Prison Officers Training Update

Its interesting to see that our prison officers have updated their training.

I had a student who used to work as a prison officer. Given his background I thought he would be an adept at using control techniques.

Imagine my surprise that though he knew about using locks he couldn’t use them effectively if I am giving some resistance and not standing still. Puzzled, I probed further and found out that they were taught to handle one inmate not on 1-to-1 basis but three officers to one inmate.

The question that came to mind was what then would he do if he were alone at the moment he needed to defend himself. The next thing I thought of was what would happen if there was a prison riot and inmates outnumber the officers.

I didn’t know who handled the training but it didn’t seem well thought of. So I guess its nicer to see this video of updated training until I actually looked through the video.

I am not a self defence expert so I shouldn’t comment too much. But the following questions kept popping up in my mind :-

a) Right at the beginning of the video you see a simulated training on kneeing an inmate, pushing him away, going for the baton and stepping back while ordering him to get on his knees. Why do this?

This reminds me of movies where you see the victim managing to get hold of a weapon, hitting the assailant with it once, then running away only for the assailant to get up, come after him (or her), hitting him (the victim) more violently, and recapturing him. Whenever I see this I would ask why not hit him (bad guy) a few more times? Why not find something to tie him up? Why not find a weapon? So many questions?

The logic is not everyone will comply to a command to stay down. Some will keep fighting. So why give up an advantage? I guess there must be some procedural and legal reasons for doing so.

b) At 0:17 I can see some kneeing techniques. I wonder why they don’t get a Muay Thai trainer in for this seeing that the way they are doing the pulling the head movement do not seem efficient and expose them to a takedown if the inmate were to rush forward or even just fall forward.

c) At 0:24 I see elbow strikes being practiced for close quarters combat. I used to learn something like this when I was learning Wing Chun. I would suggest to get the training partner to attack the way an inmate would actually do so. A better simulation may reveal the problems with this type of technique.

At 0:40 you see the partner not following up after the officer stepped away. If the partner had put her head down and continue charging forward I wonder if she can still draw her baton.

d) At 1:00 the claim about avoiding force is commendable. So is the claim about using behaviour control but still what happens if things do not work out the way they are supposed to. What then?

e) At 1:13 I had to smile when I saw the training against multiple opponents. It reminds me of movies where the bad guys stand around waiting for their turn.

Seeing this video informs me that there is a difference between techniques used in prison and what we would do in real life whatever it is that we do individually.

I wonder who they consulted for this type of training. Maybe they should pressure test it by inviting inmates to attack at random to see if the officers can really use their training. OK, stupid idea – they will never do this.

Knowing the techniques is one thing, being able to use it under pressure knowing that you can be injured seriously is another.

That’s why we keep training, never assume that bad guys only attack one way. As Tuhon Apolo said its the attack that you don’t see coming that gets you.

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