How emotional intelligence benefits correctional officers

Emotional intelligence is crucial for a correctional officer for whom dealing with prisoners on a daily basis can be both challenging and draining


By Dr. Michael Pittaro, Faculty Member, Criminal Justice at American Military University

In their bestselling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves discuss the importance of understanding emotions in ourselves and in others – and write about how to use this information to manage our behavior and relationships. Over the last decade, emotional intelligence has attracted the attention of researchers, practitioners and the general public. It has also captured my own personal fascination.

As a 28-year criminal justice veteran, I was interested in how emotional intelligence applies to the field of corrections. On November 17, I presented at the 37th annual North Carolina Correctional Association training conference. In my presentation, “Transformational Leadership: Improving the Culture of American Corrections,” I found it was useful to incorporate some of the concepts from Bradberry and Greaves’ book.

(Photo/InPublicSafety)
(Photo/InPublicSafety)

Emotional intelligence is crucial for a correctional officer for whom dealing with prisoners on a daily basis can be both challenging and draining. However, despite growing awareness about suicide rates among law enforcement officers, little has been said for correctional officers. Indeed, in the law enforcement classes I teach, we go into great depth about the risks of stress, burnout, depression and suicide among police officers. But in my corrections classes, emotions are rarely, if ever, discussed.

Full story: How Emotional Intelligence Benefits Correctional Officers

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