A preliminary investigation into the use of disciplinary segregation in federal penitentiaries

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Bonnefoy, Robert G.
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An exploratory research design, (Longitudinal Case Study Design), was utilized to gather preliminary data and information regarding the use of Disciplinary Segregation (DS) in three medium security federal penitentiaries for males within the Prairie Region of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). As there is minimal research in this subject area, the study of this punitive sanction was undertaken to better understand who receives this sanction, why and how it is utilized by correctional officials, and its effect. Two major themes resulted from this exploratory research. Significant findings and generalized patterns of behavior indicated that the use of DS may not have the desired effect of positively deterring the negative institutional offending behavior of Aboriginal offenders as compared to the non-Aboriginal offenders in the sample population. Preliminary data indicates that the behavior of Aboriginal offenders may have worsened as a result of their having served a sanction of DS. The second major theme was that the issue of substance abuse related behavior was significantly tied to the use of DS as a punitive sanction. Further to this, data indicates that DS used as a punitive sanction for substance abuse related behavior did not have the desired effect on overall rates of institutional offending behavior. Similar to Aboriginal offenders, behavior patterns indicated that offenders who served a sanction of DS for behavior related to substance abuse appeared to have suffered a deterioration in behavior. As a result of the data generated by this research, it is felt that further research is required to determine the effectiveness of the use of DS as a punitive sanction, specifically in regards to Aboriginal offenders and offenders who receive DS for reasons related to substance abuse. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)