skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 78586 Find in a Library
Title: International Summaries: Open Prisons and Recidivism
Author(s): W Ruether; W Neufeind
Corporate Author: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
United States of America
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Contract Number: J-LEAA-023-77
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS Publication Sales
Box 6000 Department F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Statistics
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A West German open prison is compared to three other types of correctional facilities, and their influence on recidivism is explored in this pilot study.
Abstract: The study was undertaken to determine if the open prison is more successful in altering behavioral patterns and stigmatization and thus in reducing recidivism, and the selection criteria for prisoners sent to the open prisons were studied. Released from four different types of prisons (open, partially open, medium security, maximum security), 175 ex-offenders were surveyed and classified according to new offenses (3 years after release), alterable behavioral characteristics, and permanent biographical characteristics. Results showed that the open prison tended to discourage the hardening of criminal behavior. Furthermore, those offenders who were privileged in being sent to the open facilities experienced a positive court reaction when investigated or tried for a new offense; previous terms of confinement did not appear to affect a prisoner's selection for the open prison. Other criteria not discovered were apparently involved. Results also indicated that the length of confinement in closed prisons affects recidivism (the longer the period of imprisonment, the higher the rate of recidivism and that those who had no family at home and those who received few visits during confinement were more prone to recidivism. Because of the limited number of prisoners studied, these results can only serve as working hypotheses for a larger investigation. Extensive statistical charts, footnotes, and a bibliography are included.
Index Term(s): Corrections effectiveness; Corrections statistics; Effects of imprisonment; Germany; Inmate classification; Maximum security; Medium security; Minimum security; Open prisons; Recidivism; Recidivists
Note: This article, summarized and translated from German by Sybille Jobin, was originally published in West Germany in 1978. NIJ/NCJRS international summary of "Offener Vollzug und Ruck- fallkrinalitat" (NCJ-60591).
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.