The correctional staff burnout literature

Eric G. Lambert, Nancy L. Hogan, Marie L. Griffin, Thomas Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Correctional staff job burnout is costly to all involved. As such, it has generated a growing body of research. This study reviewed 53 empirical studies of correctional staff burnout and two review articles published between 1981 and 2014. The majority of studies focused on staff working in a variety of institutional positions, fewer studies focused exclusively on the subgroup of correctional officers, and even fewer focused on a different subgroup. The majority of studies also involved staff at US government-run adult prisons. Most but not all studies utilized Maslach’s Burnout Inventory. Research on the antecedents of job burnout among correctional staff is more common than research on the possible consequences or outcomes of job burnout. Interestingly, despite the empirical emphasis on antecedents of burnout, there has been almost no research on effective interventions designed to deal with correctional staff burnout. Based on this narrative review, significant gaps remain in the research on correctional staff burnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-443
Number of pages47
JournalCriminal Justice Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015


  • correctional staff
  • job burnout
  • prison
  • work environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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