By Sgt. Jon Soles
210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, 143d ESC
NEW LISBON, Wis. – Soldiers went behind bars at the New Lisbon Correctional Institution on March 27, not to get a closer look at inmates, but to learn from and share knowledge of detainee operations with civilian corrections officers.
The soldiers from the 493rd Military Police Company, 416th Theater Engineer Command, and the 400th Military Police Battalion, 200th Military Police Command, were invited to the prison by Warden Timothy Douma to learn techniques, such as verbal de-escalation, to help protect them during detainee operations and provide ways to improve the quality of life and outcome of detainees. The correctional institution is a medium-security facility with a population of 1,025 inmates.
“There are a lot of differences between correctional operations here and detainee operations conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are also similarities,” said 1st Sgt. Benjamin Giles, first sergeant, 493rd MP Co. “Every time we walk through a corrections facility, we see something new that we could implement.”
Soldiers took a tour through the cell blocks, special handling unit, cafeteria, recreation areas, medical facilities and segregation unit.
They were able to observe inmates engaged in various constructive activities designed to help them obtain employment and become productive citizens in their post-release lives.
“Prior to my last deployment, one thing I did was schedule a tour of prisons,” said Capt. James Balutowski, a plans police officer assigned to the 86th Training Division. “This allowed my soldiers to get an idea of what detainee operations would be like.”
Balutowski, a native of Aurora, Colo., said the guards and staff who operate a civilian correctional program offer a wealth of knowledge to help military police officers who work with detainees.
“What I took away from this tour is that we have created a good partnership between the 86th Training Division and the Department of Corrections,” Balutowski said.
Training with civilian correctional officers gives military policeman the opportunity to increase their knowledge of efficient and effective detainee operations management.
The tour was part of the Warrior Exercise (WAREX) featuring more than 4,500 Soldiers from across 30 states and Puerto Rico from more than 60 units including engineer, quartermaster, medical, military police and human resources elements.