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A Study of COVID-19 pandemic and the work of correctional officers

Dr Thomas Akoensi (University of Kent) and Dr Justice Tankebe (University of Cambridge) are conducting a research project to understand how Covid-19 is affecting the work of correctional officers. There are global concerns about how the pandemic is affecting various aspects of society. However, the discussion has not been informed by research evidence on how concerns about the virus and efforts to control its spread are affecting correctional officers and how they carry out their duties. We hope, through this project, to provide crucial information to support the ongoing efforts by various correctional facilities to control the wider impact of the virus.

The study will involve officers completing a short online questionnaire on how the virus is affecting them and their interactions with prisoners. Given the nature of their work, officers are also likely to be anxious about the risk of becoming infected. Consequently, we will also investigate the potential impact on the mental health of officers and how they are coping with the challenges. We do not require physical access to correctional facilities; we only need a link to an online questionnaire to be sent out to officers to invite them to complete the questionnaire.

It is crucial that we do the study now for two reasons: first, it will allow us to gain insights into how the current situation is affecting officers, thereby producing crucial evidence for early interventions to support officers. Second, gathering data now can form the basis for tracking the experiences of the officers over time, allowing us to establish any changes in their experiences.

For more information regarding participation in the survey, please email jt340@cam.ac.uk .

Published on: 25 August 2020

Author: Dr Thomas Akoensi, University of Kent & Dr Justice Tankebe, University of Cambridge