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NCJ Number: 67293 Find in a Library
Title: EFFECTS OF IMPRISONMENT
Journal: CRIMINAL JUSTICE ABSTRACTS  Volume:12  Issue:1  Dated:(MARCH 1980)  Pages:134-151
Author(s): A NEWTON
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE VARIOUS DESTRUCTIVE EFFECTS OF IMPRISONMENT ARE DISCUSSED AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CORRECTIONS POLICY ARE CONSIDERED.
Abstract: NATIONWIDE STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT IN THE UNITED STATES INMATES HOMICIDES AND SUICIDES FAR SURPASS THE RATES IN THE GENERAL POPULATION AND THAT INMATE SELF-MUTILATION IS COMMON. AN IN-DEPTH STUDY OF OFFENDERS IN ONE STATE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM FOUND THAT INMATES REPORTED ACUTE PHYSICAL ILLNESSES, THE DESIRE TO COMMIT SUICIDE, AND SYMPTOMS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS AT MUCH HIGHER RATES THAN DID PROBATIONERS OR PAROLEES. HOMOSEXUALITY IS ESTIMATED TO INVOLVE 30 TO 45 PERCENT OF THE INMATE POPULATION AND IS A MAJOR STIMULUS IN ASSAULTS AND KILLINGS. STUDIES ALSO SHOW THAT IMPRISONMENT AFFECTS INMATES' TIME FRAMING, SELF-CONCEPT, AWARENESS AND JUDGEMENT, AND VALUE SYSTEMS, SO THAT ADJUSTMENT TO NORMAL COMMUNITY LIFE IS MADE MORE DIFFICULT. BECAUSE OF INHUMANE PHYSICAL CONDITIONS, ALL MAJOR PRISONS IN SEVERAL STATES HAVE BEEN DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL. FURTHER, MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION OF THE KIND CONDUCTED ON INMATES IN THE UNITED STATES IS NOT DONE ELSEWHERE IN THE FREE WORLD. IN ADDITION, INMATE FAMILIES FACE DIFFICULTIES OF STIGMATIZATION, HOUSING, AND FINANCES, ALONG WITH DAMAGING PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS. FINALLY, EVIDENCE FROM FOLLOWUP STUDIES COMPARING THE CRIMINAL HISTORIES OF OFFENDERS SENTENCED TO PRISON WITH THE HISTORIES OF SIMILAR OFFENDERS GIVEN NONCUSTODIAL SENTENCES CONSISTENTLY SHOWS HIGHER RECIDIVISM RATES FOR THOSE IMPRISONED. EVEN WITH THE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE OF THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF IMPRISONMENT, INCARCERATION IS USED EXTENSIVELY IN THE UNITED STATES WHEN COMPARED WITH PROGRESSIVE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES AND THE NETHERLANDS. FROM THE DATA AVAILABLE, LOGIC WOULD DICTATE THAT OFFENDERS SHOULD BE IMPRISONED ONLY WHEN THEIR CONTINUED FREEDOM POSES AN OBVIOUS AND SEVERE THREAT TO SOCIETY. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED---RCB)
Index Term(s): Effects of imprisonment; Families of inmates; Homicide; Homosexuality; Inmates as research subjects; Mental disorders; Self mutilation; Suicide
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67293

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