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Density, Inmate Assaults, and Direct Supervision Jails

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 18 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 395-417
Christine Tartaro; Marissa P. Levy
Date Published
December 2007
23 pages
The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of density on the operation of direct supervision jails or new generation jails.
The measure of spatial density (inmates housed in the direct supervision part of the jail/direct supervision beds) was not correlated with the number of reported assaults against inmates or staff members, thus there was no support for the first hypothesis. The second hypothesis involved the relationship between social density and assaults. While the measures of social density were correlated with inmate-inmate assaults in a bivariate analysis, they did not remain significant when included in the multivariate models. This study adds to the literature that suggests little impact of density on reported violence in prisons and jails. The best predictor of inmate-inmate violence in this study was inmate-staff violence, and vice versa. Researchers have completed several studies on the effects of density on violence in prisons and jails, but little work has been done on density’s impact on direct supervision jails. Direct supervision jails, also known as new generation jails, were created by the Federal Bureau of Prisons with the goal of reducing violence, suicide, and disorder. Given the crowded conditions in most jails across the country, it is important to determine the impact, if any, that density has on the operations of these jails. This study analyzed the impact of density on assaults in nearly 150 direct supervision jails. Tables, note, references