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Federal Grant to Aid in Creation of Staff Wellness Program

by Cheryl Cadue last modified Jul 07, 2015 01:04 PM
KDOC to roll out a newly developed staff wellness program aimed at addressing “correctional fatigue” with expert guidance from the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).


August 15, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Communications Office
kdocpub@doc.ks.gov
(785) 215-2857

Federal Grant to Aid in Creation of Corrections Staff Wellness Program

The Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) plans to roll out a newly developed staff wellness program aimed at addressing “correctional fatigue” with expert guidance from the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).

The NIC recently selected the KDOC to receive technical assistance to collaborate in training and delivering a program that supports staff as they cope with corrections fatigue, a result of the intrinsic challenges and stress of working in corrections. On-site training begins in September with staff from parole services, juvenile services, the Topeka Correctional Facility and a selected community corrections agency. The on-site training will lead to the development of an internal training program in six months.

“The men and women of the Kansas Department of Corrections perform a critical public safety function and, though that work is largely outside the public’s view, their work makes a measurable difference in making Kansas safer,” KDOC Secretary Ray Roberts said. “Now as the population continues to grow, so does the need to help staff navigate the stressors and difficulties that come with working in corrections. With the NIC’s guidance, we can implement strategies for improving staff well-being and strengthen our corrections environment.”

Left unchecked, corrections fatigue can lead to low staff morale, high staff turnover and stress-inducing trauma comparable to soldiers in war zones, according to research by Desert Waters Correctional Outreach, a Colorado nonprofit dedicated to corrections professionals' well-being. Desert Waters, through a cooperative agreement with the NIC, will provide instructor training to educate KDOC staff on strategies to deal with corrections fatigue.

The instruction will be incorporated into a program developed by the KDOC’s Correctional Care Coalition, a team formed of court services, community corrections, parole services and correctional facility staff. The goal is to make the program available to all corrections-based departments in Kansas.

“If we effectively support staff and manage the stressors of the work, we have the potential to increase job satisfaction and even increase staff retention,” Secretary Roberts said. “A more satisfied and healthy work force also enables the KDOC to provide more effective services to the offenders whose behavior we are attempting to change.”

Currently, the KDOC employs nearly 3,000 correctional facility staff and 160 parole services staff. At the close of FY 2014, the KDOC measured a staff turnover rate of 25.19% within its juvenile correctional facilities, 15.71% within its adult correctional facilities and 20.9% within the parole services unit.

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