6. Hear all the speaker has to say before you evaluate what has been said. Do not decide a
subject is uninteresting. Screen what is said and hope for something worthwhile. When a prisoner
tries to tell you why he committed an offense, do not dismiss his comments as exaggerated or
untrue. What he tells you may give you an important key to his future behavior.
7. Listen for main ideas, as well as for facts. Do not try to dominate the conversation. Screen
for something worthwhile in what is being said.
8. Concentrate on content, not the speaker's delivery. Remember, the message is important, not
the way he chooses to deliver it. The detainee may talk in an excited manner, jumping from one
idea to another; but what he says is important, not how he says it.
9. Listen to what the speaker has to say before you evaluate what has been said. Don't jump to
conclusions or make decisions prior to hearing the entire message.
10. Be a flexible note taker. You do not need to outline everything you hear. Adapt your note
taking to the organizational pattern of the speaker. Do not write notes while talking to a prisoner if
it makes the prisoner nervous. Write your note immediately after the interview if you cannot take
them while he or she is talking.
11. Pay attention. Do not listen passively.
a. Maintain good eye contact.
NOTE: In some cultures it is common practice for a man to not make eye contact with a
woman. We must be cognizant of this when communicating with a detainee and be
able to understand if this may or may not be intended to conceal other disruptive
b. Maintain good posture (neither too rigid nor too relaxed).
c. Nod your head occasionally to let the speaker know you are paying attention.
12. Tune out distractions and interruptions. If you can't hear the speaker, move the
conversation to a quieter place.
13. Ignore emotion-laden words or phrases that upset you and disrupt your thought process.
Don't get upset over something that is being said and miss the rest of the message. For instance, if a
detainee makes an ethnic slur or curses in his message, remain impartial and listen to his story.
14. Listening, like observing, is a fundamental skill. Listening requires more than just the
ability to hear. You must also be able to recall all the important verbal clues used by the detainee.
15. Listening helps you to hear the danger signals of detainees when things are still in a verbal
stage. If you hear verbal clues in the message, you can take appropriate action to manage situations