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NCJ Number: 69892 Find in a Library
Title: Reducing Living Unit Tension - Effects of Size and Staffing
Journal: California Youth Authority Quarterly  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer/Fall 1980)  Pages:28-35
Author(s): J P Seckel
Corporate Author: California Dept of the Youth Authority
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: California Dept of the Youth Authority
Sacramento, CA 95823
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Two California Youth Authority projects addressed the problem of violence and tension among incarcerated youthful offenders, focusing on the effects of population density.
Abstract: Through these projects, program administrators and research staff wanted to determine whether a reduction in population density on the unit (i.e., defined by the number of wards placed on a living unit in relation to staffing) would have a positive impact on ward behavior and social climate. The first study, the Institutional Violence Reduction Project, was carried out at the Preston School at Ione, Calif., from January 1976 to September 1978. A second project was implemented at the DeWitt Nelson Training Center near Stockton, Calif., in August 1978 and has continued into 1980. Both studies demonstrate that reduced living unit size is accompanied by a substantial lessening of ward tension and violence, as well as by improved ward-staff relationships. There is no clear indication, however, that increased staffing leads to a more positive living unit program. Both projects suggest that with lower population density, wards interact in a more open, spontaneous manner, and are less influenced by negative peer pressure and delinquent behavior patterns. Moreover, as wards exhibit less acting-out behavior, staff tend to place less emphasis upon close supervision and control and more upon providing programming and treatment services. Thus, smaller living units appear to decrease tension and facilitate positive behavior among incarcerated youths. Seven references are provided.
Index Term(s): California; Correctional institutions (juvenile); Correctional reform; State correctional facilities
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