It’s always a warm fuzzy feeling to know that you’re in the clear or that it couldn’t happen to you, or that you turned a blind eye to something. But, the better phrase is, you only care about it when it happens to you! This is human nature. As humans, this is what we do. If your name or persona doesn’t come up, you don’t care. But, like the new situations that come into our lives, we need to be ready for whatever comes our way, and we need to stay cool, calm, collected, and in control.
This true story addresses a very taboo issue at a very taboo institution. What do you know about MDC? Honestly, Albuquerque, what do you know? Most of you don’t know anything, don’t care to know, or give it the cold shoulder and pray nothing happens, that criminals don’t exist. But, they do, and some brave men and women are keeping all of this madness away from you.
What Qualifies me to write this blog?
- The author is an expert in the arena of the criminal justice system.
- The author also wants to share on a personal note that many years ago, he was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) for well over a year.
- The author’s jail job was as a detail in RDT as a janitor for that whole time frame.
HISTORY AND STATS OF WORKPLACE ROMANCES
For over a hundred years, workplace romances have been very well documented. It’s almost the standard these days, the numbers do not lie, and people respond to these surveys. For example, 72% of workers say they have thought about another coworker, 65% have engaged in a flirtatious workplace romance, and 50% say they had sexual relations with a coworker from work or in a hotel. On the flip side, workplace romance sizzles away with time. For example, 35% say that theirs lasted past six months, while a staggering 7% say it lasts over a year. Again, these are the standard numbers that appear day in and day out. The most shocking number is that 95% of workplace romances are affairs and cheating scandals. So, why hasn’t anyone talked about the impact these devastating consequences have on their partners, spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends? How do these workplace romances impact how the jail is run, and do the employees lose focus?
LET’S SET THE STAGE
Before we go into that, let’s set the stage. Let’s go to a place where workplace romance is taboo and expected of those working there, whether married or not. The Metropolitan Detention Center has had a long-standing culture of extramarital affairs and in-staff romantic relationships. The most unfortunate type of workplace romance is prison rape by the correctional staff, which we address late in the article. When you are around the same people and inmates day in and day out, good luck not having a workplace romance. Is it possible not to have one? Keep reading.
MY OBSERVATION AT MDC
Felons as a population are the least documented and one of the world’s highest underrepresented, marginalized demographics. MDC houses a little under 2000 inmates. It has had different names, locations around town, tons of yearly lawsuits, and, of course, many individuals going in and out. I worked up in RDT as a janitor detail when I was locked up for over a year. So much was seen, heard, and felt during that time. I saw the horrors that plague our Nation. I saw almost everyone come back once, twice, or even three times within six months. I can tell you that the recidivism numbers of 68% are correct. That’s probably on the low end. It was also clear that drugs were the main culprit of crime. It’s an environment of hostility, craziness, and misfortune. One thing that stood out most was the interpersonal relationships that the corrections officers would have with staff or contractors or with each other. Most of the correction officers wanted more than what their families could give them, unhappy with their partners, or simply thirsty individuals who would say anything to get what they wanted. MDC is the textbook definition of sexual harassment.
WHY DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN?
Let’s take a step back and talk about how the environment plays a role in an individual’s decision to start a workplace romance. It is pretty simple, the more closed in and the more hostile your workplace is, the more you depend on other coworkers to help you, the more likely they will succumb to workplace romance. Therefore, the environment and the rules play a considerable role in whether or not someone will carry through with a workplace romance.
Let look at an example:
*A nurse is visiting with an inmate. The inmate is very hostile towards her, so she brings in two corrections officers to back her up. The inmate attacks her, but one of the corrections officers sacrifices his body, so she doesn’t get hurt. That situation is very similar to the Nightingale effect, where the victim (the nurse) falls for the caregiver (the correction officer). This scenario happens all the time. The nurse and corrections officer start a workplace romance regardless of their home life.
WHO IS TO BLAME FOR SUCH BEHAVIOR?
The bottom line is the amount of time that someone spends at their place of work, and their proximity to other coworkers is the main factor of office romances. For example, consider these relationships: a nurse and doctor, nurse and patient, social worker and corrections officer, corrections officers and inmates. Do you see how these interpersonal relationships could end up in a workplace relationship? Let’s talk about the worst form of a workplace romance, inmate and correctional officer. This workplace romance happens all the time. But, this time, the inmate is almost always the victim because of their inability to make choices. The corrections officer knows the dangers involved. They understand that the charges against them would be 1st-degree rape because, well, it’s premeditated, but they continue to move and get the defenseless inmate. Many more forms of fake blame include the clueless househusband, the boring housewife, physically and emotionally abusive partners, and a partner that has been abusive towards their kids. Felonology believes that because the numbers are so high on this one, it doesn’t matter how good or bad your domestic situation is. Workplace romances will most likely happen regardless of how strong you are. But do they have to?
HOW TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING
The consensus on office romances has stood the test of time. These things have been happing for hundreds of years. So here are some ways to prevent yourself from having the world around you shatter. Why? Because you have a better chance of hitting the lottery than successfully having an office romance.
Just Don’t Do It
If you are tempted to get involved with an office colleague, resist the temptation. You could find yourself being transferred, fired, or you could be in a situation that is super uncomfortable and impacts your performance.
It is essential to understand your motivations and why you have these feelings. Then, sift through potential relationship outcomes and consider what will benefit both of you. Just remember workplace romances can be highly complex. If you are cheating, think before you wreck someone’s life.
Rules, And No Rules
The Metropolitan Detention Center has no rules. They make up their own. However, if your organization has a policy regarding office romances, discuss and disclose your relationship accordingly.
If You Are Going To, Plan For The Worse
Think about every possible outcome and decide if the damage of a workplace romance is worth it. Do this realistic analysis. Disclose possible break-up scenarios, transfer requests, other coworkers resenting your behavior. One of you will most likely have to obtain new employment. Think about how a workplace romance will impact colleagues and what policies you need to read. Avoid surprises.
Don’t Play Favorites.
Remember to be professional, avoid lingering looks and touches, and remember that PDA is noticed when you’re at work. Your peers will be uncomfortable if you engage in an office relationship. Favoritism damages colleagues, supervisors and may lead to legal action.
The Social Media Situation
Using inappropriate social media in workplace romance that turns into sexual harassment claims will impact your performance at work and home. Take care to consider that both of you will capture the impact of using social media, in a good way or bad.
Office Romances Never Work
When an office romance ends, the perspective will be vastly different, as research has shown that terminated relationships are associated with sexual harassment suits, altered judgment, altered emotions, or one of the two going back to their partners at home. In addition, office romances are complicated and pressured, unlike any other form of love.
DOES THIS IMPACT WORK PERFORMANCE?
In short, yes. If you are involved in a workplace romance, your performance will be impacted by the simple fact that your head isn’t in the game. MDC is a significant institution in Albuquerque, NM. We rely on these men and women to protect us by ensuring that the inmates are safe, taken care of, and not neglected and tortured. So, it’s not a surprise that our jail is dysfunctional. Too many people have died. There are vicious corrections officers, uneducated corrections officers, and a case of insecurity running through the workplace. A culture like that has fear running through it. It presents a fake world where the employee thinks a closed institution is a reality. Unfortunately, MDC is not a reality for anyone, the staff gets to go home, and the inmates go home or go to prison. Then the tensions and resentment can be so high that workplace romances will impact workplace production. As you can find by simply Googling “MDC Jail.”
MDC and correction facilities worldwide happen to be one of the best examples of the pressures that the insecure have to deal with. Corrections officers, social workers, med techs, and staff all have to work together in a very tight-knit environment. Intelligence, education, and values have a minimal impact at MDC on whether someone engages in these activities.
From my observations for over a year, almost everyone, whether weak-minded, insecure or not, at MDC, has had a workplace romance, whether it is going on right now, twenty years ago, or is about to happen, they have engaged in this type of behavior. Remember workplace romance doesn’t have to be sexual. There is quite a range. If you feel like you are the victim of a workplace romance gone sour, call this number and tell them your name will remain anonymous: 1-800-656-4673. Help is always available.