The Influence of Rehabilitative and Punishment Ideology on Correctional Officers’ Perceptions of Informal Bases of Power [2015]

Maintaining order is a key goal for prison managers. Much of the research on order maintenance focuses, however, on disruptions of order, even when order is more common. Examining factors related to perceptions on how officers get inmates to comply is, therefore, an important consideration. Using a survey of correctional officers from a Mid-Atlantic state, this study considers three dimensions of French and Raven’s theory on the bases of power. The focus is to examine correctional orientation and compliance regarding three dimensions of power that rely on informal control and relationships. The results indicate that officers’ belief in rehabilitative ideals is consistently related to the dimensions of legitimate, referent, and expert control. Other individual and organizational factors are also related to dimensions of power. Implications for policies and for future research are discussed.

Jill A. Gordon, Amy J. Stichman
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol 60, Issue 14, 2016