In Prison and Far From Home: Spatial Distance Effects on Inmate Misconduct

Andrea M. Lindsey, Daniel P. Mears, Joshua C. Cochran, William D. Bales, Brian J. Stults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Drawing on theory and research on prisoner behavior, this study examines whether spatial distance from home influences inmates’ likelihood of engaging in misconduct. Three hypotheses are developed: distally placed inmates will engage in more misconduct, distance will have a greater effect on misconduct among younger inmates, and visitation will mediate these relationships. We test the hypotheses using negative binomial regression analyses of data from the Florida Department of Corrections (N = 33,853). Support for the hypotheses is mixed. A curvilinear relationship between distance and misconduct was identified, with a positive effect on misconduct for distances up to 350 miles and a negative effect thereafter. Distance effects were greater for younger inmates and were partially mediated by visitation. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1065
Number of pages23
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • distance
  • inmate
  • misconduct
  • prison
  • spatial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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