The prisoner's prisoner: the theme of voluntary imprisonment in the staff of
R. A. Schultz-Ross,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
21(1): 101-6, 1993.
The staff of correctional facilities voluntarily work in prisons. It seems plausible that the
professionals, officers, and administrators engaged in such employment may have unconscious
feelings of a desire or need for punishment. This topic does, in fact, appear common in the jokes and
casual conversation in such facilities, perhaps indicating such an underlying theme. Indeed, those
employees who were willing to discuss their experience in more depth corroborated the hypothesis.
A sense of a need or desire for punishment in a staff's members may profoundly affect the prisoner's
transference with the staff, and the staff's countertransference. These feelings may affect the many
important decisions of correctional and clinical staff in prisons and related settings.