Master Sgt. Raymond Green has the instinct that every individual is a potential smuggler. That, along with his alertness and attention to detail, has given Green the reputation of being the best shakedown officer at the Dixon Correctional Institute (DCI) in Jackson, La.
Green began his career in corrections at the East Feliciana Parish Prison in 1998. The following year, he moved on to DCI by the recommendation of Kay Wheeler, a 40-year employee of the state and a mentor of Green’s. At only 33 years old, Green has been with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections for almost 13 years, but supervisors say he displays the knowledge and experience of a 30- year veteran. “I love my job because I get to learn a lot of different things. I like my supervisors. It’s a career for me,” Green said.
Throughout his career, Green has always taken advantage of the training programs offered to him, and he has been cross-trained in a variety of job assignments and posts. His shakedown techniques and skills shone early on while working on the cellblock, and Green became an essential part of the security team. As a shakedown expert, Green performs special details on various compounds. He has worked in offender housing, the visiting shakedown room, recreation yards, cellblock tiers and the kitchen and dining hall areas. He has been working the sally port gate post for the last two years, and also fills in at feeding areas when needed.
Throughout the years, Green has foiled many offenders’ attempts to smuggle in contraband. He has led his unit in the discovery of contraband for the last four years. Items seized include drugs, such as unauthorized pills and synthetic marijuana; weapons, such as razor blades and needles; matches; food; and pornographic materials. “If the offenders get ahold of those items on the inside, they can cause real damage — damage to themselves, damage to others and damage to the institution,” Green said. Offenders found with contraband are sent to disciplinary court and could land in segregation for 120 days.
Some of the more dangerous items Green has found include homemade shanks made out of broomsticks; a screwdriver that had been sharpened to a point; and a homemade handcuff key that had been fashioned from a nine-volt battery. Green found the key stuffed inside the binding of a legal pad, and when officers attempted to open a set of handcuffs with it, they opened. “That key could have done a lot of damage in the wrong hands,” Green said. He was named Officer of the Year at DCI in 2008 for his role in the discovery.
In addition to homemade weapons, drugs such as PCP and synthetic marijuana are also high on the list of contraband. “There was a problem with officers bringing in drugs and cell phones for the offenders. They get paid on the streets,” Green said. “These drugs make them see things. Some of these fellows have been locked up for a while. It’s dangerous.”
“Searching offenders, employees and property is a duty that Green takes very seriously. Contraband, such as drugs, weapons and other illegal items entering the secure perimeter of a prison is a constant concern. Green’s effort in combating the introduction of contraband in the prison is heavily relied upon,” DCI Warden Steve Rader said. “He recognizes the importance of the safety of the staff, offenders and the general public. I am so privileged to be able to recognize the hard work and dedication of Green.”
Green also trains newly hired cadets and teaches new officers about institutional policy and paying close attention to their assigned work areas. According to Rader, Green has earned the admiration of every prison employee and the respect of every offender. “I keep my eyes open and watch the offenders. When I go to the dormitory, I can clear it out with just my presence. It feels good. Older offenders who have been here a long time, I get a lot of respect from them,” Green said. “They know they are not even going to try because of my reputation within the institution.”