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Psychopathology, trauma, and psychopathy as predictors of solitary confinement

27 July 2012


The purpose of the present study was to examine whether psychopathology (schizophrenia, paranoia, and depression), trauma (child and adult abuse), and psychopathy could successfully predict placement in solitary confinement. Previous research suggests that these factors are associated with a high rate of disciplinary infractions and/or violence among inmates and this behavior jeopardizes prison order. These inmates are usually placed in solitary confinement, which can have detrimental effects. There were 152 male inmates included in the present study who were randomly selected at intake from Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. Data were collected through a variety of assessments and prison records regarding psychopathology, trauma history, and psychopathy as predictor variables and disciplinary infractions and solitary confinement as criterion variables. The results indicated that only psychopathy could significantly predict placement in solitary confinement. Neither psychopathology nor trauma history was significantly related to placement in solitary confinement. Limitations of the study include limited generalizations to racial minorities and attrition/missing data. Future research suggestions include expanding treatment for psychopathy, and the relationship between psychopathology, trauma, psychopathy and placement in solitary confinement.


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