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NCJ Number: NCJ 204763     Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Supermaximum Security Prisons on Aggregate Levels of Institutional Violence
Author(s): Chad S. Briggs ; Jody L. Sundt ; Thomas C. Castellano
  Editor(s): Robert J. Bursik Jr.
  Journal: Criminology  Volume:41  Issue:4  Dated:November 2003  Pages:1341 to 1376
Date Published: 11/2003
Page Count: 36
  Annotation: This study examined the effect of supermaximum security prisons on levels of institutional violence within three State prison systems that have deployed such prisons.
Abstract: In search of an effective means to control violent, disruptive inmates, “supermaximum” prisons emerged as a new technique for controlling institutional violence. The perceived effectiveness of supermaximum security correctional facilities lies in their extreme restrictions on movement and interaction. However, there have been no compelling empirical analyses presented to substantiate the value of supermaximums as mechanisms of social control. This study, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, examined the effect of supermaximum prisons on aggregate levels of violence in three State prison systems, Arizona, Illinois, and Minnesota using a multiple interrupted time series analysis design. The Utah Department of Corrections was included as a comparison State to allow for an assessment of nonlocal historical threat to validity. It was hypothesized that supermaximum prisons reduce levels of inmate-on-inmate violence. No support was found for this hypothesis. Findings revealed that the opening of a supermaximum had no effect on eight of the measures of institutional violence examined across the three States. The implementation of a supermaximum was associated with a temporary increase in assaults against staff. The data indicated that the effectiveness of supermaximum prisons as a mechanism to enhance prison safety remains largely speculative. The data presented do not provide affirmative proof of the value of supermaximum prisons. Most of the findings are inconsistent with expectations derived from deterrence and incapacitation theory. References
Main Term(s): Institutional violence
Index Term(s): Maximum security ; Violent inmates ; Prison disorders ; Inmate staff relations ; Correctional facilities ; Inmate discipline ; Correctional institutions (adult) ; State correctional facilities ; Inmate segregation ; Inmate misconduct ; NIJ grant-related documents
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 98-CE-VX-0021
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Note: Dataset may be archived by the NIJ Data Resources Program at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
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