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Examining Criminology Majors' and Non-Majors' Attitudes Toward Inmate Programs, Services, and Amenities

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies Volume: 20 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2007 Pages: 217-230
Christopher Hensley; Mary Koscheski; Richard Tewksbury
Date Published
September 2007
14 pages
Using data collected from 553 college students from a mid-sized southern State university, this study assessed students' attitudes toward 26 inmate programs, services, and amenities for minimum-security and maximum-security inmates, with attention to differences in the attitudes of criminology majors and other majors.
The students as a whole apparently supported the provision of most inmate amenities considered. Pervious research also showed that samples of the general public favored retaining most of the amenities listed for this study; however, the current study found differences among the students regarding which amenities should be provided to minimum-security and maximum-security inmates. On 21 of the 26 amenities assessed, students' responses showed statistically significant differences in what should be provided to minimum-security and maximum-security inmates. Criminology majors and nonmajors held similar attitudes toward minimum-security and maximum-security inmates' access to programs, services, and amenities. Differences were found on only 2 of the 26 programs, services, and amenities, i.e., legal assistance and condoms. Criminology students tended to be more liberal on these two issues than the other students. This suggests that increased knowledge about prison life and conditions for inmates increases support for their access to legal assistance and to protection from HIV/AIDS. Data were collected during the spring 2003 semester. Sociology and criminology faculty agreed to distribute self-administered questionnaires in their introductory and advanced courses. Of the 595 students who were asked to participate in the study, 553 completed questionnaires. 3 tables and 33 references