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Protocol for Comprehensive Hostage Negotiation Training Within Correctional Institutions

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 71 Issue: 3 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 10-17
David Anthony Fullard Ph.D.
Date Published
December 2007
8 pages
This paper proposes a protocol for comprehensive hostage negotiation training in a correctional setting that includes the use of specially trained professional actors as hostage-takers in role-play scenarios.
The recommended comprehensive protocol begins with a pretraining day the Friday before the start of the 3-week training sessions. Pretraining day consists of a meeting between the trainees and the senior negotiators in order to facilitate positive communication and interactions. It also includes a review of the 3-week training course and the case law applicable to hostage negotiations. The pretraining day is followed by a 1-week course on personality disorders and mental illness relevant to the work of the hostage negotiator. The second week involves trainees applying the knowledge gained in the first week in practice situations conducted in a controlled, classroom setting. The third week consists of an advanced in-service practicum that uses actor/trainers who pose as hostage-takers, in order to involve trainees in simulated incidents that display the likely behaviors of hostage-takers in response to various actions by the trainees as hostage negotiators. This is the most significant aspect of the training protocol, because the professional actors have been trained in the art/practice/technique of hostage negotiation and the dynamics of correctional institutions. This enables them to adopt realistic behaviors in response to the negotiating tactics used by the trainees, such that the outcomes of the hostage-taking simulations are realistic. The use of an actor who has been trained in the behaviors of hostage-takers based on case studies is a more effective training tool than the traditional use of peer staff untrained in acting and the complex reactions of hostage-takers. 2 tables, 1 figure, and 15 references