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Psychological Classification of Adult Male Inmates in Federal Prison in Indiana, 1986-1988 (ICPSR 2370) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This data collection, conducted in a federal penitentiary and prison camp in Terre Haute, Indiana, between September 1986 and July 1988, was undertaken to examine the reliability and validity of psychological classification systems for adult male inmates. The classification systems tested were Warren's Interpersonal Maturity Level (I-level), Quay Adult Internal Management Systems (AIMS), Jesness Inventory, Megargee's MMPI-Based Prison Typology, and Hunt's Conceptual Level. The study sought to answer the following questions: (a) Which psychological classification systems or combination of systems could be used most effectively with adult populations? (b) What procedures (e.g., interview, paper-and-pencil test, staff assessment, or combination) would assure maximum efficiency without compromising psychometric precision? (c) What could the commonalities and differences among the systems reveal about the specific systems and about general classification issues pertinent to this population? and (d) How could the systems better portray the prison experience? The penitentiary was a low-maximum-security facility and the prison camp was a minimum-security one. A total of 179 penitentiary inmates and 190 camp inmates participated. The study employed both a pre-post and a correlational design. At intake, project staff members interviewed inmates, obtained social, demographic, and criminal history background data from administrative records and test scores, and then classified the inmates by means of an I-level diagnosis. Social and demographic data collected at intake included date of entry into the prison, age, race, marital status, number of dependents, education, recorded psychological diagnoses, occupation and social economic status, military service, evidence of problems in the military, ability to hold a job, and residential stability. Criminal history data provided include age at first nontraffic arrest, arrests and convictions, prison or jail sentences, alcohol or drug use, total number and kinds of charges for current offense, types of weapon and victims involved, co-offender involvement, victim-offender relationship, if the criminal activity required complex skills, type of conviction, and sentence length. T-scores for social maladjustment, immaturity, autism, alienation, manifest aggression, withdrawal, social anxiety, repression, and denial were also gathered via the Jesness Inventory and the MMPI. Interview data cover the inmates' interactions within the prison, their concerns about prison life, their primary difficulties and strategies for coping with them, evidence of guilt or empathy, orientation to the criminal label, relationships with family and friends, handling problems and affectivity, use of alcohol and drugs, and experiences with work and school. For the follow-up, the various types of assessment activities were periodically conducted for six months or until the inmate's release date, if the inmate was required to serve less than six months. Data collected at follow-up came from surveys of inmates, official reports of disciplinary infractions or victimizations, and prison staff assessments of inmates' prison adjustment and work performance. The follow-up surveys collected information on inmates' participation in treatment and educational programs, work absenteeism, health, victimization experiences and threats, awards, participation in aggressive, threatening, or other illegal activities, contact with family and friends, communication strategies, stress, sources of stress, and attitudes and beliefs about crime and imprisonment. Follow-up ratings by prison staff characterized the inmates on several clinical scales, according to each rater's global assessment of the interviewee. These characteristics included concern for others, role-taking abilities, assertiveness, inmate's relations with other inmates, authorities, and staff, verbal and physical aggressiveness, emotional control under stress, cooperativeness, need for supervision, response to supervision, maturity, behavior toward other inmates, and behavior toward staff.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

Dataset - Download All Files (10.3 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Van Voorhis, Patricia. PSYCHOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF ADULT MALE INMATES IN FEDERAL PRISON IN INDIANA, 1986-1988. ICPSR02370-v1. Cincinnati, OH: University of Cincinnati [producer], 1998. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02370.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (85-IJ-CX-0063)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   criminal histories, demographic characteristics, male offenders, offender classification, prison adjustment, prison inmates, prisons, psychological evaluation

Geographic Coverage:   Indiana, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1986--1988

Date of Collection:  

  • 1986--1988

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Adult male inmates in the federal penitentiary and federal prison camp in Terre Haute, Indiana, admitted from 1986 to 1988.

