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Article
Publication date: 5 December 2017

Camilo Olaya, Juliana Gomez-Quintero and Andrea Catalina Navarrete

This paper presents an actor-based conceptualization of the increasing oscillatory pattern of prison overcrowding in Colombia. The research proposes a dynamic hypothesis…

1413

Abstract

Purpose

This paper presents an actor-based conceptualization of the increasing oscillatory pattern of prison overcrowding in Colombia. The research proposes a dynamic hypothesis that explains that unintended behavioural pattern as a result of delayed balance feedback loops shaped by decision-making processes of actors that intend to control crime. This system matches a well-known systemic archetype that explains those persistent oscillations. The paper also introduces a simulation model for testing that dynamic hypothesis and for delivering concrete courses of action. This work illustrates the relevance for policymakers to understand the dynamic complexity of social systems as the outcome of the agency of actors who take action to defend their own interests. Such actions ultimately form a complex web of interactions that drive the performance of such systems with unintended consequences. In particular, the construction of explicit models provides better chances of devising policies that consider the system-level implications of those interactions.

Design/methodology/approach

This work uses system dynamics modelling. First, the paper presents a conceptual model anchored in operational thinking, which refers to the identification of actors and decisions, and the manner in which those decisions ultimately build the respective social system in which the oscillatory pattern emerges. Second, it identifies key feedback structures that result from those chains of decisions. Finally, the paper introduces a simulation model for suggesting policy implications for decisionmakers.

Findings

The increasing oscillatory pattern that prison overcrowding in Colombia has displayed over the last 20 years is the outcome of a wide variety of laws that increase sanctions on criminal conducts, a phenomenon known as “legislative inflation”. Such reactions against crime are propelled and sustained by society and policymakers as the result of static and linear thinking that simply delivers “more punishment” of crime – harsher legislation and longer prison terms – which ultimately boosts long-term prison overcrowding and further cycles of crime control and overcrowding. Such actions create permanent negative feedback loops that involve various material and information delays, which – coupled with the reinforcing feedback loops – explain the previously mentioned behavioural pattern. Through a system dynamics simulation model, this paper tests and explains the proposed dynamic hypothesis and shows how policymakers can enhance and develop their dynamic understanding to explore and design effective policies intended to tackle prison overcrowding.

Practical implications

This paper presents a practical and concrete case that bridges the fields of criminal policy and prison management through systems thinking. It uses the case of prison overcrowding in Colombia to demonstrate the relevance of incorporating systemic thinking into the cognitive portfolio of policymakers if they aspire to improve complex systems.

Originality/value

Criminal policy and prison management are different fields that typically belong to different traditions (law and criminal psychology for the former, public administration for the latter). The work presented here bridges those perspectives under a single engineering and systemic perspective that answers questions in both fields and serves as a unifying framework for designing more coherent criminal policies that meet the practical requirements and restrictions that prison management implies.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 47 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Roy Warmsley

Overcrowding in prisons has a negative impact on health care and consequently the international standards insist that accommodation for prisoners must include sufficient…

1153

Abstract

Overcrowding in prisons has a negative impact on health care and consequently the international standards insist that accommodation for prisoners must include sufficient space. Despite this, the article shows that overcrowded prison systems, defined as those holding more prisoners than they are intended to accommodate, are to be found in every part of the world; indeed, almost 70% are overcrowded, and many others are overcrowded in some prisons. Moreover, overcrowding is not just widespread; it is often severe, with many prison systems having levels of occupancy that far exceed the official capacity. Furthermore, the official capacities of prisons often allow insufficient space per prisoner, so that there is in fact overcrowding even in prison systems where the prison population is lower than the officially stated capacity. Again, prison populations continue to rise, often without parallel increases in the space available. It is suggested that attempts to improve prison health should include strategies to reduce prison populations and eliminate overcrowding.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Hans Wolff, Alejandra Casillas, Thomas Perneger, Patrick Heller, Diane Golay, Elisabeth Mouton, Patrick Bodenmann and Laurent Getaz

Prison institutional conditions affect risk for self-harm among detainees. In particular, prison overcrowding may increase the likelihood of self-harm by creating…

Abstract

Purpose

Prison institutional conditions affect risk for self-harm among detainees. In particular, prison overcrowding may increase the likelihood of self-harm by creating competition for resources, space, and enhancing a “deprivation state.” The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between overcrowding and prisoner acts of self-harm.

Design/methodology/approach

This cross-sectional study took place at Geneva’s pre-trial prison (capacity:376) between 2006 and 2014. Outcomes were acts of self-harm that required medical attention, and self-strangulation/hanging events (combined into one group, as these are difficult to differentiate). Dichotomous predictors were overcrowding index- annual mean daily population divided by capacity ( > 200 percent vs < 200 percent), and year group (2006-2009 vs 2011-2014).

