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As we have learned, there are subcultures in all areas that a group of people come together and inhabit, whether through their family, peer groups, neighborhoods, affiliations of specific groups, or at their place of employment. Subculture is a development of a set of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors displayed by a particular group. Speaking specifically on correctional officer subculture, this relates to our discussion earlier in week two’s unit on police subculture.  Although they are both law enforcement professions, they have different obligations, practices, and policies than police officers, so the subcultures resemble but are not the same. Still, they are also different since the environment and purpose of their duties are different. (GreggU, 2018) & (Pollock, 2018) expressed that the correctional officer subculture has seminal elements resembling police subcultures. However, they are not as extensive and more structured due to the duties/ protection of their job. (Dial, 2010) emphasized that correctional officer subculture is an essential part of integrating the norms and customary practices in the department to the recruits. This hands-on personal training of a senior officer and a recruit develops communication and socialization on the job. A profession in law enforcement takes discretion, honesty, morals, ethics, and more than anything, the trust and respect between oneself and coworkers. Correctional officers are subject to a very different atmosphere than all other law enforcement professions. Instead of patrolling the streets or being in a courtroom having security and protection of those around you, they are isolated. The only protection and safety they have been rests in their coworkers’ training, reliability, and protection. In brief correctional officers are the foundation that can make or break the effectiveness in increasing or decreasing recidivism rates by what they show and prove to the inmates through a professional attitude and their subculture.

The correctional officer subculture follows nine definite elements to operate effectively and efficiently while being united as coworkers and essentially a family unit. These nine norms in the correctional subculture are 1. To always go to the aid of another officer. 2. Do not “lug drugs” bring drugs or other weaponry into the facility for the inmates. 3.  Do not “rat” tell on other officers. 4. Never making a fellow officer look bad in front of other inmates can jeopardize the effectiveness and unity of the department. 5. Always support an officer in a dispute with an inmate again to show solidarity and unity of the facility. 6. Always support officer sanctions against inmates whether the force and discipline are not entirely justifiable, again showing uniformity. 7. Don’t be a “white hat,” meaning not showing empathy or emotions towards inmates to be seen as a pushover. 8. Maintain officer solidarity against all outside groups to keep relations with like-minded fellow law enforcement officers and not become involved in the media or public. 9. Show positive concern for fellow officers; respect is earned by respect being shown through doing your job and not leaving the other officers more work. In my studies of chapter eleven, “The Ethics of Punishment and Corrections,” and my research, all three sources collaborated on the nine elements/ norms in the correctional subculture while also elaborating the similarities of the police subculture. (Dial, 2010, p. 51) & (GreggU, 2018, time 2:51-3:03) (Pollock, 2018, p. 356) noted that “the acceptance of the use of force, the preference toward redefining job roles to meet only minimum requirements, and the willingness to use deceit to cover up wrongdoing seem to have support in both subcultures.”  In short, law enforcement has similar codes of ethics and subcultures that they follow to keep solidarity, effectiveness, trust, and respect in the department. Correctional Officers subculture specifically is even more vital for the protection and safety of themselves and their coworkers since their duty is isolated in a hostile and locked down facility with higher rates of threats and danger.



Dial, K. C. (2010). Stress and the Correctional Officer. LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC.,sso&db=e000xna&AN=520524&site=eds-live&scope=site&custid=s4928909&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_47

GreggU. (2018, November 26). The Culture of Corrections [Video]. Lighthouse OD.

Pollock, J. M. (2018). Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions in Criminal Justice (10th Edition). Cengage Learning US.




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