Long-term incarceration of female offenders: Prison Adjustment and Coping

Doris Layton Mackenzie, James W. Robinson, Carol S. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The characteristics, adjustment, and coping of female offenders serving three types of prison sentences were compared: (1) newly entered inmates with short sentences, (2) newly entered inmates with long sentences, and (3) inmates with long sentences who had been incarcerated for a long term. Few differences were found among the groups in demographic characteristics and prior experience with the criminal justice system. The inmate groups did appear to experience different problems and to cope with their experiences in different manners. The newly entered inmates were more apt to be members of “play” families and they were more concerned about safety. The newly entered short termers reported less control of events in the environment. Those who had served long terms in prison reported more situational problems such as boredom, missing luxuries, and lack of opportunities. There were no differences in the groups in anxiety and coping problems. The results suggest that long-term incarceration for these offenders is associated with increased concern with realistic problems reflecting limitations of the environment, but not with deterioration or an inability to cope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-238
Number of pages16
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • Law


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