Essay Example on Prisoners and Staff Safety in Correctional Facilities: U.S. DOC Standards

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1751 Words
Date:  2023-09-30


Correctional facilities such as prisons and jails are centers that house offenders temporarily or long terms depending on the length of the sentence. The U.S. department of corrections (DOC) is actively involved in ensuring that the correctional facilities are run according to particular standards that ensure the occupational and health safety for all workers but also ensure that inmates are also safe. Correctional centers are some of the most dangerous inmate’s containment centers because all kinds of criminals are kept in them. Issues of personnel safety in most U.S. prisons have become more rampant in the recent years, and are still continuing despite the many efforts currently being put in place to ensure safety in there (Cornelius, 2018). Security in the correctional facilities has been tightened following numerous reports in which inmates attack correctional officers, security guards, and other special population staff in the facilities. The increasing population of offenders serving time in the correctional facilities has meant that the number of correctional staff has to increase. The Illinois department of corrections (IDOC) presides over 25 adult correctional facilities offering varying degrees of maximum, medium, and minimum-security systems. In these facilities, more than 12 000 special populations of correctional personnel, including officers and guards, work to ensure the smooth running of these centers. This paper evaluates occupational safety through the safety management system with a focus on Menard Correctional Center in Illinois.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Menard Correctional Center

Of the many state correctional facilities located in Illinois, Menard Correctional Center is one of the highly populated ones with an operational capacity of 2,575 persons ("Menard Correctional Center," n.d.). The occupational safety of operational personnel of correctional facilities is of great significance and is highly dependent on the safety management system enforced by the administration of each center. The standards of safety at work are set by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) body with recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Correctional Association (ACA) ("ANSI / ASSP Z10 OSH Management Standard", n.d.). In the U.S., these standards or management system protocols are contained in the ANSI/ASSE Z10-2012 and are used to measure or audit the levels of safety and health for all workers in all work environments, including correctional facilities. The minimum standards set Z-10-2012 cover management leadership, planning, employee participation in the organizational activities, implementation and operation, management review, evaluation and corrective measures, roles and responsibilities, prioritization and assessment, audit information and so much more of what management should look like (Smith, 2012). A critical review of the Menard Correctional Center covers some crucial elements of the management system associated with occupational safety, referring to prison populations other than the inmates.

Occupational Health and Safety Management System and Safety Policy

The objectives of the Occupational Safety, Fire Protection, and Environmental Compliance codes demand that the prison and jail administration should conduct an evaluation of all the possible sources of risks and hazards within the correctional facilities and set up a corrective plan that addresses all the risks (Sechrest & McShane, 1995). Menard Correctional facility, just like other correction centers across the U.S., faces hazardous risks that can jeopardize the safety and health of all correctional officers and all other personnel working within the facility. For this reason, this code ensures that the prisons and jails update their policies regarding the same. In Menard, occupational safety touches on clothing, boots, security equipment, security cameras, electric fences, iron bars, prison door locks, and the checking protocols used when conducting random drug and weapon searches from the inmates ("Menard Correctional Center," n.d.). It is during such activities that the correctional officers are likely to be attacked. The Menard safety management system follows that instigated by the Illinois department of corrections, the Automated Roster Management System (ARMS), that uses a computerized system to combine various security measures together to improve prison safety for the personnel. ARMS is also tasked with maintaining security posts while also producing reports for all centers in Illinois. The evolutional rating for this particular element of auditing can be rated as strong because the center conforms to the guidelines given by the relevant authority. In addition, the IDOC, ACA, and OHS have not had any major issues with this facility in the recent past (Smith, 2012).

Occupational Health and Safety Policy

The relevant bodies mandated with setting the required standards have set the minimum requirements that should be followed for the health and safety of prison workers as far as health is concerned, the infirmaries within the facilities are meant for both the inmates and the personnel. The Occupational Safety and Health Act is the foundational policy on which other enactments and improvements were made to continuously deal with the emerging challenges that face prison workers. The Department of Labor, in conjunction with ACA and OSHA among other bodies, has continually followed up the activities within the correctional facilities to ensure they follow the policy. Compliance officers and external bodies have always conducted an inspection to ensure strict adherence to the required policies. For instance, Menard Correctional Center observes strict adherence to the new National Occupational Safety and Health policy, which has a number of objectives that can potentially improve the working conditions in ways that can minimize or eliminate health and safety risks to workers (U.S. Department of Justice, 2017). However, the facility has no particular written policy that clearly addresses the welfare of prison workers other than the vague general policy provided by the federal government. For this reason, the Menard Correctional facility can be rated as limited in terms of health and safety policy that addresses correctional facility workers. This policy vagueness issue stains the effectiveness of the objectives of such policies in prisons as a working environment.

