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NCJ Number: 97401 Find in a Library
Title: Indices of Stress Associated With Prison Overcrowding
Journal: Corrective and Social Psychiatry and Journal of Behavior Technology Methods and Therapy  Volume:31  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1985)  Pages:27-32
Author(s): P R Anderson; C G Pettigrew
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This review of prison-overcrowding research found that the effect of prison overcrowding on stress among inmates is largely unknown, because the research generally had inadequate methodologies, flawed execution, and mixed results.
Abstract: Current psychological theories have identified four stages of stress: the stimulus, the recognition of the stimulus, the immediate responses, and the long-term consequences of the responses. Epstein's model provides a useful framework for examining the effects of crowding in specific contexts. This model rests on the consensus reached by others that it is density in combination with other factors, and not density itself, that creates an environment of strain. Research on the consequences of prison density has used indicators such as blood pressure levels, illness complaints, disciplinary infractions, and recidivism rates. Two density measures have been used: the square feet per person and the social density as defined by the number of individuals living in an inmate housing unit. Some research has found a positive relationship between density and disciplinary infractions, but other research has shown no relationship or a relationship only in younger populations. Increased social density has, however, consistently showed a relationship to illness complaints. Violence rates have uniformly related to the security class of the institution, with higher rates in maximum-security prisons. More research using the best possible methodologies is needed. Forty-three references are listed.
Index Term(s): Corrections research; Prison overcrowding; Psychological research; Stress assessment
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