Private Versus Public Juvenile Correctional Facilities: Do Differences in Environmental Quality Exist?

Gaylene Styve Armstrong, Doris Layton MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

20 Scopus citations


Expansion in the operation of private sector correctional facilities has sparked a number of debates. A primary concern is that environmental quality for offenders incarcerated in privately operated facilities will be poorer than publicly operated facilities due to the profit motivation of the private sector. This study examined data collected from 48 residential juvenile correctional facilities in 19 states (16 private and 32 public facilities). Self-report surveys, including cognitive assessments of 13 conditions of confinement, were administered to juvenile delinquents (N = 4,121) incarcerated in these facilities. Data from facility records were also incorporated in the analysis. A hierarchical linear model analysis of the juveniles' cognitive assessments indicated that no significant differences between private and public facilities in environmental quality existed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-563
Number of pages22
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2003



  • Conditions of confinement
  • Environmental quality
  • Private prisons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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