n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Attitudes of correctional care workers pertaining to their conditions of employment : a comparative study

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This article grew out of discussions on the differences between American and South African youth institutions. A seminal work entitled (1966) was published by Street, Vinter and Perrow. Street et al (1966) evaluated the success or failure of establishments that attempt to change the behavior of young incapacitated offenders and to prepare them for participation in the larger society. The W J Maxey Training School at Whitmore Lake, Michigan, USA, and the Emthonjeni Youth Development Centre (youth prison) at the Department of Correctional Services' Baviaanspoort Management Area on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa, were selected for the purposes of a comparative research project. In the interests of limiting the scope of the present study, the researchers focused on the personnel employed at the two institutions in terms of their attitudes towards conditions of employment.

A substantial proportion of the research group agreed with the view that less attention should be paid to the young offenders and that the working conditions of the staff required more attention. Therefore, a significant proportion of the research group seems to be dissatisfied with their working conditions which would inevitably impact negatively on their reciprocal working relationships and their relationships with the young offenders. It appears as if 10,3% of the Maxey respondents, as well as an average of a further 22,7% of respondents from both institutions were already existentially estranged from their occupational milieu while a real danger exists that 43% of the research group are apparently disillusioned with their chosen careers and occupational progress. This would, in all probability, lead to an inability to maintain occupational values and unsatisfactory relations with their superiors, colleagues and young offenders under their care.

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