skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 127694 Find in a Library
Title: Measurement Error in Official Statistics: Prison Rule Infraction Data
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:54  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1990)  Pages:63-68
Author(s): S C Light
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Test/Measurement
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Because there are sources of error in officially gathered prison rule infraction data, social scientists must continually look for ways to protect and improve data quality so that analysis is based on stronger empirical foundations.
Abstract: At the inmate level, prison rule infraction data are extensively used for classification purposes and to categorize offenders by degree of security, program assignment, and furlough eligibility. Rule infraction data are also used to predict the likelihood of future prisoner dangerousness and in the granting or withholding of good time and parole. Sources of measurement error in official prison data relate to correctional officer discretion, definitional issues, inmate behavior detection, inmate status characteristics, temporality, and jurisdiction. Given these sources of error and their threat to data validity and reliability, the use of multimethod data collection and comparison strategies is critical. Research should examine prison inmate self-reports, inmate victimization data, and officially gathered infraction measures at each stage of the prison disciplinary process. Research should likewise be conducted on samples of prisoners, correctional officers, and prison administrators in prisons within one correctional system and across correctional systems in multiple jurisdictions. Social scientists should continue to develop theories that explain and predict the behavior of both prison guards and prisoners. 33 references and 5 notes
Main Term(s): Statistical analysis
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Data collections; Inmate statistics; Prediction
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.