Corrections administrators must change their leadership style
Research shows that the two leading causes of stress reported by correctional officers are due to weak or inadequate leadership and other problems with the organization’s structure
By Leischen Stelter, editor of In Public Safety
What’s the leading cause of stress among correctional officers? Many assume working in a volatile and often dangerous environment surrounded by criminal offenders would be the leading cause of stress for officers, but that’s not the case, said American Military University criminal justice professor Dr. Michael Pittaro during his keynote address to the New Jersey Chapter of the American Correctional Association (NJACA) conference on April 1.
Instead, research shows that the two leading causes of stress reported by correctional officers are due to weak or inadequate leadership and other problems with the organization’s structure. In a National Institute of Justice report, officers reported their greatest sources of stress came from organizational issues including inconsistent discipline, poor communication, and lack of support from supervisors.
During his presentation, Pittaro emphasized that if administrators truly want to change the culture of corrections—an often negative work environment that causes high levels of stress, burnout, and, in too many cases, suicide—they need to dramatically change their leadership style.