From Chaos to Compliance: Communication, Control, and De-escalation of Mentally Ill & Aggressive Offenders – A Comprehensive Guidebook for Parole and Probation Officers- HC Version



Parole and probation officers must deal with individuals suffering from psychiatric or substance abuse disorders on a frequent basis. Ellis Amdur and Alan Pelton offer parole and probation officers a comprehensive set of strategies to keep themselves as well as the general public safe, while functioning at the highest level of professionalism. The first section of this book offers an overview of the role of community corrections in dealing with the mentally ill and/or substance abusing offender. The second section is tactical: everything from field safety and tactical planning on one side, to honing your intuition to pick up early signs of danger on the other. In the third section of the book, the authors focus on us: what we can do to achieve a state of integrity and powerful calm. Rather than abstract pronouncements, they offer specific strategies, including a method of breathing for the purpose of maintaining one’s own center in crisis situations. They then discuss specific behaviors ranging from confusion and obsessive concerns to psychosis, mania and acute disorganization. In one very important section, they discuss interactions with manipulative individuals (at worst, those referred to as psychopaths), people who present a danger to the psychological and physical well-being of anyone with whom they come in contact. They then move on to a discussion of aggression, whether directed at the parole or probation officer or others. There is a specific section set aside on dealing with aggressive youthful offenders. Amdur and Pelton discuss how to de-escalate aggressive and chaotic individuals once a crisis is in play. De-escalation tactics are specific – one learns how to immediately recognize what mode of aggression the person is displaying, and then, one can effectively implement the de-escalation tactics that are best suited to deal with the aggression one is facing.

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About the Author

Ellis Amdur balances two careers, that as a crisis intervention specialist, through his company, Edgework and as a 50+ year practitioner of traditional Japanese martial arts. His writing meets right in the middle. Through his company, Edgework Books, he has self-published ten books on the verbal de-escalation of aggression and calming of agitated mentally ill people, one each for those in the social services personnel, for hospitals, for families, for police officers, for firefighters and EMTs, for parole/probation officers, for 911 call-takers, for security guards, correctional officers in a jail setting and for worksite safety (HR, threat assessment professionals, etc), some co-written.
In addition, he has published Shapeshifting: Effective Scenario Training for Hostage Negotiation Teams, co-written with Fmr. Sgt. Lis Eddy. He has also released a video and instructional book on verbal de-escalation for the armed citizen, through the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA).
Amdur has also published Body and Soul: Toward a Radical Intersubjectivity in Psychotherapy, a combination of a lyrical description of how phenomenology and dialogal philosophy can be applied to psychotherapy, followed by two heart-wrenching accounts showing how these abstract principles are embodied in the real world.
He has written and published three books on martial arts, the iconoclastic Dueling with Osensei: Old School, a work on classical martial traditions and most recently, Hidden in Plain Sight, on esoteric knowledge within various Japanese martial traditions. All three of these books, in revised, expanded editions are published by Freelance Academy Press.
Along with authors Neal Stephenson, Charles Mann & Mark Teppo and artists Robert Sammelin and Dean Kotz, Ellis has released the Jet City Comics graphic novel, the Cimmaronin.
His first novel, The Girl with the Face of the Moon is published on Amazon KDP, with an illustrated print version pending. He is currently working on his second novel.
His books are considered unique in that he uses his own experiences, often hair-raising or outrageous, as illustrations of the principles about which he writes, but it is also backed by solid research, and boots-on-the-ground experience.

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with an undergraduate degree in psychology, Alan began working for the Allegheny County Adult Probation Department, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, in 1991. The first 15 years of his career were spent supervising a “regular” caseload in a regional field office, before becoming a supervisor in March of 2006. In the fall of 2007 Alan returned to school and obtained a Master of Science degree in the Administration of Justice and Security from the University of Phoenix.
In addition to his work in the field of Probation and Parole, Alan has also been
studying, practicing, and teaching a number of martial arts and self-defense courses since 1984. Over the years Alan has achieved masters rank in Tae Kwon Do, a Korean art, and yondan rank in Aikido, a Japanese art that he currently studies and teaches. In fact, Alan first met Ellis at his Aikido dojo in Pittsburgh some years ago, when Ellis was presenting a martial arts seminar there.
Noting the similarities of both their professional and self-defense backgrounds, Ellis and Alan maintained contact over the years. When Ellis approached him about co-authoring this book, Alan eagerly accepted the opportunity to meld Ellis’ dynamic approach to mental illness and de-escalation with the very real personal and public safety concerns of today’s Probation and Parole Officers.

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