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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201520 Find in a Library
Title: Managing High-Risk Offenders in Prison Dormitory Settings
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:65  Issue:4  Dated:July 2003  Pages:82-84
Author(s): James Peguese; Robert Koppel
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 3
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses honor dorms, a method of housing maximum-security inmates in the Maryland House of Correction (MHC).
Abstract: MHC is a maximum-security institution with a population of 1,200 inmates and 537 dormitory beds. Approximately 60 percent of the men housed at MHC are murderers. Another 20 percent are there for attempted murder or rape and the remainder are there for other violent crimes. Men that have spent their lives honing skills and techniques designed to thwart societal rules and mores flourish in dormitory settings. There is also an extensive history of violence. The presence of gang activity in a prison presents additional concerns for the administration, particularly in the dormitory setting where there are approximately 100 inmates to provide support to one another. Properly staffing dormitories poses a special challenge for administrators due to their problematic nature. Administrators at MHC realized that a small percentage of the inmates confined there accounted for the majority of the problems and developed a solution to the dilemma -- honor dorms. Administrators decided to make the honor dorms attractive and desirable places to live. This would attract a large number of inmates that would abide by the rules for fear of losing the privilege of living in an honor dorm. Offenders that posed disciplinary problems were moved to cell housing where they would be more easily controlled, less able to conceal criminal activities, and form a unified presence. Inmates were told that to be eligible for the dorm they must be infraction free for 1 year and sign a contract. Since the creation of the honor dorm, there has been an immediate decrease in assaults on inmates and none on staff. Serious incidents were reduced to zero in the first honor dorm. The positive response resulted in the creation of a waiting list of inmates that want to live in a nonviolent atmosphere. Due to this response, the administration decided to convert additional dorms to honor housing. Honor dorms enable inmates to change their lifestyles and live out the rest of their sentences in a safe environment.
Main Term(s): Correctional reform; Prison disorders
Index Term(s): Inmate misconduct; Institutional violence; Prison Gangs/Security Threat Groups; Prison overcrowding; Violent inmates
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