With budget cuts and staffing issues plaguing many correctional facilities, finding the bandwidth to meet, manage and document mandated training or required professional certifications can be an uphill battle. As a response, facilities have begun to turn to online learning as an ideal training solution.
Training online offers inherent advantages. It’s cost-effective, it’s always available and it’s easy to track and manage. Online learning can also reduce risk.
Here are a few ways your online learning provider should help your facility meet its annual training requirements and decrease liability.
- ONLINE TRAINING CATERS TO STATE REQUIREMENTS
Online learning is customizable. So, whether your facility needs to adhere to state certification or internal requirements, you can ensure your program is compliant.
Your online learning provider should work with you to help you meet requirements in your state or region, regardless of how quickly mandates change. For example, our CorrectionsOne Academy platform is an approved online education provider, and continually adds and updates new courses to be in line with the latest industry standards.
Additionally, many modern online training solutions can deliver content on smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers, making them available anywhere, at any time. Tracking time, even if it’s short bursts during the day— like roll call training —can help your officers reach annual re-training requirements.
For many states, correctional officers must complete annual continuing education to maintain their certification. It can be difficult to accommodate coverage for each C.O. when you have an understaffed facility. Thanks to the accessibility of online learning, facilities can increase the number of training hours while reducing the number of hours an officer is absent.
- ONLINE COURSES CAN HELP FILL TRAINING GAPS AND DECREASE LIABILITY
It’s likely your facility needs to meet a number of specialized training requirements or mandates. You may currently be on the hook for identifying—and paying for—a range of instructors to conduct multiple, in-person training sessions. Online learning can greatly ease if not eliminate this burden.
An online learning provider with a comprehensive course library can efficiently deliver training for a large number of specialized topics that might prove costly to provide in a classroom setting.
In addition, by offering increased training opportunities, you are reducing liability costs at your facility, which can take a huge bite out of the budget. For example, in the U.S., approximately half a million correctional officers are responsible for supervising more than two million inmates, exposing them to unique workplace hazards within a controlled environment. According to Corrections Today, of all U.S. workers, correctional officers have one of the highest rates of non-fatal, work-related injuries. In 2011, correctional officers experienced 544 work-related injuries or illnesses per 10,000 full-time employees (FTE).
High-liability categories, which are all offered on the CorrectionsOne Academy platform, include:
- Use of Force
- Escorting Inmates
- Defensive Tactics
- Contraband Contol
- Mental Health in Jails
- Officer Safety
Having access to a broad library of online training courses is a viable solution to help improve officer safety, productivity and performance and decrease risk while staying within budget.
- REPORTING AND TRACKING PROGRESS MINIMIZES RISK
Maintaining accurate training records is as important as actually taking the required courses. Without proof of course completion and training compliance, one audit or legal issue can completely disrupt your facility.
One of the benefits of online learning is the streamlined electronic record of your facility’s training activity. A learning management system (LMS) enables correctional facilities to eliminate any makeshift or paper processes currently in use. This improved workflow benefits everyone, from personnel to the administration and leadership divisions.
For instance, if a correctional officer is unable to complete training in one sitting, courses can be bookmarked and completed at a later time. Training administrators and leaders can easily monitor the progress and the completion of assigned tasks. Then, anyone within the facility can easily pull a report for compliance in the event of an audit. Digitally organizing and tracking your facility’s compliance can also reduce liability in the case of a lawsuit.
- AN ONLINE TRAINING SOLUTION LESSENS BUDGET AND TIME COMMITMENTS
Often, facility’s budgets don’t align with the resources and time needed for officers to meet annual training requirements. This becomes a challenge for the Training Coordinator as an officer cannot be on call and scheduled for in-person training at the same time. So, will your facility plan training during work hours? Or will you pay for overtime?
What if some of those training sessions are only available in specific regions in your state and your personnel have to travel? Additionally, managing work schedules when officers are away at training adds another layer of complexity.
An online training platform can be the solution to these problems. The flexibility opens the doors to allowing officers to complete training in between cell block management or prison supervision, which cuts overtime costs and keeps your facility compliant. Further, it provides administrators with a tangible return on investment from both a time and monetary perspective.
Today’s correctional facilities are faced with complex training requirements and need cost-effective ways to ensure personnel is compliant with state standards. An LMS that offers high-quality courses and tracking can meet those needs.