This year’s budget we saw funding for 326 new police officers. More Police will mean more arrests and more people going to prison, but the budget included very little in new funding for community corrections – the people who help to rehabilitate inmates and return them into the community. We saw police gain new funding for firearms, but nothing allocated to the security of those who are meant to support parolees in the community and keep them from reoffending.
During this PSUWA campaign we will be asking the State government to assist our members within community corrections. Here’s how.
Often dealing with the hardest of criminals with little to keep them safe while doing their job, members are facing:
- No security at the front of house when meeting with parolees (there have been multiple times over the past year when parolees have brought weapons into the buildings with nothing from stopping them from doing so).
- No working security cameras in meeting rooms.
- A Lack of a safe staffing model (how many employees it takes to safely perform certain duties).
- Little in the way of communication or duress alarms when performing home visits.
Parolees are as described by the Department of Justice as inmates within the community, so why are the Department of Justice not protecting community corrections workers like we would in other parts of the agency? We want to see equal concern and respect for the work Community Corrections does, and appropriate resourcing. Respect all the Risks.
A LACK OF PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION:
A move from the professional stream over to the general stream has seen a de-skilling of the workforce and less recognition for employees bringing professional expertise to the role. Members are consistently being told by the department that they aren’t professionals and having their professional recognition slowly stripped away from them.
There is very little given to staff in the way of professional development and training and when it is provided staff are frequently unable to attend due to the high volume of their workload. A safe staffing model is a key to facilitate this, but we need to go further to ensure public sector skills are recognised and valued – before we lose them to other states or the private sector.
INCREASNG WORKLOAD/RETENTION OF STAFF:
A growing workload and a consistently rotating door of staff who leave the job due to ongoing retention issues and burnout has put our community corrections service in crisis. This had led to some staff working well above safe caseload and a huge unallocated caseload of offenders that no staff members have the capacity to support.
The introduction of home detention has only added to the workload and with little to no consultation or forward planning on how the service would deal with such an immense increase in responsibilities. It’s time to make Community Corrections a Trauma Safe place to work! It’s time for the State Government to show some concern for these undervalued workers with a staff package to support them to stay in the role.
Our members at community Corrections will be active in supporting the next PSUWA campaign, so make sure you do the same by filling out the biggest ever PSUWA survey below if you haven’t done so already: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/396FMBJ