Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Susan M. Carlson

Second Advisor

Dr. Ronald C. Kramer

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles E. Crawford

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Robert A. Peters


Past research has relied on two theoretical models---importation and prisonization---to explain staff member's attitudes, behaviors, and social distance from offenders in the correctional work environment. Tests of these models have shown partial support for both models. However, missing in the literature has been a clear understanding and examination of how these attitudes and behaviors vary across custody levels within a given correctional facility. The purpose of this study is: (1) to include a more comprehensive test of the prisonization and importation models by including more of the variables utilized in past research; (2) to develop and test a causal model that separates exogenous from intervening prisonization variables; (3) to test this causal model using custody levels within a correctional facility; (4) to measure social distance from offenders separately from staff members' correctional orientations; (5) to include other correctional workers in addition to the correctional and treatment staff members that have been the subjects in past studies; (6) to examine the effects of correctional staff members' attitudes on disciplinary behavior through the use of critical incident scenarios. Using data collected from two correctional facilities in the Midwest, a path analysis reveals the influence of importation and prisonization variables on correctional staff members' correctional orientations, social distance from offenders, and punitive behaviors.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access