Incapacitation and Imprisonment: Prisoners’ Involvement in Community-based Crime.

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Wood, Jane L. ; Williams, Graham Ross ; James, Mark (2010)

The impact of incapacitation on prisoners’ offending behavior is a neglected area of research. The aim of this study was to examine the extent and nature of prisoners’ involvement in community-based crime in the U.K. Participants were selected from nine prisons in the UK and consisted of 360 prisoners, 81 females and 279 males. Offenders were interviewed to assess levels and forms of involvement in community-based crime and perceptions of other prisoners’ involvement. Levels of prisonization and institutional and demographic characteristics were used to identify vulnerability to involvement in community-based crime. Twenty-five percent of the sample admitted personal involvement and 63% reported other prisoners’ involvement in a diverse range of crimes. Analyses revealed prisoners involved in community-based crime are likely to be young, male recidivists who hold prisonized attitudes. Prisoners who are white, prisonized and recidivist reported highest levels of other prisoners’ involvement in community-based crime. No age or gender differences delineated prisoners’ reports of others’ involvement. The results show that incarcerating offenders may not prevent their involvement in community-based offending. Discussion centres on the characteristics of involved prisoners and considers the implications of the results for rehabilitation and penal policy.
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