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The given scenario involves a new commander assigned to oversee correctional officers in the field, working in cell blocks. Although this new commander has previous experience with the administrative side of corrections, this is his first assignment that involves actually commanding correctional officers and teams. The new commander’s personality is immediately noted to be abrupt and demanding. A health and welfare check is conducted in which an ethic male inmate is found to have a small amount of marijuana hidden in his bunk. This specific inmate is rumored to be supplying other inmates with various controlled substances. In an attempt to show toughness, the new commander directs the CO team to shake down all male inmates matching the approximate and ethnicity of the inmate mentioned above. The CO team members attempt to approach the new commander in hopes he will reconsider his previous shake down order, but the new commander exhibits an extremely violent reaction to such suggestions. The new commander’s reaction involves screaming about how disloyal the CO team members are, promises of punishment for disobeying an order, and complaints of the inability to commit to a campaign without adequate troops.
The new commander is obviously under a lot of stress. This is understandable as the individual is placed in a new position in which he has no prior experience. His extreme reactions may be due to the overwhelming amount of stress, inexperience, drive to show capability, or individual personality. However, there could also be additional circumstances that are affecting his behavior and way of thinking, such as an actual mental health condition.
One such condition that could potentially explain the new commander’s aggressive and erratic behavior is paranoid personality disorder or PPD. This disorder is classified as a cluster A personality disorder where the individual exhibits odd or eccentric ways of thinking (Web MD, 2015). PPD usually begins by early adulthood and is more common in men than in women (Web MD, 2015). Common behaviors and symptoms of individuals with PPD include: doubting commitment, loyalty, and/or trustworthiness of others, unforgiving, hold grudges, hypersensitive, take criticism poorly, perceive attacks on their character that are not apparent to others, general reaction of anger, quick to retaliate, cannot accept their role in problems or conflicts, believe they are always right, hostile, stubborn, and argumentative (Web MD, 2015).
Another option is that the new commander is suffering from an anger disorder. There are different types of anger disorders. A chronic anger disorder consists or prolonged anger and can contribute to other mental health disorders (PsychGuide, n.d.). Overwhelmed anger is caused by the inability to cope with the current life demands (PsychGuide, n.d.). Judgmental anger is directed towards others and may be expressed with feelings of resentment (PsychGuide, n.d.). Volatile anger involves spontaneous outbursts of excessive or violent anger (PsychGuide, n.d.).
Regardless of the reason behind the new commander’s behavior, counseling with a licensed professional is clearly required. Whether the individual is suffering from an actual mental health condition or is behaving in such a manner due to current life stressors, the actions, attitude, and behavior of the new commander should be addressed in order to circumvent further unacceptable acts and behaviors. The individual is clearly not ready or experienced enough to adequately fill the position of commander. Perhaps future training as a correctional officer is needed prior to maintaining a position of leadership in a correctional facility. It is difficult to oversee something with no prior knowledge of it or the standard operations. While there may be a medical reasoning behind the inappropriate behavior, the position requires an individual that will not make poor decisions for any reason, as those decisions will directly impact the facility.
Clearly the new commander did not consider the impact that his orders, were they carried out, would have or could have had on the relationships between the COs and the inmates. Singling out inmates of the same ethnicity would likely be seen as racial discrimination. Not only would this search be an unethical act, but is against the code of conduct that COs are expected to follow. This shake down would likely cause the inmates to form an intense distrust of the COs, and could potentially lead to violent outbursts or riots. If drug paraphernalia was suspected in a specific cell block, a complete health and welfare sweep should be conducted in that cell block in order to determine those who may be in possession as the list of potential culprits is not limited to an approximate age or ethnicity.
The new command is most likely suffering from cluster of personality disorder. The specific type of personality disorder that the new commander could be suffering form is borderline personality disorder given the fact that persons suffering this type of disorder are unstable in several areas such as interpersonal relationships, behavior, mood, and self-image (Issues in mental health nursing, 1978). These individual’s too are characterized with abrupt and extreme mood changes, unstable and fluctuating self-image, unpredictable, self-destructive actions and stormy interpersonal relationships. These individuals generally have great difficulty with their own sense of identity (Issues in mental health nursing, 1978).
In the case of the new commander, he appears to be suffering from abrupt and extreme mood changes as well as unstable and fluctuating self-image (Privitera, 2011). That is evident at the point the CEO teams advise him to reconsider order that they only pick up all of the males that match the approximate age and ethnicity of the inmate found with marijuana and shake them down. Instead of the commander taking the advice in positive terms, he acts in an extreme violent manner by screaming and declares the CO group disloyal and as such, he promises to see the team punished. That is a complete case of a person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder in that he demonstrates bouts of intense and inappropriate anger over nothing serious (Privitera, 2011).
There is possibility of issue with the commander’s orders as it is likely to break the relationship between the COs and the inmate population. That is because professionally, the COs is taught only to apply force if the inmates react violently but in this case they are to apply force unnecessarily. The inmates are likely to react in a violent manner thus causing mayhem and as such, it would be difficult to contain the issue at hand. However, with the commander undergoing professional counseling he can still head the unit effectively.
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I share the speculation that the commander might be suffering from multiple personality disorders or an even a bigger mental problem. The most evident symptoms include irrationality, aggression, excessive command, and lack of consequences evaluation ability. For instance, when the correctional officers attempt to reason with him on the need to try an objective way to deal with culprits in the prison, he instead screams and insists on racial and physiological segregations....
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