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NCJ Number: 97443 Find in a Library
Title: Prison Size, Overcrowding, Prison Violence, and Recidivism (From Prison Violence in America, P 113-131, 1985, Michael Braswell et al, ed. - See NCJ-97435)
Author(s): D P Farrington; C P Nuttall
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sale Source: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
2035 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article investigates the possibility of obtaining empirical evidence to prove that large prison size has undesirable effects on behavior both inside and outside the prison.
Abstract: The view that small prisons are generally more desirable than large ones is presented, and problems concerning the operational definition of the word 'small' are discussed. Two extremes in specifying optimum prison populations are noted: R.D. Barnes, senior architect of the Federal Bureau of Prisons suggests 1,200 inmates as an optimal number; the Canadian Solicitor General's working group concluded that 150 should be the optimum number. Three studies which found prison size to be related to behavior inside or outside the prison are reported; none indicate that prison size is a contributory or causal factor in prison violence. A review of British studies which examined the relationship between juvenile institution size and postrelease behavior found that size does not correlate with reconviction rate. Additionally, English prison statistics are examined, and attention focuses on prison offenses, assaults, and recidivism. These statistics also fail to provide empirical evidence that prison size influences behavior inside or after leaving prison. Reasons for the widespread belief about the undesirability of larger prisons are suggested, and the relationship between prison overcrowding and prison effectiveness is analyzed. Finally, ways to reduce prison overcrowding are suggested. Four tables and 24 references are included.
Index Term(s): Great Britain/United Kingdom; Institutional violence; Prison conditions; Prison overcrowding; Recidivism causes
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