This morning, inmate Gibbs had a visit. The nurse passing medications in the housing unit noticed that he was not ready when his name was called. Unusual. Mr. Gibbs is typically aware of his visits and is up and ready at least five minutes before it’s time to go. The nurse asked Mr. Gibbs if he was feeling ok. Mr. Gibbs just shrugged and left the unit for his visit. Later that day, the nurse noticed that Mr. Gibbs was not out in the day room playing cards with others, like he usually is. The nurse walked by Mr. Gibbs’ cell and noticed he was just lying on his bunk looking at the ceiling. The nurse asked again if everything was ok and Mr. Gibbs stated, “Just not my day. Things aren’t working out for me. That’s the problem with hope, you always get disappointed.” “Anything I can do?” the nurse asked. “No, man. Thanks. Just gotta do what I gotta do.”
Every individual who works in a correctional setting has unique experiences with inmates. Based on your role, your personality, your style of interaction and how others perceive you, you are likely to see and hear things that others do not see and hear. In the above example, the nurse has a unique perspective on what’s happening with Mr. Gibbs.
Do not underestimate the value and importance of what you see and hear.
When you notice things are out of the ordinary, ask questions. If the answers leave you feeling unsure, make a referral.Continue reading