Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)


Carolyn Brown Dennis


Attitude, Anxiety, Correctional officer, Reintegration


Leadership Studies | Legal Studies


The researcher explored the experiences of correctional officers assaulted by inmates, focusing on the impact of such assaults on their reintegration into the work environment. The researcher sought to understand how these experiences affect officers' attitudes, behaviors, and decision-making, which could impact the safety and security of the institution and the public. A qualitative approach using a phenomenological research design was employed to understand the lived experiences of assaulted correctional officers. Data emerged through participant interactions, capturing their personal experiences and perspectives. The qualitative method was chosen over a quantitative approach as it allowed for an in-depth understanding of the social problem in its natural setting. Three themes emerged from the study. Theme 1 revealed that assaults have a physical and emotional toll on correctional officers, with reported injuries ranging from minor scratches to severe conditions like seizures. Theme 2 highlighted the importance of coping mechanisms, reintegration challenges, and organizational support. Officers employed various coping strategies but faced challenges due to the lack of a standardized support system. Theme 3 emphasized how inmates' complex and varied behaviors make it difficult for officers to understand the motivations behind assaults. These insights could be invaluable for policy formulation, improving safety protocols, mental health support, and overall working conditions in correctional facilities.