July 9, 2024

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The Importance of Field Training in Corrections

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today I want to talk with my friends in corrections about the importance of field training.

Field training may reduce agency liability. It can also reduce personnel complaints, while increasing confidence in the job.

Correctional work is dangerous and stressful. The men and women who work in our correctional facilities experience some of the highest rates of injury and illness among all occupations. To make matters worse, high turnover and low recruiting numbers make it tempting to rush through the hiring and training process. It’s easy to become focused on simply plugging bodies into a schedule.

But that’s a huge risk. New employees often have uncertain or unrealistic ideas of what the job entails. Carefully planned field training programs are structured to cultivate leadership attributes and enhance communication—two skill sets that are extremely important in a correctional environment. Field training may reduce agency liability. It can also reduce personnel complaints, while increasing confidence in the job.

If your agency is developing or using a field training program, make sure it has some key components. A systematic scoring and evaluation system is a must. Also, make sure there’s room for both FTO and trainee feedback. On that note, make sure you’re selecting the right personnel to be FTOs. This is not a role for deadbeats or malcontents. It’s also important to have a mechanism in place that measures program effectiveness so you know when you need to make adjustments along the way.

Equally important is how we teach people the job. Today’s trainees are intelligent and need to feel challenged. Make sure your program applies principles of adult learning. This includes use of a mentoring program. Allow newly hired personnel to interact with other personnel so they gain different perspectives.

Whatever you do, invest the time and effort to develop your new hires. Their safety and the safety of others depends on it.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.

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