Project Details


According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 11.6 million people were admitted to jail from 2011-2012;yet, there has been relatively little research examining the impact of short-term incarceration on offenderadjustment. Two opposing theories have typically been provided to explain how inmates adapt to theincarceration environment. The importation model suggests that inmates bring a host of pre-incarcerationexperiences and characteristics with them into the incarceration environment that account for howinmates adapt and behave. Conversely, the deprivation model posits the oppressive incarcerationenvironment is responsible for inmate adaptation. Research has found support for both models. However, these theories have not been tested longitudinally in jail. This project will test these theoriesthroughout a stay in jail and into the community to update and expand these models. The study will testthe overarching hypothesis that traumatic experiences with violence encountered before, during, and afterjail are related to increased mental health difficulties and recidivism.Two hundred male and female inmates will be recruited to participate in the present study. Subjects willcomplete surveys approximately once a month for four months, starting from the initial point ofincarceration and ending a month after release from jail. The subjects will self-report psychosocialproblems including symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression, antisocial behavior,aggression, and substance use. Recidivism data will also be collected for released subjects. Theresearchers will use self-report data on violence exposure prior, during, and after incarceration, to explainthe development of psychopathology and predict mental/behavioral outcomes, as well as identify riskfactors for recidivism.The current study is the first longitudinal examination to assess developmental changes in mental andbehavioral health throughout jail and in the community. This project will identify risk and protectivefactors that can be used to create interventions and programs, reducing the risk of recidivism. By learningmore about the context in which offenders must adapt, researchers can provide informedrecommendations to policy makers and increase safety in communities and jails.
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/14


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))

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