When male prisoners intentionally expose themselves to females - page 2

Hello, I have been working in a medium security state prison for the past month. So far, I love correctional nursing. However, I was very recently assigned to a section of severely mentally ill... Read More

  1. by   hppygr8ful
    Since I work with acute psych patients I too find this topic a bit offensive. Many moderately mentally ill with sexual behaviors are what we call Axis 2 or attention seekers. Therefore any response you give achieves their goal of getting attention. I have found that simply ignoring the behavior completely shuts it down pretty quickly. People with frontal lobe involvement such as the results from meth use often lack impulse control and may not actually have the impulse control to stop once the idea gets in their head. The only time I have ever said anything to a chronic masturbator is when assessing a very chapped and tortured penis. The patient was very upset because it was painful to pursue his favorite pastime. I sent him down to his room with a tube of Vaseline and gently suggested he give it a rest for a few days.

    Once you make a comment that is anything but clinical you have lost the battle.

    Hppy
  2. by   joshsc
    I can't imagine working in that environment. kudos to you all.
  3. by   dienw
    An Episcopal priest told me that his elderly aunt and her best friend decided to go to New York City and see the sights, including riding the subway. A man exposed himself. The priest's aunt turned to her friend and said, "Look, a penis, only smaller."
  4. by   nursesunny
    Quote from caliotter3
    If I were inclined to use the comebacks at all, I think I would reserve them for those who are supposedly of "sound" mind.
    I think this is so funny because people immediately jump to defending the offender. He is essentially visually raping the nurse. Waiting for her to approach, knowing she must come to his cell, looking at her, performing inappropriate acts without her approval/involvement, no consent and the only thing between them is a door. He is showing her what would happen if she was unprotected and this is a way to get pleasure in her discomfort. I don't make jokes, it has happened just a few times but I very clearly and loudly state, "you should be embarrassed, I am here trying to help you and your peers, what would your grandmother think of this behavior? I cannot treat or medicate you for risk to my personal safety at this time, I will return in xx hours to try again but I will be writing you up for this incident" Many of our gangs have rules about not disrespecting women so saying it loudly gets him in hot water with the other inmates, and not making a joke places a firm limit on what I will and won't tolerate. Just FYI, I also work in inpatient mental health and rarely is a patient so mentally ill that they can't control their sexual urges.
  5. by   OrganizedChaos
    Quote from Flare
    i worked corrections for a while. on occasion i'd experience the same as the OP. in my experience it seemed to have a bigger effect if i just didn't acknowledge their actions. If their actions ramped up to something i "couldn't ignore" the COs were on it.
    Exactly this; ignore it. It only eggs them on if you say something.
  6. by   dienw
    Responses can be in four major categories: ignore, make a joke, punitive, or instructive/rehabilitative. Making a joke is arguably punitive and possibly for the satisfaction of the person making the joke. Different people chose different approaches, possibly in combination. The same person may choose a different response depending on the inmate or patient. The punitive and ignoring categories are behaviorist approaches which may extinguish the behavior. An instructive response is cognitive (see Noam Chomsky's criticism of Skinner). What is the goal, stopping the behavior or stopping the desire to behave that way?
  7. by   DoubleblessedRN
    Thank you nursesunny, I completely agree. You are absolutely right in regards to his actions. That is also an excellent suggestion of how to approach the situation by acknowledging the fact and addressing to the prisoner that what he is doing is inappropriate and that he will still be held accountable. I also like mentioning asking what his grandmother would think as she is a woman who he likely respects. (I believe he was raised by her).
    An update since my initial post: I have administered meds to this prisoner after he was issued the misconduct. He was angry with me and told me that I should have warned him on the first offense, then wrote him a misconduct if he did it again. I did tell him that that behavior was inappropriate and would not be tolerated under any circumstances, and had he done that outside of prison, he could be arrested, charged with criminal sexual conduct and would be required to register as a sex offender. I did also mention that incidents like this in prison could also affect a facility's (such as a halfway house or AFC home) decision as to whether or not they will accept him as a client when he is realeased from prison. I don't know how effective this may have been due to his emotional state at the time.
  8. by   DoubleblessedRN
    Dienw, the prisoner's goal was to humiliate me and see what type of reaction he could get out of me. The reason I had asked about witty comments was to make this backfire on him and embarrass him so that maybe next time a female is nearby he will think twice, and to also send him the message that his actions didn't affect me the way he was hoping they would.
  9. by   nursesunny
    Quote from OrganizedChaos
    Exactly this; ignore it. It only eggs them on if you say something.
    Ignoring in corrections is seen as passive acceptance. Generally actions become more blatant on the part of the inmate and the COs also judge nurses "she must like it because he does it every day and she hasn't complained once." Get enough of that talk and you can find yourself looking for work.
  10. by   Orca
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    I never worked in corrections, and I'm not sure how witty this is. When I was approached in an off-leash dog park by a male who proudly whipped out his parts and indicated that he'd be interested in "letting you play with it", I responded with "You're proud of THAT little thing?" It deflated pretty quickly.
    Years ago, when I was a correctional officer before my nursing days, I relieved the night officer (female), who seemed to be visibly shaken. Further inquiry revealed that one of our inmates (on a unit with a lot of sex offenders) had exposed himself to her during one of the night's counts. The following night, a female officer who was less prone to being rattled was on duty. He pulled the same trick on her, but he didn't get the same reaction. She said to him, "If I didn't have any more than that, I would keep it put away", and she went on to finish her count. We never had another incident with this inmate.

