LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) says teammate turnover dropped significantly in 2018.
On Sunday, Scott R. Frakes said agencywide turnover fell to just under 24 percent in 2018, and protective services turnover was 31 percent. That reflects a 14 percent reduction for agency turnover and a nine percent reduction for protective services positions, NDCS said.
“Agencywide turnover has continued to climb since 2010,” noted Director Frakes. “Reversing that course has been one of my priorities since becoming director in 2015.”
Director Frakes said initiatives undertaken in recent years likely had a positive impact. Those things have included pay increases across the agency with additional raises for certain job classifications, plus referral and commuting bonuses, as well as bonuses to teammates who have completed professional development training. A major emphasis on staff safety led to an 87 percent reduction in assaults against staff resulting in serious injuries.
“In addition,” said Director Frakes, “training academies for leadership and case management have been launched to help teammates improve on–the-job skills and increase engagement.”
Among the protective services staff, consisting of officers, corporals, sergeants and caseworkers, declines in turnover were significant at particular facilities. For example at the Community Corrections Center-Lincoln (CCCL), protective services turnover dropped to 10 percent and turnover for the same category of employees at the Work Ethic Camp (WEC) came in at 11 percent -- the lowest rates since 2010.
The Nebraska State Penitentiary experienced a 21 percent reduction in protective services turnover, dropping to just over 30 percent. The Health Services Division of NDCS experienced some of the best results, with a reduction of over 30 percent, compared to 2017.
Director Frakes said he is proud of the work that has happened to improve working conditions within NDCS. “I am also grateful to the over 2,300 teammates that are committed to public safety. They work 24/7, weekends, and holidays. They, and their families, make on-going sacrifices to help keep Nebraskans safe. Their work is dangerous, stressful, and demanding. “
Despite the significant improvements in staff turnover, Director Frakes acknowledged that efforts to improve are far from over. “We are ending 2018 with an agency turnover rate of just below 24 percent, and that is twice as high as it should be. We need to celebrate our progress and double down on our efforts in 2019.”