Correctional Staff Attitudes

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Correctional Staff Attitudes and its Effects on the Entire Facility Teresa McCroskey
CJ503 – 01NA Organizational Behavior Unit 3
April 13, 2010
Instructor Colleen McCue

Correctional Staff Attitudes and its Effects on the Entire Facility
The correctional staffs work environment is largely a part of the issue of why it is hard to keep efficient staff. The correctional supervisor must be able to find solutions for staff to be able to handle the hostile work environment, job dangers, shift work, and dealing with the family stressors. This can cause many issues such as lack of sleep, issues with child care, along with dangerous inmates the correctional officers deal with, medical issues, among a few. This causes many of the officers to have absenteeism from work, and develop negative attitudes, work habits, and feelings towards the people he/she is supervised by or receive promotions before them. Correctional workers work in a unique work environment. (Dial & Johnson, 2008) Correctional officers can develop medical issues that can cause them time off work called stressors. These stressors can come from lack of sleep which can disrupt much of an officers day. Some of the symptoms are what is called Shift lag. “Shift lag is impaired performance. Lack of sleep can cause gastrointestinal issues, depression and apathy, sleepiness or falling asleep at work, and sleep interference during the daytime. Medical issues that can come from the stressors of lack of sleep can cause much disruption in an officers work day. Some of the symptoms are: shift lag, impaired performance, gastrointestinal dysfunction, depression and apathy, sleepiness/sleeping at work, and sleep disruption during the daytime sleep. Women face the issue of cardiovascular and obstetric problems more so then men. Women face having low birth rate babies, preterm babies, and spontaneous abortions. Where men may have issues with cardiovascular issues and sleep disorders.” (Dial & Johnson, 2008) There was a study done and in this study there was nine correctional norms found. The nine norms or beliefs found among the officers and supervisors. They were: “That the officer is to protect his partner, bring no drugs to his partner, no turning on another officer, never make an officer look bad in front of an inmate, always help an officer against an inmate, do not be a goody-two-shoes, all officers stand together against all outside groups, show positive concern for all fellow officers”. (Dial & Johnson, 2008) The senior officers train the trainees to help them learn the ropes of the inmates. The trainees are taught that the inmates are the enemy and can not be trusted. The first thing one is to suspect is that one can anticipate trouble at any time. More often than not there are signs of issues brewing. Look for signs of noise change whether quieter or louder. If the offender refuses to be searched then that could be a sign as well. These are all signs that a senior officer will teach a trainee to help him/her fit in the subculture of the prison. Different officers use different techniques to gain control of the inmates. Some use force some use psychological pressure. No two officers use the complete same technique or are two offenders the same. Training of racial and mental health inmates are trained by the senior officers to the new officers because it is a different subculture to face. Peer pressure is one of the issues that cause prison guards to be vulnerable or negative. The dependency on support and response of other staff , new staff orientation includes a “code of silence,” this gives a message that administration does not care about safety and will not allocate what is needed to do the job “the right way,” and which means the job gets done “our way.” (Cocoran, 2005) Without the extra training it can be it can be extra stress from the more difficult inmates and there would be more employee turnover, sick leave, and possible peer pressure from the officers...
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