The current study sought to determine whether restrictive housing leads to psychological deterioration. A growth mixture modeling analysis of clinician ratings on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale identified two classes of participants in a sample of 266 state prison inmates: A large group of prisoners whose psychological status gradually improved over the course of a year and a small group of inmates whose psychological status deteriorated over the course of a year. Inmates with a history of mental health need were significantly more likely to experience severe psychological reactions to administrative segregation (AS) than inmates with no history of mental health need, although inmates with a history of mental health need were just as likely to experience severe psychological deterioration in general population as in AS. These results indicate that psychological deterioration in mentally ill inmates may have less to do with AS than with incarceration in general.
Checking the Math: Do Restrictive Housing and Mental Health Need Add Up to Psychological Deterioration?