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The working credos of prison governors in Korea

By Byung Chul Yoo


Prison governors occupy a critical position in applying penal policy. Despite the importance of their role, relatively little is known about how they perceive their\ud work and the prisoners in their care. This study focuses on their working credos in order to understand how and in which ways these affect their working practices. The\ud study adopted a qualitative approach, gathering data through in-depth interviews with twenty-six Korean prison governors.\ud \ud The study aimed to construct an explanatory model of these governors' working credos and identify the characteristic features of each credo in order to understand the interrelationship between the governors' working credos and their practices. In pursuing these aims, with reference to a number of key objectives, the study first found that each governor predominantly held one of four working credos: the\ud punishment, paramilitarist, managerialist and humanitarian credos. The typology of the working credos as Weberian ideal type was constructured by interpreting the features of the Korean prison governors. The characteristic features of each credo were identified with respect to the governors' relationships with the prisoners, staff, government and the outside community.\ud \ud Despite some similarities to those proposed by previous studies, the Korean governors' working credos showed a distinctive pattern of prevalence. The governors were found to have a greater tendency to hold punitive attitudes and cling to a paramilitaristic culture, and were less affected by managerialism and humanitarinanism than their counterparts in England and Wales. The formation of\ud their working credos had been influenced by various organisational and societal factors. The country's past military regimes seem to have influenced the formation\ud of the paramilitarist credo, and, although the evidence was not conclusive. it suggested that the governors' working credos were also influenced by various individual factors to various degrees. for example, by the governors' age. education, period of service in the prison service, and work experience at the Correctional Service Headquarters

Publisher: Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (Leeds)
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

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