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Developing the Prison Environment Inventory

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1985
21 pages
Climate, a popular conceptualization used to describe contextual properties of prisons that may have significant influence on individual behavior, is generally considered to be multidimensional and can be used to describe what it is like to live and work in prison.
Past efforts to apply the conceptualization to organizations in general and specifically to prisons have been faulted for three reasons: inadequate theoretical specification, lack of attention to psychometric details, and a failure to consider the individual effects arising in aggregate measures. This article describes a new correctional climate instrument, the Prison Environment Inventory (PEI), which was attentive to these three issues. Hans Toch's eight environmental concerns -- Privacy, Safety, Structure, Support, Emotional Feedback, Social Stimulation, Activity, and Freedom -- were used as the dimensions of the instrument. The 80-item Inventory was created in a series of steps in which versions of the instrument were submitted to rigorous evaluations to assure its reliability and validity. Factor analyses of data indicate that the theoretical structure of the instrument is empirically patterned. Scale analyses confirm the integrity of the dimensions of climate, although some scales appear to be better defined than others. Final assessments indicate the individual effects do not greatly bias climate measurement with this instrument. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1985