Prison officer students’ perceptions of persons convicted of sexual crimes

Christine Friestad, Kristian Mjåland, Hilde Elisabeth Pape

Vitenskapelig artikkel
European Journal of Criminology, 2021
Online / DOI:

This study investigated the dimensionality of the Perception of Sex Offenders scale among prison officer students in Norway, and whether the students’ perceptions of this group of prisoners changed during their theoretical education and 1-year practical training. The target sample comprised a full cohort of freshman prison officer students, and two waves of data collection were conducted. The response rate was 94 percent (n = 188) at time 1 (T1) and 64 percent (n = 112) at time 2 (T2). The originally reported three-dimensional structure of the Perception of Sex Offenders scale was replicated in our sample. Moreover, the results supported our hypothesis that prison officer students were likely to hold less punitive views about sentencing and punishment at the end (T2) than at the beginning (T1) of their education. However, their endorsement of risk did not change, while the tendency to adhere to stereotypical images of persons convicted of sex offenses increased.