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Understanding Prison Staff

NCJ Number
Jamie Bennett, Ben Crewe, Azrini Wahidin
Date Published
479 pages
This book identifies and analyzes various aspects of the daily lives of prison staff.
The five main sections of the book address prison and staff issues, the job of prison officers, the work of prison managers and nonuniformed personnel, and the development of human resources in prisons. The chapters on prison and staff issues introduce key topics that relate to the role, composition, and practices of prison staff. They provide a first-hand account of staff-prisoner relationships and how they affect prisoners, the findings of research from three continents on the responsibilities and behavior of prison officers, the experiences of Black and other minority ethnic prison staff, and the similarities and differences between the attitudes and perceptions of male and female prison officers. The chapters of the second section focus in greater detail on the job of uniformed prison officers. Topics addressed include the inception and development of the Prison Officers’ Association, occupational norms of prison officers from a sociological perspective, the modern role of prison officers in maintaining order in prisons, and how the penal environment shapes officers’ views of inmates. The chapters of the third major section address the work of prison managers. Issues discussed include the erosion of the independence of prison managers, which has created more compliant and less innovative prison managers, and the role of middle and frontline prison managers, which documents their experiences and work practices. The chapters of the next section focus on the various job responsibilities of nonuniformed prison staff. Chapters discuss the roles of probation officers in prisons, teachers and educators involved in inmate education, the role of psychologists in prisons, and substance-abuse treatment providers. Chapters in the section on the development of human resources of prisons discuss the recruitment, retention, and training of prison staff. Chapter references, recommended reading, and seminar questions