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Influence of Organizational Climate on Detention Officers' Readiness to Use Force in a County Jail

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Review Volume: 24 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 1999 Pages: 1-26
Date Published
26 pages

This article explores use of force in the correctional setting.


Jails are coercive organizations in which the use of force, or threatened use of force, in the control of inmates is a regular occurrence. Yet little attention has been paid to detention officers and their use of force against inmates. This study explores use of force in the correctional setting, incorporating organizational climate variables as primary predictors of a detention officer’s expressed readiness to use force against inmates. Analysis was based on a survey of all detention officers in Maricopa County, AZ. Eight scales measuring a detention officer’s perception of three dimensions of the organizational climate tested the hypotheses that perceptions of climate have a direct effect on a detention officer’s readiness to use force and that these observed effects remain statistically significant when individual characteristics of the officer are controlled. Analysis confirmed these hypotheses, indicating that expressed readiness to use force is influenced differentially by the three dimensions of climate and that individual characteristics of officers do not affect the expressed readiness to use force. Notes, tables, references

Date Published: January 1, 1999