Work Environment in Corrections

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Work Environment in Corrections


Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip deals with the custody work environment.

As you might expect, line staff and administrative staff had somewhat different views on their work environment.

As a risk manager, I study data. Today’s Tip has a lot of numbers and data.

In 2010, the Bureau of Justice Assistance funded a study to enhance hiring, retention and leadership development by providing correctional leaders with evidence-based workplace insights.

Line staff was interviewed concerning how they became interested in corrections; how they were recruited; why they stay on the job; their job satisfaction; their work environment and future development.

Administrators on the other hand were asked about attrition, pending retirement, what they are doing about developing effective strategies for hiring and retaining qualified personnel and succession planning.

Surveys were distributed via the Internet. Over 2,000 line staff responded along with more than 500 administrators. What were their findings? Well, as you might expect, line staff and administrative staff had somewhat different views on their work environment.

Under recruitment, 81% of staff said “job security” and “attractive salary and benefits” attracted them to the job,” yet only 36% of administrators cited salary and benefits as recruitment incentives.

With regard to retention, nine out of ten line staff said that being treated fairly on the job is important. Only 74% felt they were being treated fairly now, and fewer, 56%, believed that grievances are resolved fairly.

92% of administrators felt that their employees are being treated fairly and believe that 90% of all grievances are resolved fairly.

With regard to leadership development, approximately 25% of jails are looking at the retirement of more than 50% of their leadership and management teams within five years of the survey. Regrettably, only about half of the jail administrators reported that their agencies were ready to fill those administrative vacancies as the result of future planning. 

What is your agency doing to close the gap between line staff and administrator perceptions of recruitment, retention, job satisfaction and fair treatment? Is your agency planning for the significant turnover in management and leadership, or will you be caught in the void? 

Remember, predictable is preventable.   

And that, is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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