Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Analysis of Engagement of Federal Non-Custody Correctional Employees: An Assessment of Factors Related to the Longevity of the Correctional Employee

Thomas O. DuVall, Fielding's School of Psychology

This study investigates the relationship between work engagement, burnout, and correctional employment, specifically targeting correctional psychologists and other non-custody professionals employed to work with post-conviction inmates via the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. The construct of work engagement represents the relationship between an employee and is or her work; for the purpose of this study that relationship will be focused on the federal correctional environment. Burnout is a three-dimensional model hallmarked by individual stress as manifested by emotional and physical exhaustion, depersonalization, and a failure to experience the rewards of accomplishment (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). The presence of burnout-related beliefs helps to identify factors linked to the erosion of a productive relationship with one’s job (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). Engagement of non-custody correctional professionals emerged as a four-factor structure: job satisfaction, camaraderie among coworkers, composure, and job efficacy. The findings were examined in the context of length of employment, institutional security level, inmate interaction, and the strength of the supervisory relationship. The health of the supervisory relationship and one’s own perception of safety emerged as influential across all four factors. Differences between professional disciplines (e.g., psychology, education, and medical services) were indicated.

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