Trending Topics

Right or wrong: Should inmates be rewarded for providing intel?

In this scenario, a sergeant explains to an officer that, in order to get a little, one must give a little

Turning the keys.jpg

Should you reward inmates for unlocking intelligence in corrections?


By Anthony Gangi

Officer Smith was just placed onto the Threat Suppression Team (TST) and, for the first time in years, he feels excited about his new position, which will require him to be proactive and help with investigations and intelligence sharing. He is even excited about the chance to communicate with other law enforcement agencies. Right now, Officer Smith is on cloud nine.

The first day on the job Smith finds himself training with the TST team leader, Sgt. Johnson, a veteran who has over 20 years in corrections, with 13 years on the TST team.

The first day of training consists of interviewing and intelligence gathering. As Smith sits down to observe Sgt. Johnson begin his interview with an inmate, Smith sees something he does not like.

The inmate in question asks Sgt. Johnson, “What’s in it for me?”

Sgt. Johnson, with a smile, says, “Same as last time, brother. You give me what I need and we can discuss what you need.”

Once the inmate leaves, Smith turns to Sgt. Johnson and asks, “So, what’s that about?”

Sgt. Johnson replies, “You have to give a little to get a little.”

With that in mind, Smith continues on with his day.

As the shift comes to an end, Smith begins to feel deeply troubled. If an inmate is given something every time he gives up intel, why not lie and come up with false intel for a reward? If this is the case, the sergeant is probably being played and control of the situation may be at the hands of the inmate.

So here is the question Officer Smith needs answering: Should the inmate be rewarded for giving up intel?

He figures that if they constantly get rewarded, inmates will learn to take advantage of the situation and gain control of the sergeant. Is there another way of gathering intel without doing a trade-off?

This article, originally published 11/20/2015, has been updated.

These training scenarios are intended to draw the reader into the discussion and create a repository of differing viewpoints on a single subject. These scenarios are intended for training purposes only. Though the scenarios are drawn from real-world incidents, no one scenario talks about a specific person or place. If you have questions or ideas for a training scenario, email