Italy’s social scientists have seldom tackled the study of the prison officers who staff the country’s penitentiaries. This is not the case of other countries, in particular in the English-speaking world, where research into this issue started developing in the seventies of the last century, unquestionably enabling scholars to achieve a richer and more profound understanding of the prison system. This article sets out to go over the leading fields of research in this area, together with the results of studies conducted outside Italy, investigating the staff responsible for prison population surveillance. The focus is therefore on their organisational culture, on the process for becoming a prison officer, on their relations with inmates, on the influence of gender in their work and on the consequences of working in prisons.
Keywords: Prison officers - Prison - State of the art - Prison work - Prison Research