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Correctional Officer Stress: A Cause for Concern and Additional Help

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 62 Issue: 2 Dated: December 1998 Pages: 65-74
P Finn
Date Published
10 pages
Correctional officer stress is examined with respect to its nature and extent, causes, prevention, and treatment, based on a literature review and telephone interviews with correctional personnel, providers of stress prevention and stress reduction services, and other knowledgeable individuals.
Long-established principles and methods of controlling anger and aggression are being broadly used in innovative applications both outside and within legal and correctional settings as one method to reduce violence. Anger management is also being used as a facet of conflict resolution. However, not all the applications may be appropriate and some may be harmful. Studies in prisons reveal that anger management programs have significant usefulness in reducing misconduct reports in prison and in reducing short-term recidivism for some juveniles. In addition, if anger management skills help maintain family and work relationships, they will help integrate offenders back into the community. However, anger management training alone may be insufficient for certain offenders and potentially harmful to their victims. Domestic batterers, some animal abusers, and non-angry violent aggressors may be more appropriately served by other treatment. In addition, alcoholism and psychiatric disorders affect behavior and impair the success or learning or using anger management skills. Professional assessment costs more, but it may help avoid inappropriate sentencing and reduce the waste of treatment resources. Many challenges exist in evaluating program effectiveness; further research is needed to determine the most appropriate and effective use of anger management. Reference notes