Investing Basics for Beginners

Investing money is a way for individuals to save toward their goals, whether it be retirement, a child’s college education, or some other financial goal. Beginning investors need to take time to determine their goals and learn some basic concepts of investing before jumping right into making an investment. Successful investing takes much research, time, and patience. As beginning investors start to have some success in making money through investments, they will develop a degree of skill. However, there is still a degree of risk involved even the most seasoned and skilled investors. Finding the answers to some basic investing questions will help make the efforts of beginning investors more successful.

How much money do I need to make an investment?

One common misconception by beginning investors is that they must have a large sum of money to make an investment. The truth is, many investments can be made for as little as hundreds or perhaps a few thousand dollars. One way to begin investing small is through dividend reinvestment plans or direct stock purchase options. Investors may be able to invest in a company’s stock options by paying a minimal start-up fee, often as little as $25 or $50 and making an initial investment. Once the money begins adding up, it can then be transferred to a brokerage account, where the investor will be able to begin investing larger sums of money.

What are the different types of investing?

Once investors determine that they have enough money to make an investment, the difficult part is often deciding where to invest their money. There are many different options for investors; some of the most common investment options are mutual funds, bonds, futures, and real estate.

  • Mutual funds – A way for individuals to invest without having to manage their investment “hands-on” is through investing in mutual funds. Mutual funds are investments that are handled by a fund manager. This fund manager invests the pool of money, contributed to by several individual investors, in the financial marketplace. The funds may be invested through closed or open-ended funds. Closed funds have a set number of shares that are distributed to the public and are traded on the open market; whereas open-ended funds to do not a set number of shares. The trader will re-invest into new shares for the investor. The shares are overseen by a professional money manager who is trained to select investments that will provide the largest returns to the investor.
  • Exchange traded funds – These funds, known as ETFs, are pools of investor money that is invested in similar ways to mutual funds. However, since ETFs are designed only to track certain indexes and much of their management is computerized, their maintenance costs and fees are generally much lower.
  • Bonds – When investors purchase bonds, they are buying an interest in a company or corporation. The companies issues bonds, which is a loan from an investor. In turn, the company agrees to pay this investor back at determined intervals with interest. Investing in bonds can be a fairly secure investment. Unless the company goes bankrupt, the investor is almost certain to receive back at least the minimum amount of his investment. These interest payments at set intervals can be a source of steady income for retired couples or others wishing to create a type of investment where they can generate consistent returns. The interest earned on bonds can be tax exempt with some types of bonds.
  • Real Estate – Real estate can a good investment when the timing is right but often requires a lot of work. One easy way for investors to enter the real estate market is through a real estate investment trust, or REIT. Investors become part owners in the investments of the REIT such as malls, park garages, hotels, or other real estate ventures. REITs often pay out high cash dividends to investors because the REIT pays no federal income tax in return for paying out 90 percent or more of their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends. Another way of making money through investing in real estate is through purchasing properties, improving the properties through repairing them or adding amenities, then selling them at a profit; or renting the houses to tenants and receiving a monthly income from the payments.
  • Futures – Futures trading is the marketplace where buyers from around the world buy and sell futures contracts. A futures contract is an agreement to receive a product at a future date with a set price. Once the price is agreed upon, the price is secure for the next year regardless of the changes in the market. Some common futures markets include commodities, currencies, stock indexes, interest rates, and other alternative investments such as economic indicators. The rewards of this kind of investing can be great but so are the risks. Therefore, futures should be left to the most experienced investors.

Should I diversify or stick with one investment?

Most professional investment advisors will confirm that diversification is the key to a successful investment portfolio. Investors who spread their investments out through several avenues reduce their risk of losing all of their assets should the investment fail. While it may be tempting to dive right in and start investing large sums or money, beginning investors should balance the potential profit against the risks they are exposing themselves to in the investment marketplace.

Using the services of a professional investment advisor

A professional investment advisor can provide beginning investors with the basic information needed to start an investment portfolio. An investment advisor sometimes is also a financial planner and can help with all financial matters. Some investment advisors are paid a percentage of the value of the assets managed, while others charge an hourly fee or are paid on a commission basis.

