Hypotheses: No-Minimum security level housing, with IBT and PIT, will be a better predictor of TRCs than Minimum security housing with IBT and PIT.
Methods: A cross-sectional research design was employed using a stratified random sampling procedure. The strata used was housing security levels 1-4. Housing security levels include levels 1 and 2 (least restrictive/Minimum) and levels 3 and 4 (most restrictive/No- Minimum). The study was conducted in three prisons (DCI, ORW and NEPRC). The study sample (N=250) female inmates. Mean age: 36.2 (min 20, max 80); education: 94 (38.8%) high school/GED, 85 (35.5%) some college and 201 were mothers (82.4%). Two multiple linear regression analyses were utilized to examine the relationships between TRCs, No-Minimum /Minimum housing security levels, PIT , IBT, and Demographics (age, race, socioeconomic status, and prison facilities).
(1) (Minimum) Overall, the IV’s in the model were statistically significant predictors of TRCs [Model F(10, 112) = 3.10, p < .01], and accounted for 22% of the variance. Higher levels of TRCs were primarily predicted by higher levels of IBT (β = .28, p < .01). PIT and demographics were not statistically significant in this model.
(2) (No Minimum) Overall, the IV’s in the model were statistically significant predictors of TRCs [Model F(10, 82) = 5.58, p < .001], and accounted for 41% of the variance. Higher levels of TRCs were primarily predicted by higher levels of IBT (β = .30, p < .01) followed by PIT (β = .26, p < .01). Lower levels of TRCs were associated with being an older female inmate (β = -.25, p <.01) and being housed at NEPRC (β = -.25, p < .05) where trauma-informed care was provided.
Conclusions and Implications: The prevalence of trauma experienced prior to incarceration (PIT) and the prison environment (IBT) were associated with higher levels of TRCs in No-Minimum Housing. Results affirm the need for trauma-informed care and a re-assessment of the prison classification system that determines housing security levels for female prisons. The current system, a risk-based system, was developed for male prisons and does not take into account the needs/experiences of incarcerated women. Prison misconduct has been cited as one reason for female inmates being placed in higher security housing. For instance, resisting a prison strip search and/or pat down procedures. Due to prior trauma, a large percentage of incarcerated women may be more likely to be assessed and classified as a problem. Inmates housed in maximum security housing are often not eligible to receive trauma-related treatment or employment and education services.