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Building a High-Quality Correctional Workforce: Identifying Challenges and Needs

NCJ Number
Date Published
38 pages

This report discusses the rationale for and the findings of a panel of experts that focused on the challenges and opportunities in building and maintaining a high-quality correctional workforce.


The expert panel was composed of correctional administrators and researchers. The high priority of this issue is emphasized by noting that the work of corrections, whether performed in institutional or community settings, involves "humans supervising other humans." Correctional staff are thus in a unique position to impact not only the lives of the offenders with whom they interact, but also on the larger communities where offenders and ex-offenders live. The issues prioritized by the panel are intended to facilitate the creation and sustaining of a workforce that contributes to the reform of offenders and the environments that facilitate such reform. One panel proposal is to shift the orientation of corrections from punishment and surveillance to a model of human services proven effective in reducing criminal behavior. The setting of competency standards for staff professionalism should be the basis for evaluating the performance of corrections personnel. There should be a needs assessment that can show the adverse impact of inadequate funding of effective training. Other issues given priority are the greater involvement of line staff in policy discussions and decision-making authority, as well as better supervisor training in line-staff development. 10 tables, 8 figures, and 75 references

Date Published: January 1, 2018