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An Integrated Prespective on Federal Corrections Officers' Perceived Risk

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $19,976)

Perceived risk is an accepted part of the correctional officer experience and has been linked to other outcomes such as job satisfaction and job stress. Although perceived risk has been thoroughly examined in the policing literature, it has received little empirical attention in studies of correctional officers. Further, work examining the experiences of correctional officers has often lacked a theoretical framework. With over 300,000 correctional officers working today, including more than 50,000 women, and annual increases of 5.5 percent a year, coupled with ongoing concerns about officer turnover, understanding correctional officers' perceived job risk has important policy and practice considerations for correctional administration. This project will examine this outcome using a theoretically integrated, multilevel model.

This examination will add to the corrections literature by creating an integrated theoretical framework combining key predictions from both the gendered organization perspective and the organizational climate perspective. The gendered organization logic is limited in that it primarily concentrates on the importance of gender in the work environment while neglecting important climate issues. The organizational perspective is gender-blind in that it overlooks important differences in how males and females are defined in the workplace, thus shaping their experiences. Combining the two perspectives will clarify how influences of individual level officer gender and other factors may be conditioned by organizational climate.

Further, perceived risk is predicted to vary at both the officer and institution levels as a function of included predictors in the model, among them gender and gender ratio, and perceived institutional social climate at the individual and institutional levels. Multilevel models will be applied to officer surveys from the 2001 through 2005 Federal Bureau of Prisons Prison Social Climate Survey. Replicating the models across the different years permits gauging external validity of results over time. Patterns of results at the individual level may aid administrators in rethinking training or retention issues; institutional differences may allow exploring important contrasts between institutions.ca/ncf

Date Created: July 11, 2007