The Change in the Correctional Officer Workforce

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The change in the correctional officer workforce has taken an evolutionary approach. One century ago, the responsibilities or the overall composition of correctional officer duties were different. Correctional facilities and services have undergone immense transformations in the past few decades. It is imperative to mention that correctional facilities were initially physically guarded regularly by armed guards. Today, the need for physical presence has been reduced due to the adoption of various technological platforms. Consequently, there is little time spent on manning facilities by guards, and therefore it has created more time for improving service delivery within the facilities.

Secondly, correctional facilities were locked with parametric keys and or padlocks. Currently, turnkeys and automatic closing doors have replaced this type of security (Allen, Latessa, and Ponder 56).

Thirdly, about ninety percent of the correction facilities were run by inmates. On the contrary, modern facilities are indeed operated with the aid of advanced technology in the sense that one office can manage a correctional facility from a control room like a classroom and thus reduce chances of inmate mistreatment among themselves. This bold step in embracing state-of-the-art technology has also heightened security. These changes are in tandem with changing times of the new era of correctional facility management.

Another major change that has taken place in correctional facility management is record keeping. Initially, records were kept in large files and collected together in a large record room. Today, new technology has made it feasible to store a large number of files, including the old ones, in one server and can be accessed at any time from all over the world. This change has brought about transparency in the overall management and operation of correctional facilities and also increased reliability in future access as the files are backed up daily.

Correctional workforce turnover and its control

the high rate of turnover of the workforce that is common in most correctional facilities has been continually identified as one of the critical problems facing most correctional systems and establishments. Allen, Latessa, and Ponder (15) argue that since the advent of the 21st century coupled with the grueling global economic crisis, there emerged complexities and reduction in the number of correctional workforces. However, the programs set up to resolve the high rate of staff turnover (which was also known as the three-phase plan) note that the challenge posed by the correctional officer workforce in terms of turnover needed a more was a far-reaching and permanent solution. Through the three steps involved in the program namely identifying, creating, and implementing, the correctional officer workforce was to be given a long-lasting solution to cope with the growing population in correctional facilities. Nonetheless, there are still myriad challenges related to workforce turnover that still affect the smooth operation of handling the correctional officer workforce.

Retention was identified as one of the greatest challenges facing the correctional officer workforce. Many officers of the workforce were unwilling to continue showing lasting commitment towards service delivery citing numerous reasons in varying depths of emphasis. Due to factors such as competition from other enforcement agencies, poor supervision, and lack of perceived career prospects, the total number of the correctional workforce continues to dwindle (Allen, Latessa and Ponder 35). Other factors such as high unemployment rates in the country also had a substantial effect on workforce turnover. Therefore, through this understanding, it is possible to control the problem of the correctional officer workforce. By creating perceived career prospects, reducing competition from other agencies through adequate training and good supervision, the problem of poor turnout at American correctional facilities can be minimized altogether.

Causes of attrition and its effects on security

Attrition has been generally considered to be higher in correction facilities over the last decade than it is currently. The rising rate of attrition has been attributed to various factors. Among the major identified factors include low pay and fewer fringe benefits than expected despite the demanding working conditions. Many officers in most of the correctional facilities have continually expressed dissatisfaction in the number of payments and the benefits they accrue from service delivery. As a result, continued attrition has been witnessed in the facilities.

Secondly, officers who have served in the facilities for more than five years have demonstrated that they are highly dissatisfied largely due to a lack of recognition while in their line of duty. Continual service delivery for several years without proper recognition has demoralized many officers in correctional facilities. Following this trend, many have given up discharging their services and have opted to find it elsewhere. This has negatively affected the total number of employees in the correctional workforce (Marshia 25). To effectively implement a solution to this problem, there needs to be created a recognition program where the correctional workforce undergoes recognition and thus appraisal for work well done. Otherwise, the situation has continued to raise worrying trends within the correctional system.

In addition, other major triggers that have seemingly led to higher levels of attrition include a breakdown in communication and work schedule. Communication within correctional facilities has been cited to be very poor over the years. However, little has been undertaken to change the situation (Marshia 28). Worse still, Worrying trends especially on lack of adequate communication within the facilities and the workforce have increased the rate of attrition. Besides, large schedules of work have continually drawn discouragement into the workforce leading to the dissatisfaction of workers who eventually opt to quit for other well-paying jobs.

Custody mindset of correction officers

The above worrying trends within the workforce have not been changed before. Consequently, the custody mindset of correctional officers has not been changed too. This is simply because little has been done before to attend to the needs and challenges of the correction workforce. Such great ignorance has continued to undermine their value and importance in nation-building. With continual ignorance of the future, catastrophic changes in the correctional workforce are inevitable such as landslide attrition and low levels of employee turnover.

Given the heavy responsibility of tight work schedules for correctional officers, there is little time that has been set aside for the positive transformation of fixed mindsets and ideologies. In addition, resultant frustrations arising from similar challenges of schedules lead to an unwillingness to collective participatory approach to changing the situation hence leading to a constant static situation. Furthermore, lack of recognition has continued to worsen even the roles of most officers at the correctional facilities. The dimension of discharging duty has been left unchanged for a long time. Needless, the situation in most correctional facilities needs urgent redress if the worrying trends are to be reversed.

Works Cited

Allen Harry, Edward, Latessa, and Bruce, Ponder. Corrections in America: An Introduction, 12th Ed. New York, NY: Prentice Hall, 2011.Print.

Marshia, Allen. Report on factors contributing to high attrition rates of correctional officers. New York, NY: Sage Publications, 2009. Print.

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