This 101 series will help to explain and describe the work the Iowa Department of Corrections is doing with the Statewide Recidivism Reduction Strategy.
What is it?
A time study is having your staff document their time. For example, staff would document the amount of time spent on each task and put it in categories such phone calls, travel, paper work etc. What it helps to do is see exactly what it is that you do in your job. A time study documents what you do within a 40 hour work week.
Why are we doing this?
Our goal for the time study is to find out a workload formula, we already have a workload formula in the communities. This formula would help to balance out the caseload and workload. This helps to distribute the workload to where staff would be doing the work that one human being can do in 40 hours of work and getting the best 40 hours we can in a week.
What is the difference between caseload and workload?
Caseload is the number of offenders assigned to officers and workload is the amount of time necessary to complete tasks. There might be 1,300 offenders in an institution and 12 counselors. The counselors could have an even number of cases but not even workload. Workload is determined based on risk, needs, and other factors that contribute to how much time it takes to interact with treatment plans of offenders. By tracking how long different tasks take based on level of risk then using that information for the workload formula, we may see a counselor have 60 offenders on their caseload and another counselor has 140 offenders on their caseload but they still have an even workload.
Where is this being done? Who is doing this?
It’s being done at the Iowa institutions. All the correctional counselors that carry cases have participated. The American Probation and Parole Association are overseeing the time study.
When will this happen?
The final results have been recorded. The final results of the time study include 98 percent of counselors participation, 31,353 activities recorded, 930, 339 minutes (15,506 hours) recorded for activities with an average of about 7,952 minutes (132 hour per counselor) for the Institutional Time Study. A time study will be happening soon for the Iowa community corrections.
Why is this so important?
We have done research and no other state corrections institution has a workload formula. The Iowa institutions had nothing to go on and it’s important to have a time study to look at exactly what they are doing and how long it is taking.
How will this help to reduce recidivism?
Offenders that are higher risk would hopefully be assigned to counselors that have a lower caseload size thus having more time to work one on one with that offender. Those one on one interactions are important in terms of recidivism reduction. This ultimately helps us to work efficiently, utilize our resources better and to also communicate better with the public that this is what we need in terms of public safety and the amount of staff we need to get people into treatment classes, to get them back on the street and to do what we can while they are in our care with rehabilitation.