Once again, the BOP is in the news, though this time it’s not for raping inmates, or their guards bringing in drugs, rather it’s for bragging about and trying to use the fact that many of those in their “care and custody” has a mental illness, something that could be argued they had a big hand in. It’s no laughing matter that on average 1 in 3 prison inmates suffer from mental illness. To most, that’s not something to laugh about, it’s a sad fact. The BOP being the highly intelligent, and compassionate people they are highlighted this in a recent ad (see, that’s a joke: Sarcasm).
According to an employment advertisement that sparked debate on social media, psychologists who work for the bureau that administers federal prisons in the United States can treat detained inmates suffering from every mental disorder imaginable.
As part of a larger campaign, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) purchased a Facebook ad in which readers are asked to flip to any page of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a standard US text used by mental health professionals to catalog the vast array of mental illnesses that exist.
“Whatever disorder you land on, you’ll find it here,” says a quote on the poster, which is ascribed to Dr Jamila Thomas, a BOP psychologist who is headquartered in Atlanta and works for the organization.
Thomas is seen in the advertisement, which also states: “The clinical diversity you will find at the Federal Bureau of Prisons goes far beyond what you will find in private practice.” Take a look for yourself. “Come along with us.”
Reactions to BOP Advertisment
As one Twitter user pointed out, the advertisement was “possibly the worst” because it attempted to utilize the BOP’s high amount of detained persons suffering from mental illness as a recruitment technique. “It’s the worst,” said another. The majority of the comments and reactions were unfavorable to the agency.
According to the BBC, the United States has more than 2 million people incarcerated, far outpacing China’s 1.5 million, which has a population that is over four-and-a-half times greater than the United States. According to a report published by the United States Justice Department in 2017, around 37% of persons incarcerated in the United States have a history of mental illness.
A job listing for roles such as staff psychologist, forensic psychologist, chief psychologist, and substance misuse program coordinator can be accessed by clicking on the ad in the newspaper.
One usual reaction on the internet was, “Weird!” When people do something wrong, I wonder if early mental health intervention might be more [appropriate] than storing them in a detention center with no consideration for helping them get better.” This is absolutely true, especially when you combine that with a year+ on lockdown because staff is continuously coming into work sick so that they can get told to leave, and collect a paid 2-week covid leave.
Others expressed worry that the advertisement provided potential recruits with a large number of patients on whom to experiment with treatment options, prompting them to share their concerns.
What the BOP has to say about it and what they are really saying
Marketing and public relations specialist Chuck Malkus told the Guardian that he did not believe the advertisement to be as contentious as some had claimed, stating that it was evident that it was attempting to recruit crucial assistance for those who were most in need.
“It’s simply providing an opportunity for healthcare professionals to make a difference in the lives of individuals who are in desperate need of assistance,” Malkus explained. “It’s a necessity, and it’s the right thing to do to provide for these people.”
“These people” are human beings, despite the BOP being desensitized to the concerns and needs of individuals in their charge, the ad helps show the public how much they think of those that are responsible for giving them jobs in the first place, the inmates. Keep in mind that all of this was approved before being released to the public, it was not just an artistic approach by one guy who paid for an advertisement.
Malkus, on the other hand, stated that “messaging is everything.” The manner in which the message is presented is extremely crucial.”
Other advertisements in the series are looking for volunteers to teach computer literacy, arithmetic, and reading. Those advertisements make more typical appeals to the public’s welfare, such as “serving the public good.” A recruitment advertisement for correctional officers emphasizes a signing bonus as well as the potential to become a member of a team whose members protect each other’s backs.
This is absolutely true. Most BOP staff do “protect each others backs”. In fact, they do it so well that sometimes it takes years to have the behavior of those guards, and BOP staff brought to light. Like the rapist warden, or Chaplin, or the myriad of other coverups and booted wardens who try to cover things up for the BOP. It’s their culture: Corruption. Thinking it will change is like wishing upon a star for a terminal cancer patient.
Same old generalized, and vague statements by the BOP mouthpiece
Market research “indicates that potential applicants were interested in the opportunity to work with patients with a variety of mental health diagnoses,” according to a statement released by the BOP. Notice, that they did not release that research.
“The purpose of our advertisement is to draw attention to the many opportunities for clinical diversity that are available to candidates,” according to the statement. “Our psychologists are committed to treating inmates suffering from mental illnesses, and they are frequently the first to recognize and address the mental health needs of those who come into our care.”
Translation: “We have a lot of really messed up people, this is our fault mainly but we will never admit it to you. Our staff hates to have to do anything, but we enjoy meeting broken people and derive entertainment from it, it’s so normal to us infact that we thing everyone else shares our twisted sense of humor.”
And this ladies and gentlemen is one of the many reasons why the BOP is absolute trash.