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3 Ways to Improve Your Facility’s Compliance Percentage

100% compliance is a daunting goal for many facilities. While challenging, it’s achievable with the right tools. What can agencies do to promote a perfect compliance score in their facility?
Alyssa Pfaff
Alyssa Pfaff
Kenzie Koch | Sr. Marketing Specialist
Jeff Kovar | Strategic Account Executive
Chris Riedmueller | Director of Academy
Brandon Stout | Academy Trainer

Correctional facilities can only be successful when the safety, security, and overall well-being of both the inmates and staff are prioritized. This is why policies and procedures are set in place to ensure standards are met and compliance is followed.

Every agency has the goal of meeting a perfect compliance score, but many don't realize that there isn't just one universal path to achieve it. No two facilities are identical. Each agency has its own set of facility-specific standards on top of the state standards they are required to meet. Having different criteria leads to different circumstances and challenges that may result in an imperfect compliance percentage.

All regulations are implemented for a reason, no matter how big or small. And however little a discrepancy may seem, any breach of policy is still breaking compliance and hurting a facility’s overall compliance percentage. This is why it is critical to comply with each and every guideline. Not meeting compliance standards can result in consequences for your correctional facility, ranging from increased levies from litigation all the way to complete facility shutdowns. 

However, this road to destruction is avoidable. This blog breaks down some of the tools and practices you can implement in your facility to increase its compliance percentage and achieve agency goals.

1. Foster a Culture of Compliance

A positive and healthy work environment all boils down to those managing the facility. The atmosphere that the administration creates in the workplace can either make or break the passion that officers need to stay in their roles long-term. That's why promoting a compliance-driven culture and mindset from Day One is a must. 

Supervisors set the tone. Nearly everything a supervisor does has a trickle effect on the rest of the staff, which is the most vital component in reaching a perfect compliance percentage. Just like the saying “lead by example,” supervisors should be exhibiting the same behaviors that they want to instill in their staff. 

If a supervisor is consistently late with their checks, staff may see this as an opportunity to do the same. Because after all, if your boss is late every day, why should you be on time? Who’s going to report you for not being on time? Your always-late boss? Negligence from upper management promotes poor work culture and values. Fostering an environment that actively monitors compliance in real-time or encourages friendly competition to boost morale is the goal; the culture of meeting compliance must start at the top.

When supervisors can monitor compliance in real-time, they are empowered to ensure that staff is staying on top of their assigned duties. The sooner supervisors can detect irregularities or failures in completing required tasks, the sooner they can correct this behavior.

Obtaining real-time updates presents an opportunity for staff and management to be actively aware of the facility's (and individual staff’s) compliance percentage. Plus, having compliance standings available for everyone to see eliminates the “out of sight, out of mind”, mentality that some staff may develop. By getting these quick updates on compliance, results and stats can be posted more frequently, motivating staff to improve their individual and facility compliance percentages.

Another route supervisors can take is a good old-fashioned workplace competition. We all have a competitive nature and are not keen on backing down to some friendly competition. So, how can reaching a perfect compliance score be turned into a fun contest?

Whether it be officer versus officer or shift versus shift or even building versus building, the group or individual with the highest compliance score wins. The time frame in which compliance is tracked should be long enough to truly see a difference, but not long enough to lose the interest of the competitors. 

With this route, it’s important to get creative with the reward; it should be something that each employee would be motivated to win. The prize could range anywhere from a team pizza party to a large wad of cash, because who wouldn't want either of those things? Team members should have fun with this, the goal is to have an enjoyable competition where everyone wins as the facility’s compliance percentage improves.

2. Equipping Staff to Boost Compliance Percentages

First and foremost, supervisors and staff should be well aware of their facility’s policies and procedures. They should be taught during their training and onboarding days. With the proper education, tools, and training, all corrections staff should be equipped with all information regarding facility rules and regulations. 

It’s all about being ahead of the inmates. Working with a proactive mindset is better than having a reactive response. Having supervisors who are continuously encouraging a proactive work ethic rather than just constantly playing defense pushes staff to get ahead of the compliance game.

This can be as simple as staff proactively monitoring when checks are due by using the Mobile Compliance Monitor on the SPARTAN. This helps officers stay aware of where specific inmates should and shouldn’t be assigned. 

Staff may not think of every single one of their interactions with inmates as wellness checks, but a simple flip of this mentality can be a game changer. Recording these interactions as wellness checks help close the window of mischievous inmate behavior due to the simple sense of randomness in your checks. When you regularly make irregular checks, contraband, assaults, and other rule violations are less likely to occur.