For investors who would like to avoid these fees, the best strategy is to do some study and start with mutual funds or ETFs offered by reputable companies.

Hemorrhoids and Anal Warts

It’s pretty bad when you find out you’ve got hemorrhoids, but it can be a lot worse if you get hemorrhoids confused with another health issue. I mean, the pain, anxiety and embarrassment of discovering something wrong in the anal area is bad enough, much less not knowing exactly what you’ve got. On the bright side, there aren’t too many health conditions that can come up in that area. One of the most common health conditions confused with hemorrhoids is anal warts. While neither is very much fun, they stem from entirely different causes and are treated in very different ways.

Anal warts, also known as condyloma acuminata, are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus is highly contagious and most often transmitted through sexual intercourse. Some strains of HPV can lead to increased risk of cervical cancer, but these are not the same strains as the ones that cause anal warts. The virus gets into the skin or mucous tissue cells and starts making them grow in the distinctive wart pattern. HPV infection does not lead to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids originate from weak points in hemorrhoidal veins below the skin or mucous tissue. As the weak point gives way, it stretches out and takes surrounding tissue with it. Traumatized hemorrhoids may get infected with a variety of bacteria and/or viruses, but infection does not lead to hemorrhoids. That would be like putting the cart before the horse.

Anal warts and hemorrhoids can both feel like lumps or masses of tissue around the anal area. However, there are several differences that can lead to a proper identification upon close inspection. While doing a close inspection may not sound like fun, it’s much better than trying unsuccessfully to treat the wrong thing. Upon said close inspection, anal warts have a distinctive “rough” texture and range in size from the head of a pin to about the size of a pea and are rather hard to the touch. They occur in clusters around the anal opening and may sometimes continue up towards the genital area. They almost never occur alone. Hemorrhoids, on the other hand, have a smooth texture that’s identical to the tissue they originate from, whether that’s external skin or internal mucous membrane. They are often soft or “squishy” to the touch, and they range in size from the size of a pea to the size of a grape. You’ll never find them anywhere except right around the anal opening. In addition, warts almost never hurt, though they may itch a bit. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, often hurt quite a lot.

Hemorrhoids are usually best treated at home through a high-fiber diet, a healthy amount of exercise, and easily obtained over the counter relief. Home remedies often work well on hemorrhoids and surgery is only rarely needed. Anal warts, on the other hand, always have to be treated surgically, usually on an outpatient basis. The warts will not go away on their own. Instead, a physician has to use liquid nitrogen to freeze them off. In addition, hemorrhoids can often be kept away by keeping the lifestyle changes that were made to help cure them. Anal warts will often come back for no reason under your control, because the virus can live dormant in your skin cells for a long time. One day that virus can wake up and bam, you’ve got anal warts again.

So, as you can see, getting anal warts confused with hemorrhoids can lead to some serious problems. At the least you’ll be stuck trying to treat a problem you don’t have for a while. Why waste all that time and discomfort? If you can’t figure out what you’ve got on your own, make a doctor’s appointment and get your diagnosis confirmed. It’ll save you a lot of trouble, pain and grief in the long run.

Compromised Immune System – 7 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Immune Deficiency

Most of us never really think about what a strong immune system does for quality of life until something happens to weaken it. A compromised immune system means that germs that in the past have been pretty harmless now have the potential to be life threatening. Here are 7 answers to frequently asked questions about an immune system that is no longer functioning the way it should.  

1. What causes the immune system to become weakened?  Some people are born with the condition because of an abnormality in one or more cells, and this is called primary immune deficiency. Others acquire the condition because of poor diet, prolonged stress, consistent lack of sleep, lengthy use of steroids and/or antibiotics, certain types of cancers, and chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer.  

2. What are the symptoms? Frequent illness, recurring illness, and difficulty in getting completely better are some of the most common symptoms. If this becomes a pattern for any length of time, seek medical advice to determine the cause. Seeking professional help promptly gives you the best chance of restoring your health.  

