Who is the helper? Who is being helped? The benefits of psychosocial support to correctional officers in Turkey
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Correctional officers working in detention centres have the primary responsibilities of maintaining safety and security within the walls of restrictive institutions by closely monitoring, supervising and managing inmates and prisoners with a history of violence and problematic behaviours. Particularly, the demands of providing service to detained children and adolescent groups with traumatic life events, deviance, criminality and negligence can provoke powerful and overwhelming negative emotions. These adverse emotional responses include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, depersonalisation, frustration and guilt, which are felt by correctional officers who are involved in the care of vulnerable young people who are perceived to pose a threat to society. In the research described in this paper we used both quantitative and qualitative research methods to collect data from correctional officers. We used content analysis on the qualitative transcripts and carried out statistical analyses on a range of measures comparing the levels of burnout, depression, anxiety, job satisfaction and positive and negative affect before and after joining the Psychosocial Support Program (PSP). Our findings suggested that PSP helped to reduce burnout, depression and anxiety levels among the correctional officers who took part in the programme. At the end of programme, participants reported increased job satisfaction, decreased emotional exhaustion, decreased depersonalisation and increased personal accomplishment.