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A Survey of Minnesota Prison Inmates

First published in 1994

Jane F. Gilgun

Kay Pranis

Richard C. Ericson

This study identified risk and protective factors in the lives of Minnesota prison inmates
during their teenage years. Compared to non-inmate samples, prison inmates were far less likely to talk to
others about their problems and find that it helped, but they did not differ from non-inmates in believing that
their parents loved them. We outline strategies for prevention. At the end of this document is a reading list of
articles that the first author wrote during the 15 years since she was the principal investigator of this study.

About the Authors

Jane F. Gilgun, Ph.D., LICSW, is a professor, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities,
USA. See Professor Gilgun’s related articles, children’s stories, and books on Amazon Kindle,
scribd.com/professorjane, and stores.lulu.com/jgilgun. In 1994, when this research took place, Jane Gilgun
was the principal investigator, Kay Pranis was director of research, Minnesota Council on Crime and Justice,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and Richard C. Ericson was president of the Minnesota Council on Crime
and Justice. The Minnesota State Legislature funded this study.

2
Two
Boys,
Similar
Backgrounds:


One
Goes
to
Prison
and
one
Does
Not:
Why?


P

icture
 two
 boys
 growing
 up
 in
 the
 same
 neighborhood.
 Both
 are
 10,
 live
 in
 middle‐class

neighborhoods,
are
intelligent,
and
witnessed
their
fathers
beating
their
mothers.
Their
fathers

beat
both
of
them.
Both
experienced
sexual
abuse.
The
person
who
sexually
abused
Rob
was
his

father.
The
person
who
sexually
abused
Marty
was
an
older
kid
in
the
neighborhood.


One
will
grow
into
responsible
adulthood:
optimistic,
a
loving
husband
and
father,
and
a
dependable

employee.
The
other
will
become
a
prison
inmate.


What
creates
the
difference
in
these
two
lives?


Rob:
Trust
in
Others


Rob
confided
in
a
friend
named
Pete
when
his
father
beat
him
and
when
he
had
worries
about
school,

friendships,
and
money.

He
learned
from
Pete’s
father
how
to
fix
electronic
equipment.
He
tried
to
be

like
 his
 friend’s
 father.
 
 He
 liked
 school
 and
 enjoyed
 playing
 with
 other
 kids
 at
 school
 and
 in
 the

neighborhood


As
Rob
grew
older,
his
circle
of
friends
widened.
He
developed
hopes
and
dreams
for
the
future.

He

kept
a
diary
where
he
recorded
secret
stuff
about
his
troubles
in
his
family,
his
feelings
for
girls,
and

how
his
day
went.
He
got
drunk
at
a
party
when
he
was
16
and
didn’t
like
the
feeling
of
being
out
of

control.
After
that
he
drank
only
occasionally,
and
not
too
much.


As
a
young
adult,
Rob
sought
professional
help
for
his
feelings
of
anger,
sadness,
and
frustration
about

the
abuse
he
experienced
as
a
child.


Marty:
Broken
Trust


Marty,
 at
 the
 age
 of
 eight,
 confided
 in
 a
 teacher
 that
 his
 father
 beat
 him.
 He
 also
 wanted
 to
 tell
 the

teacher
about
the
older
boy
in
the
neighborhood
who
sexually
abused
him,
but
he
thought
he
would

wait
to
see
how
the
teacher
handled
the
news
of
his
physical
abuse.
The
teacher
called
his
father,
who

said
he
had
never
beaten
Marty.
When
Marty
got
home
from
school,
his
father
beat
him
for
telling
the

teacher.


Marty
never
confided
in
anyone
again.
Instead,
he
tried
to
be
tough,
like
men
he
saw
in
video
games

and
on
TV.
They
didn’t
feel
hurt
or
helpless.

They
took
what
they
wanted.

They
were
in
charge.



By
the
age
of
10,
Marty
was
stealing
from
stores
and
harassing
other
children,
physically
and
sexually.


He
 was
 doing
 poorly
 in
 school
 At
 11,
 he
 joined
 a
 group
 who
 stole
 and
 sometimes
 attacked
 others,

vandalized
property,
and
used
alcohol
and
drugs.
Marty
told
himself
he
was
having
fun.


At
14,
Marty
was
in
a
juvenile
correctional
center.
Five
years
later,
he
was
convicted
and
sentenced
to

12
years
in
prison
for
criminal
sexual
conduct.



