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Staffing for Success: Establishing Core Competencies and Training Supports for Corrections and Community Supervision Staff

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2020
23 pages

Since current corrections policy and practice feature offender rehabilitation and reentry support as the core responsibilities of corrections agencies, this resource presents an adaptation of a comprehensive matrix developed by the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) to portray the core competencies for staff positions at each staff level, from front-line officers to executive leaders.


For all corrections staff directly involved in the supervision of those imprisoned or supervised in the community (excluding staff in areas such as health care, research, and non-executive administration), the IDOC developed a competency matrix and related training and reference material keyed to model traits and competencies for productive interaction with other staff and clients in the rehabilitative mission. The matrix is used by the IDOC as a guide for hiring, performance evaluation and coaching, and career advancement. It is also incorporated into job descriptions, so that those applying for the positions know what the job requires and how performance will be evaluated. IDOC developed this matrix over a 3-year period as part of its Second Chance Act Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction grant from the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). IDOC determined the staff competencies and traits needed by conducting a review of evidence-based practices (EBPs) shown by evaluations to reduce recidivism. It also convened a workgroup of representatives from prisons, community corrections agencies, and IDOC front-line staff and supervisors. An important feature of the matrix is the information it provides on the various types of training available to staff in developing each competency, as well as the formats IDOC uses to implement each training. The matrix is presented in the body of the report, with supplementary resources included in the appendix.

Date Published: December 1, 2020