Exploring the Correlates of Perceived Job Dangerousness Among Correctional Staff at a Maximum Security Prison

Author ORCID Identifier

James B. Wells ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-7080-0332


Justice Studies

Document Type


Publication Date



In literature on correctional staff, one poorly understood antecedent of job stress and other negative outcomes is perceived danger from the job. Survey results from 272 staff at a state-run Midwestern maximum security prison were analyzed with Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression to determine the relationships between personal/work environment variables and perceptions of job danger. Analyses revealed the effects of the personal variables were conditional on staff position (custody vs. non-custody). Irrespective of position, two of seven work environment variables studied (less input into decision making and more daily contact with prisoners) were related to greater perceived risk of harm from the job. Also, greater organizational formalization was related to greater perceived risk among custodial staff. Perceived danger from the job is a real issue, and the current results indicate workplace factors play a role.

Journal Title

Criminal Justice Policy Review