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When Actions and Attitude Count Most: Assessing Perceived Level of Responsibility and Support for Inmate Treatment and Rehabilitation Programs Among Correctional Employees

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 89 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 363-382
Michael E. Antonio; Jacqueline L. Young; Lisa M. Wingeard
Date Published
December 2009
20 pages
This study examined "Reinforcing Positive Behavior" (RPB) training at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PADOC).
Findings show that the 2-hour RPB training was successful in changing staff attitudes about inmate treatment, rehabilitation programs, and their roles and responsibilities inside a prison. Post-assessment scores for all statements changed in the direction of the expected outcome after the training. The same effect was found even when responses given by treatment staff (TS) and correctional officers (CO) were considered separately (with only a few exceptions where no differences were detected between pre- and post-scores). Despite the significant variation among the demographic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, and education), these factors did not seem to adversely affect the average responses given by TS or CO. Findings had important policy implications for the PADOC and future research endeavors involving the study of correctional staff attitudes for the treatment of inmates, support for rehabilitative programs, and opinions about roles and responsibilities inside a prison. Findings suggest the need to modify certain statements of the attitude survey and/or add additional statements to further explore differences in responses; this is especially true for statements that addressed the issues of "respect" and the way one "acts" inside a prison. Data were collected from 993 TS and CO at the PADOC in 2006. Tables and references