Use of Force is a big, big deal Behind Bars. If it is done strictly by policy, all is well. But the problem with Use of Force is the subjectivity of the human condition. The officers, supervisors and staff members are trained, re-trained, browbeat and brainwashed at every opportunity and inopportunity with the extensive agency policy covering proper procedures for Use of Force situation.
Perons unfamiliar with the term may be wondering what it is exactly and that is a problem, too, because Use of Force is never an exact science; it is more like a set of guidelines used to determine how much force is necessary to control potentially dangerous situations encountered Behind Bars such as riots, escapes (attempted), fights, disobedience, sit-downs, failures to follow orders, ect. Now, there are many, many situations arising Behind Bars that can become dangerous to offenders, staff and/or the institution itself.
Once the determination has been made that a situation is in danger of escalating, there are specific steps, which must be taken by the staff members in order to make sure proper procedure is followed before offenders are made to physically comply with instructions of any kind. Simply touching an offender’s elbow and guiding him/her from one place to another is considered a Use of Force. At the other end of the spectrum, shooting an offender with a shotgun because he/she has just climbed the perimeter fence and hi-jacked a car is also considered a Use of Force.
Somewhere along the line, an entire universe of various personalities must make snap decisions based on their understanding of the Use of Force Policy and Procedures. Where one officer might be calm and cool in a potentially deadly situation, another officer might not be quite as tolerant. And this is where the subjectivity of human nature and infinite possibilities come into play. The outcome of any particular Use of Force depends upon many variables, such as weather, location, number of persons involved, temperaments of those people, training of those people, criminal history of the offender(s), motivation of the offender(s), visibility of additional staff members, whether or not weapons are involved, so on and so forth. Thus Use of Force situations are always unpredictable, unappreciated and definitely unsafe for all involved.