Staff Safety = Staff Happiness in Corrections Facilities. Here’s How RTLS Tech Supports Your Staff

By: Josh Childs

Posted December 14, 2022

Spend any time in many workplaces, and you’d probably agree that there’s a bit of a crisis of workplace satisfaction. Whether it’s pay, incentive structure, benefits, working hours, or just plain workplace culture, workers cite plenty of examples of challenges they face on a daily basis. 

The same is true in the corrections world, where despite these same challenges and more, staff show up and perform at an incredibly high level. After all, in these high-stress environments, even one slip-up could result in serious—even violent—consequences. It’s interesting to me how RTLS can help support these professionals, which include corrections officers, maintenance, IT staff, administrative staff and healthcare workers. 

What Makes for Good Workplace Conditions in Corrections Facilities? 

Workplace happiness, in the corrections environment, generally hinges on perceived dangerousness of daily activities, coworker relationships, how much (or little) input workers have on decision-making and administrative support. Not so different, ultimately, than what contributes positively to workplace satisfaction for workers in general. 

In corrections facilities, something as “simple” as spotty internet, a late lunch service or improperly functioning air conditioning can ignite low-level tensions into full-bore conflict. Without involvement from facilities management (with procedures or products), the corrections officer is forced to find a way to mitigate the risk at hand. 

Feeling supported at work, physically and emotionally, are essential predictors for retention in corrections environments. According to a 2021 study, ambiguity of role and task overload, experienced by many in characteristically short-staffed corrections environments, play a significant role in lack of workplace satisfaction. Without these needs met, staff leave—plain and simple. According to that same study, high-quality training and variety of daily tasks were positive predictors of retention, but without basic needs met, even the most highly-trained staff members may seek other opportunities. 

Many corrections officers and staff I meet in facilities understand the effect their presence has on others, and they do their best to be good team players and be a positive force in the lives of incarcerated individuals. 

How RTLS Helps Create Positive, Safer, More Supportive Corrections Environments

The primary benefit of using an RTLS system in a correctional facility is safety improvement. 

A facility enabled with RTLS is more efficient. When it’s clear where staff are located, it’s easier to ensure adequate coverage and imbue a sense of safety to staff, officers and inmates alike. Taken together, these improvements play a major role in workplace happiness and, ultimately, staff retention. 

Discreet RTLS devices worn by staff have easily accessible duress buttons and work within our patent-pending dual-frequency system, which tracks staff to get help where it needs to go quickly—in three seconds or less. 

Actall’s RTLS isn’t foiled by thick concrete, rebar, steel or industrial equipment like kitchens or HVAC units. Signals are quickly and easily propagated, unlike many solutions that have difficulty navigating complex physical environments like correctional facilities. 

If safety is one piece of the pie, feeling valued is another. When management pays attention to ensuring employees feel appreciated and valued, corrections employees will experience lower stress, a sense of purpose and a greater overall sense of workplace happiness. The value of RTLS goes far beyond workplace safety, though of course that’s our goal. Investing in RTLS is investing in employees, and therefore investing in their happiness. And happy employees, as it happens, are much easier to retain.