Staff Acceptance and Application of a Contemporary Policy Approach


This study examined the implementation of one facet of the Dignity Assaults Initiative (DAI) in the state of Michigan. The DAI focused upon the corrections environment and the consistent management of two different types of staff assaults, perpetrated by inmates: liquid assaults and sexually deviant behavior. This research applied a survey focused on the examination of the sexually deviant behaviors addressed by this policy initiative. The survey was distributed to Michigan corrections employees through the Michigan Corrections Organization, and collected data regarding the policy implementation, frequency of exposure to sexually abusive/harassing behaviors and the appropriate responses to such behaviors. The data in this study found that participants did not see the DAI as effectively reducing the numbers of sexually deviant behaviors; however, the majority of the participants were aware of the DAI. The types of appropriate responses necessary to combat the sexually abusive/harassing behaviors of inmates were focused upon the formal mechanisms – formal reporting and segregation prior to administrative review. The data also indicated that both male and female staff may be exposed to sexually abusive/harassing behaviors of inmates, but when the number of occurrences over a career is evaluated, the impact upon female corrections employees is much higher.

Authors: Dr. Katy Cathcart and Dr. Susan Jones