Academic Research

Strengthening Correctional Culture: Eight Ways Corrections Leaders Can Support Their Staff To Reduce Recidivism

Every organization struggles with change. Fostering a culture that supports change in a corrections organization can be particularly challenging. Staff require strong leadership, structure, and clear policies and practices that help them succeed at their jobs. When any one of those factors changes, it is not unusual to see reactions ranging from mild anxiety to rigid resistance.

Dying Inside: To End Deaths of Despair, Address the Crisis in Local Jails

Individuals entering jails and other correctional settings are more likely to have a chronic health condition or infectious disease, resulting in an increased risk to their physical health and well-being while incarcerated. A close look at statistics from local jails demonstrates that, far from being a safe haven from these converging crises, a failure to prioritize implementation of adequate policies and protocols addressing these issues in many local jails are fueling these crises for the individuals inside and everyone in our communities

Availability of best practices for opioid use disorder in jails and related training and resource needs: findings from a national interview study of jails in heavily impacted counties in the U.S.

Jails are optimal settings in which to screen individuals for opioid use disorders (OUD) and provide needed services, especially medications for OUD (MOUD). This study sought to assess the availability of OUD “best practices” in jails located in counties heavily impacted by opioid overdose in the U.S. and their related training and resource needs.

Addressing Trauma in Women’s Prisons

The number of incarcerated women increased by more than 750% from 1980 through 2017, with women of color being disproportionately incarcerated at 1.3 (for Hispanic women) to 2 (for Black women) times the rate of white women in 2017. Incarcerated women are more likely to experience a range of violence and other victimizations, as well as other traumatic experiences, prior to being incarcerated. All play a major role in their pathways to involvement with the criminal justice system. Furthermore, incarcerated women are more likely to experience victimization while incarcerated.

Mental Health Identification Practices of Jails: The Unmet Needs of the “Silent” Population: Special Issue: Criminal Justice and Community Psychology: Our Values and Our Work.

The overrepresentation of individuals with mental illness in the criminal/legal system is well documented. While professional associations urge diversion towards treatment, little is known about the practices these institutions use to identify this population. One understudied space in the criminal/legal continuum is jails. This exploratory study compares two types of mental health identification at jail booking to assess jail- and community-based service outcomes by identification type (N = 2956): (a) staff observation and (b) a standardized screening instrument. Individuals identified through staff observation were significantly more likely to receive jail- and community-based services, even though current symptomology and substance misuse were both significantly higher for individuals identified only by the screening instrument. These findings point to the importance of jails in providing stabilizing services during incarceration, but further, show the impact that identification practices have on individuals as they transition to the community. Community context showed varied rates of jail staff observations of mental illness, showing greater risks for individuals in rural communities. Implications include a need for system-level changes by instituting evidence-based identification practices in jails, and improving professional collaboration practices between mental health and criminal/legal practitioners as individuals enter and exit jails.

The Realities of Pregnancy and Mothering While Incarcerated

The United States has the second highest rate of incarcerating women internationally, second only to Thailand. In recent decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the U.S. correctional population, and women are a rapidly growing segment of this population. In the United States, 64.6 women per 100,000 are incarcerated, with the highest rate of 142 per 100,000 occurring in Oklahoma.4 Most women who are incarcerated are within their reproductive years, and many women are pregnant at reception.

Beyond Estelle: Medical Rights for Incarcerated Patients

Like most other individuals, prisoners sometimes need medical attention for ailments, injuries and diseases. However, there appears to be a misconception about prisoners’ medical rights among physicians, medical administrators, prison and jail staff, and law enforcement officials. This article will review some of the medical rights and court rulings that are pertinent to prisoners, including issues such as medical decision-making, medical information privacy, force-feeding and forcible medical procedures.

Crisis Intervention Team Training in a Correctional Setting: Examining Compliance, Mental Health Referrals, and Use of Force

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model was developed as a specialized police-based program in which officers are trained to safely interact with individuals with mental illnesses. In 2011, the Minnesota Department of Corrections adapted this program for corrections. This study compares prison incidents involving CIT officers to a comparison sample of non-CIT incidents on a number of outcomes, including gaining compliance from people in custody (either immediately or as an incident unfolds), making mental health referrals, and using force against people in custody. We conducted a content analysis of reports describing 500 incidents in an all-male, maximum security prison and estimated multivariate binary logistic models
to control for characteristics of situations, incarcerated people, and employees. The findings provide some support for implementing CIT training in a correctional setting, but some less encouraging results show that improvements to the program are
still needed

Self-injury and the embodiment of solitary confinement among adult men in Louisiana prisons

This study summarizes the historical evolution of solitary confinement, recaps its linkages to self-injury and suicidality, and offers a theoretical framework grounded in ecosocial theory, and supplemented with concepts from theories of dehumanization and carceral geography.