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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77090 Find in a Library
Title: Measuring Stress in Prison (From Confinement in Maximum Custody, P 27-38, 1981, David A Wood and Kenneth F Schoen, ed. - See NCJ-77087)
Author(s): D A d'Atri
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: D C Heath and Co
Lexington, MA 02173
Sale Source: D C Heath and Co
125 Spring Street
Lexington, MA 02173
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Results and implications are presented from a cross-sectional study and a longitudinal study of the effects of various prison physical environments on inmate heart rate and blood pressure.
Abstract: Blood pressure and heart rate were included in the longitudinal study because of their striking correlation with inmates' attitudes and perceptions of their environment and with prison housing modes as demonstrated by the cross-sectional study. Inmates were measured repeatedly over a 2-year period as they went through the stages of admission to prison, confinement, release, and, in some cases, recidivism. All staff members were studied in the same way, with special attention given to job characteristics and responsibilities and work changes. The initial cross-sectional study was of 412 men in three Massachusetts institutions. The data suggest that blood pressure decreased slightly from the time of intake to the 2-week interview and then rose again as time progressed. This trend appeared to be stronger among dormitory residents--inmates whose increase in blood pressure occurred when they were moved from cell to dorm. Additional analyses were conducted to link differences in blood pressure over time with changes of anxiety. Increases in the blood pressures of cell and dorm inmates do not appear to be related to increases in reported anxiety alone. The trends in blood pressure indicated that inmate blood pressure is high initially, then falls in a 15 to 30-day period, followed by a progressive rise with the duration of confinement. Significant associations between duration of confinement, perception of guards' attitudes, and available space and privacy was shown in both studies. Implications of the findings for inmates and prison staff are discussed. Notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Behavior under stress; Behavioral science research; Correctional facilities; Correctional Officers; Corrections management; Inmate attitudes; Medical and dental services; Overcrowding; Space management
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