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Strategies for Employee Retention in Corrections

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 32 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2007 Pages: 7-11,28
Ryan Crews; Gene Bonham Jr.
Date Published
May 2007
6 pages
This study analyzed the work environment factors impacting correctional staff within the Department of Corrections (DOC) in a Midwestern State and recommends a plan of action to increase employee satisfaction and retention.
Results of the analysis indicated that in 2004, the turnover rate at the midwestern DOC was 19.8 percent while the unemployment rate in the State remained relatively consistent between 2001 and 2004. The top three reasons provided for employee resignations were: (1) higher salary; (2) other concerns; and (3) other job/career. More specifically, 42 percent of corrections employees left to obtain higher salaries or different careers. Results also indicated that the hiring process for corrections personnel is long and arduous, taking up to 3 months to complete. Based on these findings, a plan of action for reducing turnover and increasing employee satisfaction is presented. The plan of action calls for corrections agencies to: (1) shift their style of management to incorporate greater flexibility and creativity; (2) implement appropriate training; (3) support continued training or specialized education for employees demonstrating an interest in continued development; (4) recruit appropriate personnel and enhance departmental professionalism; (5) provide competitive compensation and salaries; and (6) professionalize the work environment. The analysis focused specifically on analyzing current employment practices in corrections and how these practices impact the recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction of corrections employees. Data were gathered from relevant policies and procedures manuals, annual reports, exit interviews, and other internal documents related to retention and turnover. Basic agency data was also reviewed along with statistics regarding employee turnover with the department. References