3. Is there an effective cure? The answer to this question hinges on the cause of the problem. Many times an aggressive change in lifestyle can boost the immune system. By eating a healthier diet, eliminating chronic stress by changing jobs, career, or personal relationships, you can strengthen your body’s ability to stay well. For more serious causes medication is almost always involved and only your doctor can evaluate your specific condition and provide an accurate answer for your chances of a cure.  

4. Are there certain diseases that leave the immune system weaker? Many of the childhood disease can diminish the body’s capabilities to stay healthy such as Chicken Pox and Measles. Luckily there are immunizations that prevent many more children from ever contracting these diseases. Tuberculosis and Hepatitis can also cause problems.  

5. Is this disease based on age or gender? No it is not. Infants can be born with immunodeficiency, and given the wrong set of circumstances anyone’s immune system can become compromised.       

6. Are there natural remedies that help? There are a number of things you practice daily that will help. The importance of clean hands can not be underestimated. Frequent washing of hands greatly reduces the amount of germs you contract. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car, at the office, and with you all the time in a pocket or purse. Avoid large gatherings where exposure to germs increases exponentially. Don’t be too proud to wear a mask if you know you can’t avoid contact with someone who is contagious. Use an air purifier to remove airborne germs before they can cause problems.  

7. What kind of air purifier will help the most? A high efficiency particle arresting air (or HEPA) purifier is most effective. Designed to eliminate particulates as small as .3 microns it is a non-invasive way to keep your air clean. HEPA technology is the same technology used in hospitals to insure clean air. And with a compromised immune system, clean air is one of the most important things you can have.

How to Find Free CNA Classes Online

In whatever field you would like to venture in for a solid career, you would have to start all the way from the bottom and that would be with education. If you’re interested in becoming a certified nurse assistant but don’t have the finances to gain the education that you need, then here are some ways you can find free CAN classes online.

Know that your search engine is your strongest weapon, so go online and start looking up free online classes. You may come across quite a few, but don’t join the first thing you see. Instead, take some time to research the course and program and make sure that it is accredited and recognized by the state.

Besides that, get in touch with your state’s nursing board and find out all the requirements necessary as they are the ones who are responsible for your licensing later on. When you’ve done that, start making calls to local nursing centers or even hospitals to see if they have couching services. Some of them have got classes conduction through the method of distance learning via internet, so if you don’t find out about them online, make inquires through phone or mail.

Also, you can also see if online institutes have got special financial aid or scholarships that you could apply for. There are too many online campuses these days that you wouldn’t have trouble finding one. Don’t forget that distance learning is worldwide and your geographical position doesn’t matter. All that counts is that the course you partake in is accredited and approved by the state in which you wish to practice in.

When you find a free CNA class to use online, don’t just rely on the limited materials given but use all your resources and study hard and make the time spent worth it.

Something Between The GS 300 And GS 400

Dissatisfied with the old GS 300, Lexus decided to start over, almost from scratch. The result is not one but two new cars: the GS 300, powered by an in-line six-cylinder engine, and the V-8 equipped gs 400. Both are mid-sized 4-door sedans whose declared mission is to upset the BMW-Mercedes applecart.

Inside

The inviting, easily accessible cabin has very comfortable seats upholstered in leather and equipped with power lumbar support. The driving position is very good, and the tilt- telescopic steering wheel retracts when the ignition key is removed to facilitate entry and exit. The driver’s-side seating memory (seat, mirrors and steering-column) can only be activated with the   transmission  in Park.

The rear bench can comfortably accommodate two adults, as long as they are not too tall — head room is tight.

The trunk is bigger than before but still just average in size, with a dual-level floor that adds nothing to practicality. The rear seat back does not fold and does not have a port to accommodate long objects.

Convenience and safety

The GS is impeccably fitted and finished but can get a bit noisy on rough pavement. Of the many storage compartments, the glove compartment is especially impressive; it houses a six-CD disc changer as well as a pollen filter.

Everything in the GS bears the stamp of quality. The various controls have a solid feel, and all are ergonomically perfect. Our one small complaint concerns the click of the turn signals, which is practically inaudible.

