Human Capital

Correctional Officer Safety and Wellness Literature Synthesis

Correctional officers (COs) play a pivotal role within the wider prison system as they are tasked with numerous responsibilities designed to ensure that their respective facilities are operating efficiently. As the front-line bureaucrats of the prison institution (Lipsky, 2010), COs are charged with supervising the activities of inmates, enforcing rules and regulations, affording offenders access to social services, and perhaps most importantly, maintaining order (Crawley, 2004; Kauffmann, 1989). They are also tasked with responding to administrative demands; searching cells for drugs, weapons, and other contraband; and intervening to resolve potentially violent disputes among inmates (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013).

Workforce Issues in Corrections

The backbone of corrections is its workforce. The corrections sector relies on qualified, trained and dedicated staff for effective, professional operations. But today, correctional administrators, particularly those running prisons and jails, are grappling with severe workforce challenges that directly impact mission performance. Those challenges include staff recruitment, selection and retention, training and agency succession planning.

Jail Incarceration: A Common and Consequential Form of Criminal Justice Contact

Although jails are both common and consequential, affecting millions of individuals annually, they are a relatively understudied aspect of the criminal justice system. In this review, we first document the prevalence of jail incarceration, highlighting how jail incarceration has risen in tandem with the more commonly examined prison incarceration. Next, we describe the population of individuals in jail, paying particular attention to the heterogeneous and disadvantaged nature of this population. We document how jail incarceration is measured, demographically and in household surveys, and argue that jail incarceration has lasting and profound consequences for individuals, families, and communities. We conclude the review by suggesting directions for future research. Given the common nature of jail incarceration—in conjunction with the fact that jail incarceration creates, sustains, and perpetuates inequality—a better understanding of the prevalence, correlates, and consequences of jail incarceration is critical for fully understanding the link between the criminal justice system and inequality.

Correctional Officer Safety and Use of Safety Equipment in a Correctional Facility

Correctional officers work in dangerous environments that increase their risk of injury. Their rates of nonfatal injuries are among the highest across all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016). In recent decades, technology in correctional settings has advanced significantly, and new equipment and devices to improve correctional officer safety have become increasingly prevalent. However, equipment deployment across facilities varies. In addition, little is known about the specific equipment modalities used in different facilities, the effectiveness of this technology, or how correctional officers and other facility personnel perceive safety equipment.

Be Aware, Be Smart, Be Safe: Correctional Officer Safety

Wherever you interact with criminal offenders, there is a real danger of assault, attempted escape and the necessity to control offenders by force. This is true whether you work inside a juvenile facility, an adult prison or a local jail or you are a probation or parole officer. Most correctional officers want things to run smoothly, and do not look for trouble. They do not abuse offenders or throw their weight around. They want to get through a 25-year (or more) career and retire in good health. The key to doing that is staying safe, and the key to safety is a cautious mindset.

Total Worker Health® Needs Assessment to Identify Workplace Mental Health Interventions in Rural and Urban Jails

With a community-based, participatory approach guided by the TWH paradigm, it was feasible to implement a multilevel needs assessment to identify jail workplace characteristics that inform health promotion and protection interventions. Parsing these data to describe unique characteristics of rural and urban jails and how to tailor interventions based on their needs is critical. In future studies, researchers using CBPR methods may reveal unique worker characteristics and workplace stressors for evidence-informed occupational therapy interventions to address workplace health.

NIC Training: Introduction to the Roles and Responsibilities of Jail Administrators

This course will provide new jail administrators, sheriffs, and prospective jail administrators an overview of the roles and responsibilities of a jail administrator. Course content will be presented at an introductory level and aims to orient the intended audience to the critical functions, roles, and responsibilities the jail has in the local community and in the public safety sphere. Estimated duration: 1 hour. (NIC ID: 21ECJA2900)

Impact of a Total Worker Health® Mentoring Program in a Correctional Workforce

Background: Correctional Officers show signs of adverse health early in their careers. We evaluated the impact of a one-year peer health mentoring program for new officers based on
a Total Worker Health® approach; Conclusions: A continuous peer health mentoring program seemed protective to new officers in reducing burnout and also declines in BMI and hypertension. Short-term physical health markers in younger officers may not be an index of psycho-social effects. A participatory design approach is recommended for a long-term health mentoring program to be both effective and sustainable.

Current and Innovative Practices in Reducing Staff Trauma and Organizational Stress in Corrections for Correctional Officers

This webinar will present the findings from a two-year cooperative agreement with NIC and national correctional stakeholders. Presenters will share current and best practices and propose innovative solutions to reduce correctional staff trauma and organizational stress in U.S. jail and prison settings based on the findings from a scoping review and national survey.

NIC Training: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Correctional Settings

For many people, this time in history brings new insights into the criminal justice system and how it affects people across various cultures and life experiences. The first step in understanding diversity is having self-awareness. The way in which we see the world is maintained through our self-awareness and individual perspective. This course will help you to begin broadening your perspectives by questioning the assumptions you may have about the people around you. It will also offer you tools to build a more harmonious workplace. Estimated duration: 1 hour. (NIC ID: 22ECPR3017)