3
Similar
Risks,
Different
Outcomes


As
 children,
 Rob
 and
 Marty
 were
 both
 at
 risk
 for
 committing
 violent
 acts.
 
 One
 had
 on‐going

relationships
with
people
he
trusted
and
in
whom
he
confided
personal,
sensitive
information.
Doing

so
helped
him
feel
better.
Positive
experiences
and
relationships
were
protective
factors.


Marty
had
some
protective
factors,
but
a
pile‐up
of
risk
factors
overwhelmed
them.
His
life
might
have

been
far
different
had
there
been
early
and
effective
responses
to
his
report
of
physical
abuse
at
home.

Resilience


Many
people
have
risks
for
outcomes
like
Marty’s,
but
most
people
with
these
risks
turn
out
like
Rob

because
 they
 have
 many
 positive
 factors
 in
 their
 lives
 that
 they
 use
 to
 help
 them
 work
 through
 the

effects
of
these
risks.


Such
 people
 are
 resilient,
 meaning
 they
 have
 learned
 to
 cope
 with,
 adapt
 to,
 or
 overcome
 risks,

because
they
use
the
positive
things
in
their
lives.
Rob,
for
instance,
trusted
Pete
and
Pet’s
family.
He

gained
a
sense
of
self‐worth
through
his
close
relationships
with
them.



He
 never
 sexually
 abused
 anyone,
 and
 at
 a
 party
 when
 he
 was
 a
 teen,
 he
 stopped
 another
 boy
 from

raping
a
girl
who
had
had
too
much
to
drink.
“He
might
have
put
something
in
her
drink,”
Rob
said.




Other
people
are
not
resilient.

In
Marty’s
case,
he
made
a
decision
early
in
life
never
to
trust
anyone

else.

He
was
far
too
young
to
understand
the
consequences
of
his
decision.


When
we
look
at
the
numbers
of
children
who
are
hurt
and
afraid,
what
can
each
of
us
do
to
help
these

children
build
the
trust
required
to
begin
to
deal
with
the
difficult
events
in
their
lives?


Bridge­Building


Only
trained
professionals
can
provide
hurt
children
with
the
extensive
help
they
require,
but
people

can
become
bridges
for
hurt
children,
bridges
that
lead
to
safe
and
secure
relationships
with

competent
professionals
who
can
help
children
deal
with
the
harsh
realities
in
their
lives.


In
 the
 best
 of
 all
 worlds,
 the
 children’s
 parents
 will
 walk
 with
 their
 children
 across
 that
 bridge
 to

professional
help.
When
parents
cannot
do
this,
then
their
children
will
have
a
tougher
time,
but
they

may
be
lucky
as
Rob
was
and
find
a
network
of
people
who
will
care
about
them
and
stick
with
them

over
the
long
term.


The
Present
Study


This
study
identified
risk
and
protective
factors
in
the
lives
of
Minnesota
prison
inmates
during

their
adolescence.

We
compared
the
inmates
on
key
risk
and
protections
with
three
other
groups:
1)
a

sample
 of
 800
 randomly
 chosen
 Minnesota
 adults,
 2)
 a
 sample
 of
 adolescent
 offenders,
 and
 3)
 a

sample
of
36,000
Minnesota
adolescents
from
the
general
population.

These
comparisons
helped
us

seem
more
clearly
what
distinguishes
inmates
from
persons
who
are
not
inmates.


Social
 policy
 and
 preventive
 programming
 can
 be
 built
 upon
 the
 principles
 of
 increasing

protections
and
decreasing
risks.

4
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


This
report
is
made
possible
by
funding
authorized
by
the
Minnesota
State
Legislature
to
assess

experiential
and
environmental
factors
in
the
lives
of
Minnesota
inmates.

Senators
Ellen
Anderson

and
Jane
Ranum
were
the
authors
of
the
legislation
and
the
project’s
leading
advocates.


The
Department
of
Corrections
was
commissioned
to
administer
the
study.

The
Department’s

cooperation
and
counsel
made
possible
an
extensive
survey
of

Minnesota
prison
inmates
which

provides
the
central
data
base
for
this
study.


United
Way
of
Minneapolis
Area,
the
University
of
Minnesota,
and
Norwest
Corporation
contributed

significant
resources
that
made
it
possible
to
incorporate
additional
research
and
evaluation
required

for
this
report.


The
study
and
preparation
of
the
report
were
directed
by
the
Minnesota
Citizens
Council
on
Crime
and

Justice
in
collaboration
with
the
University
of
Minnesota
School
of
Social
Work
and
the
National

Adolescent
Health
Resource
Center,
University
of
Minnesota,
Twin
Cities..