Comfort and convenience features include an excellent dual-zone climate system with separate driver- and passenger-side controls, and a powerful audio system.

The analog dashboard information is projected into deep dials. The projection is clear and easy to read, never tiring for the eyes.

Safety features include dual front and side air bags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and lockable head restraints. Xenon headlamps turn night into day; other headlamps pale in comparison. The view to the rear is limited by the rear head restraints, spoiler and small window.

Engine and  transmission 

The silky-smooth engine is lively and progressive through most of the rev range, thanks to Lexus’s VVT-i (variable valve timing with intelligence) system. Acceleration, both standing and passing, is adequate but timid compared to the gs 400.

The six-cylinder engine is melodious, if not spirited. More work is required to make the accelerator more progressive and communicative, and to rid it of its artificial fee.

The  transmission  is normally very smooth, but it can be slow to downshift in quick stop-and-go driving or when slowing almost to a stop, then re-accelerating. Combined with the jerky accelerator, this can generate abrupt, annoying shifts, inconsistent with Lexus’s “Relentless pursuit of perfection”.

Roadability

The GS 300 offers a very smooth ride, occasionally firm, never uncomfortable and perfectly compatible with its sport sedan status. The 300 has a very firm grip, a solid feel, and is agile and easy to handle on winding roads. When it detects a skid, the VSC (vehicle skid control) system applies the brakes selectively at one or more wheels while reducing engine power. Despite the feeling of safety, drivers should ignore the temptation to override the laws of physics.

Quick and precise, steering is a bit heavy at slow speed and should provide more road feedback. The brake pedal requires a firm foot to obtain full braking power.

The GS 300 is impeccably built underneath, an examination at the CAA-Quebec inspection showed.

Conclusion

Lexus classes its GS vehicles as luxury sport sedans. While the six-cylinder engine may not fully merit the “sport” label, the GS 300 is nonetheless a finely balanced car offering inspiring handling. Careful construction, quality materials and generous standard equipment are an added appeal in a vehicle built by a company recognized for the reliability of its products.

Four Different Types of Roofing Materials

A home can never be complete without a roof. Roofing is obviously the very first line of defense against any harsh weather, as well as other types of elements which could affect a certain home’s quality, appearance and value. Therefore, it is significant to put some thought into choosing the right type of materials for your roof. The good news is that there is always a wide variety of choices in materials and manufacturers to choose from for quality roofing.

To begin with, an asphalt material shingle is a very common type of product, especially with American homes. It will work great for a wide range of styles of roofs and may be a perfect choice for your home. Asphalt shingles do not cost that much and run from around 1 to 5 dollars for every square foot depending on your provider, as well as the kind of home that you have.

Asphalt roofing shingles come with a lot of advantages for your home. Usually the most important factor to a home owner, it is affordable. Secondly, this kind of roofing is a lot easier to repair compared to others. It can work well on just about any style of roof and is manufactured in various colors, shapes, depths of dimensions. This kind of roofing material is also resistant to any effect that great heat from the sun and inclement weathers conditions could cause.

Now, let’s move on to the second type of roof which is rubberized materials. This is an eco-friendly choice that can assure durability, cost-effectiveness and also proven to be leak proof even when it’s made from various recycled materials. Also, it does no require heavy maintenance due to the light weight and flexibility it carries. Rubber roofing comes in two types: shingled and whole roof. The shingled ones are made from synthetic materials and are better for simple structured homes while the whole roofs are great for a more detailed architectural design.

The third kind would be the tile roofing which is considered as an internationally recognized type of roofing. Just like the above types, this one can ensure durability. As a matter of fact, it is proven to be invulnerable from fire. Also, its longevity could last for up to 100 years and can highly improve air ventilation. Tile roofing comes in various patterns, textures, colors and shapes which can make things more fun upon the process of choosing the right ones in order to bring true elegance out of your home through the roofing.

