Rating the prison boss: Examining supervision among prison health care staff


Health care staff are instrumental in prisons given their roles in aiding security and the growing demand for medical services among prisoners. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to this prison staff subpopulation. This study examined perceptions of supervision among 424 prison health care staff in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Participants felt that prison supervisors were most effective in clarifying expectations and least effective in giving feedback for performance, involving staff in planning, and extending job autonomy. Using hierarchical linear models (HLM), some unique findings emerged. Efficacy in dealing with inmates was the strongest predictor variable: health care staff who felt more positive and effective with inmates had more favorable feelings toward supervision. Staff working in high- and medium-security prisons had more positive feelings toward supervision than those in minimum security, and younger staff had more favorable attitudes toward supervisors than older staff. The implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.


Criminology and Criminal Justice

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Journal Title

Journal of Criminal Justice 38