Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


This research was designed to answer the following question: “What factors are associated with inmate deviations from formal rules and regulations within a correctional institution?” The study had the following objectives: (1) the development of a theoretical model which would be capable of analyzing formal normative behavioral patterns of incarcerated individuals; (2) the development of instruments for measuring formal normative behavior and a set of related variables; (3) to establish the degree of association between selected variables and formal normative behavior of inmates; and (4) the development of an index for prediction of inmates propensity to conform to or deviate from institutional norms. Utilizing a structural deterministic theoretical orientation, four classifications of independent structural variables were developed: (1( past personal variables—family cohesion, area of socialization, differential association, social class, and residential mobility; (2) present personality variables—age, marital status, race, education, and religiosity; (3) crime and sentence variables—types of crimes, length of sentence, proportion of sentence completed, age at first arrest, and recidivism; and (4) present social variables—visit78ations, job satisfaction, attitudes towards prison officials, and voluntary formal organizational participation. A random sample of 110 inmates was selected from the total inmate population of the Maryland Correctional Institution of Hagerstown. A weighting system, using a panel of judges, provided scores for a set of prison violations. A stepwise least squares multi-variate technique was used to analyze the data. The major findings were: (1) A structural deterministic oriented model was developed integrating organizational, personality, role, and systems theory capable of analyzing inmate behavior. (2) Instruments were located and constructed for measuring formal normative inmate behavior (inmate infraction coefficients) and the selected 19 independent variables. (3) Of the 19 independent variables hypothesized in set relationship to formal normative inmate behavior, six were found to be statistically significant. These variables were: differential association, education, marital status, type of crime, length of sentence, and voluntary formal organizational participation. (4) As a result of the stepwise least squares multi-variate analysis, an equation was developed for predicting formal normative inmate behavior.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Maryland Correctional Institute

Prison psychology

Prisoners -- Maryland



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University