The
authors
are
grateful
to
members
of
the
Project
Advisory
Group,
who
contributed
hours
of

consultation
on
the
construction
of
the
inmate
survey
and
the
interpretation
of
results.

The
Group

represents
many
sectors
of
the
community.



A
special
thanks
to
Randy
Speer
for
his
contributions
to
the
design
and
presentation
of
this
document.



 Jane
F.
Gilgun,
Ph.D.,
LICSW


 Associate
Professor,
School
of
Social
Work


 University
of
Minnesota,
Twin
Cities,
USA



 Kay
Pranis


 Restorative
Justice
Planner


 Minnesota
Department
of
Corrections


 (formerly
Director
of
Research,
Citizens
Council)


Richard
C.
Ericson

President

Citizens
Council


5

TABLE OF CONTENTS

RISKS
AND
PROTECTIONS........................................................................................................................................................ 1


EXECUTIVE
SUMMARY................................................................................................................................................................ 6


THEORY
AND
DESCRIPTION
OF
SAMPLES ...................................................................................................................... 8


FINDINGS
AND
IDEAS
FOR
ACTION ..................................................................................................................................... 9


LIMITATIONS ................................................................................................................................................................................ 23


FURTHER
READING................................................................................................................................................................... 24


6

A Survey of Minnesota Prison Inmates


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This study measures risk and protective factors What seems clear is that their many risks
associated with prison inmates, primarily during overwhelmed whatever protective factors were
their adolescence. present.

The data on risk and protection factors of inmates We can learn from the lives of these inmates. Risk
was compared with similar data on two non-inmate factors such as poverty, abuse, the absence of
samples and one sample of incarcerated juveniles. fathers and out-of-home placement were reported
It was found that both protective factors and risk by a large portion of inmates. This suggests that
factors distinguish inmates from non-inmates. The the effective steps to reduce crime must emphasize
data indicate that most inmates had more risks and preventative measures during childhood.
fewer protective factors than the non-inmates
representing the general population. Inmates’ The data show, for instance, that discussing
protections were overwhelmed by risks. personal problems during adolescence is a powerful
protective factor when practiced, and a dangerous
These findings support widely assumed risk when it is not. This insight could potentially
relationships between adult criminal behavior and guide social policies and programs in new
the experiences and circumstances of childhood directions.
and adolescence.
The findings of this study do not excuse antisocial
Inmates were not without positive forces in their behavior, nor is it unreasonable to hold people
early years. For example, most inmates reported accountable for their choices. They do suggest,
feeling that their parents cared for them, and did however, that the efficient use of public funds in
not differ significantly from non-inmates in this reducing crime is investment at the “front end” – an
regard. Yet, feeling cared for was not enough. investment in Minnesota’s children.

7
THEORY AND DESCRIPTION OF SAMPLES

Protective factors can shield individuals from • Racism and discrimination resulting in
poor development outcomes. Persons who have diminished opportunities for education and
these factors in their lives are likely to overcome jobs.
substantial risks. The following examples of
protective factors have been identified by long term We developed the survey to measure risk and
studies following children into young adulthood. protective factors experienced by inmates during
adolescence. In order to compare inmates’
• Being respected and accepted within experience with a non-inmate population, we took
families and other social institutions such as questions from the Adolescent Health Survey
neighborhoods, communities, schools, developed by the Adolescent Health Resource
religious organizations, libraries, and Center and included them in the inmate survey. In
playgrounds January 1994, we distributed printed questionnaires
to the total state prison population of about 4000
• Close, on-going relationships with others inmates.
who model pro-social behaviors and values
and who are confidants and who encourage This study is based on responses from 1700 prison
emotional expressiveness inmates, about 1600 men and 100 women.
Focusing on the experiences of inmates during
• Opportunities for education and jobs adolescence allowed for comparisons of inmates
with two other groups. These groups 36,000
• Witnessing family members and others with Minnesota public school students in grades 7-12
whom we identify as being treated with who took the Adolescent Health Survey in 1987
respect and acceptance and as having and 540 juveniles in Minnesota detention and
economic and educational opportunities correctional facilities who were surveyed in 1991.