    As far as the OP's situation, writing the inmates up is the way to go. Hopefully the custody staff are helping to enforce the rules. The State of Florida lost a major lawsuit because their officers expressed relative indifference when inmates did this, telling nurses that they needed to "toughen up" while doing nothing to address the behavior of the inmates. Two nurses who I worked with in my current agency once worked for Florida DOC, and they got a nice little chunk of change from it.

    Nurses win lawsuit against Florida DOC
  11. by   sarsett
    Quote from nursesunny
    Ignoring in corrections is seen as passive acceptance. Generally actions become more blatant on the part of the inmate and the COs also judge nurses "she must like it because he does it every day and she hasn't complained once." Get enough of that talk and you can find yourself looking for work.
    Exactly. Don't act like you didn't see anything because this will definitely indicate that you like the behavior (as far as prison rules go...). I call them out loud enough so the whole tier can hear, and basically say "I don't want to see that, don't expose yourself to staff, no one is hear for that." I work in an inpatient psych program in a level IV prison in CA, most of the patient population have axis II behavioral issues, so they need to be called out to set firm boundaries and curb future similar behavior. I will also usually write them up especially if they have a history.

    However, a lot of the time if they are truly mentally ill (have some sort of psychotic features for example) the write-ups will usually not go anywhere so I don't bother. But I always verbally redirect and then get the hell out of their line of sight (this also lets other inmates on the tier know that I won't tolerate this behavior).

    I understand that nurses working in the private sector will see some of the responses posted here as abusive or at the very least insensitive, but our patient population is very different here and will walk all over a nurse who is the stereotypical Florence Nightingale nurse. You need a tough skin and the ability to set strong boundaries or watch yourself get taken advantage of, hurt (or worse), or fired. You need all the skills of a nurse with the awareness (and sometimes attitude) of an officer. Not easy for everyone.
  12. by   Woodstock11
    Our facility requires confinement officers to announce "Nurse on the wing.". To some of the inmates, this is a call to get ready....here she comes. They have plenty of time to put their toys away.....or whip them out. Nurses at our facility are on each wing for approximately 15 min. Twice a day. They have 23 1/2 hrs per day available for masturbation without my presence.
    The only reason to "gun" a nurse is for a reaction. It rarely happens to me, and then, only by recent transfers. I make an announcement to the entire wing... "somebody should tell him those come in adult sizes" or "I'm calling your gramma"....and keep moving. It doesn't happen again. The other inmates on the wing take it from there. "You don't disrespect Nurse xYZ*!! She takes care of us!" (Appologies usually come the next day) Disciplinary reports are written, and sometimes outside charges are filed. If found guilty in outside court, they leave prison as a sex offender, plus whatever they did before.
    This pity party that some of the previous posters are having for inmates is very sad. Please, save your pity for their victims. We don't have traffic violators. We don't have guys that made little mistakes. We have repeat offenders. We have people violators, who have done horrible things to other people. Rapists, murderers, torturers... One guy violated his 20 lb dog... to death. That wasn't why he was locked up either... he is free now.
  13. by   sarsett
    Quote from hppygr8ful
    Since I work with acute psych patients I too find this topic a bit offensive. Many moderately mentally ill with sexual behaviors are what we call Axis 2 or attention seekers. Therefore any response you give achieves their goal of getting attention. I have found that simply ignoring the behavior completely shuts it down pretty quickly. People with frontal lobe involvement such as the results from meth use often lack impulse control and may not actually have the impulse control to stop once the idea gets in their head. The only time I have ever said anything to a chronic masturbator is when assessing a very chapped and tortured penis. The patient was very upset because it was painful to pursue his favorite pastime. I sent him down to his room with a tube of Vaseline and gently suggested he give it a rest for a few days.

    Once you make a comment that is anything but clinical you have lost the battle.

    Hppy
    This is good advise for a community psych hospital, but in prison this response will have you looking "overfamiliar", which is a cardinal sin in prison. Any wind that you are aware of and ignoring a masturbating inmate or coaching an inmate to use vaseline to masturbate will land you in some serious hot water with custody and management.

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