The turnover among correctional officers is a big problem that affects correctional systems. In particular, this issue also has a significant effect on developing the Thai correctional system. There is a high turnover rate among Thai correctional officers from 11,029 to 10,549 within three years between 2013 and 2016 (Thai DOC, 2017).The 2016 turnover rate in the Thai Correctional Department can be divided into categories for 125 quitting jobs, 52 transferring to other agencies, 19 died, and 238retired (Thai DOC, 2017). Therefore this turnover issue leads Thai corrections administrators to try to find the solution.
Problems of correctional officers’ turnover
Previous studies demonstrate that there are various factors which influence turnover among correctional officers, especially work environments, safety issues, and job satisfaction level.
Role of leadership and correctional administration
Leadership is an important role which influenceson officers to stay with organization. This study focuses on three main characteristics of leaderships which are key components to administrate prison organizations. These characteristics are loyalty, competence, and good communication.
Role of leadership and Thai correctional administration
The role of leader is an important in the administration of the Thai correctional system. This is because in the Thai correctional agency also faces many challenges in administering correctional officers the two main challenges of administration are human resources and working within prison walls.
Both a Thai correctional administrator and a Thai correctional officer agree that leadership plays an important role in the correctional system.
In particular, Mr.Nathee Jitsawangisan ex- director general of the Thai correctional department. In an interview, he discussed leadership and the correctional administration influences on correctional officers’ work.Working in prison is dangerous which leads many correctional officers to be scared about their safety while working. Additionally, the pay and benefits are inadequate, which significantly motivates correctional officers to leave this organization Therefore, the role of the leadership among prison administrators is important to motivate their officers to keep working, by listening to their problems and supporting them to improve their abilities. This will help them build morale which is important to keep officers in this organization.
Mr. Visut Chimmusi served as a Thai correctional officer in Bangkok Remand prison.In an interview, hestated that a good leader is a person who has the competency to handle challenge within an organization. He also discussed that a prison administrator should listen to problems and share ideas with their officers. This will help encourage correctional officers and raise morale. Importantly, leaders should have the responsibility for helping their officers handle all challenges with their actions more than their orders.Therefore, the role of leader is important to morale while working in this organization. Mr. Chimmusi also discussed that if Thai correctional administrators can do this,the Thai correctional agency will keep officers to in the organization.
Conclusion and Discussion
This study investigates the leadership skills among prison administrators as the solution to handle the turnover of Thai correctional officers. Also, this study helps explain the role of correctional administrators’ leadership skills not only in handling turnover problems with correctional officers, but also in helping correctional officers to improve their abilities that will lead to developing the organization in future (Campbell, 2006).
Importantly, this study is a guideline and a new perspective to encourage the correctional department to improve and create useful programs for prison administrators. Such programs help administrators improve and develop their abilities to lead their prison systems (Hersley& Stinson, 1980). Training programs for prison administrators in the Thai correctional department leads administrators to understand the important role of leadership in their organizations. This will help officers with motivation and encouragement to increase morale in the prison organization (Medonca, 2001).
Training programs for prison administrators emphasize the skills of leadership, especially negotiation and motivation. This training will help prison administrators understand their roles as leaders and enable them to adjust and handle human resource problems within their organizations. For future research, if there are comparative studies in other countries on this topic, this will indicate that the role of leadership is important not only in Thailand, but also in other countries.
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