BC Corrections provides staff with opportunities to explore their passions and grow in their careers.

Be a role model: ‘People first’ approach transforms Corrections

BC Corrections to boost hiring numbers with professionals passionate about making a difference

When a BC Correctional Officer in Kamloops wanted to work with inmates to create a safer, more engaging environment, she started by delving into research about successful initiatives in other communities. Encouraged by management and supervisors, she then pitched the “Right Living Approach” to her co-workers. “An overwhelming number of staff responded, a result both of how well she prepared and her passion for the issue,” says Stephanie Macpherson, Provincial Director of BC Corrections’ Adult Custody Division. “We opened a unit earlier this spring and the feedback from staff and inmates has been unbelievable.”

That kind of initiative reflects BC Corrections’ emphasis not only on supporting inmates, but also staff – providing opportunities for them to explore their passions and grow in their career.

Empowering staff for positive change

This focus on leadership, progressive ideas and professional development is part of what makes BC Corrections an attractive job prospect for many – timely as the organization is hiring in many regions.

“For me, the focus is all on the people,” Macpherson says. “I tell our wardens, ‘If you take care of the staff, everything else will fall into place.’”

Modelling a ‘people-first’ approach to inmates

“We are a ‘people first’ organization – which means we are always thinking of the people when we make decisions, and as we develop our principles, values and goals. People matter, whether it’s the inmate in our custody or our staff who want to help support that person in custody who wants to turn their life around. We invest in our staff to ensure our organization is agile, responsive and able to excel in pursuing its mission of public safety.”

This people-first approach extends to staff’s interactions with inmates, including a shift from a “supervisory” focus to exploring how to help. “Part of our job is to care, and how we care is a big part of that,” Macpherson says. “When someone comes through our door, it’s our job to help them figure out how they got here and how to not return. Our staff don’t judge people, they accept them where they’re at and help identify and build upon their strengths.”

The Right Living Approach in Kamloops is a perfect example. Participating inmates make decisions about how their living unit will operate, electing a leader and working together to build a smooth-running community. In this mutually respectful environment, inmates can open up with staff and each other about their life experiences – about the path that brought them to prison – and with that vulnerability and empathy the healing process begins.

“With open communication and a community built on respect, look at the opportunities we have to help them,” Macpherson says.

A trauma-informed approach, with greater awareness of mental health issues, helps Correctional Officers form relationships with vulnerable people who often haven’t had a role model before.

“Coming to us from all walks of life and with many experiences, our Correctional Officers are leaders who work to make a difference,” Macpherson says, highlighting the value of respect, communication and listening.

“Some of our most effective staff are women and we need more – their emotional intelligence and communications skills are often so strong.” Beyond appealing locations and flexible work schedules that encourage a work-life balance, many officers appreciate the opportunity to explore professional interests while making a difference.

“Our staff can be involved and be leaders at all levels of the organization: they are in charge of their career paths.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Going Green: House, I’m looking at you

‘Change the place you live by changing how you get around.’

UPDATED: Two seeking Liberal nod in Ridge, Mission

No dates yet for candidate selection process

Snow and ice easier this time, on Maple Ridge roads

Pothole situation could have been worse, said roads superintendent

City of Pitt Meadows quell concerns about community garden being developed over

Latest Official Community Plan has mixed income housing being built adjacent to garden

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows await Lyft, Uber

Licensing announcement expected next week

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

5 things you need to know to start using ridesharing in Metro Vancouver

From how to get started to where drivers can take you, heres all you need to know

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

Most Read