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Does your correctional facility staff have a “good enough” mindset?

Adequate, par for the course, good enough — these words and phrases describe something that meets an acceptable level of quality. But when is “good enough” not really good enough?

Correctional facilities typically have rigid policies and procedures designed to ensure the facility’s safety and security. However, it’s easy for staff to fall into a “good enough” mindset if processes aren’t strictly followed and enforced.

Do any of your officers or civilian employees figure out what they can get away with and let certain procedures slide? That’s a risky proposition inside correctional facilities. In fact, “good enough” is never good enough inside your walls.

'Good enough' is never good enough inside your walls.

Consider a scenario in which an access log is skipped when a key is checked out. Of course this is a breach of policy and procedure, but it’s difficult to catch without routine audits. The officer believes this is an acceptable practice because they plan to return the key quickly, and it probably won’t be caught anyway.

Later in the day, the officer misplaces the key and an inmate gets control of it. A key in the hands of an inmate puts officers, other inmates, and possibly the general public at risk. Even with regular key audits, it could still take days to even notice that a key is missing, giving the inmate even more time to misuse it.

This situation is entirely avoidable when your staff recognizes that “good enough” isn’t acceptable. It’s important for facilities to overcome such mindsets to maintain a safe and secure setting.

Follow these three steps to keep your staff from falling into the “good enough” trap that puts your facility at risk.


Make a Systemic Change

Mindset problems often stem from how officers in leadership positions approach issues. If the sergeants or lieutenants in your facility have a relaxed approach to policies and procedures, then it’s nearly impossible to get lower ranking staff to take the same rules seriously. If problems like misplaced radios or keys are popping up more and more often, evaluate how your senior officers are approaching equipment handling. Perhaps it’s time to rewrite certain policies and establish enforcement measures to ensure staff — from the top down — are following protocol.


Get Staff Buy-in

Once you have your senior officers committed to making your facility a more secure space, it’s important to get the rest of your staff on board with following those same procedures. Persistent training is critical during this phase, especially if you’re implementing a new approach to ensuring the security of your facility’s keys and assets. Your staff needs to understand not only how to approach a situation, but also why it needs to be handled in a certain way.


Take Advantage of Modern Tech

Changing policies and reinforcing them with training can help, but they can fall apart in the face of simple human error. Truly eliminating the “good enough” mindset can only be accomplished by taking advantage of modern technologies that enforce procedures. To secure keys, consider an electronic key control system that automatically tracks who accesses a key and when. Such a system eliminates the need for manual access logs and reduces the possibility of human error.

If you already use an electronic key control system, ask yourself if it’s meeting all your asset management needs. Are the keys secured by steel components? Can it also secure assets like weapons and radios? Be sure you’re using a system that can truly keep your facility secure.

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When it comes to protecting your staff and facility, a “good enough” mindset isn’t adequate. By taking steps to make a systemic change, getting buy-in from your staff, and taking advantage of advanced technologies, you can ensure a safer environment for your officers.

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