The United States corrections system manages prisons and jails throughout the country as well as offenders who have been released into the community on probation and parole. One of the three central pillars of the criminal justice system, corrections is intended to protect the public by separating violent offenders from the community, deterring others from offending, and rehabilitating offenders before reintegration into the community.
But the corrections system faces a number of challenges in its way of accomplishing these goals. One particular issue is the sheer size of the correctional population – at yearend 2015, nearly 2.2 million persons were under the jurisdiction of state or federal prisons or in the custody of local jails in the U.S.
Additionally, the correctional population varies in age, gender, and mental capability – each population presenting and challenging correction officials with differing needs.
One of the greatest threats to correctional officer wellness involves the stress they encounter on a daily basis. Working in correctional facilities is demanding, as personnel must maintain a constant state of heightened vigilance and adhere to strict security protocols. Corrections staff must also perform their duties within harsh physical environments and with the threat of repeated exposure to violent events.
Through programs such as the Bulletproof Vest Partnership/Body Armor Safety Initiative and the NIJ Standards and Testing Program, and through electronic monitoring and other corrections technology research, OJP is working to provide critical safety information and resources to corrections personnel.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5187, creating “National Correctional Officers’ Week.” Each year, the first full week in May is recognized as National Correctional Officers and Employees Week, commemorating the contributions of correctional officers and personnel who work in jails, prisons, and community corrections across the country.
To recognize the contributions made by corrections personnel, NCJRS presents this compilation of resources related to correctional facilities and staff with the facilities. Please select a topic from the section at the right under the heading “Correctional Resources” to learn more.