Characteristics Of The Personal Component Of Employees Of The Penitentiary System


This article is devoted to the study of the personal component of the employees of the penal system from the standpoint of the system-subject approach (E.A. Sergienko). In interpreting and discussing the results obtained, we proceeded from the assumption that regulation of behavior is carried out through the interaction of subjective and personal characteristics. Personal characteristics in this article are presented through life-meaning orientations and the level of subjective well-being. At the same time, this article emphasizes the specificity of the manifestation of personal characteristics of employees in connection with belonging to different structural divisions of correctional institutions. The results of the study of the characteristics of the personal component of the employees of the penal system made it possible to formulate reasoned conclusions both in relation to the formation of the values of employees, and in relation to the degree of their subjective satisfaction with their lives, in general. The authors noted that the personal component of employees will be unique from the point of view of its refraction through the prism of stressful conditions of service and professional activity, an “aggressive” environment in which they (employees) act as subjects of labor. The importance of research in this area is emphasized, since the deliberate professional activity of an employee of the penitentiary system acquires a unique "coloring" in connection with the existing value structures of the personality.

Keywords: Employee, life-meaning orientations, life satisfaction, penitentiary system, personality component, subjective and personal characteristics


Within the framework of the system-subject, approach proposed by Sergienko (2010) the mental functioning of an employee of the penal system is considered as a two-level model of mental organization, represented by the ratio of subject-personal interactions. The degree of consistency of subjective and personal characteristics determines the degree of a person's internal resources (Pavlova, & Sergienko, 2016; Sergienko, 2017). In turn, the degree of maturity of a person and his behavior will directly depend on this degree of coherence.

Correctional staff serve in tense and “aggressive” conditions, and they are subject to increased demands as subjects of labor (Cherkasova, 2016; Debolsky, 2015; Enikeev, 2018; Pozdnyakov, 2019; Yezhova, 2017). In recent decades, the penitentiary system has faced an acute problem of training qualified personnel capable of effectively functioning as subjects of their official and professional activities. At the same time, an equally important aspect in the formulation of this problem is the prevention of negative personal changes. In this regard, the study of the personal component of employees of the penal system as a basis responsible for understanding, generating meanings and focusing on certain significant aspects of reality in conditions of uncertainty and stress is quite promising.

Problem Statement

The problem of personal characteristics of a person in specific conditions of professional activity is widely studied both in domestic psychology (Abulkhanova-Slavskaya K.A., Gellershtein S.G., Druzhilov S.A., Druzhinin V.N., Zeer E.F., Klimov E.A., Kudryavtsev T.V., Markova A.K., Mitina L.M., PovarenkovYu.P., Shadrikov V.D.), and in foreign studies (Boyko V.V., Venger A V.V., Jackson S.E., Kettel R.B., Maslach K., Maslow A., Super D., Fromm E.). At the same time, the study of this problem is focused on the personal changes of the subject of labor, more often - negative ones.

In Russian psychology, personal changes are considered as the transformation of a person's appearance in connection with the professional role performed (Granovskaya, 1984.); as a result of the adverse influence of activity factors on the personality and contradictions in the development of the subject of labor (Klimov, 2003); as the consequences of incorrectly formed motives and goals of activity (Pryazhnikov, 2017); as a result of the destructive path of professionalization (Mitina, 2017).

However, it should be noted that at present in the legal and psychological literature there is no systematic and comprehensive scientific research devoted to the problem of the personal characteristics of law enforcement officers, in particular the penal system. In our article, we have defined the boundaries of the studied phenomenon (personality component) from the standpoint of the system-subject approach proposed by E.A. Sergienko.

Research Questions

What characteristics of the personal component of employees of the security department control and security services are manifasteted in the course of their professional activities?

Purpose of the Study

Purpose of the study is to investigate the characteristics of the personal component of employees of the security department control and security services

Research Methods

Test "Life-meaning orientations" by Leontyev (2006) allows you to obtain information on the general indicator of the meaningfulness of life by diagnosing five main test scales:

  • goals in life (meaningfulness and direction of a person's life, time perspective);
  • the process of life (reflects interest in life and emotional richness);
  • the effectiveness of life (satisfaction with self-realization);
  • locus of control - I (the idea of oneself as a strong personality with sufficient freedom of choice);
  • locus of control - life (controllability of life, its subservience or not).

At the same time, life-meaning orientations are goals in life, the process of life and the effectiveness of life.

"Life satisfaction index" adapted by Panina (1993). This questionnaire allows you to determine the degree of subjective satisfaction of a person with respect to the characteristics of his life, and also indicates the level of psychological comfort of the subject and socio-psychological adaptation.

