Special Issue "Psychological Wellbeing in Prisons and Corrections"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Pfeifer
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, VIC 3122, Australia
Interests: police psychology; prison psychology; sports psychology; jury selection; jury decision-making; athletes and offending behaviours; eyewitnesses and crime; Indigenous people and the justice system; history of capital punishment in Australia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent research relating to mental health and corrections indicates that there is a substantial need for increased empirical attention to be placed on the psychological wellbeing of individuals involved in the system. The importance of gaining a better understanding of how offenders, as well as those working in the system, cope with the daily challenges they face is paramount to the creation of proactive interventions aimed at reducing the likelihood of these individuals experiencing serious mental health issues. As such, this Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health will focus on psychological wellbeing as it relates to prison and correctional environments, broadly defined. Potential topics include examinations of the psychological wellbeing of prisoners, prison officers, justice workers, community corrections officers, parole and probation officers, as well as others involved in the correctional system. Submissions may include empirical studies, evaluations of interventions, or the development of models aimed at positively impacting the wellbeing of individuals within the prison and correctional systems.

Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Pfeifer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Corrections
  • Prisons
  • Offender
  • Prison officers
  • Community corrections officers
  • Probation officers
  • Parole officers

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Burnout among Probation Officers in Poland and the Role of Preferred Styles of Coping with Stress
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010355 - 05 Jan 2021
Abstract
The current article examined the relationship between preferred styles of coping with stress and occupational burnout among probation officers in Poland. The probation system in Poland is unique in comparison to similar organizations in Europe and the world. It is characterized by two [...] Read more.
The current article examined the relationship between preferred styles of coping with stress and occupational burnout among probation officers in Poland. The probation system in Poland is unique in comparison to similar organizations in Europe and the world. It is characterized by two separate specializations in the area of performed tasks: probation officers for adults and for family and juvenile clients. The main purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between occupational burnout levels among probation officers (n = 390) and their preferred styles of coping with stress. Two psychological tools were used in the study: the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). A linear regression analysis was carried out to explain the variance in occupational burnout. Occupational burnout was the dependent variable and the CISS scales were the predictors. In order to test the moderating role of the sociodemographic factors of gender, work experience, age, and probation specialization in the relationship between coping styles and occupational burnout, a range of moderation analyses using Hayes’ PROCESS macro on SPSS was carried out. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological Wellbeing in Prisons and Corrections)
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Open AccessArticle
Work Engagement among Prison Officers. The Role of Individual and Organizational Factors in the Polish and Indonesian Penitentiary Systems
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8206; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218206 - 06 Nov 2020
Abstract
The literature on work engagement among prison officers (POs) remains rather scarce, and there are no analyses on the factors determining this phenomenon. The current study aimed to examine the relationships between work engagement, subjective well-being, coping strategies, and organizational factors utilizing the [...] Read more.
The literature on work engagement among prison officers (POs) remains rather scarce, and there are no analyses on the factors determining this phenomenon. The current study aimed to examine the relationships between work engagement, subjective well-being, coping strategies, and organizational factors utilizing the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-9), the Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE), and Cantril’s Ladder of Health Scale (CLHS), and involving 312 POs from Poland and 467 POs from Indonesia. Results showed a statistically significant relationship between active coping and work engagement in both groups. Subjective well-being was moderately related to work engagement among Polish POs. Mean work engagement and subjective well-being scores were higher among Indonesian POs. The analyses showed a significant indirect effect of subjective well-being for the relationship between penitentiary unit type, active coping, as well as avoidant behaviors and work engagement in the Polish group. Closed prison officers more often declared higher subjective well-being. Work engagement is a complex psychological phenomenon. There exists a justified need for the analyses to consider personal determinants (e.g., coping strategies) as well as organizational factors related to the POs’ work environment. The literature presents a broad picture of the benefits of studying this phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological Wellbeing in Prisons and Corrections)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Assessing the Impact of Perceived Workplace Adversity on the Psychological Wellbeing of Frontline Community Integration Officers
Authors: Jeffrey E. Pfeifer; Teagan Connop-Galer; Jason Skues
Affiliation: Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, VIC 3122, Australia
Abstract: Although research on the psychological wellbeing of those involved with the justice system has increased in recent years, relatively little empirical attention has been paid to the experiences of Frontline Community Integration Officers (FCIOs) who are heavily involved in the case management of those serving a community sentence or who are reintegrating after a term of incarceration. A total of 213 FCIOs were assessed in order to gain increased empirical insight into how the daily challenges faced by these individuals impacts their wellbeing. Participants were invited to complete a perceived workplace adversity scale as well as provide responses to questions relating to stress and the coping strategies they employ. Results indicate that perceived workplace adversity is related to a number of specific factors related to the daily challenges faced by FCIOs and that this adversity may be mitigated through the use of positive coping mechanisms. The findings are discussed in terms of the implications for the development of a proactive psychological wellbeing program for FCIOs.

