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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76794 Find in a Library
Title: Occupational Stress in Corrections (From American Correctional Association - Proceedings, P 207-222, 1981, Barbara Hadley Olsson and Ann Dargis, ed. - See NCJ-76771)
Author(s): J J Dahl
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: American Correctional Assoc
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sale Source: American Correctional Assoc
206 N. Washington St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the causes of occupational stress among corrections workers, presents a model detailing stress factor interactions, and discusses developing strategies for coping with job stress in correctional institutions.
Abstract: There are two basic causes for increases in occupational stress among corrections workers: contacts with inmates and management ambiguity. Due to prison overcrowding, recent emphasis on prisoner rights, and a lack of public consensus and support for corrections activities, many corrections officers have been placed under considerable job-related stress. Changes in corrections officer responsibility have often been accompanied by little support or information from administrators; as a result, the officers are not certain how to perform their jobs. Research has indicated that corrections officers, although they are under considerable stress as measured by absenteeism and illness, refuse to admit it. However, these officers often indicate that their colleagues are suffering from considerable stress. Organizational stress results from several factors, including the environment (job demands and characteristics, role expectations, organizational characteristics, and external demands), the individual (psychological and physical condition, demographics, and life stage characteristics), and the interaction between the two (psychological and physical processes). Major intervention points for generating a response to stress include corrections administration, line managers, line officers, health and mental health monitoring, training, the personnel department, and the legislature. Exemplary stress reduction programs include a behavior modification training program for officers and inmates developed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections, a hostage situation response training program developed by the Vermont Department of Corrections, and a training program developed for maximum security section officers at the Oregon State Prison. A diagram presents a general model of organizational stress.
Index Term(s): Behavior under stress; Correctional personnel; Corrections management; Job pressure; New Jersey; Oregon; Police occupational stress; Role perception; Vermont
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