Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Daniel Lee, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Erika Frenzel, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dennis Giever, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Jamie Martin, Ph.D.


The study sought to explore correctional officers' attitudes toward inmates, rehabilitation, and work environment by specifically focusing on individual and organizational predictors that potentially related to their perceptions of their own levels of professionalism and ideological orientation (custody versus treatment). Data were collected through survey administration at five State Correctional Institutions in the Pennsylvania. The final sample included 202 completed surveys from correctional officers employed at these institutions. Univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were employed to assess the impact of individual and organizational attributes on ideological orientation and perceived level of professionalism. The results indicated that older officers and officers who entered the field of corrections at an older age were more rehabilitation-oriented; however, greater levels of experience as a correctional officer did not seem to significantly impact ideological orientation. Results also indicated that correctional officers employed at a higher security level institution perceived themselves as more professional than officers employed at a lower security level. The impact of supervision style requires further clarification and research to determine if it could be a stronger predictor of orientation and perceived professionalism. Further, the inherent personality trait utilized in this study, conservatism, proved to not have any real statistical impact and the validity of the conservatism measures came into question. Finally, ideological orientation and professionalism appeared to be unrelated with regards to influencing factors, individual or organizational.