Is my staff going to be safe working with prisoners?
Advocates, especially those who have little or no experience with prisoners, may worry about their safety when working with incarcerated survivors. While advocates should certainly take precautions when providing services within a detention facility, they are likely to find that incarcerated survivors are no more dangerous to serve than survivors in the community.
It can be helpful to get some training on working with incarcerated survivors, so you can talk through your concerns. You can also work with corrections officials to organize an orientation and a tour of the facility for your staff. Corrections officials are responsible for protecting visitors, and they take this role seriously. The vast majority of inmates are grateful — and often surprised — to get outside help, and treat visitors with respect and appreciation. Services for inmates are rare in detention facilities and it is unlikely that a prisoner would do anything to compromise this help.
Please see the section Ensuring the Safety of Advocates (page 16) in Hope Behind Bars to read more on this issue.