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Tell us how you Really Feel: Validating an Inmate Social Climate Survey

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Justice Dated: 2020
Melissa W. Burek; John C. Liederbach
Date Published
12 pages
This study examined the questionnaires used by the Ohio government agency that samples inmate perceptions, as well as procedures used to sample the inmates and administer the surveys, with the goal of determining the degree to which they accurately reflect inmate perceptions and the social climates of correctional institutions.
Correctional facilities have a discernible social climate, or collection of contextual properties that derive in part from the perceptions of inmates. These properties include the physical, organizational, social, and emotional characteristics of correctional institutions. Social climate directly influences the attitudes and behavior of inmates, their well-being, and prison management. The current study was conducted in association with the government agency that audits Ohio's prisons and youth facilities through site inspection visits and survey data. The study identified several problems related to survey construction and administration. The results suggest that the surveys are, to some degree, not measuring several important dimensions of the correctional environment and the experiences of inmates as intended. 35 references (publisher abstract modified)