The police are heroes on the front line. The district attorney is hard-nosed but fair. The defense is a champion for the underdog. The judge is wise, strong and authoritative. And the correctional officer is a corrupt, violent brute. Sound familiar? Television shows, movies, and even media coverage frequently stick to the same tropes, and it’s the exception, not the rule, to see correctional officers doing the right thing. In fact, in a study of media coverage of correctional officers in the U.S., researchers found that correctional officers are portrayed negatively nearly 80% of the time. So what can we, as the hardworking professionals who ARE doing the right thing, do to counteract this perception?
Jails are physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging workplaces, and even the most effective correctional officers can use periodic reminders, training, tools, and resources for continued success. In our ongoing conversations with jail staff and leadership across the country, we’ve compiled a list of the top skills COs can build to stay in control and injury-free.
Twice as many correctional officers suffer from PTSD as military veterans. For every correctional officer killed in the line of duty, 10 more take their own lives. Mental health concerns among correctional officers are very real, and they’re not going away. It’s time to start talking about it.
Forward-thinking jails know that inmates have taken a variety of paths to get to where they are, and they have very different needs while incarcerated to support successful reintegration into society and reduce recidivism. One of the key factors found to influence a person’s path is gender. Decades of research shows that women typically have different motivations for criminal behavior than men, and they respond differently to treatment.
As supervision professionals, we’re focused on the myriad things the individual needs to address to avoid recidivism, and the most immediate priority needs to be the moment of reentry. When their feet hit the pavement, then what? Do they have a place to live? Do they have something to eat? Do they have a valid ID Over the past three decades, we’ve seen hundreds of different takes on discharge/release/reentry planning, and we’ve learned that success really comes down to a few key factors.
Customers come to us for help with everything from managing change to working through reform issues to navigating ongoing resource challenges. As we work with teams across the country, we’re able to spot trends as they unfold, and we’re constantly learning more and applying what we learn to new situations. In 2019, customers asked questions that shed light on the current state of corrections and the trends that are starting to trickle down to agencies of all sizes. Check out our Top 3.