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Youth Under 18 Years Old in Adult Prisons in the United States, 1997 (ICPSR 2813) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This survey of departments of corrections in the United States was undertaken to provide correctional staff with design, implementation, and management strategies to meet the needs of prisoners under the age of 18. The study examined what happens when individuals under age 18 are placed in adult correctional facilities, and explored the ways in which departments of corrections are attempting to deal with the growing population of youthful inmates. The following three objectives were the focus of this study: (1) to describe the number of incarcerated youths (at time of admission) being held in the nation's prison system, (2) to examine the different methods being used to house inmates under 18 years old, and (3) to explore different management approaches used with youthful inmates in terms of the size of the prison system and the area of the country in which they were located. For this study, respondents in 51 departments of corrections (50 states and the District of Columbia) were contacted by telephone regarding survey questions that were mailed prior to the phone interviews. The survey contained five questions concerning current practices for handling offenders under the age of 18 who had been placed in adult correctional institutions. Data were collected on the method used to house underaged inmates and the size of each system's population of inmates under 18 years old. Subsequently, the method and size data were combined to form categories describing four management approaches for dealing with offenders under the age of 18 in adult prisons: (1) separated/big, (2) separated/little, (3) integrated/big, and (4) integrated/little. Demographic variables include the population size and region (Northeast, South, Midwest, or West) of each jurisdiction, as well as the number and proportion of offenders under 18 years old within each state. Also present in the file is the location and name of the facility with the largest under-18 population in each jurisdiction.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

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Documentation:
Data:

Study Description

Citation

Levinson, Robert B. YOUTH UNDER 18 YEARS OLD IN ADULT PRISONS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1997. ICPSR version. Lanham, MD: American Correctional Association [producer], 1998. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02813.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (97-IJ-CX-0024)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   correctional facilities (adults), corrections management, imprisonment, juvenile inmates

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1997

Date of Collection:  

  • 1997

Unit of Observation:   Departments of corrections.

Universe:   Adult correctional facilities in the United States and the District of Columbia that housed offenders under the age of 18.

Data Types:   census/enumeration data, and survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instrument 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 through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   As the size of the incarcerated population continues to grow, so does the total number of incarcerated youths under the age of 18. Both current research and a recently completed survey by the American Correctional Association (ACA) indicate that there is an increasing number of youth offenders under the age of 18 being confined in adult correctional facilities. This growing population brings new responsibilities for staff in adult prisons. As more juveniles are being sentenced to adult correctional facilities, not much is known about how the adult authorities are dealing with this population. In an effort to provide correctional staff with design, implementation, and management strategies to meet the needs of prisoners under the age of 18, this study examined what happens when individuals under 18 years old are placed in adult correctional facilities, and explored the ways in which departments of corrections are attempting to deal with the growing population of youthful inmates. The following three objectives were the focus of this study: (1) to describe the number of incarcerated youths (at time of admission) being held in the nation's prison systems, (2) to examine the different methods being used to house inmates under 18 years old, and (3) to explore the different management approaches used with youthful inmates in terms of the size of the prison system and area of the country in which they were located.

Study Design:   For this study respondents in 51 departments of corrections (50 states and the District of Columbia) were interviewed by telephone. A letter explaining the project's purpose, along with a one-page survey, was first mailed to all of the agencies. Ten days later, all 51 jurisdictions were telephoned and asked to respond to the survey questions. The survey contained five questions concerning current practices for handling offenders under the age of 18 who had been placed in adult correctional institutions. Prior to data analyses, the information received from the nation's 51 jurisdictions was subdivided along two dimensions: the method the correctional facility used for handling its inmates under the age of 18 (either separated or integrated), and the size of the system (big or small). Four methods used to manage the youthful offenders were categorized as follows: (1) correctional facility placing offenders in administrative segregation until they reached aged 18, (2) underaged offenders kept in a separate institution that housed only under-18-year-old offenders, (3) under-18-year-old offenders housed together with other young offenders, in one (or more) units within a facility that also held offenders older than age 18, and (4) offenders under the age of 18 integrated into the correctional facility's general population, where housing was assigned for all inmates regardless of age. This study grouped together methods 1 through 3 and labeled them as "separated," while method 4 defined an "integrated" management approach. The size of a correctional facility's system was determined by ranking each of the 51 jurisdictions by their number of inmates, as of December 1997. Those with more prisoners than the median were considered "big" systems and those with less than the median were deemed "little." This categorization was designed to allow researchers to study four management approaches for dealing with offenders under the age of 18 in adult prisons: (1) separated/big, (2) separated/little, (3) integrated/big, and (4) integrated/little.

Data Source:

telephone interviews and a census of state departments of corrections

Description of Variables:   Demographic variables include the population size and region (Northeast, South, Midwest, or West) of each jurisdiction, as well as the number and proportion of under-18-year-old offenders within each state housed in an adult correctional facility. Also present in the file is the location and name of the facility with the largest population of inmates under age 18. Additionally, each jurisdiction was asked whether they would be willing to participate further in an on-site interview.

Response Rates:   The response rate for the telephone surveys was 100 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

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.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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