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Gang affiliation, restrictive housing, and institutional misconduct: does disciplinary segregation suppress or intensify gang member rule violations?

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime & Justice Dated: 2020
R. T. Motz; et al
Date Published

This study tested competing hypotheses by examining the average impact of disciplinary segregation and the number of weeks spent in this setting on the subsequent institutional behavior of gang- and non-gang-affiliated inmates in a large Midwestern State Department of Corrections.


Prison officials often place gang affiliates in restrictive housing, yet little is known about what effect this experience has on their subsequent behavior. Two competing hypotheses on the impact of time spent in restrictive housing has on gang affiliates’ post-segregation behavior are conceptualized. The gang suppression hypothesis argues that isolating gang affiliates from their gang for a longer period leads to improvements in behavior when released. In contrast, the gang intensifying hypothesis argues that a longer period of separation leads to detriments in one’s behavior. The results of the current initial test of these competing hypotheses do not support either hypothesis, since time in disciplinary segregation was not associated with likelihood of subsequent rule violations in the sample. Research and policy implications of these findings are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020