It’s no secret that correctional officer jobs are some of the most challenging, with overcrowding problems, difficult working conditions, and stressful – even dangerous – environments being a reality of their profession.
As such, high turnover rates due to burnout and injury are common among correctional officers and are a dilemma that must be addressed as to ensure safety for corrections officers, inmates, and the community.
The Value of Correctional Officer Mentoring Programs
Many state corrections agencies, however, are initiating programs aimed at helping new correctional officers transition into their work environment. Under the watchful eye of a trained correctional officer, new corrections officers are able to learn their profession without much of the pressures associated with learning the ropes of a new job.
Correctional officer mentoring programs have been successfully integrated into many corrections agencies. Many of the mentoring programs provide specific guidance to new correctional officers, including work in communication, motivation, ethics, and leadership.
Given that the environment into which a corrections officer must face can be quite overwhelming – and downright frightening, in some cases – this type of program is expected to help decrease the high turnover rates associated with this profession. In addition, administrators hope that news of successful mentoring programs will encourage a new crop of individuals to seek corrections officer jobs.
Often times these programs provide new corrections officer with such important information such as how to respond to inmates or the proper chain of command. Instead of expecting new corrections officers to automatically understand the job and fit in, mentoring programs provide them with the support and guidance so crucial to ensuring long-term success.
Mentors of these programs also speak to their value, as many say they have allowed them to learn new skills and develop a stronger, more cohesive workforce. It also eliminates much of the trial and error associated with new corrections officer jobs.