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Advancing Corrections Journal – Edition 8

This Edition of Advancing Corrections gets to the core of what is perhaps the most significant way we can truly ‘advance’ in creating quality correctional services – through investment in our staff! Our operational staff who make things happen on-the-ground, whether working in prisons or community settings, are being asked increasingly to become multi-tasking experts in dealing with a whole spectrum of complicated human conditions – not just criminality as usually understood but addiction, trauma, mental illness, radicalization, sexual deviance, entrenched gang identities, sadistic violence, and on it goes. These staff have to constantly refresh and learn new skills to deal with new problems. They have to learn to cope with their emotional world without disengaging. They have to stay committed in the face of change and innovate in the face of shrinking resources. We ask a lot. Hopefully, this Edition of Advancing Corrections can contribute to a dialogue about how we can begin giving back and seriously invest in their well-being and professionalism.

Become a Member Call for Papers Issue 9

 

FEATURED ARTICLES
ARTICLE 1 – STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND PRACTICE MODELS: WHEN WE GET BETTER OUR CLIENTS GET BETTER

Thomas P. O’Connor, Bradford Bogue, Samantha Collins, Sorcha O’Connor

This article describes how a team of juvenile probation officers in Yamhill, Oregon changed its culture and co-created a practice model. A practice model is a shared set of integrated evidence-based practices that an agency believes will result in better public safety outcomes. The practice-based evidence of staff was combined with a new integration of evidence-based practices called COVE. COVE stands for Coaching Options that are Versatile and Effective. The paper describes the COVE model. The Yamhill team used the National Implementation Research Network’s three-part model of implementation to achieve implementation success. Early results indicate that staff and client wellbeing increased.
 

ARTICLE 2 – ENGAGING JAIL PARALEGAL OFFICERS IN ADDRESSING OVERCROWDING IN PRE-TRIAL DETENTION WITHIN BJMP JAILS BY BUILDING, SUSTAINING AND RECOGNIZING THEIR SKILLS AND COMPETENCES TO LEVERAGE JUDICIAL GUARANTEES

Vincent Ballon & Atty Jeza Mae Sanchez

This article reviews the work undertaken by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)2 of the Philippines to deliver professional development and specialized legal training to its jail paralegal workforce over the last decade. The underlying aim was to facilitate access for detainees to early release mechanisms as one way of addressing the continuous increase in the population held by the BJMP. The article highlights the crucial role that effective Jail Paralegal Officers can play in linking the BJMP’s jails with local criminal justice actors outside, and the importance therefore of enhancing the Officers’ communication skills and technical expertise and rewarding them for their motivation. The changes in professional practice and behaviour that are needed require a long-term commitment to support the BJMP jail paralegal program.

Although the recent reduction in the level of jail occupancy could not be wholly attributed to it, a fully functioning paralegal workforce support program has been shown to have the potential to increase the speed of case disposal, and consequently reduce the time that people remain detained in pre-trial detention. This review revisits the main findings of the Task Force Katarungan at Kalayaan (Justice and Freedom in Tagalog) of which the BJMP is a member, an initiative aimed at decongesting Manila City Jail, as well as other criminal justice reform initiatives that have taken place in the Philippines since 2012. These produced data and experiences from which the BJMP could learn and which formed a basis for nurturing the progressive development of various components of its jail paralegal program. The professional development of the BJMP Jail Paralegal Officers includes not only initial complementary training but training that continues throughout the period of their deployment in jail, and therefore has the potential to contribute to the reduction of overcrowding in all BJMP’s 481 jails (source: BJMP). An important component of the paralegal program is its innovative Electronic Paralegal e-Learning Module (EPLM), a digital tool designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of staff within correctional environments through the creative application of technology.

ARTICLE 3 – UNODC’S SCENARIO-BASED E-LEARNING COURSE ON THE NELSON MANDELA RULES: TRANSLATING INTERNATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS ON THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS INTO PRACTICAL GUIDANCE FOR PRISON AND CORRECTIONS OFFICERS

Philipp Meissner

This paper describes the recent initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to develop an e-learning platform on the Nelson Mandela Rules. The paper outlines the structure and content of the e-learning course and some of its special features. It discusses how UNODC has launched the course to date and the plans for the future in order to generate and strengthen global interest in utilising the Nelson Mandela Rules as a trigger for prison reform. This includes a sustained outreach campaign targeting national prison and corrections administrations, with a focus on prison staff training schools and academies.
ARTICLE 4 – CORRECTIONAL WORK, WELLBEING, AND MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS

Rosemary Ricciardelli, R. Nicholas Carleton, Meghan M. Mitchell, Nigel Barnim, Anees Bahji, Dianne Groll