Findings

Self-harm and self-strangulations/hangings increased in 2011-2014 compared to 2006-2010 (p < 0.001). Overcrowding in excess of 200 percent was associated with self-strangulation/hangings (p < 0.001) but not with all self-harm events. In terms of pertinent demographics that would affect self-harm, there was no prison change in gender, area of origin, foreign residency, religion, or psychiatric treatment.

Research limitations/implications

The present study is limited by the definition and identification of self-harm. The distinction between self-strangulation and self-hanging, and the precise classification of an intent to die is difficult to make in practice, especially with limited prison data records available. The relevant literature addresses the complexity of the association between non-suicidal and suicidal behavior. Despite this, the combined category self-strangulations/hangings gives some indication of severe self-harm events, especially since the methodology of categorization employed was consistent throughout the entire period of the study. Other limitations include the small sample size and the lack of individual patient data and prison data to help control for confounding factors. Despite these drawbacks, pertinent data (socio-demographics and number of prisoners treated for mental health and drug abuse) remained stable over the years. Thus, there are no apparent changes in the inmate population that could be linked to an increase in self-harm. High-security placements and mean prisoner stay have increased over time, with a decrease in staff to prisoner ratio – and these must be looked into further as contributors. Additionally, qualitative methods such as semi-structured interviews and focus groups could delineate the impact of overcrowding on prisoner well-being and self-harm potential.

Practical implications

The authors observed a significant increase in self-harm and self-strangulation/hangings over time, and overcrowding was significantly associated with self-strangulation/hangings (but not with all self-harm events). Overcrowding can impose destructive effects on the psychological and behavioral well being of inmates in prison, influencing a myriad of emotional and livelihood factors that predispose to harmful behavior.

Originality/value

This report should alert public health and prison authorities to this issue, and garner resources to address such an alarming rise. The findings from this short report demonstrate the need for a further examination of the mechanisms affecting self-harm among prisoners in this population, particularly the relationship between self-strangulations/hangings and overcrowding.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 2007

Lisa Harker

Despite the significant amount of time that children spend in the home, relatively little attention has been paid to the direct impact of housing conditions on children's…

721

Abstract

Despite the significant amount of time that children spend in the home, relatively little attention has been paid to the direct impact of housing conditions on children's development. A literature review of over 100 research studies was undertaken to examine evidence of a ‘housing effect’ on children's health, learning, safety and behaviour. The results found strong evidence of a relationship between poor housing conditions and children's health and some evidence that growing up in sub‐standard housing affects children's performance at school. While children's safety is clearly linked to the quality of their home environment, further research is necessary to understand the apparent link between poor housing conditions and children's behavioural problems. The review suggests that growing up in poor housing has a profound and long‐term effect on children's life chances and that public policy should play closer attention to this relationship. Nevertheless, the volume of high‐quality research in this area is surprisingly limited and there is a need for more comprehensive studies.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 June 2019

Sandra Navarro-Ruiz, Ana B. Casado-Díaz and Josep Ivars-Baidal

The purpose of this paper is to provide a deeper understanding of the relevance of shore excursions in the distribution of cruise passenger flows; an approach which has…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a deeper understanding of the relevance of shore excursions in the distribution of cruise passenger flows; an approach which has been overlooked by many studies on cruise tourism. Specifically, the paper focuses on two destinations: Barcelona, a mature cruise destination suffering from the impact of overcrowding; and Valencia, an emerging cruise destination facing the risk of future (similar) impacts.

Design/methodology/approach

The method used is multiple-case study with replication logic. First, web content analysis is conducted of shore excursion descriptions of the destinations selected so as to identify the itineraries, as well as the municipalities and the specific tourist attractions included in the tours. Then, word-processing tools are used to create a regional and local data set to arrange the narrative data. Finally, density maps are drawn in order to examine the different visitor flows within the tourist hinterlands from the supply perspective.

Findings

The results indicate that most shore excursions are concentrated in the port cities. Comparing the two destinations, the paper argues that the redistribution within the cities is not equally balanced. Nevertheless, the results also reveal that the excursions offered by local shore tourism operators (TOs) in both destinations have contributed to the expansion of the cruise tourist hinterland over a wider regional area.

Research limitations/implications

This paper evaluates the visitor flow distribution from a supply perspective. Hence, future studies should examine the demand dimension in order to gain a deeper understanding of the concentration intensity. Additionally, it would be worth examining not only visitors taking guided tours but also the independent ones (those who visit the destination on their own).

