This study suggested that while the data did not show generalized negative effects, neither did they show positive behavioural changes.

What then are the effects of imprisonment? On one level, we can say that prison is a unique environment, but one within the range of ordinary human experience, so its effects are as varied as those of any major life change on a disparate group of individuals. Some [inmates] sink into depression and hopelessness, while others feel comfortable, contented, or even happy. From our results we can say that most fall somewhere in between, coping day by day and minute by minute, and surviving intact and more or less unchanged (Zamble & Porporino, 1988, p.152).

Despite that negative effects of imprisonment were not clearly demonstrated, researchers warned that the study findings should not be used as an endorsement of incarceration. Some inmates experienced emotional problems well into their sentences, partly as a result of a deliberate self-imposed psychological isolation. There is a need for further research to identify these individuals and what makes them react differently so help can be arranged. The researchers also suggested that while the emotional problems experienced initially by most inmates were temporary, more resources for treatment should be made available.


Because women make up only 2.6% of the long term inmate population in Canada (women account for 179 of the 7,004 long term prisoners)(Task Force on Long - Term Offenders, 1998), the tendency until very recently has been to focus research primarily on the behaviour and needs of male inmates. In Canada, the emergence of the feminist perspective in the understanding of social inequity and the recognition of the special needs of female offenders led to the appointment of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women in 1990. This group of corrections officials, other representatives of the justice system and community members studied the experiences of female federal inmates and made recommendations as to how the CSC could better manage these women. The Task Force produced a report that was a cooperative effort on the part of the Correctional Service of Canada, the Elizabeth Fry Society and Aboriginal women's groups. In their report, some insights into the effects of both long and short term incarceration on female inmates was provided.


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