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Unlocking the Door to Relationship-Based Corrections Recruitment

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Magazine Volume: 69 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2007 Pages: 36-38
Nicole Baker; Max Carrera
Date Published
February 2007
3 pages
This article proposes a corrections recruitment strategy that systematically builds relationships with job seekers, encourages current employees to refer applicants, and works with community-based organizations to locate a diverse applicant pool.
Mythical media images of the corrections field usually involve fierce and corrupt correctional officers, prison riots, beatings of and by inmates, and depressing facilities. As a result, few people actively plan for a career in the corrections field. Those who overcome these negative images and enter the field usually do so because they have contact with someone who works in corrections, perhaps a friend, family member, or teacher. Relationship-recruiting requires going to where job seekers are found and talking with them one-on-one and in small groups. In making these connections with diverse applicant pools, recruiters must focus on including diverse populations and building relationships and partnerships with various groups within the community. This involves becoming active in community groups, getting to know key community leaders, and participating in e-mail discussion groups. This is important preparation for introducing the corrections field and its employment opportunities to community members. Recruiters can use their State's employment programs to teach regular workshops that explain the correctional agency's application process. Recruiters should also hold regular "employer days" at the employment centers. Recruiters should build and maintain strong ties to local high schools, colleges, and universities. Other potentially effective options are a corrections camp for high school students that showcases the service, training, and adventure of a corrections career; an "open house" at the prison that demonstrates the variety of jobs that serve important societal goals; and a system of employee referral money rewards for current correctional employees who refer people who complete training.