I saw the lack of empathy in prison not only for the inmates, but many times for staff as well. I remember a captain telling his distraught female custody officer, “It’s not my problem,” when she asked for time off to take care of her dying son. Empathy is valued in many businesses now because numerous studies link it to better business results. It is a skill that can be taught and needs to be taught at all levels of an organization. Businesses realize that an empathetic manager creates engagement and employee loyalty. They also realize that an empathetic customer representative creates customer loyalty. If empathy was valued in prison would we get better results? Less lawsuits, less grievances, less overtime expenditures because of abuse of sick time, less stress and depression. Could an empathetic culture foster more positive engagement and creative solutions in the correctional world?
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