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Crystal Grady

English 1010
Mrs. Berrett
Research Paper Final
Turnover Corrections Style
I have been researching why the turnover rate among Correctional Officers is constant and an
issue that seems to haunt commanders and staff in most correctional facilities nationwide. This is
a huge issue as these are the men and women who keep what some call the menaces of society
locked up and in doing so keep the peace among humanity. The most important part of the
debate is finding the cause and in doing so ultimately lead to a solution. What is that quote?
Admitting you have a problem is the first step to a solution, (unknown) During my research I
picked the four issues that seemed to come up most when it comes to the constant turnover rate
in Correctional Facilities they are as follows: burnout, the negative environment, the hiring
process, and lack of compensation.
Burnout is a big cause of why Correctional Officers turnover rate is so high. According to
Schaufeli there are four kinds of stress reactions (1) withdrawal behaviors; (2) psychosomatic
disease; (3) negative attitudes, and (4) burnout. These are documented by archival data suggests
that Correctional Officers jobs which causes alarmingly high turnover rates. Burnout is defined
as a psychological syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal
accomplishment (Maslach, 1993). Breaking down the meaning of each of these: emotional
exhaustion refers to feelings of being emotionally overextended and depleted of ones emotional
resources. Depersonalization refers to a negative, callous or excessively detached response to

other people who are usually the recipients of ones services of care. Reduced personal
accomplishment refers to a decline in ones feelings of competence and successful achievement
in ones work. Burnout is something that happens in all aspects of life. Correctional officers are
not the only people affected by burnout in their careers. Burnout is considered to be a long-term
stress reaction that particularly occurs among professionals who work with people in some
capacity- like teachers, nurses, social workers, and correctional officers (Maslach, 1993).
Does the negative environment of corrections have a role in turnover not just concerning
inmates but morale among officers as well? Lambert (2001) feels that turnover among
correctional staff is due to voluntary turnover. Lambert argued that having job satisfaction and
organizational commitment helped shape less chance of turnover. Additionally, the model
postulated that work environment variables would have no direct effect on turnover, Instead the
work environment factors were believed to be important in shaping the work attitudes of job
satisfaction and organizational commitment. Meaning, that if Officers are satisfied in their jobs
and have a great work attitude due to the environment created for them, the direct result would
be less turnover. Lambert feels that negativity is a direct result of turnover rate being so high in
corrections. Lambert says, If the attitude of the officer toward his job is in the right place he can
make light of any situation. Hence, a positive environment creates positive attitude in turn
creates the ability to make any negative situation that might come about easier to deal with.
Poor hiring processes do not inform people of what they are getting into. This has an effect
on whether people stay or choose to leave in corrections. Munasinghe shares, It is not surprising
that the workers who expect to stay for a short duration and those who believe they have poor
promotion prospects are indeed more likely to separate from their employers. Meaning, that
prior to being hired for a Correction Officer position you do not know that in most cases it takes

five years for you to even be able to test for a promotion. Also, Manasunghe stress that in his
research he has found that if a person plans on staying in their position for three plus years the
turnover rate in that time is low. If the person plans on staying for a year or less the turnover rate
happens more quickly than anticipated. Manasunghe implies that if you want your employees to
stay longer than aim for someone who is seeking a career and not just a stepping stone to get to
the next best offer for their career.
Lack of compensation is a huge issue in why correctional agencies have such a hard time
maintaining officers. Clear, Reisig, and Cole share that corrections relies on funding from
county, state, or federal legislatures. Corrections must compete not only with other criminal
justice agencies but also other agencies supporting education, transportation, social welfare and
so on. What strategies might correctional officials use to secure adequate resources? This is the
issue that correctional agencies struggled with due to this being where funding comes from for
compensation for correctional officers. Ammon and Fleck share that many governments were
quick to freeze wages in response to the economic downturn. In 2009 government agencies
eliminated the merit pay scheduled for January of 2009 these freezes are still going on today.
This is a straining factor on agencies everywhere. People can go work in fast food and make
more money than they make in law enforcement, hence why this is such a huge cause in turnover
The best part about my closing arguments is that I can tell you first hand on a few of the
points that I brought up throughout my paper due to me being a Correctional Officer. Burnout is
a severe issue in our correctional facility. I feel that it is due to working seven days on and three
off then working seven days on and having four days off. In my experience, by day four you just
want to lose it on people. I feel that a better schedule were you are not in the facility that many

days in a row would help tremendously on employee burnout and more availability for vacation
would work wonders. For me, the negative environment is the hardest part of the job and the sad
thing is, is that it affects me more on the side of the officers than on the inmate side of things.
Especially when it comes to the veterans and them being so bitter about their careers. I know
that the incidents you will see in the jail the training does not and cannot prepare you for all of
the situations you come across in a correctional facility, even the guys that have been here
twenty plus years still have many firsts time events when it comes to criminals and their
behavior. The human mind is just so unpredictable especially with all of the mental health issue
that go on in the correction world. I have been in my correctional officer career now for 15
months and still all I hear about is that we do not make enough money and we can make more
money doing other things. The compensation is the thing that I hear about more than anything
and the morale is so low due to officers feeling like they are under paid and underappreciated. In
my opinion if we took more time on building the morale and started taking care of each other and
let go of all the negativity all these issues, aside from hiring would resolve themselves. I also feel
that if the higher ups in our chain of command addressed the schedule and compensation issues
our morale would sky rocket. I wanted to shed some light on this situation because I feel that it is
probably an issue that arises in all business. Lets all shed some light and start formulating
resolutions rather than sitting back and doing nothing. Be the change you want to see in the
world (Gandhi.)

Work Cited
Munasinghe, Lalith. "Expectations matter: Job prospects and turnover dynamics." Labour
Economics 13.5 (2006): 589-609.
Lambert, Eric G. "I want to leave: A test of a model of turnover intent among correctional
staff." Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice 2.1 (2006): 57-83.
Lambert, E. G. (2006). I Want to Leave: A Test of a Model of Turnover Intent Among
Correctional Staff [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 2(1),
Schaufeli, Wilmar B., and Maria CW Peeters. "Job stress and burnout among correctional
officers: A literature review." International Journal of Stress Management 7.1 (2000):
Clear, Todd, Michael Reisig, and George Cole. American corrections. Cengage Learning,