentham’s development of the idea of the panopticon to oversee prisoners in correctional institutions. Self-evidently, the problem is not the defective creation of protocols and rules that thwart sound inspection and oversight; instead, it is the human tendency not to adhere to these imperatives. Calls to automate further the instruments of control in maximum security prisons like Clinton will reverberate favorably, no doubt.

The full NY State Office of the Inspector General report is available. Besides its timeliness (the escape occurred on June 5, 2015, and it was discovered on June 6, 2015), the report identifies the commonly applied methodology in investigations (and similar inquiries):

  • Interview individuals (often, more than once);
  • Inspect the premises / scenes of the alleged crimes;
  • Analyze the documentation (however falsified);
  • Consult with experts / specialists / scholars (e.g., Michael P. Jacobson from CUNY, see pp. 10-11 of the report);
  • Communicate the report to and cooperate with the relevant standards-setting body for its assessment (in this case – the independent sector organization named the American Correctional Association, see p. 2 in the report).

The report has much to offer experts and neophytes in the field of security and management failure RE: Inspection and oversight, including numerous details of the “culture of carelessness” that characterized the relevant operations. However, the money quote, IMHO, is the following: The OIG finding the (see p. 11):

“… misstatements and purported lapses of memory reprehensible.”