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Individual and Institutional Demographic and Organizational Climate Correlates of Perceived Danger Among Federal Correctional Officers

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2008
192 pages
This study examined officer-and institutional-level correlates of perceived danger among Federal correctional officers
Results showed significant variation across institutions and average perceived danger; individual differences in perceived danger strongly linked to both race and gender even after controlling for job stress and dissatisfaction. Impacts of racial composition at the institutional level parallel impacts of individual officer race, demonstrating multilevel impacts of officer race and racial composition on perceived danger; officer gender impacts varied depending on the level of analysis. Specifically, in institutions where the percentages of either African-American or Hispanic officers was above the sample average, average perceived danger was higher. Hiring minorities into corrections professionals was thought to be a possible solution to reduce tensions between staff and inmates since officers are guarding a more diverse inmate population. Racially diverse individuals are thought to bring different perspectives and experiences to their jobs, diversified work environments. However, the changing racial composition of law-enforcement workers challenges stereotyped views about minority communities, and traditional core orientations towards professions such as policing. Minorities generally have less time on the job as newer entrants into the profession, and newer officers perceived higher danger; the average perceived danger among shorter-term officers, those with fewer than 7 years on the job, compared to longer term officers, was noticeably higher in institutions in the 50th to 75th percentiles on percent of African-American officers. Similar but smaller difference among institutions from 75th to 100 percentile on percentage Hispanic officers was also found. Additionally, there were significant gender impacts at the institutional-level where the proportion of female officers in an institution was above the sample average, and average perceived danger was low. The effect of gender composition persisted even after controlling for average job stress, security level, and average perceived assaults. Tables, figures, references

Date Published: January 1, 2008