A Comparison of Jail Inmate and Staff Correctional Goal Orientations: Results from Across the Line

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Previous research on correctional goal orientations has focused on the attitudes of the public, correctional administrators, and correctional staff. Only a few studies have examined inmate attitudes. This research addresses the question: Do jail inmates and staff have similar beliefs about the goals of corrections? Findings from a sample drawn from a single rural mountain state jail indicate that jail staff rank incapacitation as the primary goal of corrections, while inmates rank rehabilitation as most important. Results from two multinomial logistic regression models were mixed. The inmate model indicated that race is significantly associated with a rehabilitative goal orientation. Additionally, for inmates, gender and education influence a non-retributive goal orientation. The staff model did not reach statistical significance. These findings lend some support to further empirical studies that address problems associated with correctional operations and organizational culture in a way that incorporates an inmate perspective.