The Number One Issue Facing Correctional Agencies Across the Country - NCCHC Resources
Staffing puzzle pieces

The Number One Issue Facing Correctional Agencies Across the Country

We are still reflecting on the excellent content from the American Jail Association’s (AJA) May conference. One thing was repeatedly made clear: Inability to hire security and medical staff is hindering operations and increasing the risk of adverse health events among those in custody. Addressing the crisis involves a multi-faceted approach, as this issue is driven by a range of factors including working conditions, pay, training, and public perception.

Key ideas for improving recruiting and retention include:

  • Mental Health Support: Provide access to mental health resources and support for staff, including counseling services and stress management programs.
  • Targeted Recruitment: Develop targeted recruitment campaigns to attract a diverse workforce, including veterans, former law enforcement, and individuals from underrepresented communities.
  • Retention Incentives: Offer retention bonuses, career development opportunities, and pathways for promotion to encourage staff to stay longer in their roles.
  • Robust Training Programs: Implement comprehensive training programs that cover conflict resolution, mental health awareness, and de-escalation techniques.
  • Continuous Professional Development: Provide ongoing training and development opportunities to help staff advance their skills and careers.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Launch public awareness campaigns to improve the perception of careers in corrections, highlighting the importance and value of the work.
  • Community Engagement: Foster positive relationships with the community through outreach programs and partnerships with local organizations.
  • Leverage Technology: Use technology to streamline administrative tasks, improve communication, and enhance security. This can include the use of automated systems for monitoring and reporting, as well as advanced security systems.
  • Remote Monitoring: Implement remote monitoring systems to reduce the burden on staff and improve safety.
  • Advocate for Policy Changes: Work with lawmakers to advocate for policies that support better working conditions, funding for staffing, and resources for correctional facilities.
  • Standards and Regulations: Establish and enforce standards and regulations that ensure a safe and supportive work environment for correctional staff.
  • Cross-Sector Partnerships: Partner with educational institutions, healthcare providers, and other sectors to create pipelines for recruitment and provide additional resources and support for staff.
  • Peer Support Networks: Develop peer support networks within the corrections community to foster a sense of camaraderie and support among staff.
  • Alternative Scheduling: Offer flexible work schedules, such as shorter shifts, part-time opportunities, and job sharing, to accommodate the needs of staff and reduce burnout.
  • Remote Work Options: Where possible, explore remote work options for administrative roles within the corrections system.

NCCHC Resources can conduct a systems assessment to identify how staffing is affecting operations and identify high-risk areas. Employees may be more candid with our consultants, who have decades of experience in correctional health.