Saturday, April 16, 2005


6 Down - A four letter word for unruly mob

California prison officials have ordered an end to using crossword puzzles as a substitute for guard training. This comes after a state assemblyman questioned how finding hidden words such as elf, snow and gingerbread prepare officers to handle dangerous convicts.

Guards at some California prisons were told they could complete nearly one-quarter of their annual training by doing word-search and crossword puzzles on the job. Correctional officers currently receive 52 hours of training each year in such things as firearms, use of force and transporting prisoners. Forty hours are hands-on but Department of a Corrections spokesman said a union contract that took effect last July required the remaining 12 hours be spent studying bulletins with policy changes, administrative directives - and puzzles.

One exercise required guards to find the names of professional football teams hidden among a jumble of letters: "Complete the word find puzzle below and submit receive one Good luck and have fun!"

For their part union officials blame the puzzle practice on a lack of funding for real training. The union could have provided a way better excuse if they would have spent some of the 12 additional hours watching Shrek or Shrek 2. Damn Gingerbread Man.

PS - The answer which was sent to me by a corrections officer was snow, but I think it is probably riot.

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