Correctional Officer Personalities

Use the terms to answer the following questions. Imagine that you work in a prison as a correctional officer. Remember your post must be at least 300 words 

  1. Which officer personality would you display and why?
  2. Which types of power would you utilize as an officer and why?
  3. Which correctional officer job assignment would you want and why?
  4. Which correctional staff issues would most affect you and why?

Key Terms

ROLES: The normal patterns of behavior expected of those holding particular social positions. 
STAFF ROLES: The patterns of behavior expected of correctional staff members in particular jobs. 
CUSTODIAL STAFF: Those staff members most directly involved in managing the inmate population. 
PROGRAM STAFF: Those staff members concerned with encouraging prisoners to participate in educational, vocational, and treatment programs. 
GAIN TIME: Time taken off an inmate’s sentence for participating in certain activities such as going to school, learning a trade, and working in prison. 
STRUCTURED CONFLICT: The tensions between prison staff members and inmates that arise out of the correctional setting. 
SUBCULTURE: The beliefs, values, behaviors, and material objects shared by a particular group of people within a larger society. 
STAFF SUBCULTURE: The beliefs, values, and behavior of staff. They differ greatly from those of the inmate subculture. 
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER PERSONALITIES: The distinctive personal characteristics of correctional officers including behavioral, emotional, and social traits. 
BLOCK OFFICERS: Those responsible for supervising inmates in housing areas. 
WORK DETAIL SUPERVISORS: Those who oversee the work of individual inmates and inmate work crews. 
INDUSTRIAL SHOP AND SCHOOL OFFICERS: Those who ensure efficient use of training and educational resources within the prison. 
YARD OFFICERS: Those who supervise inmates in the prison yard. 
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS: Those who control keys and weapons and sometimes oversee visitation.

Correctional Officer Personalities

The merchant: Provides commodities to inmates, often in violation of institutional rules 
The turnkey: Unmotivated and bored, does little beyond the basic job requirements.
The do-gooder: Reformer who is motivated by a personal agenda such as religious proselytizing.
The climber: Diligent worker who respects the corrections profession and is focused on rapid professional advancement

The reformer : Know-it-all who constantly complains and endlessly criticizes institutional policies, procedures, and rules

Correctional Officers’ Power Bases

  1. Legitimate power: Derived by the virtue of position in the organization
  2. Coercive power: Based on the inmates’ belief that COs can and will punish disobedience.
  3. Reward power: COs’ ability to dispense both formal and informal rewards 

Gain time: Time taken off an inmate’s sentence for participating in certain activities.
Expert power: Based on inmates’ perception that certain COs have valuable skills.
Referent power: Based on the inmates’ respect for a particular fair and non-abusive CO.

Correctional Officer Job Assignments

  1. Block Officers. Supervise inmates in housing areas Block Officers 
  2. Work Detail Supervisors: Oversee the work of individual inmates and inmate work crews Work Detail Supervisors 
  3. Industrial Shop and School Officer. Ensure efficient use of training and educa-onal resources within the prison Industrial Shop and School Officer. 
  4. Yard Officers: Supervise inmates in the prison yard
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