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The Impacts of Restrictive Housing on Inmate Behavior, Mental Health, and Recidivism, and Prison Systems and Personnel

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $730,615)

The purpose of the proposed study by the Florida State University research team is to inform scholarship and policy on restrictive housing, and the specific goal is to contribute to efforts to understand the impacts of restrictive housing on inmates and prison systems and their personnel. To
achieve this goal and contribute to the broader mission of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the study's objectives are: (1) to provide policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and the public with empirical information about the impacts of restrictive housing on inmate misconduct, mental health, including self-injury, and recidivism, (2) to provide these groups with information about whether restrictive housing impacts may vary by type of exposure (e.g., duration of time in or frequency of exposure to the housing, single-cell vs. double-cell confinement) and among groups of inmates (e.g., mentally ill, females, minorities, and younger inmates), and (3) to provide insight into how restrictive housing is used and may impact prison systems and personnel as well as how its effectiveness might be enhanced and what alternatives exist that may be more effective and cost-efficient than this specialized type of housing.

Data will include information from over 250,000 cases from the Florida Department of Corrections on inmate characteristics, prior criminal record and instant offense, and in-prison and post-release outcomes, as well as information from focus groups with and surveys of prison administrators and personnel. The administrative records data will be analyzed using propensity score matching analyses and treatment-only multilevel analyses to estimate restrictive housing impacts on inmates.

The focus group data will be examined for themes and insights about restrictive housing impacts on inmates and on the prison system and its personnel. The survey data will be examined using descriptive and multivariate regression analyses to identify and explain variation in prison administrator and personnel views about the impacts of restrictive housing on inmates, the prison system, and prison personnel. The short- and intermediate-term outcomes include the timely submission of all research-related products (e.g., data sets, draft and final summary overview of
research results, interim and final progress and financial reports, and performance measures). In addition, the research team will seek to publish articles in peer-reviewed, scientific journals, and in book chapters, briefs, and reports, to present at scientific and policy- and practitioner-oriented conferences, and to disseminate results through publications, presentations, the FSU web site, crime and justice organizations, and media outlets. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 12, 2016