Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Washington State University
- Social support is an important factor in reducing prison violence, enhancing pro-social behavior and potentially reducing recidivism.
- Providing social support lessens inmate misconduct, victimization, fear of victimization and prospective crime engagement.
- Higher levels of social support are helpful in creating a safer prison environment for both inmates and corrections officers.
- Offender change programs are much more likely to be successful in prisons where inmates are given the social support they need to successfully change and actively engage their communities.
In the article, “An empirical test of the social support paradigm on male inmate society,” Stohr examines the effects of social support on the prison experiences of male inmates in South Korea. Stohr specifically examines whether social support in an all-male prison environment explains inmate misconduct, victimization, fear of victimization and the intent to commit crime in the future. Stohr explains that imprisonment leads to breakdowns in relationships between the offender and his family and friends. These relationship breakdowns often result in less social support for the inmate and may lead to greater involvement in illegal behavior and subsequent recidivism. The authors conclude that an inmate with strong social support will be less likely to commit infractions.