Last but not the least, wood roofing is popular for homes that need to undergo major renovations. This roofing material usually runs anywhere from 4 to 8 dollars for every square foot. The price also depends on the way of cutting. Wood roofing is essential if you want to give your home a warmer look. It also has the great ability to prevent the occurrence of heat transmission.

Any of these types of roofs can be a great choice for you to make. However, it is still best to consider getting consultation from an expert in order to know what’s best for the type of home that you have in terms of safety, design and efficiency.

Transmission Repair Shop – Sneaky Tactics

I hate to say this but transmission repair shops employ some of the most dishonest practices in the automotive industry. They are able to get away with this for two reasons.

The first reason is for every 50 general automotive mechanic shops there are may be five transmission shops. So supply and demand naturally hires the prices these companies can charge. This is nothing new but some of these transmission companies get outrageous.

Second, unless you are a a specialist in this field you most likely know nothing about transmissions. Any technician can tell you anything and you have no verifiable way of double checking.

Here are some common scams in the transmission repair industry and some common mistakes that customers make:

We need a new transmission a shop will give usually give you two options. They can either install a brand-new transmission, which will cost a lot, or they can install a rebuilt transmission, which will still cost a lot but possibly be half the cost.

You have to understand the dangers in getting a rebuilt transmission. There is a good possibility that these will not be as good as a brand-new transmission or may not last as long. If you’re dealing with a reputable shop who has capable employees they can rebuild a long-lasting transmission.

They should also factor work up with some type of warranty. Do not get a rebuilt transmission without a decent warranty of some type. Make sure you get it in writing. There have been many shops who have sold customers rebuild transmissions and they failed within a matter of days or weeks.

Those same customers, of course being irate, came back to the shop only to find that that particular shop would not honor its “verbal” or “implied” guarantee. If you do however agree to a rebuilt transmission please do not come crying to the transmission repair shop when after the warranty you have problems again. He did go the cheapest route and you must understand that it comes with inherent risks.

Beware of transmission shops that have all sorts of low cost transmission maintenance services and specials to get in. Many of the automotive companies or what I like to call “commission fee based shops.” The shops pay their employees a small hourly wage but make it so they receive a percentage of their total gross sales.

Avoid these companies at all costs! These transmission repair shops have a system where they trick volumes of people every single day into their place of business with the lower at cheap rates and then convince them into buying services and parts they do not need.

This practice has become standard among many of the big box national chains and quite recently has been adopted by many of the small local ones. If you feel like you’re being pressured into buying something you feel you may not need, please, get a second opinion.

I have already touched a little upon the subject but I need to bring up the matter of warranties again. Every warranty and every guarantee needs to be in writing. Do not any transmission repair facility just tell you they back up all their work.

Do not just let them tell you you can bring your car back, and they will fix it for free, if within a couple weeks or months you experience the same problems they were supposed to fix. Every agreement should be in writing including all the terms and conditions.

And speaking of terms and conditions this brings us to the most common scam that most transmission repair facilities do. It is sad that many of these companies resort to what I’m about to say but all you have to do is look online and you will hear hundreds of horror stories.

You’re having transmission problems. You go to a local transmission repair shop and get an estimate. The parts and labor cost $1200. It seems fair see make arrangements to leave your vehicle with them for several days.

Within one day you get a call from the transmission shop. They proceed to tell you that the price is going to be more than what was on the estimate. The excuses are more numerous than the sands found on the beach. It could be any excuse from the parts costing more than expected to them not being aware of the certain problem when they first gave you the estimate.

So the result is that the price that was “$1200” is now “$3500.”

Now your typical person in this position has two options at this point. He can bite the bullet and pay the $3500, in effect paying $1800 more than what was agreed upon, or he can pick his car up.

Keep in mind that the cars is most likely already torn apart at this point. Here is where shops get even worse. In order for you to pick your car up the transmission shop is still going to charge you a fee for putting your car back together, storage, towing, and trust me they will find other miscellaneous charges to add upon that.

So you end up getting the work done, but in the process getting ripped off, or you’re left with the same broken car but you paid 500 bucks just to be able to pick it back up from a shop then attempted to screw you (and they did). It’s a no-win.

