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Exploratory Study of Transactional Classification

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 23 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1986) Pages: 326-348
Date Published
23 pages
Correctional literature suggests that an interaction between individual needs and environmental demands and opportunities in determining inmate behavior in prison may exist. This research was undertaken to learn more about this phenomenon so new classification techniques could be developed to place individuals in specific prison settings.
In conducting these analyses, it was assumed that prisons operate under the dual goals of maintaining security and minimizing individual functional deterioration. Three dimensions -- individual, organizational, and transactional -- were hypothesized to be determinants of prison adjustment. All three were found to be related to outcome. Of particular significance was the empirical support for the hypothesis that the congruence of individual characteristics and the environment is important in determining outcome. After considering numerous possibilities, 10 two-way classification schemes were identified as potentially useful in reducing the number of adjustment problems inmates experience during incarceration. The Megargee MMPI typology was found to be the most useful scheme in differentiating individuals. Environments that were distinguished by their social stimulation, safety, support, and structure appeared to be the most important contextual variables. Based on the assessments of the schemes, it was projected that the occurrence of adjustment problems could be reduced by up to 36 percent. These figures suggest that transactional classification strategies are potentially useful in fostering institutional security and control and reducing individual deterioration in functional ability. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1986