Bureaucrats on the cell block: Prison officers’ perceptions of work environment and attitudes toward prisoners

Sarah K.S. Shannon, Joshua Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

US prisons represent an important site for the delivery of social services—even in light of the punitive policy shifts of recent decades—because a significant segment of the nation’s low-income, minority population is incarcerated every year. Prison officers interact daily with prisoners and are responsible for maintaining prisoners’ security and welfare. As a result, this group of workers can be understood as street-level, front-line bureaucrats who implement penal policy and play a role in distributing needed resources to millions of society’s most vulnerable citizens. We examine prison officers through this lens to assess how officers’ perceptions of prison resources, work stress, and work support are associated with their attitudes toward the prisoners in their care. We find that work stress and work support operate as mediating pathways between prisoner officers’ assessments of available resources and their attitudes toward prisoners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-657
Number of pages28
JournalSocial Service Review
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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