Take Care of Yourself First
Saturday, January 1, 2022
by: Chris D. Daniels, MPA, CAE

Section: Executive Director's Remarks

CHRIS D. DANIELS, MPA, CAE Executive Director American Jail Association

Take Care of Yourself First

Employee wellness has become a hot topic in corrections, especially in light of its impact on retention. If anything positive has emerged from the pandemic, it’s a heightened awareness of how fragile our health can be—and we should not take it for granted. Nor should we take for granted the wellness of the colleagues on whom we rely every day. The toll that the pandemic has taken on the health and wellbeing of corrections staff is immeasurable and, unfortunately, it is reflected in the number of professionals who are no longer working in our jails.

AJA is working to heighten the importance of wellness and its impact on retention. In October, we held our first large in-person meeting in two and a half years. Appropriately so, the meeting was titled the AJA Health & Wellness Summit for Jail Professionals. You can read more about it on page 53 of this issue of the magazine.

We are also extending the conversation during the AJA Conference & Jail Expo, May 21 to 25, in sunny Long Beach, California. Everyone who participated in our inaugural fall summit learned a lot of actionable strategies to employ at their agencies to improve health and wellness, and the Long Beach conference will continue to provide a forum for discussing what worked successfully as well as taking it to the next level. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to register now to receive the lowest registration rate and your first choice for a hotel.

Long Beach, California is an amazing location for corrections staff to relax, rejuvenate, and re-engage with others in the facility. In this beautiful setting, the AJA Conference & Jail Expo is offering more than 51 workshops. And the vendors are already lining up in anticipation of meeting with you to discuss your facility’s needs. Our mini conference preview begins on page 35.

In the meantime, take care of yourself. Jail professionals are constantly placed in a position where they must consider the needs of other people first. However, the axiom that you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others is true. You are your own best advocate for your mental and physical wellbeing. Please give yourself the space you need to act upon it, and get the training and support you need to assure your success.
Do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones, and do it for your professional colleagues.

. . . the axiom that you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others is true.

Chris D. Daniels, MPA, CAE
Executive Director
American Jail Association
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