To What Extent Does Bureau of Prison Officers' Knowledge and Training Relate to Confidence for Working with Transgender Inmates?

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Lynett Henderson Metzger

Second Advisor

Peter Buirski

Third Advisor

Jessica Micono


Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT), Inmates, Safety concerns, Officers, Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Knowledge, Training, Confidence


American correctional systems are showing signs of a steady increase of inmates who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). Correctional systems appear to struggle with how they are equipped to accommodate this population. LGBT inmates face strife upon incarceration when interacting with both correctional officers and fellow inmates. While LGBT inmates are at a high risk of experiencing sexual, physical, and mental abuse, transgender inmates are especially susceptible to the aforementioned maltreatment. Correctional officers and heterosexual inmates experience the most difficulty when interacting with transgender inmates as this population is typically viewed as dissimilar and distinct. The increasing presence of transgender inmates generates confusion, particularly as the system strives to maintain rigid continuity. Policy has been developed regarding the management of transgender inmates; officers are required to participate in trainings regarding LGBT-specific issues, including ways to accommodate and protect this vulnerable population. The current study implemented a modified grounded theory methodology in an effort to gauge the extent to which Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officers’ knowledge and training regarding transgender inmates related to their perceived confidence levels for working with this population. After conducting three semistructured interviews with male BOP officers, the results from this study revealed officers possessed knowledge about, participated in trainings regarding, and felt confident to work with transgender inmates. Overall, officer confidence appeared most influenced by offered training opportunities. The results from this study will ideally serve as a starting point to bolster recognition of officer confidence when interacting with transgender inmates.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


42 pgs

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