“They Can Take Us Over Any Time They Want”: Correctional Officers’ Responses to Prison Crowding

Source: Joseph L. Martin, Bronwen Lichtenstein, Robert B. Jenkot, David R. Forde, Prison Journal, Vol. 92 no. 1, March 2012
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From the abstract:
Prisons in the Southern United States are among the most underfunded, understaffed, and crowded in the nation. This study seeks to identify how Alabama state correctional officers experienced crowding related to their mental and physical health and safety. A total of 66 correctional officers at 3 Alabama men’s prisons are surveyed about crowding in relation to job performance, health and safety, and inmate control. Respondents at all facilities, which had occupancy rates between 154% and 206% of capacity, report high levels of stress and impaired job performance due to understaffing and overwork. Officers at the most crowded prison are most stressed and fearful of inmates. In the absence of policies to reduce density or increase staffing in prisons, new strategies are urgently needed to reduce occupational stress among officers in crowded correctional facilities.

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