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Drug Testing on Staff

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Dated: Fall 2009 Pages: 18-30
Cece Hill
Date Published
13 pages
This article summarizes the findings of a survey of 46 U.S. correctional systems and 2 Canadian systems regarding their use of and attitudes toward substance-abuse testing of their correctional officers and administrative staff.
Forty two-percent of the reporting U.S. systems conduct testing on their correctional officers, and 67 percent conduct drug or alcohol tests on their administrative staff. With the exception of the cost involved in conducting drug/alcohol tests on staff, the responding 46 U.S. correctional systems and 2 Canadian systems cited few if any drawbacks to such programs. Officer candidates are not hired after receiving a positive test report during the application phase, with the exception of California, which follows established disciplinary directives, and Nebraska, where testing results are reviewed by management. In the past 2 years, 23 systems (50 percent) reported that employees had been terminated for drug-related or alcohol-related incidents. The survey also questioned respondents on their permission for and use of personal medications within correctional facilities, finding that medications are permitted in all reporting systems except Georgia, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Regulations for such use vary significantly among the States. For the purposes of the narrative summary, the responses from Canadian correctional systems are not included, but are noted in the tables provided. 4 tables