In carceral settings such as prisons and jails, setting and achieving goals relates to keeping people safe, meting out punishment for prior violations of the law, and working to improve the lives of justice-involved individuals. The specific practices that transform a stated goal into a fulfilled goal tend to be more complex. In these social control organizations, corrections officers function as key agents for achieving carceral goal(s), but both organization and corrections scholars know relatively little about how corrections staff does this. This chapter frames the unique role of line-level corrections officers within the existing literature on goal setting theories from organization scholars such as Edwin Locke and John Bargh. It also explores how the American corrections officer translates and carries out organizational goals in carceral settings. In using discretionary decision making, organizational commitment, and role conflict as explanatory frameworks, both organization and corrections scholars will gain considerably from exploration of carceral goals and their achievement. As the larger criminal-legal system boasts goals uniquely situated in the social, political, and economic context of the United States, corrections practitioners and scholars must better understand how corrections officers contribute to goal achievement in carceral settings and in what ways it can be improved.
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