Risk factors are associated with poor To assess whether the inmates’ recollections of
developmental outcomes when individuals have childhood and adolescent experiences were
few or ineffective protective factors. Poor reliable, inmates were further compared to a sample
developmental outcomes include committing of 800 randomly selected Minnesota adults. Key
crimes and acting in violent ways. The following questions on risks and protections were included in
are examples of risk factors. Again, these this survey conducted by telephone in 1993 by the
examples have been identified by previous Minnesota Center for Survey Research.
longitudinal studies.
Three comparison groups were thus used in this
• Adults and peers in families and study to identify the differences between Minnesota
neighborhoods who model disrespect for prison inmates and other Minnesota citizens.
and violence against other
We expected that the experiences of inmates would
• Few if any close relationships that model differ from the sample of Minnesota adults and the
pro-social behaviors and values public school students. Groups that had similar
outcomes, the inmates and the incarcerated
• Childhood abuse and neglect juveniles, were expected to have had similar
experiences during adolescence.
• Poverty

• diminished opportunities for education and


education

8
9
Findings and Ideas for Action
For each of the findings, the substantiating data is provided. Also shown are Ideas for Action, offered for
consideration in planning policies and developing programs that are designed to enhance protective factors
and ameliorate risks.

Finding 1: Inmates and Students Felt Cared About by At Least One Parent During Adolescence

Chart 1: Felt Cared About by At Least One Parent


Inmates, Students, and Adults

90%
 90%

89%

88%


85%


82%


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates
 Male
Adults
 Female
Adults
 Male
Students
 Female
Students


High percentage of inmates, students and randomly selected Minnesota adults reported feeling cared about
by their parents.
IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Use what young people say about caring by • Although most inmates felt cared for by
their parents and others to help develop parents, many also were maltreated by
further programming. Program developers parents and most did not discuss problems
could discover key strategies through with their parents. These three conditions
conversations with youth. are contradictory. Making sense of such
• Policy planners and program developers contradictory conditions is impossible
could take some time to talk to each other without help from others. Our young
about what caring is and how caring might people need help from caring adults in
be incorporated into policy and programs. coping with these incongruencies.
Ideas such as attachment, inclusion, a sense
of belonging, helping each other learn new
skills and learning to cope with people who
seem not to care might provide some
direction in building on a wish to feel cared
about.

10
Finding 2: More Inmates Did Not Want to Discuss Problems in Adolescence, and Fewer Inmates than
Students Did Discuss Problems and Found It Helped

Chart 2: Discussed Problems with Family or Friends


Inmates and Students

54%


33%

31%


6%


Did
Not
Want
to
Discuss
Problems
 Discussed
and
Found
It
Helped


Inmates
 Students


About one third of inmates reported that as adolescents they were reluctant to discuss their problems with
others, compared with only six percent of students. Nearly one third of inmates reported they did discuss
their problems and felt that it helped them, while the percentage was significantly higher for students.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Increase the capacity of parents, teachers, mediation in schools, youth-serving


and other adults with whom children and agencies, and religious organizations.
adolescents come in contact to listen to, When parents and others significant to
hear, and respond to children and young people are involved with youth in
adolescents when they want to talk about capacity-building skills, the effectiveness of
their problems and are seeking ideas of how the training is greatly increased. This
to handle difficult situations and emotions. training would help children and youth not
only identify issues that trouble them but
• Increase the social communication skills of would also help them to express their
young people through thoughts and feelings about these issues.
• teaching the identification and
constructive expression of feelings • teaching older children to teach other
to young people and to the parents, younger children mediation and
teachers, and other adults with communication skills. Advantage: young
whom they come in contact. This people respond well to other young people.
could be part of a curriculum on This is a capacity-building and self-
communication skills and conflict sustaining; young people can bring these
skills into other situations.

11
Finding 3: Inmates’ Responses Indicate More Physical
and Sexual Abuse in Childhood and Adolescence

Chart 3: Physical or Sexual Abuse


Inmates and Students

53%


46%


37%


26%


16%

14%


5%

2%


Physical
Abuse
 Sexual
Abuse


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates
 Male
Students
 Female
Students


Questionnaires indicated inmates were physically and sexually abused as adolescents in substantially higher
percentages than students.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Educate parents, other adults, adolescents, • Educate parents through parent education
and children about physical and sexual abuse programs and public awareness campaigns of
and how it affects development. Provide the differences between discipline and
information on ways of dealing with abuse physical abuse, and provide information on
and neglect if they occur. effective alternatives to physical punishment.

• Continue to educate professionals through in- • Support the expansion of programs dealing
service and continuing education. with abuse throughout the community.

• Educate students in human services and


education through course work and
internships.

