To maintain safety and order, some correctional settings permit the use of controls on youth in response to behavioral problems; however, use of controls may exacerbate trauma symptoms that many youth bring to the carceral experience. Data from the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement are used in this study (N = 7,073). Structural equation modeling was used to test three hypotheses: (a) youth with a history of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse report greater use of staff controls; (b) externalizing behaviors partially mediate this relationship; and (c) externalizing behavior and staff controls are mutually reinforcing. Findings suggest that youth with physical and sexual abuse histories experience greater staff controls. Externalizing behavior was a partial mediator and a reciprocal product of staff controls. Such findings warrant caution for institutional policies and staff practices that promote the use of control, and instead call for the use of trauma-informed responses to misbehavior.

Ashleigh I. Hodge, Jamie R. Yoder

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 44, Issue 10, 2017



The Relationship Between Abusive Experiences and Staff Controls in Juvenile Correctional Facilities: The Mediating Effects of Externalizing Behavior [2017]