Correctional Services Canada (CSC) employees include those working in institutional corrections (e.g., correctional officers in prisons), community corrections (e.g., community parole officers), and administrative corrections (e.g., employees in regional or national headquarters). Correctional workers appear at elevated risk for mental disorders, due in part to exposures to potentially traumatic events and chronic occupational stress. Correctional worker experiences appear linked to mental health disorders including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. Data were gathered in 2016 from 1,115 correctional service workers across diverse occupation categories as part of a larger study. Previous results with the full dataset that included provincial, territorial, and federal correctional workers, indicated that correctional workers’ mental health were compromised; however, all correctional workers were analyzed collectively, despite potentially critical occupational differences. Here we provide a more nuanced examination of wellbeing across different CSC worker categories, a subset of the full dataset, by assessing self-reported prevalence of mental health disorder diagnoses, positive screenings consistent with mental health disorders, and mental health disorder correlates. The current results indicated no statistically significant differences between CSC categories, though workers in operational community positions reported fewer difficulties with mental health than those in other categories, and comparable screening percentages relative to other correctional workers. Being married or common law was associated with a lower probability of a mental health disorder; whereas working for 16+ years was associated with a higher probability. The results indicate high mental health disorder prevalence rates among all correctional worker categories, emphasizing a critical need for empirically-based interventions.

Keywords: mental health disorders, correctional service workers, occupational stress, posttraumatic stress injuries

ARTICLE 5 – THE HIDDEN EMERGENCY SERVICE: EXPERIENCES OF STRESS AND TRAUMA IN PRISON OPERATIONAL STAFF

Jodie Tyler

Operational staff working in prisons face a number of challenges, experiencing physical and emotional assault, exposure to traumatic events including violence, self-injurious behaviours and suicide, and significant organizational pressures. In this study, levels of stress and exposure to trauma are considered among operational staff working in UK prisons. Factors linked to experience of stress and trauma are also identified. Within this research, options are suggested that may serve to minimize the negative impact of stress and trauma for staff. Achieving this is likely to have implications for both individuals and the organization, promoting wellbeing and retention, and reducing staff sickness.
ARTICLE 6 – PRISON LEADERSHIP: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A WARDEN’S LEADERSHIP STYLE AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICER JOB SATISFACTION

Derrick D. Schofield & Tony C. Parker

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Tennessee wardens’ leadership practices and correctional officers’ job satisfaction. The study collected scores from the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), for both wardens and correctional officers, and from the Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS). The warden’s leadership was found to influence various factors of job satisfaction such as promotion opportunity, satisfaction with the nature of work, contingent rewards, and pay. The authors provided suggestions on providing effective leadership to their staff along with recommendations for a broader future research approach to this area of corrections.
VIEWS AND REVIEWS  

 

ARTICLE 7 – INVESTING IN STAFF – THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE GUIDELINES REGARDING RECRUITMENT, SELECTION, EDUCATION, TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF PRISON AND PROBATION STAFF

Torben Adams

I was honored to author the Council of Europe Guidelines regarding recruitment, selection, education, training, and professional development of prison and probation staff together with my colleague Dr. Nicola Carr from the University of Nottingham, on behalf and with the indispensable support of the distinguished members of the Council for Penological Co-operation (PC-CP) working group. This short paper summarizes the guidelines, and contextualizes the content to one of the ICPA’s focal points, ´Investing in Staff´. It touches upon already existing adjacent international recommendations and rules, bringing into view trends associated to developing needs and requirements from potential job-applicants. Through this brief reflection on the major parts of the guidelines, the paper highlights that prison administrations should invest in staff not only financially, but also in terms of length of training and education. It follows that prison administrations should provide a framework for professional development in order to allow staff to grow during their careers.
ARTICLE 8 – INVESTING IN CORRECTIONAL STAFF: IMPROVING WELL-BEING THROUGH TRAUMA EDUCATION

Kristine-Anne Benito Miranda

Corrections staff face numerous mental, emotional and physical challenges and risks due to the unique nature of the work. Of increasing concern are the high rates of PTSD, depression and suicidality, with suicide for corrections officers (COs) at 39% greater than the general population and psychological distress an estimated 31%, twice the rate of the general public (Mor se et al., 2011; Stack & Tsoudis, 1997). It is known that correctional personnel will likely experience a degree of trauma due to the nature of the work setting, putting them at risk of burnout (Dignam & Fagan, 1996; Shivley, 2017). Current programming to address trauma include trainings, peer support groups and referrals to Employee Assistance Programs; however, their effectiveness is unclear. Barriers such as lack of buy-in from staff, as well as an institutional culture minimizing the importance of mental health support, inhibit those who are struggling in getting assistance, which not only impacts performance but can lead to increased turnover and poor health outcomes. Digital resilience and trauma education trainings may be an accessible and foundational resource used to strengthen COs stress response skills and better equip them for the demands of the work. These skills can mitigate the negative effects of stress on performance by enabling officers to get grounded psychologically and physiologically after intense experiences at work, directly impacting judgement, decision making, and their experience of the work (Spence et al., 2019). Facilities that have implemented trauma specific and trauma informed programming have noted promising outcomes, specifically decreased violence and improved morale.
ARTICLE 9 – ETHICAL RISK ASSESSMENT IN CORRECTIONS

