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Evaluating Change in Social Climate in a Close Security State Correctional Facility

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 34 Issue: 4 Dated: 2002 Pages: 71-84
J. Eugene Waters; William L. Megathlin
Date Published
14 pages
This study assessed changes in the social climate of a correctional facility by using the Correctional Institutions Environment Scale (CIES; Moos, 1987).
The assessment was conducted prior to and 22 months after the employment of correctional treatment personnel for the purpose of implementing numerous educational and rehabilitation programs. It focused on the impact of a change in program orientation on social climate at a "close" security, State-operated prison for adult male felons. Inmates lived in open dormitories and were assigned jobs within or outside the institution. The latter were "road" details under armed supervision. The CIES, which was used to measure the facility's social climate, is composed of 90 true-false statements in 9 subscales with 10 items each. Relationship dimensions are measured by the Involvement, Support, and Expressiveness subscales. The second three subscales -- Autonomy, Practical orientation, and Personal Problem orientation -- measure Treatment Program dimensions. The final three subscales, which are intended to measure System Maintenance dimensions, are Order and Organization, Clarity, and Staff Control. In the first testing, a random sample of 35 inmates, comprising 27 percent of the inmate population, completed the CIES, and a random sample of 61 inmates, representing 31 percent of the inmate population, participated in the second assessment of the correctional climate. The testing before and after the implementation of a battery of educational and rehabilitative programs found a significant change in inmates' perceptions of the institution's social climate. This indicates that the programs established changed inmates' experience of institutional life in positive ways and that the CIES is a useful evaluation tool. 2 tables and 63 references


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