Avoiding Offender Manipulation: Safeguarding Your Staff

Avoiding Offender Manipulation: Safeguarding Your Staff
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-12-08
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Avoiding Offender Manipulation
Unit 2Transcript: Avoiding Offender Manipulation
Unit 3Workbook: Avoiding Offender Manipulation
Unit 4Recording: Avoiding Offender Manipulation

This webinar is the second part of the Offender Manipulation webinar series. The first session unpacked offender manipulation, what it is, how it is done, its desired outcomes, and the theories and schools of thought that aim to explain an individual’s likelihood for criminality. This installment explores current issues that plague the corrections field and how it makes corrections staff vulnerable to offender manipulation, and guidance for effective training to prevent and mitigate offender manipulation.

Back at the Justice Clearinghouse to continue the discussion are Kevin E. Courtright and Gary F. Cornelius. Kevin is a member of the Department of Criminal Justice at Pennsylvania West University at Edinboro where he teaches corrections courses. He previously served as a probation officer in New York state and has a Ph.D. in criminology. Meanwhile, Gary is a trainer and consultant for the American Jail Association, the International Association of Correctional Training Personnel, and the National Institute of Justice, among others. He served for almost three decades in the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Specifics of this webinar tackled:

  • The importance of conducting offender manipulation training for everyone who has contact with inmates, and factors to consider when thinking about offender manipulation training.
  • How staffing shortages and changing philosophies on offender supervision lead to overburdened and stressed corrections employees who then become more susceptible to potential manipulators.
  • The ideal age and experience required when hiring corrections officers and the common fears that rookie COs tend to have.
  • The different means to inject offender manipulation training into day-to-day operational tasks.
  • The critical role of field training officers and mentors in reinforcing offender manipulation training and guiding newly-hired COs in their duties.
  • A rundown of the challenges experienced within the corrections profession that contribute to the likelihood of inmate manipulation.
  • Outlining recommendations and elements required for effective training.
  • The different types and characteristics of training methods that can be implemented and must be observed for it to be effective.
  • Examples of scenario exercises that are proven to be effective training methods.
  • Specific areas that could be covered in civilian offender manipulation training.
  • The CHUMPS approach that highlight the importance of control, wanting to help, extending understanding for the inmates as well as yourself, maintaining distance from inmates, observing professionalism, and being wary of the negative impact of stress.
  • The value of ongoing and proactive training for everyone within corrections that uses real-life examples and role play.
  • The importance of communication between the officers and their colleagues and supervisors to be able to address potential manipulation attempts.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Giving factual and objective notes in report writing and not providing interpretations of possible manipulation when it comes to suicide ideation or behavior of inmates.
  • How to deal with familiar threats on staff as a form of manipulation.
  • Recommended hours of training for non-sworn staff and volunteers compared to sworn officers.



Other Webinars in This Series:


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Jails/Corrections webinars and recordings on the JCH Platform.



Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Different types of manipulation and hat characteristics can make COs vulnerable. The need for revision and ongoing/extensive training in this topic area. Was very informative. Great job by Presenters.” — Cheryl
  • “It was valuable learning how the manipulation starts with the most basic of questions or comments. The “tool” kit as I call it is useful…” — Crystal
  • “I use that book as reference in my academy training (actually title manipulation) and am excited for the next revision. I do like the scenarios because it gives tangible ideas of if A, then B which is what our people are looking for.” — Jeff
  • “So well organized with specific directions. The advice to “shut your mouth” stood out most to me.” 🙂 — Julie A.
  • “The “Chump” guide is very helpful. I will also be seeking out some of the suggested resources, articles, and books. Thank you!” — Karen
  • “So much great information on offender manipulation and training approaches. I’m going to add the book The Art of the Con to my library and share it with others!” — Caryn
  • “As a very seasoned faculty of Criminal Justice, former parole officer, and Advanced Job Training Professor for the [Redacted], it was good to go back through training as a refresher and reminder.” — Pamela
  • “It was a great point to stress how important effective training can help corrections staff to recognize and avoid offender manipulation, and the CHUMPS strategy was quite helpful also.” — Denny
  • “I learned what not to do around offenders and how not to become an easy target for offenders.” — YOLANDA




The American Jail Association (AJA) is a national, nonprofit organization that supports the professionals who operate our Nation’s jails. It is the only national association that focuses exclusively on issues specific to the operations of local correctional facilities. The driving force behind the phenomenal growth of AJA is its members. AJA has taken a leadership role in developing the type of programs that promote the professional growth of the dedicated men and women who operate our Nation’s jails.  Jail staff have the responsibility for the management of people who have been charged with violating our laws and often mock the ideals on which AJA was founded. Jail personnel find themselves sorely tested each day in the jail environment when they receive scorn and derision for their loyalty and perseverance under extremely trying circumstances.  AJA takes this opportunity to salute the jail staff of the Nation who, by their dedication to the difficult task of local corrections, have made a vital, positive difference to the welfare of the communities they serve.  Click here to learn more about AJA. 




Additional Resources
1 year ago
Thoughts on Manipulation from Gary Cornelius
Gary Corneilius shared so many great insights into understanding inmates during his webinar, Offende […]
1 year ago
After the Webinar: Offender Manipulation – Safeguarding Your Staff (part 2). Q&A with the Presenters
Webinar presenters Gary Cornelius and Dr. Kevin Courtright answered a number of your questions after […]
1 year ago
Online Course: Introduction to Motivational Interviewing
Criminal Justice professionals regularly encounter people who are on the verge of change. A pro […]
1 year ago
Online Course: Community Corrections Officer Safety
The profession of “community corrections” often varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Depart […]
3 years ago
The Benefits of Correctional Intelligence Led Policing
It’s about time we recognize the value of corrections. Not just to merely protect the community by […]
4 years ago
Jail Ministries: The Top 10 Things to Consider
Jails and prisons have their challenges and would greatly benefit from help from the community. Reli […]
5 years ago
Trauma Informed Jails: An Interview with Dr. Robin Timme
We know that most inmates have some level of trauma in their background. But what about your correct […]
5 years ago
The Ten Types of Lies: The Inductive Interview System
Webinar Video Clip: Inductive Interviewing People don’t always tell the truth, some individua […]