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Corrections Corporation of America Message Board

  • mcprison mcprison Jul 15, 2001 6:53 PM Flag

    Story on Tulsa turnover rate

    � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Tulsa World

    � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � July 15, 2001 Sunday

    SECTION: METRO

    LENGTH: 1102 words

    HEADLINE: Jail sees turnover of 72% since '99

    BYLINE: SUSAN HYLTON

    SOURCE: World Staff Writer

    BODY:

    �� Nearly three out of four original employees at the Tulsa Jail no longer work
    at the facility that Corrections Corporation of America began operating less
    than two years ago.

    �� CCA reported a 72 percent turnover in staff between August 1999 and June
    2001. That means that of the 329 people who went to work for CCA, 237 have
    departed while 92 have remained on staff.

    �� Of the 150 people listed by CCA as transferring from the Sheriff's Office,
    county records show that 60 are still employed, which translates to a 60 percent
    departure rate.

    �� Of the 220 people employed as correctional officers in August 1999, 51 have
    remained in that position or been promoted, while 169 no longer work at the
    jail, a 76.81 percent turnover, according to a Tulsa World database comparison.

    �� The facility is also on its third warden since it opened.

    �� But CCA officials both here and at corporate headquarters in Nashville are
    not expressing alarm over the staff turnover figures. It is common for new
    facilities such as Tulsa's to have a higher turnover rate during the first three
    years, said Steve Owen, CCA's director of communications in Nashville.

    �� According to Owen, there is a higher concentration of new staff when a
    facility opens, and the corrections field is simply not one that everyone will
    like.

    �� "There are some growing pains. The facility is going to have turnover until a
    routine is set in place," Owen said. "That's just the reality of the
    correctional profession, and that's true for public and private facilities.
    We're also dealing with a competitive job market out there."

    �� Local CCA spokesman Marvin Branham said the turnover rate is fairly normal
    for the "high-stress" corrections profession and that it was also due largely to
    a change from a "linear" to a "direct-supervision" jail.

    �� The Tulsa Jail is designed so that detention officers work among inmates. In
    linear facilities, such as the county's old jail, guards are separated from
    inmates by bars. Many of the sheriff's employees who went to work for CCA worked
    under the latter type of supervision at the old jail.

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    • The only thing that seems to be escaping faster than employees at this facility are inmates.

    • I thought all CCA prisons had bars between the guards and the inmates. I can't imagine why ANY prison would not be built this way. What is going on? Why expose guards to such high risks? Are there any benefits to guards mingling with prisoners....other than cheaper construction?
      One of the words of wisdom my dad offered me were: "It's always cheaper to go first class." I have found this to be true. Cheap means you are buying lots of problems that will cost more to solve than a first class price to start with.

      • 2 Replies to oystergrouch
      • oystergrouch said:

        I thought all CCA prisons had bars between the guards and the inmates. I can't imagine why ANY prison would not be built this way. What is going on? Why expose guards to such high risks? Are there any benefits to guards mingling with prisoners....other than cheaper construction?
        One of the words of wisdom my dad offered me were: "It's always cheaper to go first class." I have found this to be true. Cheap means you are buying lots of problems that will cost more to solve than a first class price to start with."

        I guess you and your dad never worked in a prison. At least not satisfactorily. But both my dad and I have.

        My dad was 60 years old and was the sergeant of a high custody mental health block. He supervised this block (with almost 60 inmates) often single-handedly, unarmed, and intermingly with them throughout. AND THIS IS THE ONLY WAY IT CAN BE DONE. You simply cannot manage inmates through bars and glass. In fact, you accept those kinds of limitations ONLY when the inmate(s) is/are dangerous.

        How can you conduct searches (cells and the inmates themselves) from behind glass and/or bars? How can you manage inmate conflicts? Counsel inmates? (Yes, C/Os counsel inmates every day; they're the first line of response.)

        Correctional officers manage inmates through their interpersonal skills, not through weaponry, restraints, and confinement. It's not cheap, it's more effective. When I was the training manager at a couple of CCA prisons, I used to have a saying. "I can physically handle one inmate, maybe. But I can lead them all."

        Using the correctional paradigm you suggest would result in less effectiveness at a much higher cost. And I'm not so sure personal safety would be enhanced. (You gotta come in contact with inmates sometime, no matter how many barriers you erect.) Staff safety results from following policies/procedures, interpersonal communications, situational awareness, and line-of-sight supervision/backup. CCA, despite many shortcomings (especially in training), focuses on all of these things.

      • .....exactly...your dad was right

 
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