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NCJ Number: 99101 Find in a Library
Title: Prison Officers' Work Attitudes - The Influence of Background and Work Experience
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Volume:18  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1985)  Pages:17-24
Author(s): G N Soutar; T A Williams
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: A survey of 284 uniformed staff members of 14 institutions operated by the Western Australia Prisons Department revealed that Prisons Department experience rather than personal background characteristics influenced officers' work attitudes.
Abstract: The prisons surveyed included both maximum and minimum security institutions and facilities for inebriates, women, and young male recidivists. Respondents initially were grouped according to their responses to seven attitude scales: custodial role, treatment role, disciplinary role, perception of prisoners, perception of conflict, perception of psychologists and psychiatrists, and perception of social workers and parole and welfare officers. Most respondents had left school by the age of 16, were married, had children, and were basic grade officers with less than 5 years experience. Cluster analysis revealed six distinct groups with different attitudes. Three were labeled as traditional officers, one as disciplinarians, and two as nontraditional. Several background and work experience variables were then examined to determine whether significant intergroup differences existed. Only previous Prisons Department experience differed over the six groups, and other variables such as age and previous work history did not differ significantly. The traditional guards were likely to be the more junior officers and to be found in maximum security prisons. The nontraditional guards were likely to be assigned to medium or low security institutions and to have had country prison experience. The disciplinarians were generally the female officers assigned to the women's institution, which other studies have shown emphasized both rehabilitation and discipline. Tables and 16 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Australia; Correctional Officers; Surveys; Work attitudes
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