INDIVIDUAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL DETERMINANTS OF CORRECTIONAL OFFICER ATTITUDES TOWARD INMATES

Nancy Jurik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

116 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of individual attributes and organizational influences in the determination of correctional officers’attitudes toward inmates. Drawing on survey data from 179 line‐level correctional officers, the analysis evaluates the expectations of prison reformers that more highly educated, female, and minority officers will hold more positive attitudes toward their inmate clientele. Contrary expectations drawn from the sociology of work literature suggest that the work‐role socialization will overshadow the effect of individual attributes in the determination of officer attitudes. The analysis reveals that minority officers hold more positive orientations toward inmates, while education and gender exert no impact. In addition, organizational‐level characteristics are also important in the prediction of officer views of inmates. These findings suggest that correctional reforms that focus primarily on changing the demographic composition of correctional officers are quite unlikely to ameliorate significantly the tension in today's prisons. It is necessary for both reformers and social scientists to develop more sophisticated analyses of the interplay between individual attributes and work organization characteristics and their joint effects on behavior in the prison setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-540
Number of pages18
JournalCriminology
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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