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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77627 Find in a Library
Title: Guards Imprisoned - Correctional Officers at Work
Author(s): L X Lombardo
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 217
Sponsoring Agency: Elsevier North-Holland, Inc
New York, NY 10017
Sale Source: Elsevier North-Holland, Inc
52 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on systematic interviews with prison guards and 6 years of participant observation at Auburn Correctional Facility (New York), this book explores the work, motivations, and experiences of people who work as prison guards.
Abstract: The study portrays guards as people who show diverse responses to the various work environments of the prison community, including the cell block, the yard, and prison industries. Guards are portrayed as actively engaged in and influencing the life of the prison as they informally handle inmate rule violations, cope with the demands of inmates, manipulate the prison's informal communications network, and sabotage administrative demands. A total of 50 officers representing about 15 percent of the entire corrections officer population were interviewed. General job satisfaction themes were explored, as well as issues involving rule enforcement and the handling of inmate problems. Interpersonal aspects of the correctional officer's work were also addressed. The study found that job security was a main factor in recruitment for one-half of the interviewees. The degree of sympathetic understanding guards felt for inmates was much greater than expected. Officers responded as individuals to inmates whom they judged as individuals. Although the prison walls emphasized divisions between guards and inmates, they also drew the two groups together. The study revealed the prison guard as a classic case of an alienated worker. Guards perceived their work environment to be both chaotic and boring; they considered the prison administration, rather than the inmates, to be the source of their work problems. The book recommends that administrators alleviate job dissatisfaction and alienation by designing training sessions to encourage officers to share information concerning successful methods of dealing with inmate problems. Such training sessions are seen as helping to break down the isolation experienced by many officers and to increase their participation in decisions affecting their work situation. Chapter notes, an index, and a bibliography of approximately 120 references are provided. The interview guide and data tables are appended.
Index Term(s): Correctional institutions (adult); Correctional Officers; Corrections management; Inmate staff relations; New York; State correctional facilities
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