The Influence of Prison Staff on Inmate Conditions: A Multilevel Approach to Staff and Inmate Surveys



The current study connects survey data of inmates and correctional staff in the Dutch prison system in order to describe and explain the impact of staff orientation and staff working conditions on perceived prison circumstances of inmates. Importation and deprivation theory are combined to test an integrated model to explain perceived prison conditions. By surveying staff (N = 1750) and inmates (N = 4673) independently within the same period of time and by afterwards pairing the results on the level of the housing unit (N = 173) using multilevel techniques, it is found that inmates´ perceptions of the prison conditions vary considerably between housing units. It is also found that staff’s perceptions of prison conditions show congruency with those of inmates. Another important finding is that in housing units where the orientation of staff towards inmates is relatively supportive, inmates perceive their circumstances as more positive. Conclusions and directions for further research are provided.


Deprivation Importation Prison conditions of inmates Prison staff orientation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of Security and Justice, WODCDen Haagthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Maastricht University, Maastricht & WODCDen Haagthe Netherlands

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