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Evaluation of Close Supervision Centres

NCJ Number
Emma Clare; Keith Bottomley
Date Published
197 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of an evaluation of Great Britain's system of Close Supervision Centres (CSC's), which manage disruptive prisoners through a variety of incentives and earned privileges.
The published aims of the CSC's are the removal of the most seriously disruptive prisoners from mainstream prisons; the safe containment of these prisoners in small highly supervised units; provision of opportunities to address antisocial disruptive behavior; stabilization of prisoner behavior and preparation for a safe return to the mainstream; and the long-term containment of those who continue to pose a serious threat to the safety of staff and prisoners. The evaluation found that the 51 prisoners managed by the CSC system in its first 2 years had clearly caused serious disruption in the general prison population, so the selection process has apparently been successful in identifying the targeted inmate population. Also, there has apparently been a reduction in the disruptive behavior of a majority of CSC prisoners following transfer to CSC's. Although two CSC's have facilitated positive interaction between staff and prisoners, two CSC's have thus far largely failed to achieve this objective, partly because of a lack of an effective assessment system to indicate the individual and group work that should be done with the prisoners, as well as because of a failure to recognize that addressing mental health needs is an essential requirement for countering antisocial behavior. There is evidence that the behavior of perhaps one-third of CSC prisoners may have been stabilized to some extent during their time in the CSC's. The long-term containment of high-risk prisoners has not been achieved with two groups of prisoners: those whose aggressive noncompliance has undermined the central concept of progression and those whose assessed risk was too great for them to be returned to the mainstream inmate population. Evaluation recommendations pertain to underlying assumptions and principles of the CSC's, assessment and case management, differential regimes, long-term containment of high-risk prisoners, and future prospects for the prevention of disruptive behavior. 10 tables, 12 references, and appended policy and practice in the management of disruptive prisoners and the special handling of difficult prisoners in comparative context