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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 219759 Find in a Library
Title: Systemic Issues and Correctional Outcomes: Expanding the Scope of Correctional Psychology
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior  Volume:34  Issue:7  Dated:July 2007  Pages:919-932
Author(s): Carl B. Clements; Richard Althouse; Robert K. Ax; Phillip R. Magaletta; Thomas J. Fagan; J. Stephen Wormith
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 14
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses several systemic issues that impact the work of correctional psychologists and impede their effectiveness.
Abstract: Four main context issues impacting the work of correctional psychologists are discussed: (1) the utility of a systems perspective in corrections; (2) the problem of unintended consequences; (3) the inadequately researched use of special housing; and (4) the need to assess the efficacy of correctional systems and programs. For each of these four areas, the nature and scope of the issues are described followed by a suggested research agenda. In terms of the utility of a systems perspective in corrections, the authors point out that criminal justice solutions can actually create more crime and that larger social and economic systems can play a similar role in impacting crime rates. As such, a policy-and-outcomes research agenda is suggested. In terms of unintended consequences, it is argued that criminal justice practices and the prison environment can actually create mental health problems among inmates and can also create problems for communities and families who were once dependent on incarcerated individuals. A research agenda for reducing unintended consequences is offered, which includes the implementation of empirically supported criminal justice practices and the evaluation of the impact of criminal justice policies on inmates and the community. The authors also call for increased research on the use of special housing for inmates, which largely implies the use of segregation, which may have unintended outcomes on offender psychological and social functioning. Finally, a general assessment of correctional settings is called for to ensure that a fair and humane environment has been created and to provide feedback to administrators, politicians, and citizens. In addition, the authors argue that the mission of correctional psychologists should include macro-level systems issues since they are inherent to the work conducted within correctional settings. References
Main Term(s): Psychologists role in corrections; Research and development
Index Term(s): Criminal justice program evaluation
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