Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $105,000)
The era of mass incarceration increased inter-facility movements of prisoners. As a result, incarcerated individuals now experience multiple transfers to different facilities during a single prison sentence. We refer to this trend as "prison transiency". Using existing theoretical perspectives on prison strains, prison programming, and visitation, the proposed dissertation aims to understand the prevalence and effects of prison transiency on incarcerated individuals over time by examining three research questions: (1) What is the typical experience prisoners have with transfers? That is, how many, how often, and what are the typical characteristics of transfers? (2) What are the implications of prison transiency for in-prison behavior and the mental health of prisoners over time? (3) How do prison transfers affect participation in prison programming and visitation over time?
To this end, the proposed project aims to conduct the first-of-its kind comprehensive longitudinal analysis using data from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC). These data contain relevant individual-level (N = 224,006) and facility-level (N = 26) information for all incarcerated people admitted to Ohio’s prison system between January 1, 2007, and December 12, 2016. This will help us track prison transiency over the 10-year period. The data are especially relevant as they contain key information needed to assess the effects of prison transiency on in-prison misconduct, mental health, prison programming, and visitation. We will conduct a series of descriptive analyses and use multilevel modeling to understand the prevalence and correlates of prison transiency. To estimate its impacts over time, we will use growth curve models.
In sum, the project will systematically analyze the nature and impacts of prison transiency over a ten-year window. The findings of the project will inform us how the seemingly mundane administrative practice of prison transiency has diverse short- and long-term impacts on incarcerated individuals, their families, and prison systems alike. Knowledge of the conditions under which transfers lead to beneficial or adverse impacts will improve prison management practices and help to achieve key correctional goals of rehabilitation and public safety. The study will also broaden the scope of existing theories on incarceration experiences by accounting for the key contextual factor of prison transiency. The outcomes of the project include submission to top-tier criminology and criminal justice journals, presentation at national conferences, and sharing the findings with the NIJ and ODRC. CA/NCF
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