promulgate a view of the world, and inmates are expected to adopt that view of the world. It is not a view of the world that is particularly helpful if you are trying to live a successful, peaceful life.”
Another important element of place is transition across places—such as community to prison and then back to the community. Dr. Krisberg noted that 700,000 people exit American prisons every year. Of those, 93 percent return home, most of them within 3 years (West, 2008). Within 3 years, 67 percent of returning prisoners were rearrested for serious offenses, and 52 percent were returned to prison for new criminal offenses (Langan and Levin, 2002), though homicide and sexual offenders had the lowest rates of recidivism. However, released prisoners in general commit a lot of crime in the community. A 1990 study by the Department of Justice shows that released prisoners have a homicide rate 53 times that of the general population. Dr. Krisberg urged that further research on the dynamics of prisons was warranted, to understand how they might exacerbate the spread of violence, versus serving as “deterrent mechanisms.”
Another layer of the complexity of place as a contextual factor is the aging population of prisoners. Dr. Krisberg mentioned that a large percentage of prisoners are older adults—approximately 30 to 40 percent of prisoners are over age 55—and there is some suggestion that older inmates are victimized by younger ones. If violence and exploitation are central to the institution, vulnerable populations, such as older inmates, may suffer disproportionately, especially as their faculties deteriorate.
Dr. Krisberg also spoke of place in terms of juvenile justice facilities. There are studies focused on juvenile facilities suggesting that 45 to 72 percent of youth released from juvenile facilities are committing new crimes. He also stated that there is a strong body of research that indicates that placing low-level juvenile offenders in correctional facilities (versus leaving them in the community) increases recidivism and school failure, among other measures. Incarceration for youth traditionally is viewed as a social work intervention, especially in the context of bad living situations or neighborhood and family environments. But research in Florida and other places show that incarceration for youth increases risk of violence and other adverse outcomes, mainly due to peer influences (Baglivio, 2007).
Dr. Krisberg used an example to illustrate the role of place with respect to the contagion of violence. He commented on a study performed 40 years ago by Phillip Zombardo of Stanford University in which a group of Stanford students were randomly assigned, with some students as inmates and some as guards. A dormitory was converted into a mock prison. Within 3 days, the experiment was halted because several of the Stanford students who were assigned to be inmates were showing serious mental health symptoms, some as serious as psychosis. The Stanford students who were the guards were manifesting vicious, violent, and assaultive behavior against