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NCJ Number: 97390 Find in a Library
Title: Controversy Over the Effects of Long-Term Incarceration
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology  Volume:26  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1984)  Pages:423-437
Author(s): J S Wormith
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 15
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Research findings on the impact of long-term incarceration on inmates are discussed in this literature review.
Abstract: Very little is actually known about the subject. The vast majority of criminological literature bemoans the devastating impact of prison on its inhabitants. However, according to McKay and others, most clinicians agree that an identifiable clinical syndrome exists, but they disagree on the symptom pattern, its interpretation, and the frequency of occurrence. The evidence for a ubiquitous, profound, and incapacitating prison influence is scarce. A sizable literature indicates a positive effect of incarceration for certain offenders. Although the suicide rate is higher for inmates than for the general population, incarcerated offenders are at higher risk because of psychiatric disorders. Inmates appear younger and report feeling younger than their chronological age. The authors' own study of 269 inmates indicates that those who had served more time displayed less deviance on their MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) profiles. Prison life is multidimensional and thus affects its clientele in different ways at different times. Some changes correlated with recidivism in a manner contrary to traditional expectation; for example, increased self-esteem during incarceration correlated with increased recidivism, and an increased sense of inadequacy during imprisonment was related to postrelease success. Thus, lengthy sentences will have many complicated and diverse effects. Two tables and 57 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Adjustment to prison; Canada; Literature reviews; Long-term imprisonment; Prisonization
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