The article is based on the results of the research project “Legitimacy of
policing, criminal justice and execution of penal sanctions”, carried out in 2013–2016 with
financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency.
In recent years researchers on self-legitimacy in the prison environment have
addressed the issue of prison officials’ perception of self-legitimacy and recognized the
need for an in-depth study. The aim of the study was to study the self-legitimacy of prison
officials in the context of the Slovenian prison environment. The first part of the article
introduces the concept of self-legitimacy of prison staff, examines the theoretical aspects
of the dual nature of legitimacy, as well as the features of self-legitimacy in the prison
environment. However prison staff includes both prison officials and specialized staff. The
second part of the article presents the results of a qualitative study of the self-legitimacy
of prison workers and gives its detailed characteristics. Analysis of responses from prison
officials and specialist staff focused on issues of legitimacy, relationships with colleagues,
leaders, prisoners, and the stress and subculture of prison staff.
The results of the study showed that the relationship between staff and prisoners plays
a vital role in establishing and maintaining order in the prison environment and the selflegitimacy of prison staff is the basis of their successful interaction with prisoners.
Keywords: legitimacy; self-legitimacy; prison worker; correctional institutions; prisoners
Professor of the University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia, Doctor of Law.
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Associate Professor at the University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia.
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Researcher of the Organizational and Scientific Department of the Vologda Institute of Law and Economics of the Federal Penal Service of Russia, Vologda, Russian Federation.
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