Correctional Officer Risk Perceptions and Professional Orientations: Examining Linkages Between the Two [2017]

Prisons managing treatment programs for incarcerated offenders require correctional officers to share favorable dispositions toward prisoners and rehabilitation if they are to function effectively. How officers judge prisoners, rehabilitative practices, and the broader goals of corrections can influence treatment efficiency, as well as offender conduct. For these reasons, it becomes paramount to investigate the professional orientations of corrections officers and the factors related to them. Using the protection motivation theory as a guiding theoretical framework, the present study collected questionnaire data from South Carolina maximum security correctional officers (N = 649) to determine whether their risk perceptions of workplace harm shared statistically significant relationships with the counseling roles, concern for corruption of authority, social distance, and punitive orientations. Linear regression estimations found that heightened officer risk perceptions shared significant relationships with each orientation. Findings may be useful for global correctional administrators in need of officers supportive of rehabilitative practices.

Frank Valentino Ferdik

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 45, Issue 2, 2018