This is why you should only do business with reputable transmission repair shops. How do you know if the shop is reputable? In this day and age where honesty and honor are as common as black-and-white televisions you must do your homework.

Ask family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances for recommendations. The good transmission repair shops are out there. You just have to find them among the many bad ones.

Once you get a recommendation from someone you know look the shop up on the Better Business Bureau, local websites where people post reviews, and forums. Ask a transmission shop for customer references.

If they are in fact reputable they should be able to produce one or two happy customers you can talk to. A little due diligence goes a long way because once they have your car you are at their mercy.

Hopefully this article will have giving you insight about the tricks transmission repair shops employ to make a quick buck and hopefully you will be able to take this information and benefit from it.

Scooters – What Are the Features of a Scooter?

Scooters are quickly becoming a popular choice for cost conscious consumers looking for an economical way to get around town. Scooters have many benefits from low costs to above average fuel efficiency. However, when looking to purchase a scooter there are many features that you’ll either get standard or can upgrade. Here are some of those features:

Front Hydraulic ABS Disc Brakes Scooters can come with hydraulic anti-lock braking system (ABS) disc brakes on the front wheel. Hydraulic ABS disc brakes is a safety system on motor vehicles which prevents the wheels from locking while braking. Providing the best possible brakes to have because they provide the best stopping power.

100 MPG Scooters can get up to 100 miles to the gallon. While this may occur with the newer and higher end models, this kind of gas mileage makes this scooter very fuel efficient and economical. This vehicle is the perfect alternative to cars and motorcycles to save on gas and keep extra money in your pocket!

Electric Start / Kick Start Most scooters come equipped with an electric start. The electric start starting system makes starting simple for anyone. They can also come equipped with a kick start. The kick start can also be used at any time.

4-Stroke Engine Gas motor scooters come equipped with up to a 250cc 4-stroke engine. These engines typically have the ability to go up to 55 miles per hour (MPH). With an engine this size, there is enough power for two people to ride.

Fully Automatic Transmission Scooters also have installed a fully automatic transmission. Operated by the simple to use ‘twist & go’ throttle acceleration in other words with a fully automatic transmission there is no clutch or gear shifting at all.

Storage Most scooters come equipped with a large storage compartment located underneath the seat. This extra storage can be used to put all your items that you would normally put in a car glove compartment. Other storage may include a detachable rear storage trunk to put bigger items such as a briefcase, laptop, or luggage.

Scooters come equipped with many features including front hydraulic abs disc brakes, fuel efficiency of up to 100 mpg, electric start / kick start, a 4-stroke engine, fully automatic transmission, and storage space.

Video Conferences

Videoconferences are groupware technologies that enable people in two or more locations to interact simultaneously by merging video, voice call, file sharing, instant messaging, and internet co-browsing across both Windows & Mac operating systems. Thanks to advancements high speed web connectivity, videoconferences are now more widely available at a lower cost. New, cheaper technologies such as the webcam, software compression and affordable broadband connections allow even personal users – not just business users – to enjoy video conferencing.

More importantly, video conferences have become extremely helpful in the field of medicine. It is now being applied to telemedicine – it is used to help diagnose patients remotely, conduct remote consultation, and transmit medical images and other pressing data all in real time.

Peripheral applications such as microscopes with built-in digital cameras, ultrasound tools, “videoendoscopes,” and many other related technologies can be connected to videoconferencing technology to transmit patient data. Stay-at-home patients can easily access nurses and physicians especially during medical emergency. Videoconferences also allow medical professionals to discuss cases and consult each other across large distances. Best of all, videoconferences allow patients in remote rural areas to get modern diagnosis without leaving their localities.

Videoconferences are now also widely available in schools and other educational institutions. Students, teachers and lecturers from the world over can hold classes together and even transmit these classes to isolated locations. Videoconferences have also lowered the costs of education, because students gain access to classes that their schools cannot afford to offer within their own vicinity for a lower cost.

