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Review 3 of "Too close for comfort?: Impacts of working with the sex offender population"


Published onJan 11, 2022
Review 3 of "Too close for comfort?: Impacts of working with the sex offender population"

Vote: Reject

[For votes to count, referees must reasonably explain why they voted as they did. Thus, please explain your vote. If you voted to publish pending minor changes, specify each change, why it is needed, and, possibly, how it should/could be done.]

The goal of this paper was to understand the impact of working with sex offender population among professionals. The author(s) analyzed interviews and survey responses to examine their research questions. Although this is a worthy topic to explore, I am very concerned about the several components of the manuscript.

[Please put additional info below, as/if you see fit.]

Introduction: The introduction of this manuscript is limited. Although understanding the stressors of professionals is important, the authors do not make a strong case of this study. The introduction left me wondering what the contribution of the study is - theoretically, practically, or policy-wise. The bigger question is how is the current study adding to that research? In addition, I would recommend adding a few sentences on the methodology of the study (research questions/purpose, sample, how the data was collected, analyzing techniques).

Literature Review: This section is limited, as well. There is a lot of literature on perceptions of sex offenders and job stress in corrections. A much more comprehensive discussion is needed here. Some of the articles cited are also a bit dated. There may be limited research working on working with the sex offender population, but there is research on job stress, especially among agents in the criminal justice system.  Here are some examples:

  • Rhineberger-Dunn, G., & Mack, K. Y. (2019). Impact of workplace factors on role-related stressors and job stress among community corrections staff. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 30(8), 1204-1228.

  • Gayman, M. D., Powell, N. K., & Bradley, M. S. (2018). Probation/parole officer psychological well-being: The impact of supervising persons with mental health needs. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 43(3), 509–529.

  • Mack, K. Y., & Rhineberger-Dunn, G. (2019). The influence of work–family conflict on job stress among two groups of community corrections staff. Journal of Crime and Justice, 42(3), 350-363.

  • May, D. C., Lambert, E. G., Leone, M. C., Keena, L. D., & Haynes, S. H. (2020). Stress among correctional officers: An organizational justice approach. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 45(3), 454-473.

 Methodology: The author(s) gathered their data from 4 interviews and 11 surveys. The authors set out to interview correctional officers, but faced a number of roadblocks.  They, however, were able to gather some data.  There are a number of concerns here. 

  • Why was the methodological approach phenomenology? No discussion here about this.

  • What were the research questions?

  • The sample section indicated that academics were interviewed as a part of the sample.  Why is this the case?

  • How was the data triangulated?

 Results, Discussion, & Conclusion: In the discussion, I would have liked some good discussion on what we can do with the results.  What are the theoretical, practical or policy implications?

 Overall:  This was an interesting manuscript, but the author(s) have several areas that are unclear and need extensive work. For the future, I would recommend including an introduction that clearly outlines the purpose of the study, link to previous works, research questions, methodology, and policy implications. In addition, more information is needed in methodology, and discussion. The paper is also full of typos, run-on sentences, missing words, and lacks citations. 

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