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The Impact of Prison Conditions on Staff Well-Being (2010)

Prison conditions have been at the center of long-standing debates among corrections scholars. Interestingly, this debate has focused on inmates alone while paying little attention to the potential impact of prison conditions on staff. Addressing this limitation, the study draws on survey data collected from a stratified random sample of prison staff working at all federal prisons in 2007 to examine the impact of prison conditions on staff well-being (substance use, psychological symptomatology, physical duress, and sick leave use). Mixed-level models show that harsh physical conditions correspond to significant problems for staff on all outcomes measured (individual-level impacts). The data also show that prison-level aggregations of harsher conditions correspond to significant deterioration in staff physical and psychological symptomatology above and beyond individual-level effects.