There are issues with correctional officer turnover and the impact it has on inmate safety (http://www.doc.state.vt.us/about/reports/attrition/view) also. (See also: Lommel, J. (2004). Turning around turnover. Corrections Today, 66(5), 54–57.) Concerns include the impact the turnover has on other employees as they may feel that the rookies are not as dedicated to the success of the institution. This impacts motivation and communication between officers and with inmates.
Studies of criminal justice employees consistently indicate that one of the biggest stressors for an officer or employee is the organization itself, not the nature of the job.
Problems at Centervale Corrections Facility
You are the Corrections Human Relations and Training Officer for a large metropolitan correctional facility known as the Centervale Corrections Facility. This facility has existed for 17 years and has well-developed policies and practices.
The Centervale Corrections Facility was one of the more respected facilities because it diligently practiced the humane and ethical treatment of inmates. Employees were always reported to have been satisfied with the job. Employee evaluation processes within the organization were well thought of for their level of fairness and effectiveness. Moreover, the structural and social aspects of jobs were always well planned, so that employees were clear about what was required of them.
However, over the past two years, things have changed.
The level of job satisfaction experienced by employees is at an all time low. A huge number of people aspiring to be officers apply to your facility every year, yet they don’t seem to stay. Upon being questioned, the officers list burnout, communication problems with senior officers, lack of motivation, low pay, poor understanding of job requirements, and poor cooperation from other agencies among their most important reasons for being unhappy with the job. They have been reported to say, “This is not what we expected. This is supposed to be one of the best correctional facilities in the country. But everything is messed up.” It seems as though somewhere over the past few years the staff at the Centervale Corrections Facility has become stressed and unsatisfied with the work environment.
The turnover is causing a lot of stress and strain within and around the facility. It is becoming painfully obvious to the government authorities that somewhere down the line planning and management of the Centervale Corrections Facility has deteriorated.
For this assignment you are the Human Relations and Training Officer, you have been assigned the task of reviewing the existing policies and processes in the facility and suggesting an improved management plan so that job satisfaction will increase and job stress will decrease. To do this, you need to understand the reasons for low job satisfaction.
Your revised management plan must address the following:
- How will you prevent burnout among the employees?
- How you will improve communication between senior and junior officers?
- What are the ways in which you will increase motivation and job performance?
- How will you improve cooperation from other agencies?
The above are specific questions you need to answer. Keeping these questions in mind, to bring about a change in the situation at Centervale Corrections Facility, you also need to focus on:
- Job redesign
- Effective leadership
- Improved supervision
- Effective evaluation and performance measures
- Image with other agencies
As the Human Relations and Training Officer, you have a significant task at hand. You need to revise the policies and processes in the facility so that job satisfaction increases and job stress decreases. To do this, you need to understand the reasons for low job satisfaction.