Date of Award

8-1-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Giblin, Matthew

Abstract

Current theoretical research focusing on prison violence suggests that staff culture might influence inmate behavior. Correctional officers have the most interaction with inmates, and a crucial aspect of achieving staff and institutional legitimacy involves treating inmates in a procedurally just fashion. Literature suggests that procedural justice in prisons relies on comprehensive care; inmates require dignity, respect, safety, and individualized treatment focused on successful community reentry. Since correctional officers vary in their capacity to convey legitimacy, individual characteristics such as officer gender might influence inmate perceptions, thereby affecting inmate behavior. The presence of women may symbolize a representative bureaucracy, and women may perform job duties differently based on preconceived attitudes, socialization, and predispositions to avoid violence. This project utilizes four waves of the Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities (1990-2005) to examine the relative effects of the percentage women correctional officers on inmate-on-inmate and inmate-on-staff violence, assess whether these effects take time, and evaluate interactional effects between gender and institutional characteristics. Although some models are supportive of the argument that women officers affect prison violence, findings indicate that other factors are more important determinants.

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