Title: Reducing Stress and Enhancing Wellbeing in Corrections Officers: Efficacy of the AMStrength Training Program
Authors: Trisha J. Evers; James R. P. Ogloff; Denny Meyer; Michael Daffern; Jeffrey E. Pfeifer; Jason Skues; Justin S. Trounson; Stephanie Louise; Dennis Roach
Affiliation: Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, VIC 3122, Australia; G4S Australia and New Zealand
Abstract: Studies have repeatedly identified the wellbeing of correctional officers as an area of serious concern, yet there are few wellbeing programs tailored specifically to meet this need, and even less robust assessment of those programs that do exist. This study explored the effectiveness of the Advanced Mental Strength and Conditioning (AMStrength) training program, a group-based, officer training program targeted at improving officer stress and wellbeing. Correctional officers (21-64 years of age) employed in a prison setting were allocated to the group wellbeing program (n = 69) or a waitlist condition (n = 72) and were assessed before, immediately following, and three months after participation. Outcomes included stress, psychological and workplace wellbeing, coping styles, cognitive and emotion regulation skills, resilience, mindful awareness, perception of workplace, and somatic symptomatology. Mixed model analysis indicated significant treatment interactions for somatic symptomatology, perception of workplace adversity, and mindful awareness with gains maintained at the three-month follow up period. In contrast, there was no significant difference on the primary treatment targets (stress and psychological and workplace wellbeing). AMStrength is an efficacious program for correctional officers to improve psychological factors associated with wellbeing. Adjusting the program to align with a model of officer wellbeing may result in significant improvements across the primary treatment targets of stress and wellbeing.

Title: Work Engagement among Prison Officers. The Role of Individual and Organizational Factors in the Polish and Indonesian Penitentiary System
Authors: Andrzej Piotrowski 1,* Ewa Sygit-Kowalkowska 2 and Imaduddin Hamzah 3
Affiliation: 1 Institute of Psychology, University of Gdańsk, Jana Bażyńskiego 4 St., 80-309 Gdańsk, Poland; [email protected] (A.P.) 2 Department of Psychology, Kazimierz Wielki University, Leopolda Staffa 1 St., 85-867 Bydgoszcz, Poland; [email protected] (E.S.-K.) 2 Community Guidance, Politeknik Ilmu Pemasyarakatan; Jl. Raya Gandul Cinere4, 16514 Depok, Indonesia; [email protected] (I.H.) * Correspondence: [email protected]
Abstract: Abstract: The literature on work engagement among prison officers (POs) remains rather scarce, and there are no analyses on the factors which determine this phenomenon. This study aimed to examine the relationships between work engagement, health perception, coping strategies, and organizational factors, utilizing the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-9), the Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE), and Cantril's Ladder of Health Scale (CLHS), and involving 312 POs from Poland and 467 POs from Indonesia. Results showed a statistically significant relationship between active coping and work engagement in both groups. Health perception was moderately related to work engagement among Polish POs. Mean work engagement and health perception scores were higher in the Indonesian group. The analyses showed a significant indirect effect of health perception on the relationship between penitentiary facility type, active coping, as well as avoidant behaviors and work engagement in the Polish group. Closed prison officers more often declared better health perception. Work engagement is a complex psychological phenomenon. There exists a justified need to consider personal determinants (e.g., coping strategies) as well as organizational factors related to the POs’ workplaces in the analyses. The literature presents a broad picture of the benefits of studying this phenomenon.

