Investing in Correctional Staff Wellness: Southern Directors Share Best Practices

In early June, corrections leaders from nine southern states met in historic Williamsburg, VA, at the renowned Kingsmill Resort to bond, share successes, and explore opportunities within the correctional field. Benchmark’s Director of Corrections Partnership Shannon Farrell also attended the conference, ready for a week of learning and to engage in crucial discussions on staff wellness and retention.

The week was planned and hosted by Bryan Collier from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), Southern Regional Chair of the CLA, along with Chadwick Dotson from the Virginia DOC.

Officer wellness and retention were central topics throughout the event. The symposium featured peer-led presentations focusing on staff wellness, recruitment, and retention. Secretary Todd Ishee (NCDAC), CLA’s Stevyn Fogg, and Commissioner John Hamm (Alabama Department of Corrections) shared best practices for supporting staff wellness. Todd Ishee emphasized, “An investment in wellness is an investment in our staff.”

TDCJ’s Wellness Now Initiative supports staff by granting eight hours of paid administrative leave after completing an annual physical evaluation. The initiative includes the “Get Fit Texas Challenge,” virtual checkups, on-site vaccination clinics, and a staff wellness resource library. NCDAC’s approach involves a monthly Wellness Committee to promote health initiatives. Their “Wellness Wednesday” program delivers weekly articles on health and wellness, and their mindfulness and relaxation rooms, equipped with massage chairs, provide staff with much-needed breaks.

Some surprising wellness-related facts Shannon shared from the event were:

  • 96% of correctional agencies offer some type of Wellness Program.
  • 10 – 30% of correctional agencies provide a mindfulness, yoga, or physical therapy program.
  • 31 – 50% of correctional agencies provide health education, drug and alcohol treatment, resiliency support, marriage and family counseling, and more.

These wellness initiatives benefit the entire correctional ecosystem, from staff and leadership to inmates and, ultimately, the citizens in each state as rehabilitated individuals reintegrate into society.

Benchmark Analytics’ early intervention and personnel management solutions are designed to support the initiatives discussed at the symposium. By providing data-driven insights and comprehensive management tools, our tools help correctional facilities capture and track critical personnel data that can inform wellness programs and impact staff success and retention. From performance evaluation to training, early intervention, and use of force, Benchmark Analytics empowers correctional leaders to make educated decisions that promote a safer, healthier environment for both staff and inmates.

Our platforms comply with the policies and procedures published by the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections (CAC) of the American Corrections Association (ACA).

What is your agency doing to support these missions? What can you do tomorrow to enhance safety while supporting your most valuable resources — your people? Learn more about how Benchmark’s correction management solution can help you achieve these goals by visiting Benchmark Analytics: Corrections Management.

Take the next step in transforming your correctional facility into a more efficient operation by contacting Benchmark Analytics today!