Inmate Assaults on Prison Staff: A Multilevel Examination of an Overlooked Form of Prison Violence

May 7, 2009 by Lahm, K. F.  
Filed under Going to Jail

Most of the extant literature on prison violence has explored inmate-on-inmate assaultive behaviors rather than inmate-on-staff assaults. In addition, the bulk of this past literature considered only one level of an analysis, the inmate or the prison, while ignoring the importance of prison context on inmate behavior. This study enhances past research by combining both inmate- and prison-level data into a multilevel model predicting the likelihood of inmate-on-staff assaults. Self-report data from more than 1,000 inmates and 30 prisons revealed that, at the inmate level, age and aggression were the most robust predictors of inmate-on-staff assaults. In terms of contextual effects, inmates housed in prisons with a greater proportion of non-White inmates and a larger staff-to-inmate ratio were more likely to assault prison staff members. Policy implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

The First Dime: A Decade of Convict Criminology

This article discusses the historical origins of Convict Criminology (CC); intellectual legacy of CC; organization of the CC group; allies in the CC struggle; recent activities of the CC group; impact of CC on the study of jails, prisons, and community corrections; and the authors' future plans. Thus, the focus of this article is on taking stock of the development of CC and identifying the accomplishments to date.

Type, Source, and Patterns of Physical Victimization: A Comparison of Male and Female Inmates

May 7, 2009 by Wolff, N., Shi, J.  
Filed under Going to Jail

Remarkably little is known about the type, source, and patterns of physical victimization inside prison and less is known about whether differences in victimization exist between male and female inmates. This article explores the type, source, and patterns of physical victimization as reported by approximately 7,000 male and 560 female inmates. Respondents completed survey questions about seven types of physical victimization and two perpetrator sources (inmate and staff). These data show similarities and differences in patterns of victimization between male and female inmates and provide a rich description of victimization inside prison and its relationship to feeling safe there.

Validating the Level of Service Inventory–Revised and the Level of Service Inventory: Screening Version With a Sample of Probationers

Level of risk is proving to be an important characteristic in effectively serving offender populations. A major limitation to the use of risk assessments is agency resources. There are several screening instruments available that could significantly decrease the amount of resources that are needed to assess for risk. This article assesses the effectiveness of the Level of Service Inventory: Screening Version on 483 probationers in a western state resulting in a 2% false-positive rate. Policy implications are explored and suggestions for future research offered.

Rethinking the Link Between Institutional Crowding and Inmate Misconduct

Studies of prison crowding effects on inmate misconduct have produced anomalous findings, perhaps because of the cross-study differences in research methods. Different methods are important for several goals of scientific inquiry, but there are advantages to adopting similar approaches when studying a policy-relevant question. A cross-section of studies is reviewed toward the end of providing a strategy for more uniform research on the topic. Of primary interest are (a) operationalization of concepts; (b) underlying explanations for possible effects of crowding on misconduct; (c) the direct, indirect, and conditioning effects of crowding on misconduct; and (d) the bi-level nature of the crowding—misconduct relationship.

But Some of Them Don’t Come Back (to Prison!): Resource Deprivation and Thinking Errors as Determinants of Parole Success and Failure

November 26, 2010 by Bucklen, K. B., Zajac, G.  
Filed under Going to Jail

This article reports on a study of the causes and correlates of parole success and failure in Pennsylvania. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups were conducted with parole violators and parole successes. Data were collected on employment, housing, social relations, supervision, and parolees’ responses to parole challenges. The primary correlates of parole failure were found to be antisocial attitudes, poor problem-solving and coping skills, and unrealistic expectations about life after release from prison. Contrary to expectations, this study found little evidence that job acquisition or housing were significant parole challenges. The greatest problem for parolees was managing themselves in a prosocial manner while facing demands from their environment.