12
Finding 4: Fathers Were Absent More Often in Families of Inmates

Chart 4: Father Absent From Home


Inmates and Students

61%

56%


38%

34%


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates
 Male
Students
 Female
Students


Similar percentages of male and female inmates reported their fathers had been absent from home, during
their adolescence. In both cases, the percentage is significantly higher than that of male and female students.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Encourage positive involvement of fathers in • Recognize that in some families, fathers are
families, with major emphasis on the sources of abuse and neglect and some
emotional and nurturing roles of fathers. families function better without abusive
fathers present.
• Encourage the development of education
programs for fathers on fathering. Keep in • In some instances, father substitutes, such as
mind that most inmates have one or more coaches, teachers, friends’ fathers,
children and most inmates return to their grandfathers, uncles, and big brothers, can
families. Education of inmates on fathering play important roles in the lives of children
would reduce risks for their children, who are and adolescents. Public awareness
at higher risk than children in families where campaigns might encourage the development
no family member has been incarcerated. of these relationships.

13
Finding 5: Fewer Inmates’ Parents Completed High School

Chart 5: Parents Did Not Complete High School


Inmates and Students

26%

24%

21%

19%


10%
 10%
 10%



7%


Father
Did
Not
Complete
High
School
 Mother
Did
Not
Complete
High
School


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates
 Male
Students
 Female
Students


Male and female students reported in similar percentages that their parents did not complete high school.
For male and female inmates the percentages were significantly higher.

IDEAS FOR ACTION


• Create family literacy programs and support • Develop neighborhood-based continuing
those that already exist. Some programs such education for parents and other adults: in
as Head Start have companion programs to neighborhood schools provide academic
educate parents in fundamental academic training to prepare parents and other adults
skills: reading, writing, and math. These for jobs; provide childcare in these programs.
programs can be greatly expanded.

14
Finding 6: More Families of Inmates Received Welfare

Chart 6: Family Received Welfare


Inmates and Students

39%


33%


5%

3%


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates
 Male
Students
 Female
Students


More than 30 percent of inmates reported their families had been on welfare during their adolescence. The
percentage for students was less than five percent.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Create jobs which pay good wages in low- • Reduce or eliminate reliance on welfare and
income neighborhoods. encourage economic self-sufficiency.

• Give economic incentives to persons willing


to establish businesses in low-income
neighborhoods.

15
Finding 7: Drug and Alcohol Abuse Was More Common Among Inmates in Adolescence

Chart 7: Drug and Alcohol Abuse


Inmates, Institutionalized Juveniles, and Students

56%

51%

47%

45%

41%

39%

33%


23%

20%

18%

13%

8%
 7%
 7%

5%
 5%

0%
 1%


Heavy
Alcohol
Use*
 Weekly/Daily
Marijuana
Use
 Weekly/Daily
Cocaine,
Crack,
or



Heroin
Use

Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates

Male
Institutionalized
Juveniles
 Female
Institutionalized
Juveniles

Male
Students
 Female
Students

*Six or more glasses/cans/drinks of beer, wine, or hard liquor consumed at one time

Heavy use of alcohol, and weekly use of marijuana and illegal drugs were reported by a substantially higher
percentage of inmates and institutionalized juveniles than by students.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Expand the education of youths, parents, • Increase the duration of insurance coverage
school personnel and others to recognize the for such programs to improve efficiency and
early signs of drug and alcohol abuse. staying power.

• Create and enhance innovative drug and • Create incentives to establish more
alcohol abuse treatment programs that foster treatment programs; long waiting periods
resolving problems that lead to the chemical for admission would thus be reduced or
abuse in the first place. These problems eliminated.
include the risk factors of
sexual/physical/emotional abuse and • Evaluate these programs: Pay careful
inability to confide and to talk about attention to whether the services these
feelings and problems, and pressures to use programs offer are responsive to the issues
chemicals and act out in anti-social ways as presented by youth and their families and
means of feeling part of a group. whether these services divert youth from
behaviors related to chemical abuse.

