The Effects of Restrictive Housing on the Psychological Functioning of Inmates – 2018-01-05

The use of restrictive housing as a correctional management tool has received much attention in recent years, especially as it impacts psychological functioning. While there is considerable literature advocating for the reduced use of restrictive housing, much of it is based on opinions, interview data, and testimonials. This article reviews only the empirical evidence regarding the effects of restrictive housing on psychological functioning in actual correctional settings. Results of this review indicate that only a limited number of empirical studies examine the effects of restrictive housing on mental functioning in correctional settings. Findings from these studies are mixed and are fraught with definitional, geographic, and methodological problems. These problems are identified and discussed. Also, suggestions are made for future research directions to more clearly understand the effects of restrictive housing on psychological functioning.

J. Hunter Astor, MS, Thomas J. Fagan, PhD, CCHP-MH, David Shapiro, PhD
Journal of Correctional Health Care, January 5, 2018