A total of 207 employees of maximum security penal colonies took part in the study; men between the ages of 19 and 44. The procedure for the distribution participants was implemented according to the criterion of specialization of labor activity - 104 employees of regime services and 103 employees of security services of correctional institutions. At the same time, the employees of the security department control carry out their official duties in direct contact with the special contingent; security services are on duty with firearms.


To answer the posed research question as a method of mathematical statistics, we used the nonparametric H-Kruskal-Wallace test for independent samples. The results were obtained, reflecting the peculiarities of the personal characteristics of the representatives of different departments in their orientation, while reflecting the specificity, similarity and distinctive features.

Statistical processing of the results obtained using the test "Life-meaning orientations" by Leontyev (2006) showed that:

  • the employees who come into direct contact with the special contingent showed a decrease in indicators on the "goal in life" scale (p = 0.002 H-Kruskal-Wallace), which may be evidence of an insufficient degree of comprehension of the plot of their future life. Employees try not to “guess”, live “here and now”, while at the same time, they perceive their present as a temporary stage in life, which will definitely end. Also, the results obtained indicate that employees do not perceive past life events as significant and important, do not consider that they have any level of personal achievements, which is confirmed by a decrease in indicators on the scale of “life performance, satisfaction with self-realization” (p = 0.007 H -Kraskel-Wallace). An increase in indicators on the scale of “life process, interest and emotional saturation” (p = 0.01 H-Kruskal-Wallace) indicates a high degree of emotional involvement of employees in their work process; employees see the meaning of their activities in performing tasks of various kinds, they believe that everyday life is quite diverse and interesting, they love activity and respond vividly to all events that occur both in life and at work (Samojlik, 2019).

Employees serving with weapons showed an increase in indicators on the "goal in life" scale (p = 0.005 H-Kruskal-Wallace), which indicates a tendency for employees to "look" into the future, to orientate themselves and rely on planning for events, which haven't happened yet. Perhaps we are not talking about strategic planning of your life, but about faith in a "bright future." Just like the security personnel, the security department employees showed a decrease in the scale of “life performance, satisfaction with self-realization” (p = 0.002 H-Kruskal-Wales), however, other mechanisms were “triggered”. Employees feel dissatisfaction with the events of their past through a pessimistic assessment of the part of their lives lived, they believe that their life path did not turn out the way they wanted (Krasnik & Kadochnikova, 2014). A decrease in indicators on the scale of “life process, interest and emotional saturation” (p = 0.012 H-Kruskal-Wallace) may indicate insufficient employee satisfaction with their present (Mishin, 2016). They lose emotional involvement and semantic richness of activity due to the constantly present monotony (due to monotonous and constantly repetitive conditions of professional activity) (Sobol'nikov, 2019).

A characteristic feature of the two departments presented by us is a decrease in indicators on the “locus of control life” scale (in the regime departments at p = 0.002 H-Kruskal-Wales, in the security department at p = 0.001 H-Kruskal-Wales). The formation of a conviction that it is impossible to influence the course of one's life in any way, which is expressed in a feeling of being out of control of the life situation. Most likely, employees do not strive to be active and responsible subjects.

Earlier, we noted a decrease in indicators in both independent groups on the scale of “life performance, satisfaction with self-realization”. The results are complementary to the values obtained according to the methodology "Life satisfaction index" in the adaptation of Panina (1993). The employees of the represented departments showed a decrease in values on the general integral scale, which characterizes in general the degree of satisfaction with an individual with his life (in the regime departments at p = 0.005 H-Kruskal-Wales, in the security department at p = 0.002 H-Kruskal-Wales). It is possible that employees have a subjective underestimation of the level of psychological comfort and a negative assessment of both what is happening around them and their condition prevails.


Based on our research, we formulate logical conclusions. In the process of performing professional activities, the employee's value system, to a certain extent, "acquires" an individual appearance. The employees of the penitentiary system are in "aggressive" conditions of service that affect the personality of the professional. We found that, due to the increased intensity of their service activities, employees develop dissatisfaction with everyday life, a low degree of awareness of the importance of what is happening to them, as well as a decrease in the feeling of controlling the events of their lives (Kadochnikova & Sergienko, 2020). Thus, with the identified tendencies, the connection of the life path of the individual is broken, there is no clear line of human development from the past through the present to the future, as reflected in the works Rubinstein (2003).


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Personality, norm, pathology, behavior, uncertanity, COVID-19

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Kadochnikova, I., Lunina, A., & Voroshilkin, K. (2021). Characteristics Of The Personal Component Of Employees Of The Penitentiary System. In M. Ovchinnikov, I. Trushina, E. Zabelina, & S. Kurnosova (Eds.), Personality in Norm and in Pathology, vol 112. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 161-166). European Publisher.