Correctional Officer


Question 1: Correctional officers’ personalities

Officers manning correctional facilities, jails and prisons, have animportant role to play in the society. They have the responsibilityof rehabilitation the offenders and making better members of thesociety among other goals of incarceration. Like other jobs thatinvolve serving others, there are desirable personalities andbehavior traits that best fits a perfect or effective correctionalofficer. The personalities of the correctional officers have aninfluence on their relationship with the inmates and consequently therehabilitation process. However, it is important to note thatmajority of correctional officers have dual personality since theyexhibit different personality at work and in their social life. Thepersonality traits of a correctional officer are characterized bytheir emotions, social skills and traits as well as behaviors(Steven, 1998).

There are several types of personalities exhibited by correctionalofficers. A dictator is one of the main personalities observed.Officers with this personality trait enjoy giving orders to inmatesand their juniors. They derive their power and satisfaction fromgiving orders. While these officers are able to instill discipline,they have a poor relationship with the inmates, which often have abad consequence. Some officers exhibit ‘the friend’ personalitytrait where they go an extra mile to create friendship with theinmates. While these officers are unable to effectively controlinmates, they have a greater understanding of the special needs ofthe inmates and therefore offer more help in the rehabilitationprocess (Schmalleger &amp Smykla, 2015). Other personalities includethe climber and reformer. A reformer is a correctional officer, whois considered by the colleagues as know it all. This officer isalways complaining about the policies and rules. A reformer can be animportant critic in a correctional facility, but majority of theyoffer no useful suggestions. On the other hand, a climber is anofficer who is more concerned with diligence and professional ethicswith an aim of career advancement. These officers are necessaryfuture leaders, but are likely to ignore their main job whilepursuing career development (Schmalleger &amp Smykla, 2015).

Question 2Powers of correctional officers

Correctional officers have a wide range of power bases. They include“legitimate power, coercive power, reward power, expert power andreferent power. By the virtue of being an officer, correctionalofficers have legitimate power to perform their duties. These powersare guided by their training and professional conduct. The coercivepower is an inexistence power perceived by inmates who belief thatthe officers have the power to punish them. The correctionalfacilities can dispense formal or informal rewards to the inmates toencourage desirable behaviors. This power is influenced by thestructures within the correctional facilities where some facilitiesmay have specific reward arrangements (Schmalleger &amp Smykla,2015). Correctional officers are specially trained officers withskills to handle the inmates, rehabilitate them and take care oftheir welfare. Based on this understanding, correctional officers areconsidered to have expert powers which enables them discharge theirduties effectively. Also, depending on the relationship between theinmates and the correction officer, the officer may have some powers.These powers may be referred to as referent power where some officersare accorded special respect by the inmates. It is important to notethat some of the powers are influenced by the personality trait ofthe officer while others are related to the nature of their job(Schmalleger &amp Smykla, 2015).


Schmalleger, F., &amp Smykla, J. O. (2015). Corrections in the21st century (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Steven, H. (1998). The correctional officer inside prisons,Commack, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers.