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Concerns for Corrections Staff and Inmates

Posted by meldaresearch2019 on May 3rd, 2019

Research Paper

Correctional organizations usually get organized in functional lines that include administrative staff, program staff, and custodial staff whose roles differ. Administrative officers in correctional institutions undertake all the administration roles or the duties necessary to run the prison such as planning. Administrative staff includes superintendents, wardens, assistant wardens, and managers. Administrative officers play a significant role in ensuring a smooth running of the prison. It is their role to supervise all the activities occurring in the facility including controlling keys and weapons and also overseeing all visitations. Program staff is the employees in prisons whose role is to encourage detainees to participate in programs such as education, life-skills development, self-esteem, vocational and treatment. Programming staff at correctional facilities include nurses, counselors, medical doctors/physicians, ministers, psychologists, and caseworkers. Program staffs are very significant in correctional facilities as they facilitate effective correctional treatment programs for inmates. The roles of program staff in prisons aim to rehabilitate the prisoners, which leads to an overall improvement by the inmate. Custodial employees in prisons are involved with the direct management of the inmate population. Custodial supervisor staff includes captains, lieutenants, and sergeants. A significant role of custodial employees in correctional facilities is the security and safety of both detainees and fellow staff (McElreath, et al.,. 2011). Custodial staffs also undertake other roles such as perimeter security, yard patrols, and housing unit supervision. The roles of custodial employees in prisons are crucial because they prevent both civil and criminal liabilities.

A typical correctional staff in correctional institutions will include (1) administrative staff, (2) clerical personnel, (3) program staff, (4) custodial staff, (5) service and maintenance staff, and (6) volunteers/correctional officer, trainee. The staff members in prisons get ranked in a hierarchy; 1) the warden or superintendent at the top, 2) assistant wardens, 3) sergeants and 4) correctional officers. Roberts & Springer (2007) noted that understanding the relative power of certain staff positions as well as the organizational subdivisions within a correctional facility is useful. Hierarchy organization is significant as it assists to ensure there is order among the staff, promotes a sense of responsibility among staff as well as reduces the occurrence of abuse of power instances. The hierarchical structure in correctional facilities also ensures smooth delegation of duties within the facility.

Various issues affect correctional staff such as 1) lack of funding, 2) mental health issues, 3) radical inmates and 4) multi-generations. Inadequate funding of correctional staff is attributed to some of the problems in correctional facilities. Lack of funding leads to lack of proper equipment and enough resources for working in correctional facilities, which may result in the compromise in the staff’s safety. Inadequate funding also gets attributed to increased dissatisfaction and increased turnover among correctional employees. Also, correctional staff may start engaging in illegal activities such as receiving bribes from inmates. Inadequate funding also may lead to employing of fewer correctional staff than is required for a certain inmate population thus leading to strain and overworking of employees. The second concern affecting correctional staff is mental health issues among inmates. This problem is a big challenge among correctional staff as few are trained on how to deal with inmates with mental health issues. Inmates with mental health issues pose a high risk to the correctional staff. Third, correctional staff also faces inmates with radical influences, especially extremist groups. These radical inmates are difficult to deal with and make the work of correctional officers to be tough (Cowburn, et al., 2015). Hardened criminals in prisons with insurmountable needs may lead to reduced capacity and interest of correctional officers to be empathetic towards the inmates. Lastly, dealing with multi-generations in prison is a serious challenge among correctional staff.

Compassion fatigue among correctional personnel often gets attributed to job stress, burnout the lack of compassion satisfaction and the direct or secondary trauma due to exposure to traumatic stress. Compassion fatigue refers to the reduced capacity or interest of a correctional staff to be empathic to inmates. The nature of the job, the stressful environment as well as work with high-risk populations leads to an increase in the risk of correctional officers developing compassion fatigue. Administrators in correctional facilities find it difficult to identify the existence of compassion fatigue among correctional personnel, thus, do not address the problem. The continued presence of compassion fatigue among correctional staff that remains unaddressed may lead to adversely impacting their ability to undertake caretaker roles as well as their capacity to demonstrate proper professional behavior and relationships towards their clients (Watson, 2017). The lack of proper training of correctional officers on how to deal with compassion fatigue may get manifested through dysfunctional coping strategies that include denial, rationalization, and sublimation or identification with the aggressor. The problem persists because when correctional staff encounters stress they try to mask the issue by adopting a ‘tough-guy’ image in which they ignore all the symptoms. It is, therefore, necessary to implement measures that assist correctional officers to deal with stressful incidents in the work place as well as how to handle compassion fatigue.


Cowburn, M., Senior, P., Duggan, M., & Robinson, A. (Eds.). (2015). Values in criminology and community justice. Policy Press.

McElreath, D. H., Keena, L., Etter, G., & Stuart Jr, E. (2011). Introduction to corrections. CRC Press.

Roberts, A. R., & Springer, D. W. (Eds.). (2007). Social work in juvenile and criminal justice settings. Charles C Thomas Publisher.

Watson, S. A. (2017). A Quantitative Study of Compassion Fatigue Among Correctional Staff (Doctoral dissertation, The University of the Rockies).

 Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in urgent custom research papers. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from legitimate essay writing service services.

Also See: Correctional Staff, Compassion Fatigue, Correctional Facilities, Among Correctional, Staff, Inmates, Correctional

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