Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Rethinking the Link Between Institutional Crowding and Inmate Misconduct

Rethinking the Link Between Institutional Crowding and Inmate Misconduct

Steiner, Benjamin, and John Wooldredge. “Rethinking the link between institutional crowding and inmate misconduct.” The Prison Journal 89, no. 2 (2009): 205-233.

“Studies of prison crowding effects on inmate misconduct have produced anomalous findings, perhaps because of the cross-study differences in research methods. Different methods are important for several goals of scientific inquiry, but there are advantages to adopting similar approaches when studying a policy-relevant question. A cross-section of studies is reviewed toward the end of providing a strategy for more uniform research on the topic. Of primary interest are (a) operationalization of concepts; (b) underlying explanations for possible effects of crowding on misconduct; (c) the direct, indirect, and conditioning effects of crowding on misconduct; and (d) the bi-level nature of the crowding—misconduct relationship.”

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Keywords: institutional overcrowding, inmate misconduct.