November 1973

A Psychosocial Description of Penitentiary Inmates

Author Affiliations

New Orleans
From the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(5):663-667. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200050070012

Indepth analyses of family, social, and demographic characteristics, antisocial behaviors, and psychological dimensions of a biracial sample of male and female inmates housed predominantly on prison farms in the State of Louisiana showed inmates to be minimally educated, young adults originating from the lower socioeconomic strata of large metropolitan areas and serving sentences for generally under ten years.

Women, characteristically a more homogeneous group than their male counterparts, were most frequently incarcerated for narcotic offenses or homicide and seemed to be serving shorter sentences for the same felony convictions as men. A number of important racial differences, particularly within the male sample, suggest the need for closer scrutiny of the handling of the black inmate, who represents a probably neglected and specifically overlooked group in the prison environment.