A couple days ago I received a notification from Facebook saying that an employee at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Oregon (FCI Sheridan) had checked into a Facebook page I created and posted recruiting flyer for the prison. I created the page (https://www.facebook.com/fcisheridan) for the purpose of speaking out against the prison and it is full of damaging articles exposing her co-workers. The employee, Jessica Tidwell, obviously did not take any time to look at the content of the page before posting her recruitment flyer, probably thinking she had checked into the official FCI Sheridan Facebook page. Tidwell is just the latest case of someone mistaking a Facebook page created to speak out against FCI Sheridan for a page belonging to FCI Sheridan. Normally I just tell people that the page was created by a former inmate with no current association with the place, but after reading Tidwell's flyer I feel the need to advise anyone considering working there what that place is really like.
Why People are Confused
People usually mistake my Facebook page for the official FCI Sheridan Facebook page because unlike the staff member that created the prison's official page, I setup a vanity URL. The vanity URL I choose was https://www.facebook.com/fcisheridan which is the best vanity URL possible for a page about FCI Sheridan. Bots recognize the vanity URL and use that when deciding which FCI Sheridan Facebook page is most relevant to a user's search. As a result my FCI Sheridan Facebook page is a top 10 Google result for the query "FCI Sheridan" without quotes and the official page is nowhere to be found. My page also shows up in the Google knowledge panel (https://support.google.com/knowledgepanel/answer/9163198?hl=en) under a Facebook logo in the profiles section. According to Google "Knowledge panels are information boxes that appear on Google when you search for entities" and the purpose of those boxes are "to help you get a quick snapshot of information on a topic based on Googles understanding of available content on the web." Because my page is titled "FCI Sheridan - Federal Correctional Institution" and has the vanity URL "/fcisheridan" Google Bot thinks that my page is the official Facebook profile for FCI Sheridan and lists it as such in the knowledge panel. This has resulted in people contacting me thinking they are sending messages to the prison until I respond by explaining that I am not associated with the place.
Is this legal? The answer to that question is "yes" because I am using the FCI Sheridan vanity URL for free speech purposes. This scenario is analogous to cases of alleged domain name squatting when the alleged squatter registers a top level domain name containing the name of a company or person. If the person registering the domain name does nothing with it or tries to sell it to the rightful owner they are a squatter, but they are not squatter if they use the domain name for purposes protected by the First Amendment. Purposes like speaking out against the company or person whose name they used when registering the domain name. In such cases the alleged squatter becomes a gripe site operator who is free to use someone else's name for the purpose of comment and criticism. See Taubman Co. vs. Webfeats (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taubman_Co._v._Webfeats). Setting up a gripe page using the vanity URL of a person, organization, or place is no different.
Why People Should Not Work at FCI Sheridan
People should not work at FCI Sheridan unless they really know what they are getting themselves into. The recruitment flyer posted by Tidwell is nothing but a vague piece of bait intended to attract anyone who might consider working at FCI Sheridan. It claims to offer "great benefits and competitive wages" which is true in some cases, but many Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employees are underpaid and overworked. The underpaid and overworked are typically the "Correctional Officers ... Maintenance, Food Service, and Others" mentioned in the flyer. Those people, especially the correctional officers, end up performing undesirable and sometimes dangerous tasks in exchange for meager wages.
As a former cellmate of mine once said, "it takes a certain kind of sadistic individual to be a correctional officer." That is because of how correctional officers are required to treat people and how some of those people treat them in return. A decorated Iraq war veteran once told me about how hard the BOP recruits military personnel, how many of his buddies took jobs with the BOP, and how few of them lasted more than a year. Most people are not cut out to be correctional officers because they hate treating other people the way COs are required to. Eventually they get tired of treating people like that and find work elsewhere. Those that do last consist of four main types of people:
Type 1 - Those that are capable to treating their work just like any other job due. They are able to do this due to having good mental compartmentalization skills. Skills commonly taught in the military which is why military personnel are so heavily recruited. These people were trained to compartmentalize any job/mission as just a task to do. In the BOP they will typically show up for their shift, do what they have to do without going out of their way to screw with the inmates, and they may even treat the inmates with respect because what they do is not personal to them (ex: https://copblaster.com/blast/2230/scott-doyle-proves-ineffectiveness-of-facial-recognition-software).
