Monday, April 23, 2012
Poll: Why are employees afraid to report wrongdoing ?
By Marcus Williams, Backgate Website
A recent poll conducted by the Backgate asked current employees of the TDCJ to vote on whether or not they felt safe and comfortable reporting corruption and wrongdoing to their administrators on the unit. Of the nearly 100 votes received, nearly half of those polled (46 %) stated that they would not feel comfortable reporting employee corruption at any level on their assigned prison units.
When asked to comment on why they would not feel comfortable, many voters commented on the poll itself or the Backgate message board that they did not trust the administration, or did not feel that it would make any difference.
Some said they would report corruption, but directly to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) or to off unit higher level administrators. What this says it that TDCJ employees are not reporting corruption or illegal criminal acts carried out by their co-workers because they do not trust their administrators. One comment describes how upper level administrators on some units have been caught in sexual relationships with employees, and that those employees were involved in corruption but were "untouchable" by administrators due to that employees relationship with the administrator. Others expressed doubt that some administrators even cared about ongoing wrongdoing on their facilities and label employees "problematic" when they report wrongdoing.
Whatever the reasons, true or concocted, employees do not feel comfortable or safe in reporting wrongdoing and corruption. Is it the longstanding internal inmate based attitude of "no snitching"that causes employees to overlook corruption ? Or is it a sign of a deeper issue within an organization when it's employees are afraid to speak out against corruption, or wrongdoing out of fear of retaliation, inaction or being labeled a troublemaker ? The agency can conduct training sessions, make videos for employees to watch, or talk about it at annual inservice classes, but until it practices what it preaches and takes a stand against those actions or attitudes that prevent employees from coming forward, the biggest correctional organization in the United States will remain deeply rooted in the dark ages.
In all fairness, there are hundreds of great professional administrators beating the hallways everyday to rid the agency of corruption, and doing their best to improve the image. But as long as there are those bad, egotistical, unprofessional administrators out there operating,allowing corruption to ferment, the general overview in the eyes of front line employees will remain negative.