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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200325 Find in a Library
Title: Perceptions of Misconduct: An Examination of Ethics at One Correctional Institution
Journal: Corrections Compendium  Volume:28  Issue:5  Dated:May 2003  Pages:1-4,16,19
Author(s): Charles Mesloh; Ross Wolf; Mark Henych
Editor(s): Susan L. Clayton M.S.
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 8
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Focusing on the ethical climate of a correctional institution in Florida, this study attempted to examine the self-reported perceptions and integrity of the correctional officers, managers and support and medical staff.
Abstract: In addition to the screening of recruits, the training of personnel, and the retention of qualified staff, correctional facilities demand that each officer maintain the highest level of ethical standards. Several studies previously conducted to examine perceptions of ethics and ethical climates in correctional environments are reviewed and discussed. However, there is a need to expand on these previous studies due to findings indicating a lack of intense scrutiny of the correctional environment. This study set out to measure ethical issues and misbehavior among staff in a central Florida medium-size, county correctional institution. It had been determined that this jail was plagued with claims of officer misconduct, intra-agency theft, claims of racism, and unauthorized use of government property. The survey instrument utilized was based on the research from prior studies related to police and correctional officer integrity issues. Surveys were distributed to 274 correctional staff with 227 returned and completed. Sixty-one percent of the respondents were correctional officers with the remaining consisting of support and medical staff. Two scenarios were presented to the respondents: gift and theft. In addition, respondents were asked how often they would report specific types of misconduct. Respondents who rated themselves higher in the ethical question of the gift or theft scales were also likely to report others with less ethical standards. Additional findings include: (1) officers with higher numbers of complaints tended to have a lower integrity rating; (2) age and tenure were predictors of misconduct; (3) gender and race had little influence on misconduct and integrity; (4) support and medical staff, as well as managers had higher levels of integrity than correctional officers. The study supports the conclusion that environmental conditions affect integrity and the perceptions of integrity of co-workers. The study recommends additional research comparing other correctional institutions for further identification of deviant subcultures. Tables and references
Main Term(s): Professional conduct and ethics
Index Term(s): Code of ethics; Correctional Officers; Correctional personnel; Correctional personnel recruitment; Corrections policies; Corrections standards; Florida; Misconduct; Personnel retention
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