The Impact of Juvenile Inmates’ Perceptions and Facility Characteristics on Victimization in Juvenile Correctional Facilities

November 26, 2010 by Kupchik, A., Snyder, R. B.  
Filed under Going to Jail

In this study, the authors analyze data on juvenile correctional facilities from the Performance-based Standards for Youth Correction and Detention Facilities project to predict victimization and fear among individual juvenile inmates. The authors estimate multilevel models using both facility and individual level factors. Their results depart from prior research efforts, which have focused primarily on either an importation or a deprivation model for explaining facility misconduct. In contrast, the authors find evidence of a third model that merges individual- and facility-level variables to consider individual youth’s perceptions of facility rules and practices. They find that the best predictors of victimization are youths’ understanding of facility rules as well as their perceptions of school quality and staff helpfulness.

Looking Back 10 Years After the Arbour Inquiry: Ideology, Policy, Practice, and the Federal Female Prisoner

The decade of the 1990s can be marked as one of major dissension, conflict, and change within federal corrections for women in Canada. In this article, the authors reflect back on this period of time by examining the correctional ideologies, policies, and practices that were operating in the Canadian federal prison for women. Finding these policies and practices to be inherently gendered and punitive in nature, it is argued that punishment was at the time and continues to be the cornerstone of the regulation of women prisoners, and that it takes a specific, gendered form that relies on the deployment of traditional patriarchal conceptions of femininity. Drawing on interviews with correctional personnel and analyses of correctional policies and the Arbour Inquiry transcripts, this article reconstructs Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) responses to incarcerated women’s "unfeminine" behavior, specifically women’s self-harming behavior and their violence against others, as overly disciplinary. It is proposed that CSC’s ideological foundation, as well as the practices and policies that were operating both at the time of and following the incident at the Kingston Prison for Women that resulted in the Arbour Inquiry, remain deeply entrenched in an oppressive hierarchical structure of gender inequality. This structure fails to question how traditional conceptions of femininity shape policies and practices. It has also aided in the construction of a new genre of "misbehaved" women in corrections, which in turn has been used to justify the harsh regulatory treatment of federally sentenced women. Without challenging its traditional gender ideologies, CSC is unable to offer any alternatives to its punitive practices, which continue to operate.

Racial and Ethnic Recidivism Risks: A Comparison of Postincarceration Rearrest, Reconviction, and Reincarceration Among White, Black, and Hispanic Releasees

Despite a large and rapidly growing Hispanic population in the United States, few researchers have attempted to examine what happens to Hispanic offenders once they have been released from criminal justice control. The present study helps fill this gap by examining differences in the likelihood of recidivism between White, Black, and Hispanic prison releasees using three different recidivism measures: rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration. The authors use Bureau of Justice Statistics data that track a cohort of offenders for 3 years after their release in 1994 from state and federal prisons. Overall, the study findings show that White releasees have the lowest levels of recidivism and Black releasees have the highest levels of recidivism, net of important legal factors associated with recidivism risk; Hispanic recidivism levels are between those of White and Black releasees. Any conclusions drawn about the relative recidivism risk of Hispanic releasees vis-à-vis Black and White releasees must, however, consider how recidivism is measured. The study finds that Hispanic rearrest and reconviction levels more closely mirror those of Whites, but Hispanic reincarceration levels are more similar to those of Blacks. The authors discuss these findings in light of a growing body of research suggesting that Hispanic defendants may face more punitive outcomes relative to similarly situated White (and even Black) defendants at various stages of the criminal case process because they are perceived as more blameworthy and a greater threat to public safety than other defendants.

Exercise and the Low-Security Inmate: Changes in Depression, Stress, and Anxiety

Exercise has a history of alleviating depression, stress, and anxiety in various populations, but research into its effects on low-security prison inmates is limited. Inmates who were exercising or not exercising prior to the beginning of the study completed the Beck Depression Inventory II, Life Experiences Survey, and Daily Hassles Survey. Those who performed aerobic or anaerobic exercise scored significantly lower on the Beck Depression Inventory II and Life Experiences Survey than the inmates who did not exercise. Current charges were the only significant predictor of group membership. The authors conclude that the lower levels of depression, stress, and anxiety seen among the inmates suggest that exercise is a coping strategy to deal with incarceration.

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