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Corrections Staffing Resource Center

3 people walking away from a correctional facility after a work shift

The most valuable resource to any organization is its people. Corrections agencies across the country face a staffing crisis, not only in sheer numbers of appropriate staffing but also in the diversity and wellness of their staff. It is essential that resources are committed to corrections’ historically underinvested and most valuable resource, human capital.

The Corrections Staffing Initiative (CSI) focuses on 3 primary trends to meet the challenges of the nation’s corrections facilities. Those areas include Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention (RHR); Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA); and Staff Wellness (SW).

Principal Domains of the Corrections Staffing Initiative (CSI)

Recruitment, Hiring, & Retention (RHR)

Corrections agencies are facing critical staffing levels. They have been, and currently continue to, struggle in recruiting, hiring, and retaining appropriate staff. This initiative will help correctional agencies with recruitment, hiring, and retention which could have several benefits, including: 

  1. Improved hiring practices: A well-designed curriculum can help correctional agencies develop more effective and efficient hiring practices.

  2. Enhanced training and support: A comprehensive curriculum can provide HR and training staff with the knowledge, skills, and support they need to be successful mentors to new hires.

  3. Career development opportunities: A curriculum can help correctional agencies develop meaningful career development opportunities new and veteran employees.

  4. Improved public perception: A comprehensive curriculum can help correctional agencies address the negative public perception of correctional work.

  5. Better outcomes: By improving recruitment, hiring, and retention, a comprehensive curriculum can ultimately lead to better outcomes for correctional agencies and the communities they serve.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA)

Corrections agencies are part of the community and as such, need staff (at all levels throughout the organization) that are representative of the communities they serve; incorporate diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible practices; and demonstrate a willingness to create meaningful change regarding the practices, norms, and beliefs that have marginalized underrepresented groups within the workplace. Correctional agencies should consider DEIA in their recruitment, hiring, and retention practices for several important reasons. 

  1. DEIA practices can help to reduce bias in the hiring process. 

  2. DEIA helps to improve the agency's ability to serve a diverse population it serves.  

  3. DEIA practices can help to promote innovation and creativity within the agency. 

  4. DEIA can help to improve employee morale and retention.

Staff Wellness (SW)

Employees are an agency’s greatest resource. The corrections environment, personal issues, social issues, emotional issues, and financial issues all take a mental and physical toll on our greatest commodity. The average age of death for correctional officers is 59 years old. This is significantly younger than the average age of death for the general population, which is around 78 years old. This suggests that correctional officers face significant health risks and stressors in their job, making it even more important to prioritize their physical and mental well-being.  Implementing staff wellness for the field of corrections can have numerous benefits for both the staff and the organizations. Here are examples of some benefits: 

  1. Improved employee morale: A staff wellness initiative can help boost employee morale by showing that their well-being is valued and that the organization cares about their physical and mental health. 

  2. Increased job satisfaction: When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs, which can lead to increased productivity and better work performance. 

  3. Reduced stress and burnout: Corrections officers face a significant amount of stress daily, which can lead to burnout and mental health issues. A wellness program can provide resources and support to help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. 

  4. Improved physical health: Corrections officers often have physically demanding jobs, and a wellness program can provide resources and support to help improve their physical health through exercise, healthy eating, and preventative health measures. 

  5. Reduced absenteeism and turnover: When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to show up to work and less likely to leave the organization. This can reduce absenteeism and turnover, which can help save the organization time and money on recruitment and training. 

  6. Better relationships with inmates: When employees are less stressed and feel more supported, they may be better able to establish positive relationships with inmates, which can improve safety and security within the correctional facility. 

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