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Place of Punishment: Variation in the Provision of Inmate Services Staff Across the Punitive Turn

NCJ Number
239690
Journal
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 40 Issue: 5 Dated: September/October 2012 Pages: 348-357
Author(s)
Michelle S. Phelps
Date Published
October 2012
Length
10 pages
Annotation

This study examined how the provision of correctional staff dedicated to inmate services changed between the years 1979 and 2005.

Abstract

The study examined how the provision of correctional staff dedicated to inmate services varied across two factors, time and place, between the years 1979 and 2005. The study's findings reveal that during the 1990s and 2000s, correctional facilities saw a substantial decline in the inmate services staff ratio, from 66 staff members per 1,000 inmates in 1990 to 47 staff members per 1,000 inmates in 2005. In addition, the study found variations in inmate services staff ratios across States and regions, with facilities in the Northeast maintaining higher staff ratios than facilities in the South. The data show that between 1979 and 2005, median staff ratios declined in the Northeast from 99 to 63 per 1,000 inmates, followed by the Midwest (from 82 to 54), the West (from 73 to 47), and the South (from 50 to 30). The changes in State staffing ratios are also included in the study. Data for the study were obtained from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities for the years 1979, 1984, 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005. Census questions focused on facility staffing levels were examined to determine changes in the levels across time and place. The findings suggest that variations across States and regions are related to differences in prison crowding, the political cultures of the States and regions, and the racial composition of the inmates. Study limitations are discussed. Figures, notes, and references

Date Published: October 1, 2012