A theme emerging from the extant research on prison misconduct is that levels of misconduct vary significantly across facility environments, and management practices contribute heavily to these differences. Related to management practices are issues regarding how inmates are supervised, how staff and administrators handle incidents of misconduct, and how inmates perceive the handling of these incidents. From a normative perspective, this last issue might be linked to the odds of subsequent misconduct via inmate (dis)respect toward authority. Using data collected from surveys of inmates and correctional officers, along with official records and administrator interviews, this study examines these processes within and across the 32 adult correctional facilities in Ohio. The findings should contribute to the existing knowledge by developing more properly specified models of inmate behaviors than have previously been offered, with more careful consideration paid to different theoretical perspectives. Some of the broader impacts of the study are (a) to offer a unique and rigorous contribution to the theoretical debate over the relative importance of individual versus environmental effects on inmate behaviors, (b) whether related observations are conditioned by analyses of self-report versus official measures of inmate behavior, (c) to inform correctional practice in Ohio, and (d) to provide results that should be generalizeable to other jurisdictions.
Toward these ends, the researchers will focus on all surveyed inmates from 32 facilities in Ohio and pursue three stages of analysis. In stage one, they will examine the relative effects of inmate characteristics on their odds of engaging in personal crimes, property crimes, drug crimes, or general rule violations. Analyses will be conducted to explore whether the effects vary significantly across facilities, what are the relative effects of facility characteristics on misconduct rates across prisons, and what are the effects of inmate characteristics on the odds of misconduct differ across facilities based on differences in particular facility characteristics. In Stage two, the researchers will examine the relative effects of formal responses to misconduct versus inmate characteristics on inmate perceptions of fairness regarding the processing and sanctioning of their misconduct. Analyses will be conducted to explore whether the effects vary significantly across facilities, and identify the effects of facility characteristics on levels of inmate (dis)satisfaction with procedures and sanctions for misconduct. In addition, the reseasrchers will investigate whether inmate effects on their perceptions of fairness in treatment differ across facilities based on differences in particular facility characteristics, and whether racial and/or gender disparities exist in the detection, processing and sanctioning of inmate misconduct exist within Ohio correctional facilities. Finally, in stage three, the researchers will study the relative effects of formal responses to misconduct versus inmate characteristics on the odds of subsequent self-reported misconduct. Analyses will be performed to investigate the relative effects of formal responses to misconduct versus inmate characteristics on the odds of subsequent officially detected misconduct.