Breaking the rules: Using theories of deprivation and importation to analyze inmate behavior
Early penologists argued that environmental characteristics of prisons were entirely responsible for inmate behavior; this deprivation theory led to the importation argument that inmate characteristics were responsible for determining behavior in prison. The marrying of these theories has led criminologists to recognize that both inmate and prison characteristics are important to understand inmate behavior and adjustment. To explore the impact of these characteristics, a multilevel model of inmate behavior was conducted. In this research, two secondary datasets were examined: at the prison-level, the Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities 2000, and at the inmate-level, the 1997 Survey of Prison Inmates, both collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used to analyze the data. The findings indicate that there is very little variation across prisons, and characteristics of the inmates are more significant in determining prison behavior than the characteristics of the prison. The theoretical and methodological implications of these results are discussed.