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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 90570 Find in a Library
Title: Work Stress in Correctional Institutions
Journal: Journal of Prison and Jail Health  Volume:2  Issue:2  Dated:(Fall/Winter 1982)  Pages:74-102
Author(s): C M Brodsky
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 29
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Occupational stress in corrections is related to work experiences in correctional institutions as well as the structure, culture, and the role of correctional institutions in American society, but steps can be taken to make the work environment of corrections less stressful.
Abstract: These findings were developed from a study of three major groups of correctional employees: (1) employees who experienced a high level of stress in their work, including those who left and those who remained in their jobs; (2) a cross section of correctional employees in the United States; and (3) an indepth sample of correctional employees in one region of the United States. The study indicated a significant degree of stress among correctional employees, and while the degree of stress was significantly related to the characteristics of the individual employees and their personal situations, much of the stress can be traced to the nature of the work and the character and expectations of American correctional institutions. Stress produced by role conflict and ambiguity is ultimately rooted in societal confusion about what correctional institution can realistically accomplish. Correctional officers often become the scapegoat for both the public and the prison administration when expectations are not met. Relations with administrators, inmates, and fellow employees are often strained, and there is little sense of status and self-worth attached to the job. Remedial efforts that can reduce stress include (1) public education about the role of prisons and prison employees, (2) a setting of realistic and clear expectations for employees, (3) compensation for working in a stressful environment, and (4) the development of resources for dealing with long-term stress and burnout. Sixty-three references and 11 bibliographic entries are provided.
Index Term(s): Burnout syndrome; Correctional Officers; Corrections management; Corrections occupational stress; Prison management
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