Unpacking Prison Culture: The Role of Staff Relationships



Ingel, Sydney

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Prison staff, especially non-custodial staff, remain an under-researched, yet important component of carceral life. These staff often play crucial roles in day-to-day prison activities/practices working as counselors, educators, and work supervisors. Using interview (N=140) and survey (N=289) data collected from staff in six Pennsylvania prisons, this study examines the depth and quality of staff relationships (with each other and with residents) and the effects of those relationships on staff perceptions of prison culture. Additionally, this paper examines how demographic variables (e.g., institution, staff position, race, and age) potentially contribute to the existence of staff subcultures within prisons. Ultimately, this study provides insight into the organizational culture of prisons through staff relationships with others within the penal environment.



Prison staff, Culture, Collective efficacy, Relationships