The Art of the Con
Gary Cornelius, The Art of the Con (Lanham, Maryland: American Correctional Association) 2001.
As Chaplain in a correctional institution, I have been interested in the training of our corrections officers and have been reading some of the books that they read. This book is, on one level, pretty basic. It contains some information about some of the things that offenders do once they are incarcerated and some of the situations that corrections officers need to be aware of and, in many cases, avoid falling into. The end of the book has some role playing, opportunities to consider scenarios and information for volunteers, all of which is helpful to me in my role as chaplain.
Although the information is all presented in lay terms and fairly simple writing, the book is well researched and presented by a qualified psychologist with a lot of practical input form people who are serving on the front lines of correctional institutions. I understand why our commander has made this required reading for those of us who serve in the setting.
No book can contain everything that a corrections officer needs to know and this book is really only an introduction. It does resort to some generalizations which are not fully applicable to juvenile corrections, which is where I serve much of the time. Also it does not present any information about cultural realities, many of which shape the picture of modern corrections institutions.
It is a valuable book for me as I pursue additional research and information in the field.