Creating and measuring a healing environment in the Virginia Department of Corrections

The National Institute of Corrections' Norval Morris Workforce Initiative: Wave 2 Findings

MEET THE AUTHORS: Janeen Buck Willison, Shelli B. Rossman, Samuel Bieler, Christopher Innes

This report presents early findings from the Virginia Department of Corrections' (VA-DOC) Healing Environment Initiative (HEI), which is designed to inspire staff toward excellence, foster positive behavior change among people housed in Virginia's prisons, and promote safer communities. Analyses of two waves of surveys of over 6,300 VA-DOC staff indicate that leadership development coupled with training on effective communication techniques positively influence workplace culture, and staff are more optimistic about their role in creating a dynamic, ethical, positive workplace. However, staff views of the HEI vary by level and agency, with supervisors viewing the HEI more favorably than frontline staff, and community corrections staff rating the HEI more positively than prison staff. Staff in higher security prisons question the feasibility of the HEI.

ARTICLE : Full Report Online


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