Case Study

Write a 1/2 to one page (150–275 words) response in which you answer the three questions that follow the case study below:

As a female correctional officer, you have been working at the same women’s prison for fifteen years. The inmates call you Marge and respect you as being firm yet fair. You have made some mistakes during your career, but no one has ever questioned your intentions or integrity. Like anyone working in prison, you have found some inmates you like more than others. However, it is rare for you to find an inmate with whom you cannot work with at all. In fact, you are dedicated to the point that you will often spend some of your own time participating with the female inmates in recreation, arts and crafts, and other cell-block activities.

There is one inmate you are particularly fond of. She is a young woman about nineteen years of age who is in on a drug offense. Lisa is a shy girl who comes from a broken home. She never had much of a family life; both of her parents had failed in previous marriages. Lisa’s drug problems had started in high school when she got mixed up with the wrong crowd. She had felt accepted by the drug crowd, and life seemed easier to cope with while on drugs. Lisa was beginning to use hard drugs when she got busted. Because she was with a friend who was selling large quantities of drugs, her bust resulted in a trial and a two-year sentence.

While in prison, Lisa has come to you on several occasions with personal problems. Being a first-time offender, she has found prison life tough to adjust to. You and she have become good friends in a mutually trusting relationship. On this particular day, however, your relationship is being tested.

Lisa has asked you to mail a personal letter to a close friend who lives in her hometown. Since her friend is not a member of her family or her lawyer, his name is not on the approved mailing list. She knows your mailing the setter would violate institutional policy but says it is very important to her that she contact her friend just this one time. You know that other correctional officers occasionally mail letters for inmates. You also realize that it would be relatively easy for you to mail this particular letter. Still, it is a violation of policy.

If you do not mail the letter, your relationship with Lisa will more than likely deteriorate. If you do mail the letter, you may suffer unanticipated consequences. The decision is going to be a difficult one, and you are going to have to make it. Answer the following:

Relationships of trust between inmates and correctional officers are not uncommon. How could such a small violation of prison policy create any problems?What could the CO do to maintain the relationship and not violate the rules?Is violating rules always an ethical transgression?

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