Correctional Innovation: Working to Identify "Pockets of Excellence" from an Administrative Point of View

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Prisons contain the most marginalized members of society with regard to race, ethnicity and social class; the addition of a “special” classification (e.g., elderly, HIV positive, noncitizen) dramatically exacerbates their marginalized status. Varying widely in type, size, needs, and programming, special populations require unique, and often costly, management and care strategies. Decades of get-tough sentencing have resulted in exponential increases in correctional costs, with current state correctional budgets topping $52 billion (Pew, 2009). With widespread economic shortfalls in state budgets, it is fast becoming a struggle for prison administrators to provide basic food, housing, and medical care to their growing populations much less effective programming. The current project provides a comprehensive national assessment of management strategies for administratively identified high-risk specialized correctional populations and the programs and services in place to address their needs. Existing areas of promising correctional innovation were identified through in depth interviews with state correctional wardens culminating in an online survey sent to all state correctional institutions. Results will highlight administratively identified high-risk correctional populations and the current evidence-based strategies used to manage and treat such populations.


American Society of Criminology


Washington, DC.