16
Finding 8: More Inmates Felt Depressed in Adolescence

Chart 8: Felt Depressed/Suicidal


Inmates, Institutionalized Juveniles, and Students

67%


36%
 38%
 36%



33%

30%

25%

22%
 21%

18%
 18%


7%


Felt
Sad,
Discouraged,
Hopeless
 Attempted
Suicide


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates

Male
Institutionalized
Juveniles
 Female
Institutionalized
Juveniles

Male
Students
 Female
Students


The percentage of inmates and institutionalized juveniles who reported feeling depressed and attempting
suicide was much higher than the percentage reported by students. In all three populations, females reported
these feelings in greater portions than males.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Provide affordable, neighborhood-based, • Increase the duration of coverage for


culturally appropriate mental health services such programs to improve efficiency
for young people and their families, services and staying power.
that build on client strengths and take into
account individual differences along such • Evaluate these programs: Pay careful
lines as gender, age, and sexual orientation. attention to whether the services these
programs offer are responsive to the
• Create incentives to establish more issues presented by youth and their
treatment programs; long waiting periods families and whether these services
for admission would thus be reduced or divert youth from behaviors related to
eliminated. depression.

17
Finding 9: Fewer Inmates Liked School and Were Concerned About School Work

Chart 9: Liked School/Concerned About School


Inmates and Students

84%
 84%

78%
 76%

71%

62%

56%

49%


Liked
School
 Concerned
About
Schoolwork


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates
 Male
Students
 Female
Students


Almost an equal percentage of students reported liking school and being concerned about school. They
reported liking school in somewhat higher proportion than inmates, and a much higher percentage of
students said they were concerned about schoolwork.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Student internships and other forms of • Organize large secondary schools into
community-based learning should be neighborhood units where students and
promoted and funded. teachers can relate more effectively.

• Create programs and curricula that children, • Develop interdisciplinary curricula.


adolescents and their families see as
relevant and receptive to them. • Encourage education/business partnerships.

• Summer internships for teachers in work • Train current and future school teachers and
settings should be encouraged and funded. administrators to involve parents in schools.
School encouragement for parent involvement
• Implement public information campaigns to has been shown to improve attendance,
help children, adolescents, and their attitudes, behavior, and achievement in all
families understand the value of education ethnic and socioeconomic settings.
and that young people cannot succeed
without education.

18
Finding 10: Working Long Hours Was More Common Among Inmates in Adolescence

Chart 10: Worked Long Hours


Inmates and Students

27%


20%


9%


4%


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates
 Male
Students
 Female
Students


About a quarter of inmates reported working more than twenty hours per week, a point at which school
grades drop off significantly, according to a 1992 study of Minnesota education. Among students, only nine
percent of males and four percent of females reported working more than twenty hours.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Educate the business community, school


personnel, youth workers, parents, and
youths themselves that working more than
twenty hours a week can harm their school
work and involvement in social activities
with friends and families.

19
Finding 11: Frequent Shoplifting, Fighting, Vandalism
More Common Among Inmates in Adolescence

Chart 11: Shoplifting/Fighting/Vandalism


Inmates and Students

81%
 82%

78%
77%

72%
 73%
 74%

64%
 67%

58%
 57%


42%

30%
 32%

25%

17%
 15%
 13%


Shoplifted
 Damaged
or
Destroyed
 Hit
or
Beat
Up
Others



Property


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates

Male
Institutionalized
Juveniles*
 Female
Institutionalized
Juveniles*

Male
Students
 Female
Students


*For the adolescent samples, time period included past 12 months only, for the inmates the question covered the entire
adolescence

Inmates and institutionalized juveniles reported they shoplifted, damaged property and fought with others in
substantially higher percentages than students.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Use victim-offender mediation and restitution • For some youth, swift, sure consequences are
and family group counseling at the first signs effective in diverting them from criminal
of these behaviors. These restorative behavior. We need to evaluate punishment-
approaches communicate that these behaviors oriented programs and mediation/restitution
are wrong and have serious consequences. programs to see which programs are effective
They foster the taking of responsibility for which types of youth under what
without further harming children and conditions.
adolescents. In addition, these programs
involve parents and cost much less than court
involvement. Satisfaction with mediation on
the parts of victims and offender is much
higher than satisfaction with traditional
sanctions.

20
For some questions on the inmate survey there are no comparative data on the other groups. These data are
useful, however, for developing a profile of Minnesota prison inmates. Some of the experiences shown
below may potentially be additional risk factors in the lives of inmates.

Finding 12: Out of Home Placements During Childhood and Adolescence Common Among Inmates

Chart 12: One or More Out of Home Placements


Inmates by Race

75%


45%
 44%
 44%


36%


White
 African
American
 Hispanic
 Native
American
 Asian


A large percentage of inmates reported that, as adolescents, they had been placed with a foster family,
children’s shelter, group residence or other out-of-home facility.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Provide early and more effective • When families are not able to care for their
interventions when families show signs of children make sure there are well-trained and
being unable to care for their children. committed foster parents prepared to handle
these children, many of whom are
• Increase availability of support services for challenging to care for.
children and families where abuse and • Increase training and
neglect have occurred. opportunities for respite for foster
parents to give incentive and
skills to care for high-risk
children.