Type 2 - Those that really don't care about their responsibilities and are in it only for themselves, but sometimes they actually do care about inmates because they really don't care about the BOP very much. These are the types that can be corrupted easily by those with money or something they want. They look like they are doing their jobs most of the time, but behind the scenes they are doing things like smuggling drugs in, turning the other way when drugs are found possibly in exchange for a bribe or because they are afraid of retaliation, and generally not caring about the place. The good thing about this type is that if you develop a good relationship with them then you are likely to benefit from their misconduct. My first case manager was one such person, she tragically killed herself several years ago after apparently being caught smuggling in tobacco for an inmate that she was having sex with. The story I heard was that she shot herself in the parking lot near the SHU at FCI Sheridan where the inmate she had been seeing was housed after she was caught brining in tobacco for him. I have not seen documentation of this, but I have confirmed that she is dead and I have heard this story from multiple people. On a personal note I always thought she seemed like a nice person, but lonely and I think that is why she turned to an inmate in search of the type of companionship she could not find in the real world. I am leaving her name out of this article out of respect because she was always nice to me and made sure I got my full 6 months of halfway house.
Type 3 - Those that enjoy having power over others and inflicting pain on those they control. These are the ones that go out of their way to make inmates lives hell (ex: https://copblaster.com/blast/1218/carlos-hernandez-left-his-job-and-vanished-from-social-media). They are also short tempered and quick to use excessive force or threaten inmates (ex: https://copblaster.com/blast/1215/lt-will-shortis-threatens-to-beat-up-inmates-accuse-them-of-assault). The acts of handcuffing, tackling, macing, and beating inmates give them pleasure and they are quick find excuses to satisfy their sadistic desires.
Type 4 - Professionals displaced due to their own incompetence. Many BOP doctors and their staff fall into this category. They are technically qualified to practice medicine, but beyond accomplishing the bare minimum they are not able to succeed in their field in the real word, so they retreat to a place where nobody cares if they screw up. Dr. Amador Cantu falls into this category for many reasons previously mentioned on this website (https://copblaster.com/hashtag/amador-cantu/).
Why Do BOP Personnel Hate Inmates?
BOP personnel hate inmates because of people like Scott Joseph Franklin (https://copblaster.com/blast/124/scott-joseph-franklin-is-a-wire-wearing-hole-rat). Most inmates never cause any serious problems for the staff, but there is a small percentage that give them hell. Franklin is one such person. While I was in the SHU with him he threw feces on the wall while taking a shower; wiped his ass before putting the poop covered toilet paper in envelopes and trying to slide them under cell doors, and if he managed to get one into someone else's cell he would yell, "dookie doo, ewwww!"; and one day he showed me write ups that described him pissing on guards through a food port. Every BOP facility has at least one inmate like Franklin. As a result guards go to work every day afraid of getting urine or feces thrown at them or worse. Over the years at least 25 BOP staff members have been killed by inmates (https://www.bop.gov/about/history/fallen_heroes.jsp). Many others have been injured in assault and many of those assaults have involved weapons. Inmates can easily make knives by cutting metal out of bunk beds and using the concrete floor as a sharpening stone. Eventually an inmate will get tired of being treated like an animal and lash out against his captors. This is usually of the staff's own making because they constantly treat the inmates like they are less than human. The inmates in turn hate the guards. Who wants to work in a place like that?
Before you look at a BOP recruitment flyer and think you might have what it takes to work there you really need to ask yourself some questions. Could you treat your fellow human beings like dogs in a kennel every day and live with yourself? If so, then could you tolerate being cursed at, spit on, pissed on, shit bombed, or worse on a regular basis? If so, could you still treat all inmates as human beings after one of them attacks you or would you spend the rest of your time treating all of them as if they were your attacker? Is there any way that you could work in such an environment for many years without becoming a monster? After asking yourself these questions do you still want to attend a BOP job fair?
And Then There is COVID
On top of the horrible working conditions that exists at FCI Sheridan on an normal day we are now in the middle of a pandemic. There is no way to socially distance in prison. Every prison in America is a disaster waiting to happen. I talked about the dangers (https://copblaster.com/blast/3412/coronavirus-threats-and-fci-sheridan-what-is-dr-cantu-going-to-do) and then in December an outbreak hit just as I predicted (https://www.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/2020/12/sheridan-is-latest-oregon-prison-to-see-covid-cases-spike-in-short-time.html). FCI Sheridan is not safe for anybody including potential employees.