Long-Term Incarceration Impacts and Characteristics of Long-Term Offenders: An Empirical Analysis

Doris Layton Mackenzie, Lynne Goodstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

The responses long-and short-term inmates make to incarceration and differences in the responses made by distinct subgroups were examined. Prison inmates in three large maximum security institutions reported their levels of stress (anxiety, depression, psychosomatic illnesses, fear), adjustment (prisonization), criminal history, self-esteem, and demographic characteristics. Inmates new to prison who anticipated serving long terms in prison were found to report higher levels of stress and lower self-esteem than did inmates who had already completed long terms in prison. Short-term inmates new to prison reported less depression and fewer psychosomatic illnesses in comparison to new inmates with long sentences. Distinct subgroups of long-term offenders (lifers versus habituals) could be identified on the basis of demographics and past history. However, these groups did not differ in stress, adjustment, or self-esteem. It was concluded that inmates who were new to prison but anticipated serving long sentences in prison experienced the most stress. Inmates who had received long sentences and had already served a lengthy time in prison appeared to have developed a method of coping with the experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-414
Number of pages20
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • Law

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