Correctional Officers in America

Author: Walters, Stephen and Caywood, Tom
Walters, Stephen and Caywood, Tom
Examines the social science research which describes the occupational environment of correctional officers. Abandoning common popular misconceptions of “prison guards”, the authors analyze who correctional officers are, how they are trained, and the common problems that they share while maintaining security in America’s prisons.


“ ... a rare glimpse into the world of correctional officers in both institutional and community corrections. This work is unique because few studies of the intricacies of correctional work have been published. Furthermore, compared with other investigations of this profession, few writers have had the skills and expertise reflected by these authors to describe in rich detail the nature of correctional work ... This book describes the entire social and interpersonal contextual environment of officers, including the continuing problems they must confront, their modes of coping with these problems, and nature of their interactions with both inmates and clients. This work is comprehensive in that it depicts the lives of those who work not only in prisons, but others who work in communities to rehabilitate and reform criminals ...” – (from the Foreword) Dean John Champion, Texas A&M International University

“ ... This book explores the world of correctional officers from selection and training to the social psychology of correctional officers including the subcultures that can develop among the officers. The book also covers minorities and women working in the field of corrections, discusses probation and parole officers, and concludes with a chapter on the current issues facing correctional officers such as violence, the proliferation of private prisons, and the professionalism of the field … This work should prove valuable to the corrections community. There is likely no where else where there is such a thorough and complete summary of the literature concerning empirical research into the world of a correctional officer.” – Professor Frances P. Reddington, Central Missouri State University

“ ... This book fills a much-needed gap in the literatures, as it thoroughly covers the issues and concerns regarding correctional officers. The basic statistics in this area are presented, and the book goes into depth explaining the current legal issues that guide correctional work. Use of force by correctional offers in institutional settings is rarely addressed in texts, but this book tackles the issue with penetrating insight. Also, including the attitudes of inmates and their coping mechanisms is helpful in explaining the relationship between inmates and correctional officers ...” – Professor Betsy A. Witt, Tarleton State University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dean Champion
1. The World of Correctional Officers
2. Selection and Training
3. Characteristics of Correctional Officers
4. Correctional Officers, Inmates, and Social Control
5. The Social Psychology of Correctional Officers
6. The Subculture of Correctional Officers
7. Minorities as Correctional Officers
8. Correctional Officers without Walls: Probation and Parole Officers
9. Current Issues Concerning Correctional Officers