AbstractsSocial Work

Age and sentence length: effects on offender's level of aggression

by Tsz Ying Chui

Institution: California State University – Sacramento
Department: Social Work
Degree: MSW
Year: 2015
Keywords: Restorative justice; San Quentin State Prison; Inmate aggression
Record ID: 2062696
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/139405


The purpose of this research study is to understand male inmates??? aggression levels when age at the time of the crime is compared to an inmate???s current age and their convicted sentence length. This researcher is interested in the change of inmate aggression levels over time and investigating the interrelationship between aggression level and age and length of sentence. The design of this study is a descriptive quantitative secondary data analysis. A secondary sample of (N=340) male inmates was used to conduct the analysis. A 108 questions survey were distributed to participants of a restorative justice program at San Quentin State Prison. The study disaggregated inmates into two categories: older and younger than 30 years old. Furthermore, an aggression composite was computed using the inmates??? responses. The findings show that aggression level do change over time among inmates serving indefinite and definite sentences. In addition, results show young inmates with life without parole sentencing scored higher in aggression level older inmates with a definite sentence length. From the findings of the study, one could state that younger offenders are at increased risk of committing violent infractions. In addition, although older offenders serving life without parole are perceived to be dangerous, it is neither cost effective nor beneficial to continue to confine older inmates in overly restrictive settings as older inmates are less aggressive than younger inmates.