Although it may seem like an overly redundant task, employees also need to be consistently documenting their inconsistencies or late checks in their reports. When officers document why their checks are late in real-time, the facility can evaluate the flow of events to make necessary adjustments.

This can also help to fill any voids in how operations are being managed, such as identifying areas that need more staffing. Regardless of why an officer was late, having the documentation provides all staff members with useful data to understand what is going on in the facility, and why. 

It’s important to hold every staff member equally accountable. While praise should be given to high performers, low performers should be given action plans to improve their daily performance. If supervisors pay close attention to how day-to-day operations are being completed, there should be plenty of opportunities for supervisors to provide feedback to their employees - especially for low performers. 

It is easier to help existing staff set and meet achievable goals than to hire and train new staff. Only God knows how fast of a revolving door that can be.

Patience is key, you should be fixated on continuously improving performance versus a one-time deal. This isn’t an overnight process by any means, so it’s important not to expect an overnight turnaround. Successful progress is a grind and it requires time to make these big improvements.

3. Technology's Role in Compliance

Human error can be a P.I.T.A., especially when it comes to reporting. Whether it’s forgetting to add a justification to explain a late cell check or just accidental misreporting, humans are prone to mistakes. What’s the best way to reduce human error, you ask? Technology.  

Technology has revolutionized compliance monitoring, enhancing both efficiency and effectiveness. It has opened up the door for real-time monitoring of cell checks and security rounds, a capability exemplified by GUARDIAN RFID’s Mobile Compliance Monitor (MCM). Tailored to optimize the process of monitoring by letting an officer know precisely how much time is remaining between rounds, MCM was built specifically to ensure rounds are completed thoroughly and on time. This is possible by MCM holding capabilities including: 

  • Time management functionality: Mobile Compliance Monitor alerts when security checks and rounds are due based on the last security check and the predetermined maximum time between checks, ensuring enough time for completion before the maximum time is reached. This time frame is color-coded to simplify the process, with green meaning you’re in the clear, yellow meaning you are approaching the due time, and red being classified as a late check. The differentiation of colors helps promote real-time insights and data collection. 

  • Enhanced accessibility: GUARDIAN RFID’s Mobile Compliance Monitor drastically enhances the accessibility of documentation. Now you can report and pull information whenever and wherever. The Mobile Compliance Monitor gives all officers a common operating picture of which checks are coming up and which ones may already be late. Knowing in real-time when and where your checks are due, wherever you happen to be in the facility, is revolutionary for the departments that don’t already have this capability. 

  • Proactive management: Piggy-backing off the added time-management functionality, the Mobile Compliance Monitor logs all potential compliance violations on the Mission Command platform. Not only can they see the late check, but they can also see any justification that an officer added at the time the check was made. If for some reason the officer forgot to add their justification comment at the time the check was made, the officer can add it afterward from Mission Command. Supervisors can efficiently audit non-compliant checks, review staff justifications, address staff behavior, and note their own comments and actions within the late check. This focused approach will enhance staff awareness and increase compliance. Affording your staff ample opportunities to justify any late checks that occur before the end of a shift audit reduces the micromanagement effect, which can happen when you now get almost real-time (within a minute in most cases with stable Wi-Fi) tracking for check compliance. 

  • Magnified adaptability and customization: Fully customizable technology helps facilities meet their specific wants and needs, no matter the shape and size. Mobile Compliance Monitor’s customization allows staff to create alerts to provide early warnings for when checks should be done. For example, this can be scheduling and sending out alerts however far in advance that administrators deem best not exceeding the preconfigured maximum check time. Officers can also multi-select the locations they are responsible for so they can stay focused on the locations they need to keep up the compliance for. 

  • Operational Intelligence: GUARDIAN RFID's Operational Intelligence (OI) leverages analytics to capture data surrounding officer observations and engagements. Simply put, OI allows staff to assess both the facility's and individual officers' compliance rates over the past 14 days. OI serves as a performance coaching tool by breaking down officers' compliance percentages, identifying staff in need of additional support, and pinpointing areas that are checked less frequently. These statistics are easy to read and understand as they are presented through visual charts and graphs, ensuring clear and concise insights for decision-making processes.

Compliance is a team effort. Improving compliance percentage will take more than just one small correction. It requires dedication and consistent maintenance from the entire team. Investing in your staff members and the right tools goes a long way in securing a more favorable compliance score and preventing the potential and avoidable consequences of non-compliance.