The Impact of the Work Environment on Prison Staff: The Issue of Consideration, Structure, Job Variety, and Training
ABSTRACT Correctional staff are instrumental in ensuring the success of any correctional institution; therefore, investigating how
the work environment impacts correctional workers is essential. To determine the effects of supervisory consideration, supervisory
structure, job variety, and perceptions of training on correctional staff job stress, job satisfaction, and organizational
commitment, data from a survey of staff at a Midwestern private correctional facility were examined. The Ordinary Least Squares
regression results indicate that each of the work environment factors had a significant impact on one or more of the three
outcomes. Specifically, supervisory consideration and perceptions of training decreased job stress. Supervisory consideration,
job variety, and perceptions of training had positive effects on job satisfaction. Finally, supervisory consideration, supervisory
structure, job variety, and perceptions of training had positive relationships with organizational commitment.
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ABSTRACT: Given the often disquieting history of correctional institutions, we question the notion of a utopian prison and, instead, make suggestions for simply improving existing institutions. First, prisons should adopt a clear commitment to the principles of restorative justice and rehabilitation. Second, the recruitment, training, and retention of staff should be reformed so that staff members are more likely to have a high commitment to such principles. Third, the physical, social, psychological, and moral/ethical safety of the prison must be improved so that individuals can concentrate on change rather than mere survival. Fourth, the evidence supporting rehabilitative programming should be consulted, but, in addition, a more nuanced measure of success should also be considered. Finally, it is necessary to understand the barriers to improving prisons, including the vested interests that profit from the “prison-industrial complex,” public opinion, and budgetary restraints. In conclusion, we argue that prisons will never be utopian, but they can be more just, more humane, and more effective as a place to change lives. Evidence suggests this is what the public wants.Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 01/2012; 28(1):60-76.
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ABSTRACT: Research suggests that job-related stress affects correctional officers’ attitudes toward their work environment, coworkers, and supervisors, as well as their physical and mental health; however, very few studies have examined the relationship between stress and attitudes toward inmates. This study examined the relationship between correctional officers’ levels of stress and their perceptions of inmates by surveying a sample of 501 correctional officers employed by a Southern prison system. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to test the principal hypothesis of this study—that more negative perceptions of inmates would result in higher levels of stress for correctional officers. Independent variables were grouped into four groups (demographic variables, supervisory support, job characteristics, and attitudes toward inmates) and were entered into the model in blocks. Lower supervisory support and perceptions of the job being dangerous were associated with higher levels of job stress. More importantly, correctional officers who saw inmates as intimidated (not arrogant) and nonmanipulative reported lower levels of job stress, while officers who perceived inmates as being unfriendly, antisocial, and cold reported higher levels of stress.SAGE Open. 3(2).
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ABSTRACT: Although emotional burnout of prison staff is costly to all involved, it has not received the kind of research attention that is warranted. This exploratory study focused on the impact of job characteristics on the emotional exhaustion dimension of burnout of prison staff. Using data from 272 staff members at a Midwestern state prison, this study found that both job feedback and job autonomy had negative effects on the index of emotional exhaustion burnout; however, both supervision and job variety had nonsignificant effects. The study further discussed possible reasons for both the significant and nonsignificant relationships.The Prison Journal 03/2012; 92(1):3-23. · 0.40 Impact Factor