Title

The Impact of Policy Reforms in Segregation at the Hampden County Jail and House of Corrections

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (Ph.D.)

Department

Criminal Justice

First Advisor

William M. Norton

Second Advisor

Maria Tcherni

Third Advisor

James J. Cassidy

LC Subject Headings

Prison discipline--Moral and ethical aspects, Prisons--Case studies, Hampden County (Mass.)--Prisons, University of New Haven

Call No. at the Univ. of New Haven Library

AS36.N290 Crim. Just. 2015 no.1

Abstract

Correctional facilities use segregation for disciplinary purposes and to separate the most violent, dangerous, and disruptive inmates from the staff and general inmate population. Throughout the history of corrections, there has been much concern regarding the negative psychological and social impacts segregation has on inmates. In addition, the United Nations, American Civil Liberties Union, and Istanbul Task Group have all discussed the ethical and moral concerns regarding the use of segregation and have made recommendations for improving segregation. Facilities are now starting to re-evaluate their segregation policies to improve the conditions of their segregation units and the Hampden County Jail and House of Corrections (HCJHOC) in Massachusetts is one of those facilities. This dissertation will discuss the history, conditions, impacts, and ethical concerns regarding the use of segregation and will evaluate the impact of policy changes introduced by the HCJHOC with the goal of improving the conditions of segregation. The current study uses an interrupted time-series research design to measure the impact of the policy changes on the population housed in segregation and the rates of inmate-on-inmate violence, inmate-on-staff violence, property damage, use of force and suicidal behavior in segregation. The study found that there was a significant reduction (48%) in the population housed in segregation and also found that there were not statistically significant reductions or increases in the rates of inmate-on-inmate violence, inmate-on-staff violence, use of force and suicidal behavior in segregation and the only increase was in the rates of property damage which could be contributed to the mixed effects of the policy changes and population composition changes. In addition, there were not any statistically significant increases in the rates of inmate-on- staff violence, property damage, use of force and suicidal behavior in the general prison population and the only increase was in the rates of inmate-on-inmate violence. The policy changes reduced the population in segregation without major increases in incidents in segregation and general population while also reducing the number of inmates exposed to the harmful conditions of segregation. Lastly, policy implications, limitations and directions for future studies are discussed.

Share

COinS