Data Types:   survey data, administrative records data, and clinical data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Website.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The research was conducted in response to a growing demand for sound methods for classifying prison populations in order to manage correctional facilities effectively and to reduce inmates' problem behavior. The classification systems tested were: (1) Warren's Interpersonal Maturity Level, (2) Jesness Inventory, (3) Hunt's Conceptual Level, (4) Megargee's MMPI-Based Prison Typology, and (5) the Quay Adult Internal Management System (AIMS). Although several classification systems had been developed, prior research had devoted insufficient attention to the reliability, validity, and utility of the systems. Moreover, most of the classifications were developed for juvenile correctional systems and had not been tested sufficiently with adult offenders. This study sought to answer the following questions: (a) Which psychological classification systems or combination of systems could be used most effectively with adult populations? (b) What procedures (e.g., interview, paper-and-pencil test, staff assessment, or combination) would assure maximum efficiency without compromising psychometric precision? (c) What could the commonalities and differences among the systems reveal about the specific systems and about general classification issues pertinent to this population? and (d) How could the systems better portray the prison experience?

Study Design:   This study, conducted in a federal penitentiary and federal prison camp in Terre Haute, Indiana, between September 1986 and July 1988, was undertaken to examine the reliability and validity of psychological classifications of adult male inmates. The penitentiary was a low-maximum-security facility and the prison camp was a minimum-security one. A total of 190 camp inmates and 179 penitentiary inmates participated. At the time of the study, inmates were assigned to institutions according to security criteria only and were not classified further within the institution. The study employed both a pre-post and a correlational design. At intake, project staff members interviewed inmates, collected social, demographic, and criminal history background data from administrative records and test scores, and then classified the inmates by means of an I-level diagnosis. For the follow-up, the various types of assessment activities were periodically conducted for six months or until the inmate's release date, if the inmate was required to serve less than six months.

Sample:   Random sampling.

Data Source:

personal interviews, self-enumerated questionnaires, prison records, psychological assessment tests, and ratings by project and prison staff

Description of Variables:   Background data collected at intake included social and demographic data prior to or at arrest, prior adult and juvenile records, current offenses, and arrest or conviction processing. Social and demographic data collected at intake included date of entry into the prison, age, race, marital status, number of dependents, education, recorded psychological diagnoses, occupation and social economic status, military service, evidence of problems in the military, ability to hold a job, and residential stability. Criminal history data provided include age at first nontraffic arrest, arrests and convictions, prison or jail sentences, alcohol or drug use, total number and kinds of charges for current offense, types of weapon and victims involved, co-offender involvement, victim-offender relationship, if the criminal activity required complex skills, type of conviction, and sentence length. T-scores of social maladjustment, immaturity, autism, alienation, manifest aggression, withdrawal, social anxiety, repression, and denial were also gathered via the Jesness Inventory and the MMPI. Interview data cover the inmates' interactions within the prison, their concerns about prison life, their primary difficulties and strategies for coping with them, evidence of guilt or empathy, orientation to the criminal label, relationships with family and friends, handling problems and affectivity, use of alcohol and drugs, and experiences with work and school. Data collected at follow-up came from surveys of inmates, official reports of disciplinary infractions or victimizations, and prison staff assessments of inmates' prison adjustment and work performance. The follow-up interviews collected information on inmates' participation in treatment and educational programs, work absenteeism, health, victimization experiences and threats, awards, participation in aggressive, threatening, or other illegal activities, contact with family and friends, communication strategies, stress, sources of stress, and attitudes and beliefs about crime and imprisonment. Follow-up ratings by prison staff characterized the inmates on several clinical scales, according to each rater's global assessment of the interviewee. These characteristics included concern for others, role-taking abilities, assertiveness, inmate's relations with other inmates, authorities, and staff, verbal and physical aggressiveness, emotional control under stress, cooperativeness, need for supervision, response to supervision, maturity, behavior toward other inmates, and behavior toward staff.

Response Rates:   The response rates were 76 percent for penitentiary inmates and 83 percent for camp inmates. Computation of the response rates was based on the ratio of inmates interviewed to inmates asked to participate.

Presence of Common Scales:   Quay Adult Internal Management System (AIMS), Megargee's MMPI-Based Prison Typology, Warren's Interpersonal Maturity Level (I-Level), Hunt's Conceptual Level, and the Jesness Inventory.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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