Liz Smith

An Ethical Risk Assessment is a process that consists of identifying ethical risks, developing mitigation strategies and action plans and evaluating those plans. In undertaking this process, managers, employees and union partners are provided with an opportunity for dialogue and which can serve as an early warning system to the organization and assist employees in exercising discretionary judgement. This process prepares the organization to reduce and deal with ethical breaches, ensures that staff are aware of risks, and, with appropriate training, will help steer employees in the right direction when faced with an ethical dilemma. It is for these reasons that the Correctional Service of Canada has committed to completing this exercise at all of its sites, in its quest to be the best correctional organization possible.
PRACTICE INNOVATION IN CORRECTIONS
ARTICLE 10 – TRANSFORMING PRISON CULTURE TO IMPROVE CORRECTIONAL STAFF WELLNESS AND OUTCOMES FOR ADULTS IN CUSTODY “THE OREGON WAY”: A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA’S CORRECTIONAL CULTURE CHANGE PROGRAM

Cyrus Ahalt, Colette S. Peters, Heidi Steward, Brie A. Williams

In the 1970s and 80s, the U.S. experienced a national crime wave which gave rise to a “tough on crime” abandonment of rehabilitation in most jails and prisons and ushered in an era of mass incarceration. Despite an emphasis on institutional security and control in the following decades, U.S. jails and prisons became increasingly dangerous and unsafe. Currently, violence, sexual assault, and suicide remain disproportionately common in U.S. correctional facilities and the poor health and wellbeing of residents and staff alike has reached epidemic proportions. In this context, the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) developed the “Oregon Way” to improve staff health and wellness by enrolling in a correctional culture change program developed and facilitated by faculty at the University of California San Francisco and Santa Cruz (“UCSF”). The program focuses on restoring a commitment to rehabilitation, dignity and humanity as core to correctional mission and practice, modeled off the Norwegian approach to corrections. This article describes the ODOC’s investment in officer wellness initiatives over recent years and provides an overview of the partnership between ODOC and UCSF. It also presents findings demonstrating that chronic exposure of staff to stressful and violent incidents in their workplace and an organizational approach to correctional work that vests the majority of staff autonomy and decision-making among managers limits the full realization of staff wellness efforts. The participation of ODOC in UCSF’s culture change program has resulted in the implementation of novel work approaches that further advance correctional staff wellness by re-defining the nature of correctional work in the U.S., significantly reducing exposure to stress and violence in officers’ daily work lives, and improving staff members’ feelings of autonomy on the job and connection to the meaningfulness of their work.
ARTICLE 11 – CARING FOR THE BOLDEST: A WELLNESS CENTER FOR STAFF AT THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

Judy P. Beale & Justin von Bujdoss

The New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC) has taken an innovative approach toward improving staff wellness. This paper will provide a brief review of some of the correctional literature that has focused on the impact of working in jails and prisons. Data from a number of agency surveys will be presented and discussed. As a result of a declining inmate population on Rikers Island, the administration decided to make use of a decommissioned jail by turning it into a staff wellness center and staff training center. The center opened on April 8, 2019. T his paper will focus on the steps the agency took to identify employees’ perception of their work and their organization so an informed approach could be taken towards a system-wide shift in the culture around staff-wellness.
ARTICLE 12 – 7 HABITS OF EFFECTIVE CAPTAINS OF LIVES: TRANSFORMING THE CORRECTIONAL STAFF OF SINGAPORE PRISON SERVICE

Boon Siang Kwek, Yan Ling Leow, Kailin Ng, Alicia Tan, Wayne Ferroa

In 2017, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) implemented an enhanced set of correctional practices also known as 7 Habits of Effective Captains of Lives (COLs) for all correctional staff. This article discusses the impetus for the transformation of correctional staff, and describes how the 7 Habits of Effective COLs was conceptualised and implemented. Through this article, we aim to highlight the importance of designing and implementing evidence-informed correctional practices which are relevant and useful to the operational contexts of correctional staff in order for them to be more effective in enforcing secure custody and facilitating the rehabilitation of offenders.