Wednesday, January 27, 2016

PPO Caseloads



The 2016 Legislative Session has arrived. This is one in a series of posts from the staff of the New Mexico Corrections Department. We intend to send a daily update to all our legislators with key points, facts, figures, personal stories describing life here at NMCD.

The states Probation and Parole Division is currently operating at a vacancy rate of 20%. On the other hand, the probation/parole population has risen by 521 offenders over the last quarter, resulting in a total population of 17,317 offenders. As a result, the average standard case load is currently 110 per officer, which is up seven over the last quarter.
These peace officers put their lives on the line every single day, working within some of the most dangerous and negative environments and circumstances a man or woman could choose to work within our country. As the department has significantly decreased its use of segregation, increased congregative movement and social interactions for inmates, and increased the delivery of educational/vocational programming, although important and appropriate, it has also simultaneously has increased risk within our prisons. With increased risk for both inmates and staff, our correctional officers are the first responders for inmates in need. On the other hand, there are no first responders for the correctional officer. When an officer is assaulted inside a facility, there is no 911.

Perhaps even more importantly, the daily effectiveness of our state’s prisons is dependent upon precise and repeated attention to detail when line officers carry out their responsibilities, particularly security posts and rounds carried out within our states prisons, twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week.  Fatigue and low staff morale, resulting from significant amounts and mandatory overtime cause correctional officers who are on duty to not be at their best performance. Working mandatory overtime can cause correctional officers to experience sleep deprivation. Fatigue from long shifts can reduce attention to detail and affect critical thinking and performance.
Additionally, when correctional officer staffing remains so dramatically and consistently below minimal levels, normal activities such as contraband searches, training, offender programming, and other necessary activities, such as inmate recreation and visitation designed to manage inmate conduct, can't be conducted.

With officer staffing vacancies at a critical level, it is our aim to fill vacant posts, and increase compensation for new and veteran officers.  It is imperative that, for the security of each officer, and for the body of inmates in our custody, that we increase and retain staff in our prison facilities. The men and women officers of the NMCD are under-paid, underappreciated, and our current vacancy rates put them at the risk of potential harm. We can no longer continue the status quo. We ask that you support the State Personnel Office request to increase compensation to Correctional Officers.





No comments:

Post a Comment