On the Relevance of Police Organisational Culture Approaches to the Prison Context

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Cockcroft, TW (2016)
  • Publisher: Hmso

Research into the occupational culture of prison officers has provided some important and enriching accounts of prisons, of the lives of those who live and work in them and the kinds of work that take place within them. Such accounts tend to use police occupational culture as a reference point, if not as a template for such observations. In many respects, this is understandable and a perhaps obvious choice given that prison officers and police officers both work within the criminal justice system. Similarly, the wealth of literature focussing on police occupational culture provides a foundation for understanding and exploring different occupational groups which function within the criminal justice arena. This paper, however, will explore some of the broader differences between the two occupations. The purpose of this is to assess the limits to the usefulness of police occupational culture as a means of understanding the cultural world of prison officers. This is not to understate the similarities between the two occupations and the ways in which these might contribute to similar or shared culturally driven experiences, perceptions and behaviours. What this paper will do, however, is to provide a brief overview of some of the areas of difference which might lead to different cultural reference points.
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