Responsibility and Authority

Menard Correctional Facility is currently lead by Rob Jeffreys, who is currently serving as the center’s Acting Director. Jeffreys's decades-long experience in corrections management has contributed to a robust administration that has rules and regulations to be followed by every staff member. A successful correctional facility must have rules and regulations that control every aspect of its operations and management to make prisons safe centers not only for offenders but also for correctional workers. Menard facility is guided by a set of administrative codes laid down by a Joint committee and approved by the Illinois department of corrections ("Menard Correctional Center," n.d.). The administration leads with authority as the officers go about their work responsibly. For these reasons, authority and responsibility can be regarded as world-class.

Employee Participation

All workers at the Menard facility are motivated by their vibrant administration to take part in health and safety activities. The employees of this state prison understand that the safety protocols are there for the benefit of everyone. The center insists on occupational safety and health training for its employees. The personnel in the department of environmental and safety compliance have to conduct training to others according to the guidelines laid by OSHA regarding electrical standards, respiratory protection, and machinery and machine guarding techniques, among others(Smith, 2012). All new correctional officers at the Menard Center must take part in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program whose objectives revolve around safety and health matters, provision of information, provision of incident reporting protocols, and come up with corrective measures and recommendations for improvement (“Menard Correctional Center," n.d.). All staff is trained on asbestos awareness, inmate safety training, confined space identification, and more. These aspects raise the effectiveness and awareness of employee safety and health hence can be rated, world-class.

Review Process, Assessment, and Prioritization

The review process, assessment, and prioritization of the working systems are done by relevant committees representing prison employees. The review process of the safety and health standards is conducted by an internal audit team as well as external groups of experts who utilize a systematic, disciplined and objective approach when evaluating the effectiveness of employee safety and health protocols laid-down by Menard Correctional Center (John Howard Association of Illinois, 2013). The independent assessment and prioritization process consider the sources of risks and the levels of danger from the most hazardous to the least before the corrective approaches can be made. The Illinois Department of state collaborates with other relevant agencies to ensure this element is successful and effective. This aspect can be rated as moderate because of scattered non-conformance.

Risk Assessment

The levels of risk at Menard Facility are high, especially from inmate attacks, because the center is one of the highly populated facilities in Illinois. Assessing the risk levels is tasked to special teams that categorize risks from most dangerous to the least. Menard has guidelines in places whose use is discussed by a panel and approved by the relevant authorities (John Howard Association of Illinois, 2013). An objective rating for this element is world-class because of the coordination of administration and participation of employees.

Hierarchy of Controls

The hierarchy of controls provides a framework through which more adverse risks can be controlled first before the least dangerous ones. Menard is a maximum-security center, and the hierarchy of risk controls relate to the dangerous offenders serving at the facility (John Howard Association of Illinois, 2013). A three-level security system is used in categorizing risk control measures whereby high-risk offenders are in maximum security, followed by medium and minimum. Others are grouped according to grades A, B, and C, while others are grouped according to escape capabilities. In terms of the hierarchy of control, this facility ranks in world-class because of the tightness in security.

Design Review

The team responsible for assessing the problems and risks that can befall workers in state prisons must review the design of the systems in a way that can help curb the risks or minimize them. In this element, the system design is evaluated against the available alternatives as far as employees’ safety is concerned. The safety design is a little bit flawed because reports from external visits in 2013 indicate the center had ventilation, water, and temperature issues which put workers’ lives at risk and limiting its rating (John Howard Association of Illinois, 2013)

Management of Change and Procurement

Change in management in the Menard institution has always brought health and security adjustments. The same can be said of procurement that highlights security concerns for both inmates and workers, as can be found in the center’s financial reports. The current systems in place were not there before, such as the effective computerized systems of capturing and sharing data...

Cite this page

Essay Example on Prisoners and Staff Safety in Correctional Facilities: U.S. DOC Standards. (2023, Sep 30). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism