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Jail Type and Inmate Behavior: A Longitudinal Analysis

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 61 Issue: 3 Dated: September 1997 Pages: 54-62
G J Bayens; J J Williams; J O Smykla
Date Published
9 pages
Research was conducted at a midwest county adult detention facility that made the transition from a traditional linear facility to a podular direct supervision facility to assess the impact of architectural design on inmate behavior.
Opened in March 1988, the building design and management orientation of the 220-bed podular direct supervision jail allows the classification and assignment of inmates to one of eight different housing units. Inmate supervision is considered direct and continuous as each housing area is staffed around the clock by correctional specialists who manage activities in a particular pod. All inmates are over 17 years of age, are formally processed into the facility, and are properly oriented to resident rules and behavior guidelines by trained correctional staff. In addition, jail employees receive the necessary training to understand the concepts and principles essential to operating and managing the new generation jail. A longitudinal analysis of the impact of the new generation jail on inmate behavior showed podular design coupled with proactive inmate behavior management reduced the number of staff reports of incidents involving inmate aggression and alleviated many deficiencies associated with the traditional jail. The direct supervision facility experienced an overall reduction in the frequency of staff reports of negative inmate behavior in 51 of 70 categories describing inmate rule infractions. Specifically, the number of assaults, sex offenses, attempted suicides, fires, weapon possessions, and escapes were dramatically reduced in the direct supervision jail. 16 references, 5 tables, and 3 figures