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Taiho-Jutsu For Correction Officers

One of the most stressful and dangerous areas of law-enforcement is the field of Corrections.  Individuals in prison have been tried and have been found guilty of committing a crime, some more violent, some less violent, but crimes nonetheless.  In addition to the inherent dangers of the correction officer's position, there is the stress of the facility itself.  Many years ago, this writer was employed as a Clinical Psychologist in a forensic unit of a hospital.  Every door had to be opened with a key, every employee was searched upon entering the facility and, due to attacks on staff, one was always looking over one's shoulder to make sure there was no immanent attack. 

Two questions now arise: Is Taiho-Jutsu appropriate for correction officers (prison guards)?  If so, why, and if not, why not?  In response to the first question, the short answer is, of course Taiho-Jutsu is appropriate for correction officers.  With everything the Taiho-Jutsu course offers, it is appropriate for any branch of law-enforcement. However, the responsibilities of correction officers frequently extend beyond what the core Taiho-Jutsu course offers.  For example, extracting prisoners from cells under harsh conditions is a job task frequently called upon.  Searching prisoners' body orifices is another skill not taught in the core Taiho-Jutsu course.  While additional officers are almost always available to assist in these efforts, it is foolish to think that there will never be a time when an officer is without backup in the course of his/her duties.   

As mentioned above, the corrections officer is not dealing with the general public.  S/he is in an environment where many of the inmates are extremely violent, and may have a history of extreme violence.  As a result, the application of Taiho-Jutsu may have to be modified from normal practices.  To elaborate, a guard may have to resort to the front snap kick to testicles or a side thrust kick to the kneecap as a first response if s/he feels such an action is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to her/him self.  While this may not be the normal first response a patrol officer would have to a threatening situation in "normal" life, it may have to be for the correction officer who does not have any other weapons on him/her. 


With all of the inherent dangers cited, one could argue that the more complete belt rank Taiho-Jutsu system or the Combative Measures program would be better suited than the core Taiho-Jutsu course.  While greater knowledge of a greater number of techniques usually proves to be an asset, specific methods as body cavity search, prisoner transport, and cell extraction are not even part of the Kyu/Dan system, or the Combative Measures curriculum.  Additionally, the Combative Measures methods may be too aggressive as a general approach to prisoners, and open the guards up to legal charges.  What then is the best solution?

The "given" seems that that Taiho-Jutsu course should be the foundation of all training.  For the basic law-enforcement and self-defense applications, all is contained within the course.  For the specialized techniques cited above, the employing agency's training will be an adequate supplement.  We need remember that Taiho-Jutsu was formulated for the general law-enforcement officer, not the officer in a specialized environment requiring specialized techniques.  For those aspects of Taiho-Jutsu which the corrections officer feels would be most helpful to the position (e.g., restraints, baton use), it is strongly suggested that those techniques be the focus of intensive and advanced training.

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