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Inmates' abundance of creativity keeps correctional organizations busy finding countermeasures and inventing new technology to keep the prisons secure and the staff and inmates safe.
Rene Enriquez defected from the Mexican Mafia in 2003. As a senior leader in the organization, he had much to offer the authorities and his debriefings with officials were videotaped. Here are excerpts from one session. It was included in a documentary by American RadioWorks.
As state budgets tighten all across the country, more and more people are arguing for the early release of the "non-violent" offender. That begs the question just how non-violent are these folks? The answer won't shock police officers. The answer is that most "non-violent" offenders are actually quite violent. They may even have committed violent crimes and plea bargained down to non-violent charges. And even if they are truly non-violent, that doesn't mean they haven't committed serious crimes.
As technology has evolved, so too has the arsenal of weapons available to law enforcement. Firearms and batons have their place, but they aren't always the most effective tool for a given situation. Having a less-lethal option means you can possibly end a confrontation without lethal force.
Inmates at Douglas County Detention Center in Colorado are indeed being punished, but the deputies who work there don't style themselves as punishers. Rather, they work as enforcers and facilitators-maintaining order and teaching life skills that will hopefully reduce the number of "repeat customers" to the jail.