Foreign language classes, for example, can be conducted from a remote university and transmitted to a recipient school. In some cases, videoconferences can replace field trips – economically disadvantaged students who cannot go personally to zoos, museums or to trips to other countries can immerse themselves in the same experience through the technology.

Communication in Today’s Corrections (Part One)

Anyone that has ever worked as either a Police Officer or a Corrections Officer knows the following: It’s either brawn or brain that will get you through the day. They also know that you have to use both (on occasion) if you are going to be successful at your job.

Those of us in the Correctional Profession know that most of the time, and not all the time, the physical confrontations that we encounter are the result of our actions. Now, I understand that some people might disagree with this, but it’s a hard reality to face. Where do we go wrong that leads to this type of confrontation? Communication.

There are really just two ways in which we communicate with people: Verbal and Non-Verbal. Most of our communication (roughly 85-87%) is done through body language. We can all tell when someone is upset, happy, mad, angry, indifferent, you get the point. When our body language says one thing and our mouth says another we tend to run into problems. Inside of a correctional facility we do not have the luxury of firearms, Tasers, or any other type of intermediate weapons on a regular basis. If you do, trust me when I tell you that the rest of us are extremely jealous of you! What does that leave the rest of us? Our mouth/brain combination and our hands.

True, some people have lost that all important connection between their brains and their mouths (also known as verbal diarrhea) but for the most part, the rest of us still have it intact. As an instructor, I always ask my classes the same question: “What’s the difference between a Correctional Officer and an Offender?” As expected, the answers I get are varied: “We go home at the end of the day!” “We didn’t kill anyone!” “We didn’t rape anyone” and the list goes on. I then pause and ask question again.

By this point they are looking at me with confused looks on their faces. I reply back to them “Although you are correct that we didn’t rape or kill anyone, and we do go home at the end of the day, the only difference between them and us is that they got caught and we didn’t.” I then go on to ask “Who in this classroom has never, in their entire life, done anything that someone is not currently doing time in a local, county, state, or federal correctional facility?” No hands go up….

Now keep in mind that I said “never, in their entire life, done anything…” We all have. Whether it was steal something as a kid or adult (office supplies anyone?) it’s still larceny. Got home after going out with friends and saying “I shouldn’t have driven home!” (We’ve heard the slogan “Buzzed driving is drunk driving”) You get the point.

Now that we have established that they are just like us, let’s establish another all important fact: Not everyone that is incarcerated will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. They are going to get out and become our neighbors.

Correctional Departments throughout the country have moved their old way of doing business into the modern era: Rehabilitation and Re-Integration. If we look their Mission Statements, we will likely see a common theme: Public Safety, Pro-social behavior, Re-integration and rehabilitation.

In order to effectively re-integrate and rehabilitate, we must do one thing: Communicate. Communication in a correctional facility can be broken down into 4 main categories:

1. No communication

2. Operational Communication

3. Human-Respectful Communication

4. Cognitive Reflective Communication

No Communication

Easy enough: we don’t talk, they don’t talk, we point, they do as told and we go on our merry way. Officers are separated from the offenders and there is almost no interaction.

Operational Communication

We say the bare minimum in order to get the job done and maintain control (“Come here!” “Go there!” “Chow time” “Do this!” “Don’t do that!” etc, etc, etc). Although there is still a separation between Officers and Offenders, there is more interaction than there is with no communication.

Human-Respectful Communication

This involves talking to offenders like a person, just like you would to anybody else you meet in public. Pro-social communication is effectively done at this stage. Although the use of “please” and “thank you” towards an offender would insult many Correctional Officers, it is part of being respectful and communicating effectively within a correctional facility. (More on this in Communication in Today’s Corrections Part Two).

Cognitive Reflective Communication

This is THE hardest form of communication to achieve. It involves a person to be willing to think about, and change, their behavior, thought process, and accept the consequences of their actions. And what’s the thing most of us hate the most? Change! And that is the reason why it’s the hardest form of communication/thought process that we have.

Once we learn how to communicate effectively, we can reduce the amount of problems that we face on the job every day and increase our “safety factor” exponentially. The proof is in the pudding…