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Prison Officers' Work Attitudes: The Influence of Background and Work Experience

Prison Officers' Work Attitudes: The Influence of Background and Work Experience A number of work related attitudes were obtained from a sample of prison officersemployed by the Western Australian Prisons Department. Prison officers werefirst cluster analysed to determine if there were any distinct groups withdifferent attitudes. It was found that there were six such groups. A number ofbackground and work experience variables were then examined to determine ifthere were any significant intergroup differences. It was found that onlyprevious Prisons Department experience differed over the six groups and thatother variables, such as age and previous work history, which others hadsuggested may explain prison officers' attitudes did not differ significantly.In two previous papers data collected from prison officers in the WesternAustralian Prisons Department were analysed (Williams, 1983; Williams andSoutar, 1983). The papers examined first the relationships between a number ofwork related attitudes and second differences in the attitudes of officers indifferent institutions. However, these analyses did not examine possiblerelationships between officers' personal, social and work background and thesework related attitudes. This appears to be a desirable extension of the previousanalysis because Emery (1970), in his study of Bristol Prison, suggested thatofficers' social backgrounds may be important, while Morris and Morris (1960)argued that previous work experience may also be important in that theyconsidered officers with a military background to be more authoritarian thanother officers. Consequently, the prison officers' data were re-examined todetermine whether or not such effects were apparent in the Western Australianprison system. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology SAGE

Prison Officers' Work Attitudes: The Influence of Background and Work Experience

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0004-8658
eISSN
1837-9273
DOI
10.1177/000486588501800103
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A number of work related attitudes were obtained from a sample of prison officersemployed by the Western Australian Prisons Department. Prison officers werefirst cluster analysed to determine if there were any distinct groups withdifferent attitudes. It was found that there were six such groups. A number ofbackground and work experience variables were then examined to determine ifthere were any significant intergroup differences. It was found that onlyprevious Prisons Department experience differed over the six groups and thatother variables, such as age and previous work history, which others hadsuggested may explain prison officers' attitudes did not differ significantly.In two previous papers data collected from prison officers in the WesternAustralian Prisons Department were analysed (Williams, 1983; Williams andSoutar, 1983). The papers examined first the relationships between a number ofwork related attitudes and second differences in the attitudes of officers indifferent institutions. However, these analyses did not examine possiblerelationships between officers' personal, social and work background and thesework related attitudes. This appears to be a desirable extension of the previousanalysis because Emery (1970), in his study of Bristol Prison, suggested thatofficers' social backgrounds may be important, while Morris and Morris (1960)argued that previous work experience may also be important in that theyconsidered officers with a military background to be more authoritarian thanother officers. Consequently, the prison officers' data were re-examined todetermine whether or not such effects were apparent in the Western Australianprison system.

Journal

Australian & New Zealand Journal of CriminologySAGE

Published: Mar 1, 1985

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