A Quasi-Experimental Study of the Impact of Additional Training on Correctional Officer Turnover

Gabrielle L. Chapman, Vanderbilt Univ./TN Dept. of Correction
Simon T. Tidd, Vanderbilt University
Brooks C. Holtom, Marquette University

Staff turnover is a perennial problem in the management of correctional institutions. In addition to the managerial issues involved with this level of turnover, high correctional officer turnover has been linked to security related issues such as elevated rates of violent incidents and disciplinaries involving both inmates and staff. Organizational research on realistic job previews and the literature on coping with work stress suggest that increasing the time new recruits spend in training may be one way in which turnover can be reduced. However, relatively little is known about the concrete effects of training on correctional officer retention. This paper reports on the results of a study designed to test the impact of increased recruit training on turnover during the first year of employment in the correctional system of a southern U.S. state. Controlling for the state's unemployment rate, type of institution, as well as attitudinal and socio-demographic indicators, this study measures the effect of the longer training program as compared to the former shorter training program on the retention rate of correctional officers.

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Updated 05/20/2006