Correctional Officers and How Stress Affects them and Ways to Deal With it

Topics: Prison, Penology, Corrections Pages: 7 (1914 words) Published: April 16, 2010
Correctional Officers � PAGE * MERGEFORMAT �9�

Running head: Correctional Officers

Correctional Officers and Stress

in APA style

Claire Gilman

Hebron High School


Everyday that a correctional makes the decision to go to work could be the distinction between life and death. Many people do not realize the unseen dangers lurking behind the stereotypes of the job. Watching over inmates and criminals a person must be ready for anything. At any second throughout the day an inmate could start a riot and the correction officer would have to step in and split it up. The danger of anything close to this happening will eventually cause stress in even the most lighthearted people. Along with the stress from fear of possible dangerous situations, correction officers also receive stress from their long and tiresome work hours. Often times the correctional officers are on call, even during the holidays, this interferes with their family and personal lives. Also, the correction officers often do not feel as if their family could relate to what they are going through and so they do not talk about it creating a rift within their family relationships. This split between personal lives, family, and work is almost always a cause for stress. There are new programs being set up to help deal with the stress created on the job, but this does not always help and the programs are not always free. There are high hopes to make advances in these programs to make them relatively low in cost and effective.

"Correctional officers are the gatekeepers of the prison system. They watch over convicted criminals as these criminals serve their time in prison" ("What's correction officer," n.d., p. 1). Any amount of time spent with criminals can be taxing on a persons stress levels. Imagine being right next to a convicted murderer and knowing that it is your job to control them if they get out of line. Any human being would be scared at the thought of a minute next to these criminals let alone eight to twelve hours a day for years. Correction officers are truly brave people who help to keep our prison system safe.

Correction officers prevent fights within a jail or prison and keep the convicts from getting out of hand. There job can be seen as that of a babysitter for the felons. This close proximity to dangerous people causes a majority of the correction officers to drop out and search for a new job having been unable to handle the stress of their present one. Some of the stress that is felt by the officers is that which is caused by a poor public image. It is a common myth that correction officers beat the inmates. This leads people to believe that all correction officers are violent in nature which is absolutely not the case. In most cases the criminals antagonize the officers hoping for a beating to change up their boring scheduled lives. All criminals are different however, especially between the jails and the prisons. "Inmates in jails may present different problems for officers than prison inmates because so many jail detainees have just come into the facility right off the streets" ("Correctional officer stress," 2010, p. 2). This difference in behavior between the two criminal classes could mean life or death for the correction officers. Many of the long-term prisoners pay no attention to punishment choosing rather to disrespect the authority of the correction officers and frequently harming them. "Inmate assaults against correctional staff in State and Federal prisons have increased and the number of attacks have jumped by nearly 1/3" ("Correctional officer," 2009, p. 1).

Overcrowding within prisons has not helped the odds for the correction officers to make it out of their jobs unscathed. With risks such as riots or hostage situations everyone in the jail knows the disasters that may come with these volatile conditions. Statistics have shown that "attacks on correctional officers jumped from 10,731 to 14,165 in a...

References: _Correctional officer: one of the toughest jobs in law enforcement_. (2009). Retrieved from
The Counseling Team International, (n.d.). _Correction officer stress_. Retrieved from
Udechukwu, I, Harrington, W, Manyak, T, Segal, S, & Graham, S. (2007). _An Exploratory reflection on correctional officer turnover and its correlates_. Retrieved from
Smith, M. (n.d.). _Corrections corner: issues specific to corrections officers_. Retrieved from
_The Website to find correction officer schools and college: what 's correction officer?_ (n.d.). Retrieved from
Ream, J. (2006). _A Comprehensive critical incident stress management (CISM) programming a correctional system: it 's more than dealing with workplace violence_. Retrieved from
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