Prison officers are at greater risk of work-related stress than most other occupations in the UK. The rates of mental health problems and burnout in the profession are also comparatively high. Challenges to the well-being of prison staff include heavy workloads, lack of autonomy and support, low resources, role stressors and exposure to aggression and violence. In this chapter the authors draw on research conducted by themselves and others that identifies the key stressors experienced by UK prison officers and the implications for their well-being and job performance. Particular focus is placed on their research that has utilized the Health and Safety Executive Management Standards framework to diagnose the psychosocial hazards experienced by prison staff, but other stressors, such as personal experiences of aggression and violence, poor recovery opportunities and presenteeism, are also considered. They argue that carefully targeted, multilevel interventions are needed to address the challenges faced by the sector and identify priorities for future research.
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