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Individual and Environmental Influences on Prison Officer Safety

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 34 Issue: 2 Dated: 2017 Pages: 324-349
Benjamin Steiner; John Wooldredge
Date Published
26 pages
Using data collected from just over 1,800 corrections officers working in 45 prisons, this study applied a multi-level opportunity framework in examining the individual and environmental influences on objective and subjective measures of officer safety.
Prison officers are exposed to violence and other safety risks at rates higher than workers in most occupations, and indicators of workplace safety have been linked to a number of negative health and occupational outcomes among corrections officers. Yet, few researchers have examined the sources of prison officer safety. The current study found that officer safety is affected by officers' routines (e.g. frequency of contact with inmates) and characteristics that might reflect officers' suitability as targets (e.g. age, race). The study also determined that indicators of both micro- (e.g., coworker support) and macro-level (e.g., architectural design) guardianship influence prison officers' safety. (Publisher abstract modified)