Correctional Officer Stress: Cause, Implications, and Interventions

2271 Words10 Pages
Correctional institutions are unique work settings because of the unpredictable nature of their physical environment and clientele. Correctional officers are responsible for supervising individuals whom are held against their will. The correctional officer’s main focus is that of security within the institution and for the community. However, they are typically faced with a limited amount of resources and thus must assume these responsibilities without adequate support. The relationship between work resources and job stress indicates that correctional work settings that emphasize involvement, coworker cohesion and managerial support can decrease stress levels (Waters, 1999). Unfortunately, this is a rather uncommon occurrence,…show more content…
The threat of inmate violence against officers, actual violence committed by inmates, inmate demands and manipulation and problems with coworkers are all conditions that officers have reported as contributors to stress (Parker, 2006). The job of a correctional officer encompasses a wide array of activities. Officers are required to maintain order, security and control (Castle & Martin, 2006). Through the day their responsibilities may be revised as they are faced with an ever changing environment. As correctional staff feel conflict exists within their assigned duties and perceive a lack in control over their tasks, work stress will result (Tweksbury & Tiggins, 2006). Correctional job stress has grown dramatically as result of the increase in inmate populations, legal interventions, and competing ideologies (Lambert, Hogan, & Barton, 2002). Many offenders are serving increasingly longer sentences and therefore do not fear punishment or respect the authority of correctional officers (Black 2001). Although the inmate population continues to grow, employment has consistently decreased. This alone leads to a lack of time for correctional officers to complete required tasks, such as head counts, searches and paperwork (Finn, 200). Furthermore, with limited staff available one officer may be in charge of a large number of inmates leading to feelings of anxiety. When short-handed, the response time in which additional officers will arrive following a

More about Correctional Officer Stress: Cause, Implications, and Interventions

Get Access