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Validating Prison Security Classification Instruments in Hawaii, 1984-1985 (ICPSR 9921)

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a reliable and accurate method for measuring the effectiveness of offender classification systems to improve the management of correctional facilities. In the early 1980s, the state of Hawaii began classifying its prisoners with a newly developed Federal Bureau of Prisons classification instrument. This study was designed to develop a method to evaluate this form. Two prediction models were used. The first, initial classification, used the sum of four variables to arrive at a security score, which was taken to be predictive of violence. The second, reclassification, used the sum of seven different variables to obtain a custody total, which was then used as a major determinant of reclassification. Two groups of inmates were used: inmates who had committed infractions and inmates with no reported infractions. Research variables include (a) initial classification: offense (severity), expected length of incarceration (sentence), type of prior commitments, and history of violence, and (b) reclassification: percentage of time served, involvement with drugs/alcohol, mental/psychological stability, most serious disciplinary report, frequency of disciplinary reports, responsibility that the inmate demonstrated, and family/community ties. In addition, the collection supplies information on race and sex of inmates, sentence limitation, history of escapes or attempts, previous infractions, entry, reclassification, and termination dates (month and year), and custody level. There are demographic variables for sex and race. The unit of observation is the inmate.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS1:  Prisoner Data - Download All Files (0.3 MB)
DS2:  SAS Data Definition Statements - Download All Files (0 MB)
Data:

ASCII + SAS Setup

Study Description

Citation

Downs, George W., and David M. Rocke. VALIDATING PRISON SECURITY CLASSIFICATION INSTRUMENTS IN HAWAII, 1984-1985. Davis, CA: University of California, Department of Political Science [producer], 1985. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1993. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09921.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (84-IJ-CX-0029)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   corrections management, criminal histories, criminality prediction, imprisonment, inmate classification, prison inmates, prison security, program evaluation

Geographic Coverage:   Hawaii, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1984--1985

Date of Collection:  

  • 1984--1985

Unit of Observation:   Inmates at the Hawaii State Prison.

Universe:   All prison inmates in the Hawaii State Prison (now the Oahu Community Correctional Center).

Data Types:   administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

For further information users should refer to the final report, which is available from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the clearinghouse for the National Institute of Justice.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a reliable and accurate method for measuring the effectiveness of offender classification systems to improve the management of correctional facilities. In the early 1980s, the state of Hawaii began classifying its prisoners with a newly developed Federal Bureau of Prisons classification instrument. The goal of this study was to estimate the validity of this new classification instrument using Cox's Proportional Hazards model. The results were then compared to a more traditional statistical procedure to demonstrate the advantage of the new method in predicting violence. Two prediction models, one at intake and one after six months in prison, were used to evaluate the difference between the traditional and the new methods. The first model, initial classification (security total), used the sum of four variables and was the only method that would be used for classification purposes for the first six months. This security total was taken to be predictive of violence. After this time, the reclassification prediction model (custody total) was applied, using the sum of seven different variables. This custody total variable was used as a major determinant of reclassification. The two groups of inmates used were (1) infractors, all inmates who had committed an act of violence while in the institution from 1977 to September 1980, and (2) noninfractors, a sample selected from the group of individuals who did not commit major violations during the time period.

Study Design:   Two inmate samples were drawn from the Hawaii State Prison case files. The infractors group was composed of 57 inmates who had committed an act of violence while in the institution. A noninfractors group of 106 inmates was selected from the individuals who had not committed a major violation during their incarceration. For the infractors, a classification form was filled out for the semiannual evaluation period immediately preceding each incident, and for the evaluation period after the last incident. For the noninfractors, one form was filled out for the semiannual evaluation period immediately preceding the sampled time. The variable SECTOT (the sum of the four initial classification variables) was the major predictor of violence and was used to fit a proportional hazards model to predict the initial incident of violence. In addition, a stepwise analysis was run using the original variables rather than the SECTOT variable as a further check.

Sample:   Two samples of prison inmates were used, one group of 57 inmates who had committed infractions and another group of 106 inmates who had no reported infractions.

Data Source:

Hawaii State Prison (now called the Oahu Community Correctional Center)

Description of Variables:   Research variables include (a) initial classification: offense (severity), expected length of incarceration (sentence), type of prior commitments, and history of violence, and (b) reclassification: percentage of time served, involvement with drugs/alcohol, mental/psychological stability, most serious disciplinary report, frequency of disciplinary reports, responsibility that the inmate demonstrated, and family/community ties. In addition, the collection supplies information on race and sex of inmates, sentence limitation, history of escapes or attempts, previous infractions, entry, reclassification, and termination dates (month and year), and custody level.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   None

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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