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The Future is Now: Recruiting, Retaining, and Developing the 21st Century Jail Workforce

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2009
248 pages
Jeanne B. Stinchcomb Ph.D.; Susan W. McCampbell; Leslie Leip Ph.D.
Publication Type
Technical Assistance
Grant Number(s)
Based on extensive research, this resource "toolkit" is designed to assist jails in planning for personnel recruitment, retention, and succession.
Beginning with information and data on why jail leaders have identified workforce issues as a high priority, chapter 1 emphasizes the urgency of planning now for ensuring that the number and quality of jail personnel are adequate for a jail's future mission. Chapter 2 addresses the first step in the planning process, i.e., the development of a strategic recruitment plan that is proactively focused, strategically driven, collaboratively based, and relevant for the jail's future. Using insights from the National Jail Workforce Survey, jail administrators are encouraged to tailor recruitment tactics to the new generation of workers, explore ways to keep applicants from becoming discouraged during the selection process, and highlight the positive aspects of jail employment. Chapter 3 cautions that once quality personnel have been recruited and selected, the challenge is to retain those workers. After guiding jail administrators in calculating what employee turnover is costing them, the chapter identifies reasons why jail employees are leaving, where they are going, and what might encourage them to stay. One piece of advice is that if employees are not continually growing and being challenged, they are more likely to look elsewhere or undermine the motivation of other employees. Chapter 4 focuses on leadership development among employees so as to advance the jail's mission in the future. Attention is given to the upcoming leadership crisis, what will be required of the next generation of jail leaders, how to design a leadership development initiative, development of an action plan, and implementing and evaluating the program. The final chapter addresses how to unite all of the principles discussed into a comprehensive strategic plan. Appended information on "helpful hints," "ideas that work," and references
Date Created: December 26, 2019