10 Ways to Boost Morale in Your Jail

Morale can sometimes make or break how well your jail operates and can have a huge effect on the jail’s overall success. Making sure employees are confident in their position and duties, feel appreciated for what they do and actually look forward to coming to work every day brings your jail a few steps closer to being more efficient.

Over the years, we’ve had the unique advantage of visiting with many sheriffs, administrators and CO staff about what management techniques work best when it come to boosting their jail’s morale. We’ve compiled some of these in hopes you may find them helpful for your facility and you can operate your business as smoothly as possible.

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  1. Be consistent: Expect all officers to pull an equal share of the weight and spend at least as much time telling them what they do well as you do telling them what they do wrong.
  2. Be a team player: As a supervisor, don’t think that it’s “beneath” you to do a front line employee’s duties. Help your team out when you can. It’ll go a long way.
  3. Be communicative: Always try to clearly communicate your decisions, so you can get more respect and better understanding from the line staff, as well as administration. Most people just want to feel like they were considered before important decisions were made.
  4. Be a leader: Keep the bar high when it comes to expectations and professionalism. Provide ample training. Celebrate and recognize achievements. Actively pursue and act on staff misconduct and insubordinate behavior. Always hold yourself to the same standards.
  5. Be one of them: As a supervisor, don’t leave at the end of your shift until everyone in your squad is gone. It shows you care that they are working hard, and you aren’t going to leave until they are finished with their job.
  6. Be celebratory: Every so often do something for, or with, your staff. Organize a pizza party or a cookout. Have a few good minutes away from the grind of the cell blocks and inmates.
  7. Be open: Don’t dismiss ideas from your line staff. They are your frontline, and many times they know exactly what will work because of that insight.
  8. Be spontaneous: Do something for them out of the blue, not just because it’s National Correctional Worker’s Week.
  9. Be rewarding: Give your staff as many personal days as possible. The job is more stressful than most jobs and a break away from it all can do wonders.
  10. Be yourself: Don’t be afraid to do things that take you away from the work environment and let your subordinates get to know you on a personal level. Take your squad out for weekly hikes, or run (walk or jog) together, or volunteer together as a team. You can gain a lot of added respect, and also get to know them better, which will improve everyone’s working experience.

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