Originality/value

Despite the growing importance of cruise tourism, research on the role of local shore TOs in this sector is quite limited. One element that deserves more research attention is related to the role of shore excursions in the spatial configuration of the cruise tourist hinterland. Finally, the results obtained could also have significant implications for policy makers developing and promoting effective measures to prevent overcrowding.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 May 2009

Bruce Fuller, Luke Dauter, Adrienne Hosek, Greta Kirschenbaum, Deborah McKoy, Jessica Rigby and Jeffrey M. Vincent

Newly designed schools for centuries have projected fresh ideals regarding how children should learn and how human settlements should be organized. But under what…

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Abstract

Purpose

Newly designed schools for centuries have projected fresh ideals regarding how children should learn and how human settlements should be organized. But under what conditions can forward‐looking architects or education reformers trump the institutionalized practices of teachers or the political‐economic constraints found within urban centers? The purpose of this paper is to ask how the designers of newly built schools in Los Angeles – midway into a $27 billion construction initiative – may help to rethink and discernibly lift educational quality. This may be accomplished via three causal pathways that may unfold in new schools: attracting a new mix of students, recruiting stronger teachers, or raising the motivation and performance of existing teachers and students.

Design/methodology/approach

We track basic indicators of student movement and school quality over a five‐year period (2002‐2007) to understand whether gains do stem from new school construction. Qualitative field work and interviews further illuminate the mechanisms through which new schools may contribute to teacher motivation or student engagement.

Findings

Initial evidence shows that many students, previously bussed out of the inner city due to overcrowding, have returned to smaller schools which are staffed by younger and more ethnically diverse teachers, and benefit from slightly smaller classes. Student achievement appears to be higher in new secondary schools that are much smaller in terms of enrollment size, compared with still overcrowded schools.

Originality/value

We emphasize the importance of tracking student movement among schools and even across neighborhoods before attributing achievement differences to specific features of new schools, that is, guarding against selection bias. Whether new schools can hold onto, or attract new, middle‐class families remains an open empirical question. Future research should also focus on the magnitude and social mechanisms through which new (or renovated) schools may attract varying mixes of students and teachers, and raise achievement.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Morag MacDonald, Robert Greifinger and David Kane

2609

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Book part
Publication date: 13 May 2021

Snigdha Kainthola, Pinaz Tiwari and Nimit R. Chowdhary

Overtourism is a problem of social and psychological perspective which is aggravated by the mismanagement of the destination. It can also be understood as an umbrella term…

Abstract

Overtourism is a problem of social and psychological perspective which is aggravated by the mismanagement of the destination. It can also be understood as an umbrella term which incorporates the unfavourable conditions created by means of several tourism activities. The present scenario of overcrowding by tourists, displacement of local population and loss of authenticity can be assumed that overtourism is a consequence of increasing volume of tourism industry in the twenty-first century. There are strong uncorroborated beliefs around overtourism formed by media and literature which are not concrete and need to be busted. Several impressions have been generated around the phenomenon of overtourism and overcrowding which has hampered the administration of a destination. This chapter identifies 11 myths of overtourism with the help of literature review and supporting examples have been given with each myth. The authors attempt to decipher the underlying stereotypes of overtourism in context of it being a recent phenomenon, its existence in the popular part of the cities and the realities of the solutions and perceptions of the concept.

Details

Overtourism as Destination Risk
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-707-2

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 1989

Samuel Cameron

A cross‐section of 1980 US data on the prison population and itsrate of inflow is examined. Regression analysis is used to investigatethe impact of prison overcrowding

Abstract

A cross‐section of 1980 US data on the prison population and its rate of inflow is examined. Regression analysis is used to investigate the impact of prison overcrowding, race, crime and unemployment on the above variables. Racial composition and overcrowding are found to have significant positive impacts on the numbers in prison and the rate of inflow. Unemployment does not have a significant influence, nor does the crime rate influence inflow, but it does have a significant positive correlation with the level of the prison population.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 16 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2016

Fodei M. Conteh and Derya Oktay

With increasing urbanisation in developing countries and the concomitant overcrowding on streets, serious questions remain about the liveability of inner-city…

16

Abstract

With increasing urbanisation in developing countries and the concomitant overcrowding on streets, serious questions remain about the liveability of inner-city residential-commercial streets. This paper contends that lively streets are not necessarily liveable streets. Liveability is defined by other criteria that take cognizance of human comfort and capabilities within living environments. Observations suggest an uneasy relationship between a crowded public space and the private residential spaces that sit next to them. The paper’s focus is to measure the liveability of a lively but overcrowded street and how its everyday use affects the physical characteristics of buildings, the activities, and the wellbeing of residents. Employing a mixed-method strategy, the study draws on observations, semi-structured interviews, and questionnaire survey of residents, shopkeepers, and street traders. The findings suggest that an overcrowded street space has a negative effect on the liveability and quality of living of residents and other users but that this is tempered by intra-dependency amongst the users and the negotiation of the rights accruing to all as individuals and as groups.

Details

Open House International, vol. 41 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0168-2601

Keywords

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