Prison Journal, The

Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:

Latest documents

  • Male Prisoners’ Perspectives of Access to Quality Health Care at a Prison Infirmary in Ghana

    This study assessed factors that influence access to quality health care among a prison population nearing its release in Ghana. A structured quantitative questionnaire was administered to 200 inmates using a total population sampling. Gap analysis was performed between inmate expectations and perceptions of health provider factors to determine quality. There was an overall negative gap due to expectations exceeding perceptions. This article recommends that a policy document on the health and welfare of inmates be developed and implemented to improve their access to quality health care.

  • Participatory Theater as Fieldwork in Chinese Prisons: A Research Note

    This methodological reflection is based on the author's own experience taking part in participatory theater projects in mainland Chinese prisons over the past 5 years. This article demonstrates how the author's participation in prison theater projects secured otherwise unattainable research access by forming collaborations with various organizations. Participatory theater workshops also offered the space for sustaining long-term rapport. This research note discusses why trusting relationships are the most important guarantee to obtaining valid data in Chinese prison research. The findings contribute to understanding methodological challenges and innovations of conducting fieldwork in criminal justice systems with no formal research access channels.

  • The Long-Term Effects of Solitary Confinement From the Perspective of Inmates

    This qualitative study analyzes the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners and the strategies used by them to cope with its difficulties. The findings indicate that solitary confinement is perceived as unfair and as intensifying hostile emotions and physical aggression, and that it is related to a range of long-term physiological, mental, and behavioral disorders. Three strategies are used to cope with the difficulties of solitary confinement: keeping to a ritualistic routine, a religious lifestyle, and physical exercise. We conclude that solitary confinement exacerbates the difficulties of detention and affects prisoners’ health and well-being for short and long terms.

  • Feeding the Habit? Relationships Between Longitudinal Patterns of Drug Dealing and Drug use Trajectories During Adolescence Among Juvenile Offenders

    Drug dealers may be at increased risk for drug use. However, there is a dearth of research focused on how these relationships develop across time. Group-based trajectory modeling (GBTM) was used to assess heterogeneity in the development of drug dealing behavior. Line graphs modeling the average frequency of use of drugs across time based on trajectory membership described drug use patterns. T-tests were used to test for significant differences between drug use patterns. Results indicated that a four-group model of drug dealing best fit the data. Changes in each type of drug use corresponded strongly with changes in drug dealing behaviors.

  • Suicide in Mexican Prisons: Mental Health Symptomology and Risk Factors for Suicidal Ideation and Suicidal Behavior

    In Mexico, suicide and suicidal behaviors (SB) have increased 275% since 1990. Prisoners constitute a growing population in Mexico and have been identified as high suicide risk. Using a sample of 194 male prisoners, we measure what demographics and mental health symptomology are associated with suicidal ideation (SI) and SB, and identify what demographics and mental health symptomology predict SI and SB. Global Severity and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) were significant predictors of experiencing SI, whereas global severity, ACEs, and age were significant predictors of experiencing SB. Findings support increased identification and comprehensive mental health services addressing suicidality in prisons.

  • Views From the Inside: Insights About Restrictive Housing From Prison System Officials, Officers, and Staff

    Restrictive housing substantially limits inmate movement and privileges. Proponents argue it creates safer prison systems, while opponents claim it does not and harms inmates. However, few studies have systematically examined restrictive housing through the perspective of those who work in prison systems or scrutinized the diverse dimensions relevant to its appraisal. This study addresses this gap by drawing on qualitative data to examine how such individuals view the housing, its operational challenges, effectiveness, possible improvements, and potential alternatives. We present findings along each of these dimensions and then discuss their implications for research and policy.

  • Reducing Trauma from Behind Bars: Enhancing Parent-Child Attachment Through a Digitally Distributed Reading Program

    Incarceration impacts families by disrupting routine attachment, creating negative consequences for both the parent and child. This article examines the use of an intervention videoing incarcerated parents reading to their children and then delivering those videos to improve child outcomes. Using a mixed-methods approach, a total of 587 surveys were completed by program participants and analyzed for parental perceptions of the program effectiveness. The intervention appeared to increase the frequency of correspondence between the parent and child, improved the sense of parent-child relationship, and increased a sense of involvement, attachment, and connectedness.

  • The Role of Major Depressive Disorder and its Moderating Effect on the Impact of Exposure to Violence for Predicting Recidivism among Juvenile Offenders: A Survival Analysis Approach

    Past research has indicated that Major Depressive Disorder and exposure to violence are risk factors for offending. However, researchers have yet to examine how this disorder may predict recidivism risk among juvenile offenders and how the disorder moderates the effect of exposure to violence. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to determine the impact of Major Depressive Disorder on time to recidivism. Cox proportional hazard modeling was applied to examine Major Depressive Disorder as a moderator of exposure to violence. Results indicated that participants with Major Depressive Disorder demonstrate greater risk for recidivism post-adjudication. The proposed moderation effect was not supported.

  • Exploring the Effects of Organizational Structure Variables on the Organizational Justice Perceptions of Correctional Staff

    Research examining the effect of organizational justice on the correctional environment is typically limited to its consequences on various outcomes. Absent from this body of literature is how perceptions of organizational justice are formed among correctional staff. Filling this void and using data from a Midwestern correctional facility, the current study examines the impact of instrumental communication, integration, formalization, and input into decision-making on the distributive and procedural justice perceptions of correctional staff. With the exception of integration, all organizational structure variables were significantly related to both forms of organizational justice. These findings offer correctional administrators a low cost and practical solution for enhancing organizational justice through organizational structure.

  • The ‘Olympic Hurdles’ of Obtaining Federal Benefits for Inmates with Disabilities: A Study of Two Massachusetts County Jails

    Sixty-four percent of US jail inmates are reported to suffer from mental health issues, compared to just 18.9% of the general population. This disparity becomes greater when considering a broader definition of disability, and individuals with disabilities are overrepresented in correctional facilities. They are often left without the ability to find employment at reentry, with Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) providing pathways to housing and improved living conditions. However, complicated application procedures often result in the formerly jailed returning to prior lifestyles and rearrests. This study explores SSI/SSDI systems at two Massachusetts county jails.

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