The psychological impact of solitary: A longitudinal comparison of general population and long-term administratively segregated male inmates

Carly D. Chadick, Ashley B. Batastini, Samuel J. Levulis, Robert D. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study expands upon existing research on the psychological impact of administrative segregation on inmates by addressing several methodological limitations in this body of literature. Methods: Using a pre–post design, this study compared male general population (GP) inmates in the United States to those with up to 4 years in segregated placement across scores on the MCMI-III. Results: While segregated inmates reported higher levels of distress (particularly on measures of anxiety, depressed mood, post-traumatic stress, and somatic complaints) compared to the GP at post-assessment, scores did not reach the clinical cut-off. Further, inmates generally did not deteriorate as time in restrictive housing increased. Conclusions: Thus, compared to the GP, who showed some improvement in functioning, segregated inmates remained largely the same. Rather than causing significant psychological damage, it is more likely that segregation is a barrier to opportunities for continued growth. Study limitations and recommendations for reforms in the use of segregation are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages16
JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Keywords

  • administrative segregation
  • mental health
  • psychological impairment
  • solitary confinement

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