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date: 27 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores definitions of inmate misconduct (e.g., the distinction between crimes versus “other” rule infractions, violent versus property versus drug crimes in prison, and the incidence versus the prevalence of institutional misconduct). The current applicability of importation, deprivation, and administrative control theories to understanding inmate deviance is assessed. Other potentially applicable criminological theories (e.g., social control theories, Agnew’s general strain theory) are also discussed. General theories of crime and deviance may offer a comprehensive explanation of misconduct and permit consideration of incarceration as a stage (or stages) in an offender’s life course that may encourage desistance from offending or induce further criminality. The literature on best practices for predicting (and preventing) institutional misconduct is also reviewed, as well as research on a possible link between engaging in misconduct during confinement and postrelease recidivism.

Keywords: inmate misconduct, inmate deviance, crime, importation, deprivation, administrative control theory, life course, postrelease recidivism

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