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Correctional Officer Attitudes Toward Inmates and Working with Inmates in a "Get Tough" Era

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 27 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 1999 Pages: 495-506
Mary Ann Farkas
Kent B. Joscelyn
Date Published
12 pages
This study examines the orientation of local correctional officers toward inmates and attempts to determine whether their attitude reflects the punitive attitude of policymakers and the public.
The past few decades have seen an ideological shift to a more punitive attitude in policy and practice toward crime and criminal offenders. Despite the more punitive sentiment among the public and policymakers, officers did not express a punitive attitude toward inmates and generally supported rehabilitation programs for inmates. However, they did not favor a counseling role in their relations with inmates, viewing rehabilitation programs as more of an inmate management strategy than as rehabilitative tools. Work variables were more strongly associated with attitudes among correctional officers than were individual characteristic variables. Individual characteristic variables included chronological age and correctional entry age, gender, race and education. Work variables included shift, inmate contact hours and seniority; role conflict, role stress and job stress; participation in decision making; and job satisfaction. Tables, notes, references