Turnover Rate in Corrections

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The Nation Wide Dilemma in Corrections

CJ 2500: CORRECTIONS
Professor
November 04, 2012

Running Head: Turnover Rate in Corrections

Abstract

Throughout the years, there has been one major dilemma that continues to hassle the administration whose sole purpose is to provide institutional sanctions, treatment programs, and services for managing criminal offenders. This dilemma is the high turnover rate of the Corrections Officers, whom agencies nation wide are losing at an extremely high rate. Recent statistics indicate that nearly half of all Corrections Academy graduates will have left their agency within a two-year period (“State questions high, “2004). This high turnover rate is causing a staff shortage, which is forcing agencies to put new officers on the job immediately while being untrained. Though the amount of Corrections Officers departing from their agencies continues to rise, the amount of inmates entering prisons remains the same. This of course can become a serious safety issue for the departments employing these new hires that are inadequately trained. Throughout this paper I will explore the numerous possibilities of what’s causing Corrections Officers to depart from their agencies at such a high rate. Whether it’s the demanding hours associated with shift work, the high stress and burnout, or the inadequate pay and benefits, all possibilities will be discussed in an attempt to understand why the retention rate of Corrections Officers is lower compared to various other careers across the nation.

The Department of Corrections (DOC), privately owned jails, parish jails, and local city jails not only face the hardship of maintaining inmate property, specific calorie counts from meals provided, medicine dispensing, doctor visits, and numerous other tasks required that Corrections Officers tend to on a typical day of work, but these facilities also face the hardship of retaining these Officers for extended lengths of employment. As stated in the Abstract of this paper, “Recent statistics indicate that nearly half of all Corrections Academy graduates will have left their agency within a two-year period” (“State questions high, “2004). This has become a major problem for agencies that have a continuous increase in the number of inmates entering these facilities each year, while becoming almost impossible to keep enough manpower to operate shifts in a safe and secure manner. It is stated that in 1999, the turnover rate of Officers and Corporals within an agency was 29.6 percent, while the average tenure of Officers was 3 years (“Department of corrections,”). The turnover rates in 2000 ranged from a low of 3.8 percent in New York, to a high of 41 percent in Louisiana (Lommel, 2004). Typically, once an Officer has been hired and accepted the job, they are to be trained in some type of Corrections Academy. The department hiring the Officer may host this Academy, or the Officer may have to travel to receive their training. Either way, prior to an Officer actually beginning their job monitoring the walkways of a prison or jail, the Officer should first be well trained to ensure theirs, the inmates, and other Officers safety. However, due to the high number of vacancies within Corrections,

Officers are being hired without any experience, while hoping to receive this training academy shortly after becoming employed. Some agencies have established a policy that once the Officer has completed their training at an Academy, they are to sign a contract stating that they will remain with the department for a set amount of years. This is due to the high costs that an agency incurs by having these Officers sent to an accredited Academy to receive their training. The dollar amount that an agency may spend on an Officers training may range anywhere between a few hundred dollars, to a few thousand...
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