Title: The ‘Inconvenient’ Women and the Realization that Gender Matters in Carceral Settings
Authors: Emily J. Salisbury
Affiliation: Utah Criminal Justice Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Abstract: Women’s rates of incarceration continue to be the fastest growing among many nations, including the United States. As a result, perhaps now more than ever, there exists a professional responsibility to determine and implement best practices for working with incarcerated women to improve their social and behavioral outcomes within carceral settings and upon their release. In fact, it has become increasingly clear that continuing to promote the one-size-fits-all approach in an attempt to force fit women into gender-neutral (i.e., men-based) policies and practices leads to multiple inequities and possibly discriminatory effects against women, particularly minoritized women with multiplicative vulnerabilities. A decades long movement among correctional scholars and practitioners has led to the growing recognition that correctional systems housing women can and should be envisioned for women. Various gender-responsive correctional practices specifically designed to meet the risk factors and needs among women have emerged with scientific support in the areas of assessment, classification, programming, and prison design. At the heart of these strategies is the effort to implement holistic interventions that promote women’s sense of safety, trust, and wellbeing.

Title: Burnout Among Probation Officers in Poland and The Role of Preferred Styles of Coping with Stress
Authors: Anna Babicka-Wirkus 1; Robert Opora 2; Krzysztof Stasiak 3; Łukasz Wirkus 4
Affiliation: 1. Institute of Pedagogy, Pomeranian University in Słupsk; 2. Institute of Pedagogy, University of Gdańsk; 3. Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Gdańsk; 4. Institute of Pedagogy, University of Gdańsk, District Court in Słupsk
Abstract: In the article, we undertake an important direction of research on the personality qualifications of probation officers. The research group is characterized by a unique specificity of work, based on permanent contacts with other people and exceptional legal responsibility. The model of probation system in Poland is unique in comparison to the experiences of similar organizations in Europe and in the world. It is characterized by two separated specialties in the area of performed tasks. There are probation officers for adults dealing with criminal cases within the competence of the penal and penitentiary courts, and family probation officers who perform tasks ordered by a separate court within the structures of the justice system- a family court and a juvenile court. The main purpose of the research was to assess relationship between the level of occupational burnout of probation officers (N = 390), and their styles they prefer to deal with stress. Two psychological tools were used in the study (the Maslach Burnout Inventory - MBI), which allows to estimate three elements of the burnout syndrome: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced sense of personal accomplishment, and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations - CISS by N.S. Endler, J.D.A. Parker). A linear regression analysis was performed to explain the variance of occupational burnout. The dependent variable was burnout and the predictors: CISS scales. The conducted research is helpful in the process of creating effective burnout prevention in the context of organizational solutions and changing the employer's approach.

Title: Next Steps in Trauma-informed Care: Staff Communication Strategies that Promote Regulation, Resilience and Growth
Authors: Marilyn Van Dieten; Alyssa Benedict; Erica King
Affiliation: National Institute of Corrections, USA
Abstract: Trauma is almost universally prevalent among justice-involved clients and the impacts are often devastating and longstanding. Increased understanding and recognition of trauma has led to the adoption of trauma informed care (TIC) across correctional agencies and settings. Though the core elements that define TIC vary to some extent, underlying this approach is the belief that the research on trauma should be applied across agency policy and practice. Some of the most common ways correctional agencies have sought to implement trauma-informed care is to provide awareness training to staff, include trauma assessments during intake and, implement trauma-informed groups. This article will examine the use of trauma-informed interventions in correctional settings and the impact of these interventions on staff and client wellbeing, behavior and outcomes. We will then focus on the implementation of an innovative intervention known as Creating Regulation and Resilience (CR/2). CR/2 moves beyond trauma awareness by providing staff with a communication model that integrates evidence-based strategies with the emerging brain science research on trauma and resiliency. This model was specifically designed to enhance in-the-moment interactions with justice-involved clients. When implemented with fidelity, the preliminary research suggests that CR/2 enhances the safety and security of staff and clients and provides staff with important self-regulation skills that enable them to prevent and address trauma-related reactions among their clients.

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