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: 167292 Find in a Library
Title: Getting Tough on Prisoners: Results From the National Corrections Executive Survey, 1995
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:43  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1997)  Pages:24-41
Author(s): W W Johnson; K Bennett; T J Flanagan
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 18
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reports on correctional administrators' assessments of the importance and impact of prison programs and services, drawing on the results from the 1995 National Corrections Executive Survey.
Abstract: A total of 641 wardens (78 percent) returned usable questionnaires, and of those who returned completed surveys, 86 percent were male and 14 percent were female. Wardens were asked to provide their opinions on prison amenities, inmate services, and prison goals. Prison amenities and inmate services were grouped into five categories: education services, legal services, health care services, recreation programs/equipment, and other amenities. The respondents provided information on which prison amenities had been reduced or eliminated in the past year and which amenities they thought should be reduced or eliminated. To establish a composite measure of warden support for the reduction of prison amenities, a Support for Reduction in Prison Amenities Index was created that tallied responses to 28 different services, programs, and amenities. Findings show that among experienced correctional professionals who responded to the survey (average of more than 21 years of experiences and an aggregate of more than 13,300 years of experience in corrections), there is little evidence that wardens are "soft on crime" or excessively sympathetic to the plight of prisoners. Incapacitation is still the foremost concern of prison administrators; they indicated slightly less support for rehabilitation and slightly more support for retribution than did the 1993 survey. Compared to the 1968 Harris poll of correctional administrators and the Cullen et al (1993) survey in 1989, the findings suggest that prison wardens have become more punitive in their orientations. Professional correctional administrators assess programs, services, and amenities primarily in functional terms. If a given amenity helps to run a safer, more secure, and more orderly institution, it will be supported. Political leaders, on the other hand, view prisons through an ideological prism. The political gain to be derived from "getting tough" on criminals is considerable. If the experience and expertise of prison wardens concerning "what works" for the safe, efficient, and effective operation of these institutions is to inform the debate about prisons, these prison leaders must speak out and join the debate. 5 tables, 2 notes, and 38 references
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Correctional personnel attitudes; Corrections effectiveness
Note: An earlier version of this article was presented as a paper at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1996.
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.