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Casey Higgins

Fort Hays State University

Final Exam
Part 1- Turnover


Turnover is a large issue in the criminal justice field for all parts of the field. Corrections

especially feels the challenges of a high turnover rate. There are many reasons as to why

turnover is so high, many effects that it has on the system, but there is still some hope for the

system to try to stop the turnover problem. This paper will look at all three of the issues and try

to help the system solve this problem


Not everyone wants to work in the criminal justice field, and the criminal justice field is

not right for everyone to work in. The field needs people are desire to work in it, are mentally

strong enough to work in it, and are willing to work with a percentage of the population who are

not always the best people. Once someone gets into the field they are quick to learn if this line of

work is right for them, seemingly a majority of the time it is not right for them and they are quick

to get out, or to transfer to a different partner within the system. Based on many factors the

turnover in the cj system is high for employers. With the turnover being high it sets of a chain

reaction within the system. There are ways that may help recruiters for correctional facilities

lower the turnover rate, but they will not come easy.

Working at a prison is not a glorious job, it is not a job that is for everyone, and its not a

job that many people do for long. It is reported that every year there is a 15-25% turnover rate

(Griffin, 2014). It is speculated that turnover may be so high due to the demands of the job. The

job requires long hours, typically 12 hour shifts. Most facilities have mandatory overtime,

meaning that officers will be working on their days off, or pulling double shifts. With such long

shifts and so many hours a week the job takes away from family and personal life, which many

officers cannot handle. Along with the long hours officers work a hard job, dealing with violent

offenders, offenders who do not comply, and offenders with many diseased. Officers risk their

life for the job, and after time it starts to take a toll on the workers. Stress is a major factor in turn

over. An officers mental health and physical body can only take so much before they break and

quit. Stress can be occupational, family, financial, and many other forms (Seiter, 2016). After

time an officer may get fed up with the long hours, low pay, and high stress and call it quits, this

is when they become just another statistic on turnover (Udechukwu, 2007).

The high turnover rates have a large impact on the prison. The largest impact is that it

then forced the other guards to put in more overtime to make up for the less man power, this

soon starts a cycle. Turnover costs a prison millions. This is factored based on the time spend

recruiting, hiring, training, and providing outfits to guards who soon quit (Griffin, 2014). If

prisons got their turnover lower than the whole prison would improve, officers would not quit at

such a high rate, and the prisons would save money and that money could be spent elsewhere.

In order to lower turnover it will take time and the patience of the already existing

officers. This means that officer will have to wait and go through some tough times in order for

the times to improve. Lowering turnover would have to start with hiring. Implementing new

procedures to screen applicants would help weed out applicants which will not be a good fit for

the job. This would lower the number of future guards who would not be able to handle the

duties in which they are expected to fulfill. Education should be a requirement as the likelihood

of the applicants knowing what they are getting into would also increase. Once there are better

quality guards working in a facility less would leave which in turn would lower the number of

hours and days that a guard will have to work. On a larger scale states need to provide more

funding to facilities for the officers pay. By raising the guards incomes it would be an incentive

for them to stay with the facility, lowering advantages for the guards to look elsewhere for

income. By increasing pay, lowering hours, and increasing conditions within the prison turnover

rates should decrease.

Being a correctional guard is a tough job, and one that has a very low appeal. Turnover

rates are caused mostly by working conditions. An officer may view a facility as a starting point,

but after a few years they are no longer willing to work the job and the hours and leave the

facility. If facilities make the job more appealing, and the benefits better that officers may be
willing to stay longer. If facilities cannot get the turnover rate under control then the system as a

whole will start to feel the effects.

Works Cited

Griffin, M. L. (2014). Career Stage Theory and Turnover Intent Among Correctional Officers .

Criminal justice and Behavior, Vol. 41, No. 1., 4-19.

