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Assessing the Relationship between Exposure to Violence and Inmate Maladjustment Within and Across State Correctional Facilities

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $34,913)

Inmate maladjustment threatens the safety and order of correctional institutions, so a thorough understanding of the relative effects of exposure to different forms of violence on maladjustment is important to prison/correctional facility administrators. Information regarding whether exposure to different forms of violence contributes to inmate maladjustment, and whether this relationship is influenced by differences in the characteristics of facility environments could help correctional administrators improve the assessment and management of the inmates in their own facilities. The current study will use multi-level modeling to examine the relationship between exposure to violence and maladjustment within and across state operated prisons and correctional facilities across the United States. The analysis will extend related research by examining a broader range of outcomes other than misconduct. It will focus specifically on the relationship between exposure to violence and inmate maladjustment, using restricted data from the National Archive on Crime and Justice Data to merge data sets in order to provide additional, independently collected, measures of facility environments, focusing on how facility environments might impact the relationship between exposure to violence and maladjustment, and examining more recent data.

The data sets include the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities and the 2000 and 2005 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities. The merged data sets will include complete information on roughly 14,500 inmates housed within 260 state operated facilities.

The proposed analyses will involve the use of multi-level modeling techniques, due to the nested structure of the data (i.e., inmates within prisons and prison within states). The specific type of hierarchical models (e.g., linear, Poisson) will depend on the distribution of the outcome being examined.

Subsequent results would offer a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between exposure to violence and inmate maladjustment. This information is potentially useful for developing assessment and classification tools and it may also be used by correctional administrators to inform staff and derive practical methods for reducing levels of maladjustment.


Date Created: September 11, 2011