Correctional facilities nationwide feel the effects of extreme staffing shortages, putting staff and inmates at increased risk. These shortages result in significant stress, low morale, and mandatory overtime for correctional officers (COs), and they can also have severe cost and safety consequences.
In fact, some states, such as West Virginia and Kansas, have declared a state of emergency due to a lack of staffing in recent years.
And while some counties have implemented potential incentives, such as sign-on bonuses and hiring fairs to foster recruitment, lack of funding and resources often make these solutions unrealistic.
Three Key Areas to Focus to Address the Staffing Crisis
Addressing the overall staffing crisis is going to take time and collaboration. And although there is no immediate solution to address shortages overnight, there are three key areas your facility can focus on to help mitigate the effects:
- Increased communication. We all know corrections is a human-centered, interpersonal industry. Increased communication among COs and other counties and agencies can encourage collaboration and open the door for solutions.
- Continuous training. Initial hiring training is important, but ensuring your staff has access to continuous and specialized training that meets your facility’s needs is critical. For example, is your staff aware of how your classification program works and why it’s important to your jail?
- Data quality and consistency. Ensuring your team is pulling and reporting accurate data is key to your jail’s efficiency. Outcomes and performance measures may look different for every facility, but consistent data collection and analysis can help you identify immediate and long-term trends for your facility.
Staff shortages are making efficiency and effectiveness more important than ever before. The Northpointe Suite gives agencies the tools to meet those demands.
Give us a call today, and we’ll help you develop a plan fit for your facility.