Seiter, R. P. (2016). Correctional administration: Integrating theory and practice. Boston:


Udechukwu, L. H. (2007). The Georgia Department of corrections: an exploratory reflection on

correctional officer turnover and its correlates. Public Personnel Management. Vol 36

No.3., 247-268.
Part 2- Leadership


There are arguably two major types of leadership, transactional leadership and transformational

leadership. There is much debate about which one of the two types is better than the other. This

paper will look at what both types of leadership are and which one really is the best type of

leadership for a correctional manager.


There will never be one type of leadership that I best for every situation, but for every

situation there is seemingly one leadership style that is best. Theories of leadership include

situational, behavioral, participative, management, and relationship. Within these theories there

are two types of leadership, transactional and transitional (Seiter, 2016). The two cannot be

interchangeable, but may be able to be used at different levels at the same time. By looking at

what both types of leadership means will help determine which type of leadership is best for a

correctional manager to use when working with their staff and when running their facility.

Transactional leadership revolves around the leader-follower relationship. In this

relationship the leader is supposed to motivate their followers through the recognition of their

needs and providing rewards of those needs so that the follow may provide support and fulfill

their duties. This means that if a follower fulfills their duty they are rewarded and fi they do not

then they are punished for not doing so (Seiter, 2016). This works more with a management

position than with a leadership position as it is a hierarchy structure. This system is used as a

hierarchy with the leader telling a follow what to do, it is not used to lead or teach a follower

what to do. This system works on a small scale with a leader telling one person what to do and

with all members seemingly working separately, without a larger picture (Spahr, 2016). An

example of this would be a hotel. In the hotel there is a manager of the whole building that would

tell managers of housekeeping, laundry, and kitchen how to do their job. The managers of the

smaller departments would tell other works how to do their job. The employees would have to do

the job exactly how they were told to do it and in a certain time frame or they would get in

trouble. There would be no lenience on how the job was done, and if it was not finished the

employee would be punished for not completing the task

Transformational leadership differs as there is less of a follower and leader mentality. In

this model followers are encouraged to help the leaders with tasks but are given the freedom to

choose the best way in order to achieve the goal. Transformational leadership is centered on

working collaboratively instead of small groups or individually, this helps the group morale

when something is done right, meaning all members are reward with satisfaction (Spahr, What is

Transformational Leadership? How New Ideas Produce Impressive Results, 2016).

Transformational has a larger goal with all members working towards the same goal, bringing a

great sense of unity to the whole group. Transformational leaders have four steps, developing of

a vision, selling the vison, plotting the course, and continuing to lead the change. Throughout all

fours steps everyone is included, and everyone has a say in the outcome (Seiter, 2016). An

example of this would be in community corrections. There is a director of the agency that has

employees under him. The employees are aware of what needs to be accomplished, but they have

the discretion on how to complete these tasks. While they all work under one agency, with one

mission, they are able to adapt to each circumstance in order to accomplish the goal at hand.

Both of the leadership approaches have pros and con to them, but one type of leadership

seemingly runs better. The transformational leadership has more pros, less cons, and will reach

followers better. By a manager working closely with each individual under them and altering

approaches for each individual the leaders and followers will have a better relationship then a

leader from the transactional leadership approach. In everyones life they will experience both

types of leadership, and in the end will like the transformational leader more. Through his

leadership style followers will have more respect for the leader, will be comfortable with their

leader, and learn how to approach the leader about problems, difficulties, and be able to give
feedback for future references. Working under this leader encourages team world, feedback, and


Everyone has a different leadership style, and everyone responds to different styles better.

There is no one leader that works well with every follower, or one follower that works well

under every leader. Being in a manager position means that you have to be flexible and able to

adapt to any follower that is places under you. The two main types of leadership are transactional

and transformational. After comparing both types, transformational seems to be the better of the

Works Cited

Seiter, R. P. (2016). Correctional administration: Integrating theory and practice. Boston:


Spahr, P. (2016). What is Transactional Leadership? How Structure Leads to Results. Saint

Thomas University.

Spahr, P. (2016). What is Transformational Leadership? How New Ideas Produce Impressive

Results. Saint Thomas University.

Part 3- Change