21
Finding 13: Dropping out of School and Frequently Switching Schools
Common for Inmates During Adolescence

Chart 13: Dropped Out of School/Switched Schools


Inmates by Gender

48%


38%

34%

28%


Did
Not
Finish
High
School
 Three
or
More
School
Changes


Male
Inmates
 Female
Inmates


About a third of male inmates reported they had dropped out of school or switched schools three or more
times. For females, the dropout rate was significantly higher.

IDEAS FOR ACTION

• Examine more carefully individual reasons • Increase transition mechanisms such as


for students’ frequently switching schools. student-run and teacher-supervised
Focus interventions as appropriate, including orientation sessions for new students,
the option of remaining in the same school services/support to help students catch up on
when their families move. their schoolwork, and develop peer
buddy/guide systems for new students and
• Explore as a long-range solution how their families.
affordable housing, job opportunities, and
family support affect students’ switching of • Expand and evaluate truancy reduction
schools; switching schools appears to be programs and begin them in elementary
related to poverty and lack of economic schools.
opportunities for parents.
• Sponsor research to identify reasons for
• Ensure adequate support exists for children in frequent switching of schools.
families that move frequently.

22
LIMITATIONS

All social science research has limitations and this Since we don’t know which students might later
study is no exception. Our work has four limitations. become inmates, we are assuming that all public
First, relying on inmates’ memories of their school youth have “good” outcomes.
adolescence raises concerns about the ability of
inmates to recall their adolescent experiences. The choice of two of the comparison groups, namely
the incarcerated juveniles and the Minnesota adults,
Second, the inmates who were adolescents during the was intended to address concerns about the ability of
1970’s and early 1980’s (over half of the inmates inmates to recall their adolescence. Since inmates
were 30 years of age or older) were compared to adolescent experiences differed from the experiences
students age 13-18 in 1987. This difference in time of Minnesota adults, but were similar to the
periods could account for some of the differences experiences of the incarcerated juveniles we have
between the two groups. The third limitation is that more confidence in the inmates’ ability to recall their
not all inmates responded to the survey. adolescence.

Approximately 1700 inmates responded to the The findings support our hypothesis that groups with
survey, representing 42% of the total population of similar outcomes have similar adolescent
inmates. White inmates and older inmates were experiences. With respect to which inmates chose to
more likely to respond to the survey than would be respond, it is reasonable to assume that the inmates
expected given their percentages in the total inmate with the most risks were the least cooperative. If this
population. The respondents may differ on other is true, the contrast between inmates and others
unknown characteristics. Finally, the public school would be even more dramatic than the findings
comparison group may contain some adolescents illustrate.
who later become inmates.

23




Further
Reading


These
articles
give
an
idea
of
how
my
thinking
has
changed
since
I
worked
on
the
survey
of
prison

inmates
sixteen
years
ago.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(in
press).
Reflections
on
25
years
of
research
on
violence.
Reflections:
Narratives
of

Professional
Helping.



Gilgun,
Jane,
F.
(2009).
A
process
model
of
interpersonal
violence.
Scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Accountability
for
sexual
violence
scales.
Scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Chills,
thrills,
power,
and
control:
The
phenomenology
of
family
violence.

Scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Detecting
the
potential
for
violence.
Scribd.com/professorjane
and

Amazon
Kindle.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Family
incest
treatment.
Scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Family
incest
treatment
and
professional
treatment
for
abusers.
Amazon

Kindle.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Guilt
by
association:
Does
one‐armed
Jack’s
race
have
anything
to
do

with
it?
Scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
It
takes
a
village
to
stop
a
father
from
beating
toddlers.

Scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Preventing
the
development
of
sexually
abusive
behaviors.

Scribd.com/professorjane
and
Amazon
Kindle.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Two
boys:
A
friend
is
someone
who
knows
your
secrets….and
keeps

them.
Scribd.com/professorjane.
Available
on
Amazon
Kindle
as
Salamander:
A
story
of
two
boys.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Two
boys:
Similar
backgrounds,
different
outcomes.
Why?

Scribd.com/professorjane.



Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
What
child
sexual
abuse
means
to
abusers.
Amazon
Kindle
and

scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
What
child
sexual
abuse
means
to
child
survivors.
Amazon
Kindle
and

scribd.com/professorjane.


24
Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Shame,
blame,
and
child
sexual
abuse:
From
harsh
realities
to
hope.

Amazon
Kindle,
scribd.com/professorjane,
and
stores.lulu.com/jgilgun.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2009).
Stories
of
crime:
Violence
isn’t
what
you
think
it
is.

Scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane.
F.
(2009).
Children
with
conduct
issues:
Part
1:
A
case
of
a
girl
whose
behavior
got

worse.
Scribd.com/professorjane.


Gilgun,
Jane
F.,
&
Alankaar
Sharma
(2008).
Child
sexual
abuse.
In
Jeffrey
L.
Edleson
&
Claire
M.

Renzetti
(Eds.)
Encyclopedia
of
Interpersonal
Violence
(pp.
122‐125).
Thousand
Oaks,
CA:
Sage.




 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2006).
Children
and
adolescents
with
problematic
sexual
behaviors:

Lessons
from
research
on
resilience.

In
Robert
Longo
&
Dave
Prescott
(Eds.),
Current
perspectives
on

working
with
sexually
aggressive
youth
and
youth
with
sexual
behavior
problems
(pp.
383‐394).


Holyoke,
MA:
Neari
Press.




 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2008).
Lived
experience,
reflexivity,
and
research
on
perpetrators
of
interpersonal

violence.
Qualitative
Social
Work,
7(2),
181‐197.




 Gilgun,
Jane
F.,
&
Laura
S.
Abrams
(2005).

Gendered
adaptations,
resilience,
and
the
perpetration

of
violence.

In
Michael
Ungar
(Ed.),
Handbook
for
working
with
children
and
Youth:
Pathways
to

resilience
across
cultures
and
context
(pp.

57‐70).

Toronto:
University
of
Toronto
Press
(invited
and
peer

blind
reviewed)




 Gilgun,
Jane
F.,
Danette
Jones,
&
Kay
Rice.

(2005).
Emotional
expressiveness
as
an
indicator
of

progress
in
treatment.
In
Martin
C.
Calder
(Ed.),


Emerging
approaches
to
work
with
children
and
young

people
who
sexually
abuse
(pp.
231‐244).

Dorset,
England:
Russell
House.



 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2005).
Evidence‐based
practice,
descriptive
research,
and
the
resilience‐schema‐
gender‐brain
(RSGB)
assessment.
British
Journal
of
Social
Work.
35
(6),
843‐862.
(invited
and
peer
blind

reviewed)


Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2005).
The
four
cornerstones
of
evidence‐based
practice
in
social
work.
Research
on
Social

Work
Practice,
15(1),
52‐61.



 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2004).
A
strengths‐based
approach
to
child
and
family
assessment.
In
Don
R.

Catheral
(Ed.),
Handbook
of
stress,
trauma
and
the
family
(pp.
307‐324).
New
York:
Bruner‐Routledge.

(invited
and
peer
blind
reviewed)




 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2004).
Deductive
qualitative
analysis
and
family
theory‐building.
In
Vern

Bengston,
Peggye
Dillworth
Anderson,
Katherine
Allen,
Alan
Acock,
&
David
Klein
(Eds.).
Sourcebook
of

Family
Theory
and
Methods
(pp.
83­84)
Thousand
Oaks,
CA:
Sage.




 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(2002).
Social
work
and
the
assessment
of
the
potential
for
violence.
In
Tan
Ngoh

Tiong
&
Imelda
Dodds
(Eds.),
Social
work
around
the
world
II
(pp.
58‐74).
Berne,
Switzerland:

International
Federation
of
Social
Workers.


25

 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
Christian
Klein,
&
Kay
Pranis.
(2000).
The
significance
of
resources
in
models
of

risk,
Journal
of
Interpersonal
Violence,
14,
627‐646.
This
article
is
based
on
the
inmate
survey.



 Gilgun,
Jane
F.,
&
Laura
McLeod
(1999).
Gendering
violence.
Studies
in
Symbolic
Interactionism,
22,

167‐193.



 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(1996).
Human
development
and
adversity
in
ecological
perspective,


Part
2:
Three
patterns.
Families
in
Society,
77,
459‐576.
Lead
article.



 Gilgun,
Jane
F.
(1996).
Human
development
and
adversity
in
ecological
perspective:

Part
1:
A
conceptual
framework.
Families
in
Society,
77,
395‐402.
Lead
article


26